|But back-yard mutts can surprise you. The woman who first taught me dressage . . . did wonders with a series of back-yard mutts.|
I’m glad to hear that on a couple different levels. One is that some day I will need to look for another horse for myself, and it’s good to have those stories tucked in my memory to encourage me to look at “any” horse. . . .
Yes—with those quotation marks firmly in place. I was trying to think of what I would say you must absolutely look for in a horse—four sound legs is always a good place to start, and while Grace’s mare always was sound, no, you know, sane person would have risked her, with that crooked leg. In Grace’s defense she was very experienced as well as knew the mare from a foal, had done most of her Heinz 57 mum’s training and was a friend of the original owner who as I recall insisted she’d always have her back as a pasture ornament if she broke down.
I’d say the bottom line non-negotiable in a horse for ordinary—um, rider mutts—like you and me is a kind eye, very visible, I might add, in the photos of Amore. Having established the eye you want something who likes its work—which is a little harder to ascertain in the usual for-sale try-out, but that’s where your secret weapon, Rachel, is deploying herself on your behalf. Rachel will know!
The second reason I’m glad to hear that is because of a big change that’s coming to our barn…it’s time to get my girls their own horse. . . .They are OVER THE MOON about this, naturally!
Snork. Naturally. When are you going to get your husband on a horse?
. . . we can get whatever horse is the best fit for us and worry about getting a next step horse for the girls later. Another thing I love about my trainer is that she is happy to work with ANY kind of horse, which is a great attitude to be working with.
It’s really the only attitude to be working with. Yaaaaay for Rachel.
And if there’s a good story attached to it, I’ll see if Robin wants another horse guest post.
YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT? ROBIN ALWAYS WANTS ANOTHER GUEST POST. IF IT’S ABOUT FABULOUS HORSES, SO MUCH THE BETTER.
I’m still assuming—by not thinking about it too clearly—that I’ll ride again some day, but I admit I don’t know how or under what circumstances. The problem is that I went over the casual-hack line decades ago. I don’t want to have the occasional amble on horseback over the countryside, even this countryside*, I want to have a relationship with a specific horse, and contribute to its quality of life, well-being and training as it contributes to mine. And that kind of relationship takes an investment of physical energy I simply haven’t got.
But I still think in horsy terms. My MGB, who is still in the garage at the cottage while I dork around endlessly about selling her, was my little cream-coloured mare from the moment I set eyes on her—the old-car garage who found her for me had actually brought her in from Dorset or Lithuania or something. I’m pretty sure describing her as such still exists on the web site somewhere—and shortly after I’d put that bit up I received a Very Huffy email from a preteen girl who had a horse telling me, more or less, that she had Lost All Respect for me for preferring a car. It wasn’t a question of preference, it was a question of bank balance.
And, about a year later, it began to be a question of ME. Feh. But there are other things. I totally identify bell ringing as a partnership with a live creature with a mind of its own at the other end of a rope/rein. One of the tangential pleasures of Nadia as a voice teacher is that she rides.** I’m not one of her, cough-cough, better students, but I’m easy to get stuff across to, first because I have more imagination than is good for me, and if Nadia tells me to close my eyes and become a tree, I close my eyes and become a tree. . . . And second because I’m another horse crazy and she can tell me to get my weight off my forehand and my hocks under me.
