I think the frelling rain last night left bruises—hellcritters certainly wanted me to think so—but other than that we got off pretty lightly around here. I have some seriously unhappy dahlias and a kamikaze geranium but I did NOT lose any of those huge unmovable pots I’ve got braced up in a foolhardy manner at the top of the outside half-flight to the greenhouse and the bins. I took the little pots down off their various walls and posts and wedged them all in up there between bins, water-butt and house walls (mine and Theodora’s) and they’re all fine . . . so long as I move them back again before someone stumbles up there expecting to be able to walk on the ground. Me, pre-caffeine, for example.* I also, very late last night, got out of bed and padded downstairs and out into the screaming gale in my nightgown to unhook the frelling hanging basket from the front of the house. It and I both came dripping indoors again.**
We do have some trees down and as hellhounds and I were sprinting off toward Nadia at 10:15 this morning there were several tailbacks where the road was down to a single lane: the heroic road-clearers with their electric vorpal blades had been out since dawn, but they were still at the clear-one-lane-and-get-on-to-next-total-blockage stage. Tonight the wind is still frisking around rather—making early compost out of all those autumn leaves—and the electricity is also still bleeping off and on, much to the consternation of our older technology***, and the internet did say hahahahahaha you must be joking for a while last night at the cottage. But according to the meteorologists (if you believe meteorologists) the worst is over.
I made it to Nadia’s. It has not been a good week, for singing or anything else—some of this will be brought out of the shadows, dusted down, its hands examined for stickiness, and introduced on the blog†—and I went in clutching my music with no great hopes of anything. But I . . . sang again. This is almost becoming a habit. Golly. I do feel I need to keep reminding you that we are talking relative here. On an absolute scale where Beverly Sills is a ten and the East Water Vole Debating Society’s surprise performance of CATS in which Old Deuteronomy is played by a Dalmatian dog named Spot is a one, I am somewhere between .0025 and .003, depending on the kind of day I’m having.
This is nonetheless significantly up from being an ungradeable tinny wailing from the void. I was trying to explain to Nadia that having any voice at all is disconcerting and in a weird way it feels like starting all over again because I have no control over it. Yes, she said immediately, it’s like when you change up from the 14 hand New Forest pony to the 15.3 thoroughbred. Yes. That is very like—even if it’s a thoroughbred you got cheap because nobody else wants it. It’s still 15.3 . . . which is a lot bigger than your pony . . . and it wants to work. Which brings me to the next thing I was trying to explain to Nadia: I now sort-of have a voice, which I have attained by ridiculous struggle, but here it is. And there is apparently responsibility involved. How more-than-ridiculous is that. It’s like a dog is for life and not just for Christmas: if I don’t give my voice regular exercise and attention it sits in a corner looking at me with large sad forlorn eyes. MCKINLEY. GET A GRIP.††
I still frelling go to frelling pieces as soon as I have to sing an actual song. Let’s just stay with exercises where I have a prayer of remembering everything. THERE’S TOO MUCH TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO SING A REAL SONG. And I don’t mean memorizing the lyrics, although when I do—usually inadvertently, from pounding through the poor thing so often bits of it helplessly adhere—that actually helps because it’s one less thing to have to remember consciously†††. Meanwhile you’re trying to negotiate the jungle full of things with teeth of maintaining air space and support, keeping your huge fat tongue out of the way, melody, dynamics, meaning, emotional commitment and expressiveness, twiddly bits and so on. . . .
I’m presently rather madly floundering among not one, not two but three Mozart arias, all in Italian. Well, I love Mozart, I can just about sing Italian‡, and the prospect of my ever singing Verdi even as an amateur doofus are not at all good.‡‡ And then Nadia told me I had done very well with my first German song‡ AND SHE GAVE ME A NEW ONE TO LEARN.
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I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum.
Oh yes. I read this blog as part of my morning routine during the work week. Aka prior to caffeine ingestion. . . .
You can READ before caffeine?!? You can make your EYES FOCUS and your BRAIN TRANSLATE THOSE SQUIGGLES BEFORE CAFFEINE? I’m so impressed.
** I would probably have risked it for myself but I was having visions of a freak tornado throwing it through some neighbour’s window.
*** I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR SELF-SETTING CLOCKS. Especially when frelling Daylight Savings Time has just begun/ended less than twenty-four hours before a major power-chopping storm.
† And some of it won’t.