Possibly on account of Bratsche’s horse story I’ve been thinking about singing in horsy terms even more than usual. But I’ve mentioned here that for some time now my voice has begun to feel a lot like another critter, some live thing that is my responsibility, that needs kindness and exercise and attention. Gleep. It no longer feels like my voice—where is all that NOISE coming from??—and ‘I’ feel overhorsed. I don’t know what I was expecting when I got into this voice-lesson shtick but I was not expecting this disconcerting mixture of strength and lack of control. Horsy metaphor: when my voice is warm and full and open I can’t frelling do anything with it, and it reminds me rather a lot of the four-year-old warmblood I exercised for a while many years ago. Four years old can be pretty young in a big horse. This one had barely been backed and had everything to learn, including how to make his legs function in an orderly sequence. Some of you will know about teaching a young horse to canter under saddle and how all over the landscape they can be as they try to figure out how to perform this complex task. This boy was a sweetie—speaking of the kind eye—and totally willing to try, but oh my. Mostly we trotted, which is, of course, what you do with a horse that can’t canter yet. The more stable and rhythmic the trot, the more possible the canter. But he had one of those gigantic warmblood trots as well as being a loose cannon. Actually he was a lot of fun and I hope he grew up to make some nice human rider very happy. But at the time trying to enable him to move in a straight line or a gentle curve even at the trot . . . is a lot like me trying to carry a tune now when my voice is up and running. If I shut down and go all control-freak on myself I can hold that tune, no problem, as I’ve been able to carry a tune fairly reliably all my life . . . but it’s not a sound quality you want to encourage. As soon as you—or more often, Nadia—wakes up my inner young warmblood . . . I’m all over the planet, tune-wise. Arrrrgh. One of the ironies is that at the moment I sing worse for Nadia than I do at home—because she can get the voice out of me whereupon I go to pieces. ARRRRRGH.
Another horsy metaphor: I was singing some poor innocent song this Monday at my lesson, soared up to my Big Note and . . . lost my bottle and went flat. I said to Nadia afterward in frustration, this is exactly like coming up to a biggish fence on a horse you know can do it backwards and if you put it up another foot, and at the last minute you bottle out and sit back on her—and she raps it with her feet and brings a rail down. ARRRRRRRGH.
I’m still hoping I’m going to grow up to make some nice human rider very happy.
* * *
* Which at the moment is eyebrow-deep in mud anyway.
** She was a bit of a hot shot in her youth. It wouldn’t surprise me if she dusted off her hot-shot status once her own kids are a little older.
Peter and I went out to dinner tonight. Just because. To the Bard and Orpharion which tends to be our default. And they were out of half bottles of champagne and weren’t offering it by the glass.* We didn’t quite get up and stamp out the door but we thought about it. Peter, in best loyal-husband mode, suggested this drastic course of action. We could go back to the Bulgy Loaf, which was our great find a fortnight ago when the electricity went phut at Peter’s end of town: they had teeny-weeny individual bottles of Freixenet** available, thank you very much, and they’re probably not heaving on a Monday evening in early March. But one doesn’t really want to burn one’s bridges too spectacularly in a small town***. So we stayed. There may have been muttering.
And then I thought, well, okay, I have a minor thing for killer dessert wines—the kind you might mistake for treacle if you weren’t paying close attention, till the alcohol aftershock makes your hair stand on end and your socks pop off†—I’ll have a glass of dessert wine with my brownie. THEY DON’T DO DESSERT WINE BY THE GLASS EITHER.
But at least the brownie was serious.
. . . And yes, we’d been playing bridge, where Peter fiddles the cards first so we have (a) more fun (b) a better Teaching Experience and I actually sort of almost understood what was happening some of the time. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not.
So we came home and Peter got one of our emergency quarter bottles of champagne out of the cupboard and put it in the freezer for twenty minutes AND I’M DRINKING IT NOW.
* * *
*Their pathetically feeble excuse is that they’d had a wedding which had drunk it all. A wedding that drank all the HALF BOTTLES? What kind of a cheap cheezy wedding is that? With only three people at the reception and two of them are teetotallers?^ We’ll have more in on Wednesday, said the lightly sweating waiter. WEDNESDAY? WHAT GOOD IS WEDNESDAY? IT’S MONDAY AND I WANT CHAMPAGNE.^^
. . . and maybe the Bulgy Loaf had a wedding last week too where teetotalism was rampant and they’re all out of little bottles too.
^ I mean, not cheap. Half bottles are ridiculously expensive per glass—you only do it because You. Must. Have. Champagne and there’s only one of you, or maybe two, you’re both nearly teetotallers and one of you doesn’t like champagne much.+
+ There’s no accounting. Maybe it’s that Y chromosome.