†† The development of some kind of singing capacity is not unlike my struggles on the end of a bell-rope. When I was a young ringing thing groping through trebling to bob doubles . . . progressing in time to the horror the horror of ringing bob doubles inside . . . the idea of ringing Stedman was beyond my capability to imagine. And that was just Stedman doubles. Stedman triples was something that only happened among superhumans.
Well. No. I ring Stedman triples. I don’t ring it very frelling well, I’d better be on the one or, if it’s a only plain course, maybe the two and I’m totally dependent on the rest of the band being SUPERB to get through a touch at all. But I do ring it. This was inconceivable to me nine years ago.
You wouldn’t want to hear me singing Voi che sapete—or Dido’s Lament or Linden Lea. But I am singing them.
††† Which is just great till I suddenly REALISE I’m singing the lyric from memory and then panic. And forget, of course. This happens regularly with Nadia. Sigh.
‡ It sure beats singing in English: all those consonants. All those diphthongs. But I haven’t given up on Linden Lea. Or The Roadside Fire or Finzi’s Fear No More. I am a sap.
‡‡ Maybe Azucena. Siiiiiiiigh. Stride la vampa is even in my Big Cheezy Book of Mezzo Opera Arias. With Voi che sapete and Dido’s Lament.
‡‡‡ Mind you it’s taken something like six months. Maybe more. I thought I never would get my head around those frelling words. And then quite suddenly it started becoming possible. I still sound about as German as a chipmunk sounds like Brigitte Fassbaender . . . but I sound a lot more German than I did six months ago, and I don’t just keep breaking down spewing gggrrrrmmmmvvvvzzzzzgrzldblgggg any more.
Last night I turned the Aga back on*, closed the kitchen and attic windows for the first time in months and ate my first apples of the season off my little tree**. I also wore gloves to take hellhounds for their last hurtle at glurp o’clock in the morning. And it was dark tonight at eight o’clock. Trying to get everybody hurtled at least occasionally in daylight is going to be more challenging this year, since the dream of a regular three-way hurtle isn’t looking too good.***
Good-bye summer, I guess. But I’d like to keep my dahlias till November, okay?
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* It’s been off long enough that I’d got used to being able to put stuff on it. What with the bowls of fruit, small decorative jars of (decanted) dog food, caddies of (also decanted) bird food^, piles of magazines and knitting there is no counter, you know, space, and I have to decide what to put my computer on.^^ At least I managed to remember to take the plug-in single electric burner off the top of one of the Aga burner lids. I forgot last time and the little rubber pads on the ends of the legs of the electric burner melted.
^ I need yet another new bird feeder. I have two of those squirrel-repelling cage ones, the theory being that the mesh is big enough only to let small birds through. I discovered, by the simple expedient of doing the washing-up while the assault on Everest was being performed in my back garden, that the mesh is too small to let the (fat) resident robin through.+
+ The size differential among British robins is pretty extreme. Of the breeding pair a year ago who raised two broods in my greenhouse# one was nearly twice the size of the other one and easily differentiated even when there was only one visible. And it’s the bigger one that did most of the nest sitting and who disappeared as soon as the babies were half fledged, leaving the other to finish the job—which ought to mean she was mum. But according to on line the male robin is slightly bigger. Well, on line isn’t always correct, and maybe this robin has the short-man-likes-big-women complex.
# I have my fingers crossed for next year. This year my greenhouse was full of the results of a fallen-down wall which is to say first a shortage of walls and shelves to put nests on and second a Strange Man wielding wall-building materials and a trowel.
^^ Fruit is a bad choice: too knobbly.+
+ I am so looking forward to the hellterror being old enough to learn ‘go lie down [and stay there for more than ten seconds]’ so that I can START USING MY OFFICE AGAIN. At the moment it’s just a bridge too far. I can’t exactly work with her underfoot in the cottage kitchen but certain things are possible.# And she has to spend enough time in her crate: hellhounds and I don’t have to go upstairs. Hellhounds flee occasionally## but I stay in the kitchen, providing her with a Focus for Existence, and balancing my computer on tall piles of mostly magazines. It’s not a bad thing to have the computer higher than usual if I end up with a hellterror in my lap, which I mostly do. This wouldn’t work at all at a desk, by the way. My knees against the cupboard door and her butt tucked under the edge of the counter is what keeps her in position and I can still type.
# Chiefly fishing her out of the hellhound crate for the 1,000,000,000,000th time this hour.
## Although Chaos usually creeps down again and crouches on the stairs peering through the railing and waiting for me to notice and open the gate. Then he quickly plasters his cranky-uncle expression on and bolts for the hellhound crate.
** Not so little really. I’m still saying it has to get through its first winter after the wall fell down and was rebuilt around it before I stop worrying about the state of its roots, but the fact that it is producing lovely apples despite the gaspingly dry summer is a good sign. I have been watering it—and I don’t usually water anything that is both well-established and in the ground since I have way way WAAAAAAY too many dratblasted pots to keep up with—but even a middling-sized apple tree is still a tree.
*** All five of us went to see Tabitha today. Tabitha lives on the edge of one of the suburbs of Mauncester, with farmland starting at the end of her drive. I hurtle while Peter is getting thumped.^ And the hellterror so loooooongs to be One of Us I can’t quite give up on the three-way hurtle idea^^. So we all three/four went up the road and then turned to come back across the stubble fields. I had a pocket full of kibble and half an insane plan to try and let them all off lead again.
Only the field was full of frelling game birds. Even aside from the fact that they’ve no doubt been raised for shooting and the local keeper would not be pleased to have them exploded off the territory by havoc-running dogs, I’m not going to slip hellcritters when there’s wildlife in view. Hellhounds are used to this unreasonableness from the hellgoddess. Hellterror is used to nothing. I thought (a) the frelling birds would fly when they realised that slowly ambling group behind them was going to keep coming and (b) that the FRELLING HELLTERROR would eventually give up when the birds didn’t fly but the hellgoddess didn’t let go either.
Wrong on both counts. I think the blasted birds were enjoying the show. They kept looking back over their shoulders, clacking, and then going back to winnowing through the stubble. ARRRRRRRRGH. Fortunately I am the arthritic sixty-year-old skinny white girl version of Watermelon Shoulders and she didn’t have a chance.^^^ But by the time we got back to the car I was ready to give her away. I remind myself that I spent YEARS threatening to leave hellhounds in a box by the side of the road with a sign saying FREE HELLHOUNDS.
^ Peter then falls asleep on Tabitha’s sofa while I get thumped. When we get home again I fall asleep on Peter’s sofa. It’s the Tabitha Effect and is why I try to book on days I am not ringing bells in the evening.
^^ As well that three-way would be saving me a little time and wear. I am NOT THINKING about the possibility that—chiefly thanks to other people’s dogs#—it will never be really safe or practical to harness the troika.
# I believe I said recently that I had mostly sorted out the neighbour’s terrier crapping in the drive at Third House by keeping the gate shut? Next time I went up there . . . there was a fresh pile of dog crap immediately outside the gate. Very funny. Very, very, very funny.
^^^ Fortunately she was in her shiny new padded harness after she ate her pink one. Ten minutes unsupervised in the car and one of the crucial connecting straps was hanging by a shred. This happened Saturday afternoon, of course, so I spent a day and a half threading the long lead through the bits of the harness that were still harness so that when the shred gave way I would still have a hellterror on the end of the lead.
The new padded harness is very flash. And sturdy. But it’s only red. Sigh.
(Feh. Yes. Blog post tonight. And here I had an excuse to skive off.)
. . . It started last night of course. All the worst days start the night before. It gives days with attitude problems a better run at being festering ratbags.
I’d had a fit of the sillies and bought half a dozen songs from an on-line sheet music shop who sells you the downloads and then you have to print the suckers out. Hey, the shop was having a sale. You don’t expect me to resist a SALE, do you?* Have I mentioned lately that I HATE MY PRINTER? I hate my printer. Hate. Hate. The hellpack may have to live on dog food to let me squeeze out enough money to BUY A NEW PRINTER.**
I managed to get two of five or six pieces printed out. By which time I was hoarse from screaming and all three critters were in various carpet-like postures, hoping to escape attention from Kali in her Destroyer phase. And the printer was now permanently stuck in one of two responses: PAPER JAM or PAPER TRAY EMPTY. Print something? Are you kidding? It was totally betrayed and violated by the fact that I’d got any pages out of it at all. PAPER JAM, it says, aggrievedly. And when it gets bored with that, and I’ve opened and slammed shut ALL of its doors and turned it off and back on again two or three times, it declares PAPER TRAY EMPTY for a while.