^^ Peter, who can sometimes be noble beyond all measure+, offered to buy a REAL bottle of champagne. Even I quailed at the magnificence of this sacrifice.++
+ Which helps to balance out the times THAT HE’S SPILT MARMALADE IN THE SILVERWARE DRAWER AGAIN AND I WANT TO KILL HIM.
++ I’ll try to remember this moment the next time he spills marmalade in the silverware drawer. Or unloads the dishwasher and puts everything tidily away having not run it first. AAAAAAUUUUUGH.
** I’ve said this before, haven’t I? That Freixenet has come a long way in the last thirty years or so? There was a time when I wouldn’t drink it because it was nasty. It’s still not the Widow, but it doesn’t cost like the Widow either.
. . . I was just looking it up on line so I could spell it correctly and . . . you have to be of legal drinking age in the country you’re in to look at their site? What? Why? Is looking at virtual bottles of B-list fizz really going to tip you over the edge into picking the lock on your parents’ liquor cabinet and getting pootered on Harvey’s?^ I did not, in fact, penetrate past the are you of legal drinking age click here pop up because the site background is all dark and creepy and there is ominous icky music like one of those computer games where stuff starts jumping out at you before I’ve got my finger off the ‘start’ button and I never live long enough to get out of the first level.
^ I feel that a hangover from Harvey’s Bristol Cream would probably cure you of drinking alcohol for life, but maybe that’s just me.
*** Besides, one possibly has a habit of doing it inadvertently and had better mind one’s ps and qs when one notices before it’s too late that they’re milling around in a dangerous manner^ and really need minding.^^
^ like bull terrier puppies. All smiles and little evil eyes . . . and remarkably fast on those little short legs.
^^ Sit! Sit! That’s not sitting!+
+ I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not sitting.
† In my early drinking days I’ve even been known to enjoy a glass of Harvey’s. But I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.
So there’s this major yarn and stuff to do with it, stuff to do it with and accessories like buttons and ribbons show that is not so far from here I can’t toy with the idea of going to it . . . especially if Fiona was driving.
But this is now the second year that Fiona has declined to go on the flimsy grounds that she had to WORK that weekend.* And I was feeling obstinate and cantankerous. And I happened to mention that there was going to be a fabulous yarn show with lots of STUFF to Nina, who said, oh, that sounds like fun. I’ll come.
Now Nina, once you bash past her British self-deprecation, is good at kind of a lot of stuff; she plays the violin, she cooks, she gardens, she sews, she embroiders, she does long-distance bicycling, and her end of the charity she works for runs very well. But I didn’t know she knitted.
I used to, she said. But a friend has started me crocheting, and I’ve been thinking about picking up knitting again. What I need is a project to inspire me.
So we arranged to meet at the venue, which is one of these Ancient Buildings Repurposed, and half the experience is about going the wrong way through the wrong end of the wrong aggregation of corridors and small crooked well-raftered rooms, and seeing the proud civic collection of sealing-wax stamps and the sepia photos of Prince Edward at the opening of the new railroad in 1887, but failing to find what you were looking for.
Which was a lot like my experience of getting there at all.
There was actual sunlight [sic] that morning [sic] and I set off in a hopeful and positive manner/deeply guilty that I wasn’t staying home and working in the garden**, and about the first third of the way is pretty familiar and the last two-thirds used to be pretty familiar before age, decrepitude and ME set in. I had my Google map print-out taped to the dashboard and just before the stoplight where I was going to have to turn off the modern roads, built for fast-moving fossil-fuel-propelled vehicles, and into the frelling medieval frelling maze . . . they changed the road layout. AAAAAAAAAUGH.***
So I made one of those hasty decisions, the way you do at fifty miles an hour with lorries the size of WWII blockhouses bearing down on you, and shot off toward the centre of town a lot sooner than I meant to and I was now in the wrong end of town† without a clue how to get to the right end. Whimper.
I think I saw the small town-centre Sainsburys six times as the one-way system kept chewing me up and spitting me out and I kept stubbornly turning around and coming back for more pinballing, ka-chung, ka-chung! There was ONE sign for the dratblasted yarn show with one of those ambiguous directional arrows that could have meant anything including finding a flagpole to climb and looking around from the top of it; and one overhead banner stretched from one side of the (narrow medieval) street to the other proclaiming the existence of the yarn show but failing to say anything about where to find it. Some of the surrounding melee was, in fact, on my Google map, but Google does not feel the need to include any street names but the ones immediately relevant to your journey. Haven’t these people ever driven anywhere?†† Have they no sense of the clue, the hint, the landmark, the burning need for the adjacent street sign?†††
By the time I got to a car park somewhere near the centre of town, feeling that if I couldn’t find the yarn show I could at least go to Sainsburys and bury my sorrows in chocolate, which said car park would actually let me in rather than telling me that the apparent gate-like aperture with a clear view of parked cars beyond it was nothing of the kind and I had to enter by another gate-like aperture that a car could not, in fact, approach on account of the cemented-in bollards in the way . . . the car park was full of cars driven by people who had sacrificed virgin black goats to the appropriate gods earlier in the day.
But—! There was a brief lapse in the forces of anarchy and bedlam! THERE WAS A PARKING SPACE!!!! I hurtled into it, had only just bought my ticket and displayed it prominently on the dashboard‡ and was beginning to worry about where, exactly, Ancient Building Repurposed was in relation to Car Park that Will Let Cars In, when Pooka started barking at me‡‡. I knew it was Nina: I was thirty-five minutes late. I’m sorry, I said . . . No, no, said Nina, I’ve only just got here myself; I misread the bus schedule and. . . .
TO BE CONTINUED.
* * *
* She says she’s blocking out that weekend in her diary for next year NOW.^
^ Like all you Americans—at least all you east coast Americans, and there’d better be a few schlepping in from at least the Midwest and the southeast or I’ll feel underappreciated—are blocking out 13-15 February for Boskone next year. There will be a certain irony if Fiona has to go alone next year because I’m in Boston.
** The hellpack would also have preferred this latter option
*** I didn’t even have Fiona’s satnav to abuse.
† I would start seeing sepia photos of Prince Edward at any moment
†† No they were born with a silver computer in their mouths and the only time they venture outside is to go jogging, well wired up to their iPods and wearing dark glasses, or to pick up Chinese food/pizza when the delivery Vespa is broken.
††† Or the not so adjacent. At one point I found myself passing the hospital, which meant that I had gone from the wrong end of town to the right end of town but hadn’t noticed, and instead barrelled on through and out the other side and was now approaching . . . Wales.
‡ Ever had your Pay and Display ticket blow off the dash in the backdraft (presumably) of you closing the car door and be found several hours later in the footwell upon your return? I have. I am very happy to say that the Parking Enforcement Officer didn’t come to my end of the garage that day. Either that, or PEOs are specially trained to see through the dark of footwells to the honestly obtained ticket that may be lying there.
‡‡ Er. New Blog Reader Alert: my iPhone’s name is Pooka, and her default ring tone is a barking dog.
I was putting Pav’s harness and lead on for a hurtle late this afternoon while listening to the weather report on the radio. Dry for the rest of the evening and overnight, said the radio. Pav and I stepped out the door. It was raining.
I’ve spent way too much time looking for good Hampshire-flood photos for you. Is it because flooding, managing or trying to manage the floods and beginning in some cases to clean up after floods which may yet return is still very actively going on that the photo record of all the hoo-ha is such a mess? You google for ‘Hampshire’ and you get Gloucestershire, Dorset, Somerset and Wales, with a little Kent and Surrey thrown in. Not that Gloucestershire, Dorset, Somerset, Wales, Kent and Surrey haven’t been flooded too—poor old Somerset is in a bad way—but I wanted to show you Hampshire. Anyway you can troll through here—or not. These are all at least 2013-14—I think—although with the occasional disconcerting ‘historical’ flood photo, which may or may not be in Hampshire either. I found a really good Hampshire flood photo gallery but before I got too happy fortunately I noticed it was from two years ago. I don’t even remember flooding two years ago.*
Anyway. It’s already too late for Short Wednesday. Maybe we’ll have Short Thursday.