Shaking with frustrated rage*** I went into the bathroom for a nice calming bath. And discovered a wasp trying to fight its way through the screen.† WTF, you moron? It’s a BATHROOM. I don’t use scented bath oil and my peppermint toothpaste is unsweetened. I turned the light out for a minute . . . went back in and discovered the freller ON THE INSIDE.
I killed it. I don’t like killing things, but I’m a little hysterical about aggressive things that bite. And I was just getting into my nice calming bath WHEN I DISCOVERED THERE WERE THREE MORE WASPS ALREADY IN THE BATHROOM. If the first one had been a honeybee†† I’d’ve at least tried to trap her in a glass and take her outdoors. But FOUR? Waaaaaah. Well, I nailed two of ’em and couldn’t find the third, so I spent the night—what was left of the night—(a) with the bathroom window closed, which was horrible because it was a hot night and that bathroom window is the centrepiece of my cross ventilation system (b) not sleeping, of course, because I was lying there rigidly listening for buzzing noises, because aside from the missing third/fourth, if there were four there might be more and (c) when I got up for a pee slamming painfully into the closed bathroom door. And (d) sweltering.
I am not awake today. And there were handbells this afternoon.
There was supposed to be Oisin this afternoon too, although after the night I’d just had I might have bottled out of singing again, but I had to cancel to stay in for the Exterminator Man. Who came, confirmed that my unwelcome guests are wasps not honeybees, THAT THEY’RE FRELLING RAMPANT IN MY GARDEN . . . and that there’s NOTHING HE CAN DO ABOUT THEM BECAUSE THE NEST IS SOMEWHERE ELSE.
So I have the joyous prospect before me of either boiling to death with all my windows shut . . . or knocking on a series disturbingly upwardly mobile doors—have I mentioned lately that I live in the high-rent district, and single-handedly lower the tone by relentless application of All Stars and an American accent and, lately, bull terrier puppy—and saying pardon me, have you noticed any wasps about the place?
Oh, and I’ve forgotten to tell you that my landline has died. DIED. Died. No phone. I don’t like phones but it is a little inconvenient. . . . And people get testy when you won’t give them your mobile number just because your landline isn’t working.
I decided that what I really needed was some monks. So when my handbellers left, I am happy to add, unstung, I told the hellpack to Go. Lie. Down, I would be back later.
Well, I was back a lot sooner than planned. They’d had night prayer unscheduledly early and the chapel was already locked.
A truly festering ratfrellerbag of a day.
* * *
* Also sheet music is cheaper than yarn.^ Awful lot of frelling yarn shops having summer sales too. They figure hey, it’s August, September is coming . . . WINTER. MUST HAVE YARN.
^ I could of course start collecting complete scores . . . which would put me back in the silk/merino/hand-dyed category again . . . but I’m not going to. I have my complete SWEENEY TODD. That’s enough. Probably. For now.+
+ Yarn. Must have yarn.#
# Would also quite like a little more Olivier Messiaen. I can’t read it, but just staring at the page makes me feel a little like how I imagine mainlining heroin might feel. Whoooooosh. Hey, another planet. And Messiaen scores are definitely in the silk/cashmere/hand-dyed in small lots by virgin priestesses at the new moon price category.
** Since the angels tell me that getting the current purulent garbage heap rehabilitated would cost more than buying a new one. PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE MY AUNT FANNY. THE PIECE OF ROTTEN OFFAL ARRIVED NEEDING TO BE REPLACED.^
^ Some day . . . pleeeeeeeeease . . . some day may I have a printer I don’t hate?
*** Throwing it out the window would result in picking little stupid plastic pieces out of my garden for the next century. Aside from the fact that my handkerchief of earth is so densely planted there’s nowhere for the abomination to land without crushing something innocent and friendly . . . no, Souvenir, speaking of guilty and hostile, is on the far wall. I wouldn’t be able to heave the unholy object that distance.
† And then there are the Window Screen Wars. England doesn’t believe in air con. It doesn’t believe in screens for your windows either. ARRRRRRRGH. I can see some justification for a lack of air con. I CAN SEE NO JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER FOR A LACK OF WINDOW SCREENS. And the cut-to-size stuff costs £1,762,444 per square metre, and the square metre isn’t square, it’s in some kind of funny rhomboid shape specially designed for as much wastage as possible per window. I think it’s the same company that makes printers. Furthermore the cut-to-size stuff is stuck in place by Velcro strips and it’s a whole lot better than nothing but it’s a bit like the locks on your doors: a really determined burglar/wasp will get in anyway. What you want to try to do is not be that attractive. IT’S A BATHROOM. WHY DO YOU WANT TO GET INTO MY BATHROOM?