. . . bad weather IS claustrophobic, and inside with three hellcritters, one in heat and a bit too interesting to the others is definitely a major trial.
It was a lot more histrionic than a BIT too interesting. But she’s now OUT of heat and . . . Chaos doesn’t believe it. Darkness, while still inspecting her carefully every time she reappears, is reverting to his previous attitude, which is, Bark! There’s an interloper! Bark! Remove her at once! Bark! —Siiiiiiiigh. I was HOPING that there might be some positive long-lasting effect on their relationship as a result of that hideous recent ninety-four year stretch when she was on high spectacular heat and Darkness was her slave . . . but I guess not. Siiiiiiiigh. Meanwhile there is an effect on her relationship with Chaos . . . he doesn’t believe she’s off heat and keeps trying to hump her. Mind you, he’s humping the wrong end and he’s never got his—ahem—tackle out, so it’s not exactly Sex As We Know It Jim but it still must frelling stop. Arrrrrrrgh. The slightly funny thing, if I were in a mood to be amused which I am NOT, is that Chaos was a lot less bothered by the whole situation than Darkness was. Darkness was out of his tiny furry mind. Chaos was la-la-la-la Chaos, although he was happy to stop eating to keep his brother company. ARRRRRRRGH.
We convinced our old cat to come in during severe weather and she’s now convinced that–if she’s indoors–someone should be . . . paying attention to her anytime she’s not dozing. . . . Yowwwwwwl. Yowwwwwwl. Yowwwwwl. One critter is driving me frantic several times a day . . . I cannot even imagine three critters sharing the house with me.
Three critters keep each other company. This is why I brought two puppies home seven years ago. This does not always work out perfectly to plan (see: happy to stop eating to keep his brother company) and introducing a new one to an established hierarchy is always tricky, even if you’re not bringing a girl into a household with two entire males. But for a human prone to guilt resisting the huge mournful puppy-dog eyes is easier when your single dog is not alooooooooone every time you go out for a cup of tea with a friend.
Diane in MN
There probably is a way to adapt a bigger gauge pattern to a smaller gauge—isn’t there?—but in the first place it would require MATHS and would be beyond me and in the second place . . . I’d run out of yarn.
I do this kind of a lot because I knit tight and I substitute yarn, so getting gauge is not guaranteed for me. The arithmetic doesn’t go beyond multiplication and division, but you can find knitting calculators online that will do it for you. Here‘s a pattern conversion form that should do what you want.
Oh, cool. Thank you. I think.** I like the part about how all you do is fill in the first bit and it does all the rest, but I haven’t finished my swatch yet so I don’t know what unexpected tentacles may lie in wait. I have found the needles that make the right fabric however: 8 mm, so a whole two (or four, depending on how you’re counting) down from the recommended 10 mm. Hmmph. Yarn manufacturers. They know nothing.***
Deep v neck. Less yarn. Three quarter sleeves! Less yarn! Cropped!
Perhaps a dickey?
Yes, yes! A dickey! What a good idea! There will be enough left over for at least one mitten!
Deep v neck. Less yarn. Three quarter sleeves! Less yarn! Cropped!
At this point, I’m not sure there’d be much point left to knitting a bulky-weight pullover…
Snork. It must be hard, living a life of such strict rationality. Not one of my challenges.
There’s a very good Lion Brand pattern for a top-down raglan-sleeved cardigan, knitted in one piece (the sleeves are knitted downwards later), which is pretty much infinitely adjustable. Cast on enough stitches to go round your neck (high- or low-line), increase at the raglan points till big enough to fit round your chest at armhole level, put sleeve stitches onto holders and join up the gaps, knit downwards till long enough. Put sleeve stitches back on needle and knit till, er, long enough. Add a button band, either knitted separately and sewn on, or picked up along the front edges, if you want buttons.
So you leave yourself a ball, or two, for the sleeves (depending on how long you want them), allow another one for button bands, and you can knit the cardi till you run out of yarn!
Yes, I was thinking I’d look for a top-down for that reason—that, in fact, I need to overcome my circular phobia and learn to love some basic top-down thingy because I am a relatively small narrow person and short waisted with it and I’m pretty sure I could learn to squeeze a basic top-down thingy out of slightly too little yarn, which would be very nice. Do you have a link for the Lion Brand pattern? There are a million gazillion Lion Brand patterns and I tend to lose the will to live on their site pretty quickly. Also so many of their patterns are extra-large and up. When it’s some ordinary person on Ravelry who has created a pattern and she’s a 48” chest and her pattern is for 46-50” this seems perfectly reasonable. When it’s a frelling commercial yarn site, even though the patterns are free, it seems to me perverse that when you look at what they mean by ‘small’ it says 44”. Um. No. That’s not small.
Now you’re going to tell me there are pattern converters for this problem too.
. . . Meanwhile. It’s raining again/still. What a good thing wool stays warm when it’s wet.
* * *
* I remember five-foot-of-water-in-the-cellar 2000-01 very clearly.
** But I also knit tight and . . . substitute yarn? You mean there’s some other way to do it? You mean some people actually USE THE RECOMMENDED YARN? ::stops to fan herself::^ This comes up with me perhaps more than with better knitters: for some reason easy patterns tend to assume you’re going to use cheap acrylic or acrylic-mix-but-mostly-acrylic yarn. Noooooo.^^ You do get fancy yarns that suggest a simple pattern that will leave the effect up to the yarn, but not so much the other way around. Or maybe I just read the wrong magazines.^^^
^ Although that may just be another frelling hot flush
^^ The hellhound blanket is acrylic but they’re allergic to wool AND I AM NOT GOING TO WASTE MERINO ON CREATURES WHO ROUTINELY CLAW UP THEIR BED TO MAKE IT FLUFFY.
^^^ And so far as I can tell it’s a publishing rule that a knitting book shall not be issued till all its recommended yarns have been discontinued.
*** Nothing in comparison to someone who has been knitting erratically for about three years and hasn’t FINISHED anything but a few leg warmers and some baby bibs.
Hellhounds and I took a turn by Soggy Bottom today to see how it’s, um, flowing . . . and the personhole covers over the storm drains have been shoved off by the pressure of the water driving up through the inadequate apertures. It’s almost as good as a play, or it would be if we didn’t live here: the little round-headed jets of water boiling up through the holes, and this great wave sluicing out through the gap where the personhole cover has lost its place. Three of these rush together with the naked overflow from the ditch and, well, hurtle down Soggy Bottom toward the raging torrent that used to be a ford over a quiet little Hampshire stream that the locals call a river. If I’d been in wellies rather than All Stars* I might have been tempted to leave hellhounds dry-footed in Wolfgang and slosh down in that direction and see how far I could get. The lake by the Gormless Pettifogger is deep enough that the person approaching as Wolfgang and I paddlewheeled through stopped, apparently aghast, at his shoreline . . . and turned around. Oh, come on, it’s not like you’re driving a Ferrari with zero-point-four inches clearance.**
It rained today. Of course. It’s Tuesday. It rained yesterday. Of course. It was Monday.*** It’s going to rain tomorrow. Of course. It’s Wednesday.
HAVE I MENTIONED RECENTLY HOW TIRED I AM OF RAIN?
* * *
* Well I wouldn’t be in wellies rather than All Stars but I used to have a spare pair of (ordinary black^) wellies that lived in the, ahem, boot. It occurs to me to wonder what I’ve done with them. Maybe I’ve just forgotten giving them to the itinerant mage in exchange for . . . for . . . well, I certainly didn’t trade them for a rain stopping charm.