†† The horrible truth is that I cannot reliably tell one buzzy stinging thing from another. I can totally do bumblebees, who are slow and furry, but those nippy little yellow and black things, not so much. I know that wasps are the yellowest and blackest, and the nippiest, but unless I’ve got a wasp to hand to compare a honeybee with, the smaller, more slender honeybees look a little too wasp-like for my comfort. Anything that has big yellow pollen panniers is also fine but they don’t always. And you can kind of assume that something that is trying to get into MY BATHROOM is confused and therefore unpredictable and possibly cranky.
I AM SO TIRED OF WATERING. TIRED. WATERING. OF. ARRRRRRRRGH. We were supposed to have thunderstorms over the weekend. We were supposed to have TORRENTIAL RAIN! We were supposed to have sporadic downpours, some of them heavy, today!
WE HAVE HAD NONE OF THESE THINGS. We had two minor bursts of real rain which according to my rain gauge total a little under a quarter inch. This is not entirely negligible . . . but NEARLY. I heard some distant thunder while I was at the monks’ Saturday evening. Nothing else happened. And we do really, really, really need rain—anything that isn’t a garden tended by a (possibly) obsessive and irascible gardener is brown. I HATE WATERING. WATERING ISN’T GARDENING. WATERING IS A BORING BORING BOOOOOOOORING TIME SUCK. And while you’re wasting all your gardening time lugging cans of water* around the jungle that you had so laboriously somewhat brought under control is rioting freely again.
Snarl. I took advantage of a rose sale last winter. I wrote all over my order NO SUBSTITUTIONS. They sent me a sub anyway**. This one. Grrrrrrr. So, okay, climbing pink rose. I’ll live.
I do splash some water around and there’s a little trash soil from crumbling mortar and what falls out of my pots, but they’re basically growing out of ROCK.
And they’re all frelling thriving, in their miniature way. Ordinary garden snapdragons, which are a lot bigger of course, are also thirsty. Geraniums will put up with a surprising amount of drought: snapdragons won’t. First they wilt and then they develop mildew. And this year’s astonishing crop of volunteers must be all garden offspring, and first generation so far as I know, unless snapdragon seed lies in the ground/mortar/flint shelf until suitable conditions occur, like decades-old poppies waiting for the plough.
It’s certainly enough to make you a really untidy gardener for the rest of your (gardening) life. Especially if you’re that way inclined anyway. But this one is clinging to the few grains of soil in the unswept-out whorl of the rubber stair treads.
But I’m not exactly wasting my time with all that dratblasted watering, am I?
* * *
* The problems of Hosepipe Management in something the size and intensity of planting of the cottage garden are debatably worse than just gritting my teeth and bowing to the inevitability of can haulage.^ I do use a sprinkler occasionally but by the time I’m thinking about it we’re probably into drought conditions and it feels illegal even if it isn’t.
^ I can do a fair amount of damage with my big feet when I stagger in the wrong direction, but on the whole I leave fewer swathes of destruction carrying watering-cans than when I’m trying to cope with a frelling+ hose. Also with a dingleframping++ hellterror about the place you have to roll and/or hoick the thing out of reach every time you’re finished using it or at least before the hellterror is loose again.
+ Didn’t some polite newcomer on the forum recently ask where ‘frelling’ came from, that she’d used it in company and got stared at? RAISE YOUR CHIN AND TELL THEM IT’S A PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE COINAGE FROM FARSCAPE. You can google it. And I should pick up ‘dren’ while I’m at it.
++ And sometimes, when I’m feeling somewhat pent and fraught I just make something up. The presence of a hellterror can make one feel pent and fraught rather easily. Ask Darkness.