^ From the days when you could only get black or child-of-the-earth green wellies
** I saw an SUV—the kind you need a stepladder to get into—turn around at the edge of a large puddle some time recently. I laughed so much I nearly ran off the road.^
^ She’d probably heard the rumours that giant squid from the centre of the earth were using southern England’s floods to lurk in wait for their favourite snack, SUVs. No, no! Relax! It’s a ridiculous rumour put about by people who don’t have anything better to do than retweet silly urban myt—SLURP.
*** Monday had even less to recommend it than the rain. I got to Nadia’s and discovered she wasn’t teaching this week either. ::Sobs:: I wrote it down wrong in my diary; I knew she wasn’t teaching last Monday, but this Monday I thought if I didn’t hear it meant she was, when it was if I didn’t hear she wasn’t.
Fortunately I had hellhounds with me so throwing myself off a cliff^ wasn’t a good plan because neither of them can drive Wolfgang to get themselves home.^^ So we went to the farm supply shop and bought compost and fertilizer^^^. I was wearing singing-lesson-day clothes, not going-to-the-farm-store-in-the-rain-day clothes#. I considered asking one of the stalwart young men to heave the nasty bags around for me but while, generally speaking, I’ve got over the extreme feminism of my youth when asking a bloke for help was SELF BETRAYAL##, I still occasionally get all tough/stupid virago with bare-able teeth and (metaphorically) bulging muscles. I slung the frelling bags myself. And while I managed to keep my cute little cropped cardi safe, my jeans were goners.
And then I destroyed another pair of jeans today, getting the blasted bags up the stairs### to the greenhouse ARRRRRRRGH. This shouldn’t happen at home. I have a lovely pair of gardener’s chaps, which snap over your belt and around your legs and heroically repel mud (and thorns). But in one of the monsoons of the last few months, when the rain was not only coming in sideways but from a funny direction, EVERYTHING IN THE GREENHOUSE GOT SOAKED. Which I didn’t realise till later. I’m still unearthing little quagmires in corners arrrrrrgh. The chaps are still drying out. I think they’re resuscitate-able. Please. I have no idea where I bought them and google is not forthcoming.
^ Which are in short supply in most of south-central England. At the old house when circumstances conspired I used to threaten to drown myself in the pond, of which we had two, and both Peter and Third House have ponds here. But somehow drama-queen drowning doesn’t hold the appeal it does when not drowning is a daily goal and preoccupation.+
+ Dentist from R’lyeh has been driven out of his large glamorous multi-storey office by floodwater. I’m not laughing ::mrmph:: really I’m not ::MRRRMMFFFF:: Being from R’lyeh and all you’d think he’d be fine with a spot of drowning, wouldn’t you?
^^ They like the central heating+ and the soft bed out of the rain. THE FOOD DOESN’T INTEREST THEM AT ALL.
+ Or the Aga
^^^ Which is to say cow crap. Organic cow crap. I prefer it to chicken—which is the other common commercially-available one+—because it smells less. I admit I don’t know how the plants feel about it. They’d probably say they were missing an essential element without the pong. Like dogs adore tripe. TOO BAD. I don’t know how long I can go on with Pav’s dried pigs’ ears either. She doesn’t eat them fast enough.
+ When I had a horse we made our own critter-crap fertilizer and it was lovely.
# I have enough trouble fighting with my wardrobe every morning. I get dressed once. I do not change for anything less than serious festivities that include Taittinger’s or the Widow, and not merely Prosecco.
## I don’t entirely fault my young self for this attitude. Back in the early 1800s or whenever it was I was young, blokes offering, or responding to requests for help tended to do it with a gloss of patronage.+ Men have died for less. I would know.
+ Not that this doesn’t happen now. But either it happens less, or I hang out with a better class of bloke than I used to.
### The only young man who lives on my cul de sac is slenderer and more willowy than I am and so far as I can tell he doesn’t do the adrenaline-rage thing that enables slender willowy people to do things they can’t. I wouldn’t be so unkind as to ask him to help me with large muddy bags of compost and other even less salubrious substances.