** When I protested they told me I could send it back. Uh huh. Sure. That’s totally practical.
It’s been a beautiful day here. Outdoors. I’ve spent far too much of it indoors. What is this cruel thing known as earning a living? And why do I have to do it? There are days for high adventure and doughty hero(in)es and wicked magicians and allies that fly* and there are days for chucking it all in and rushing out into the garden and vying valiantly with the ground elder and the enchanter’s frelling nightshade [sic] and the thrice blasted comfrey which is taking over the universe although the two-and-a-half-times blasted Japanese anemones are giving it a run for its money. There’s also an Evil nineteen-times-blasted Vine which I’ve forgotten the name of which is trying to do a Sleeping-Beauty’s-castle trick only without the thorns, and I’m forever having to hack it back before it swallows a hellhound** or blocks the door. THANK YOU, MY PREDECESSOR, YOU TWIT. THANK YOU SO MUCH. The ground elder and the enchanter’s nightshade—and the goose grass, and the willow herb, and the multiply-blasted wild yellow poppies and that ooooh-little-me? black-leaved violet which may be the worst thug of the lot, and the nettles, and the docks, and the spurge, and the scarlet pimpernel which is orange, and the groundsel, and the speedwell, and the land cress, and half a billion other bleeping volunteers—they’re all life or bad husbandry or the bad husbandry of your neighbours.*** The known ratbags† that someone actually PLANTED you’re all WHHHYYYYYYYYYYY?
The day did not get off to a calm, well-organised start when having found myself still awake well after dawn I reset the alarm . . . and only by good luck woke up for no reason three minutes before Computer Angel Raphael arrived. I had managed to stare disbelievingly at the clock, put my glasses on, stare disbelievingly some more, scream, scramble into one of the little cotton dresses that I wear instead of a dressing gown in hot weather, hastily sweep the floor†† and put the water on for tea when there was the knock on the door . . . and violent eruptions from critter crates. I like a quiet beginning to the day, so I usually let Pav out for a few minutes to carom around the kitchen before I lock her up again with her breakfast and let the hellhounds out . . . but you can’t expect anyone to stay all silent and lying down when THERE IS AN EXCITING KNOCK ON THE DOOR. So in fairness I let everyone out and . . . mayhem.††† Fortunately Raphael has three small children. Mayhem is his natural condition.
And then I had to WORK. I had to WRITE SENTENCES. With the sun streaming down and the temperature beautifully cool-warm or warm-cool—we even had a little rain last night. Not a lot, but enough to let me bunk off WATERING and actually do some, you know, gardening. I could have written more sentences. But it’s going to get hot again and I’ll want to hide indoors and have somebody else’s high adventures.
There are good years and bad years in a garden. This is probably one of my better years with the cottage garden: to the extent that I have a plan, I want a miniature version of the big messy crowded romantic garden that we had at the old house. There are glimpses of that this year‡ so long as you (a) squint‡‡ and (b) on no account leave the courtyard and penetrate into the surrounding jungle. You’d be surprised at how much jungle you can manage, or rather, not manage, in a space about the size of Merry’s truck bed. Granted Merry is a large pick-up truck, but this is not large in gardening terms.
I have some photos for you but first I have to tidy them up a little.
* * *
* and enchanted rose-bushes and hobs
** I think the hellterror would give as good as she got. Hellhounds are too polite.
*** I’ve been threatening to stab to death with his own hand fork my neighbour over the facing wall for as long as I’ve lived here not only because of the staggering ugliness of the garden shed roof that pokes up above my wall and frells my view, but for the ground elder that races under his piece of wall to attack me. Only he died recently. Hmmm. Maybe one of his other neighbours. . . .
† All right, I like Japanese anemones. But I’d plant them in pots.
†† Three critters = sweep floor three times a day. I don’t, of course, but I should.
††† Pav has jolted forward one of those developmental stages, the way little growing-up things do. She (mostly) sits on demand. She (mostly) does not pull on the end of her lead. And she (mostly) listens to me. I know, I know, not a bull terrier trait, but I’ve said before she’s a mutant.^ Usually when I’ve got her tucked under one arm I’m wearing jeans and she can do her whirring propeller legs trick and no harm done. This morning in a little cotton frock was a different manner. Shortly before I bled to death I fetched her out from under my arm, turned her over and said Stop. That. And she did the little forepaws by the face thing like someone raising their hands over their head because the bad guy has pulled a gun on them, and her face was all distressed, What? What? But I’m a bull terrier. Oh . . . sob . . . I am a poor downtrodden misunderstood creature . . . all right. And she stopped (mostly). Now if only I could persuade her not to run through her entire electrifying range of noises while she’s waiting for her next meal.
^ The builder who thinks she’s too docile for a bull terrier would agree
‡ In the ‘if fate hands you lemons, make lemonade’ department, if you’re nailed at home due to streaming or possibly-streaming hellcritters . . . you could spend more time in your garden.
‡‡ Late afternoon is a good time to let people out into the courtyard because the sun will be right in their eyes.