Hellhounds are EIGHT YEARS OLD TODAY. How time flies when YOU KEEP MOVING HOUSE.* Meanwhile I got home later tonight than planned and discovered us embroiled in Fresh Connectivity Issues** JOY. And furthermore my piano tuner is coming tomorrow not Tuesday–ahem, in the MORNING.*** So you’ll have to forgive me merely slamming a bunch of photos at you without my usual graceful and spirited commentary. And as you cast your gaze over all these sleeping-hellhounds photos remember what I said on Pav’s birthday about needing to remember to find the action-shot button on my camera before I need it. All or nearly all the sprinting hellhound photos you remember are from my old camera which was a lot less glam but also a lot less complicated.
And if the background looks familiar, yes, these are all from the mews. I’m not even close to taking photos indoors at Third House.
Also forgive me if I linger a little on what is essentially the same shot. They’re so cute when they’re asleep.#
AWWWWWWW. Wooshily wooshily.
Hee hee hee hee. This is Darkness’ characteristic pose but Chaos does flip over on his back and look ridiculous occasionally too. SOMEWHERE I have a photo of them both upside down and grinning like loonies simultaneously but I can’t find it.
I have to organise Sofa Time at Third House. I get a lot of beady eyes when the hellterror is in my lap. ALL VERY WELL FOR HER. WHERE’S OUR SOFA?##
* * *
* I hope we get to STAY HERE.
** Late Sunday evening, you know.
*** JOY. The real kind.
# And not chasing frelling hedgehogs–I keep reminding myself hedgehog numbers are dwindling and endangered but I wish they’d have a population explosion somewhere else–or refusing to eat their lovely birthday dinner full of raw liver which when they’re eating is their favourite thing^, or nailing the sodding next door terrier except that I STOPPED THEM WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME. Neighbourly relations are going to get kind of strained here soon if next door doesn’t figure out they now need to keep the little **** on lead on this street. They needed to keep it on lead before, when it regularly crapped in my driveway but . . .
^ Possibly second favourite thing. They adore butter, and I’m YAAAAAAY CALORIES, but I imagine serious amounts of butter would not be a good idea. Besides if I gave it to them often or in quantity they’d go off it. It would become food.
## If I get organised enough we can also lie in heaps all over the bed in the attic, which is nice and low, unlike the hip-high four-poster at the cottage which furthermore, because it’s a very small bedroom full of stuff has no good angles of approach for leaping hellhounds. I have enough trouble even with longer legs and hands to hold onto bedposts with–and no, I don’t want to try with a hellterror under one arm.
IT’S PAV’S BIRTHDAY TODAY. PAV IS TWO YEARS OLD. . . . Which basically means she’s a snarky adolescent with a lot of attitude. Yeah. That about covers it. She’s also adorable. Just by the way. And she’s been remarkably good-natured about the amount of time she’s been spending in crates the last week. There are occasional eruptions but she always comes out the open door smiling and ready to have a good time.
I’d like to say I fed her steak for her birthday. Um. I didn’t feed her steak. But we had a very good Long Yellow Thing game this morning and a faaaaabulous tear around Third House’s garden this afternoon followed by a long lap.
There’s running around like a mad thing, and there’s hucklebutting. These are two separate and distinct activities. Hucklebutting frequently evolves from running around like a mad thing with the addition of certain agility feats including end-swapping, spinning round and round and rolling over and over and over. The interesting thing about this last aspect is that it tends to happen an inch or two above the ground. I have no idea. I only report what I see.
It RAINED last night. Just in time for the greenish stuff that we mow as if it were grass to take a deep happy breath and . . . turn more or less green again. Third House’s garden really is triangular, that’s not an optical illusion. It’ll be a really nice garden again as soon as we get the house a little more under control. Well not as soon as but you know what I mean. At the moment the willowherb is winning.
This in fact is the moment when Peter came out to join the fray, I mean fun, and she wanted to make sure I’d noticed. Unfortunately all the photos of her and him are either hopelessly blurry or I’ve cut his head off. You’ll just have to assume that a good time was had by all. Bruises optional.
I meant to write you a proper blog post tonight but the day has got away from me as days can do.* So I thought I’d finally post The Hellterror’s Morning Ritual. We all had a very itchy patch at the beginning of the spring. The three hellcritters ate holes in their fur, but it only really showed on the hellterror because of black overcoat, beige undercoat and pale pink skin: the hellhounds mostly match: steel-grey Darkness has black skin and fawn-coloured Chaos has pale skin. I had swollen ITCHY red eyes and I might well have chewed my eyelashes off if my face were configured for it. Everybody’s hair has mostly grown in again, but I almost miss the extravagance of the hellterror’s ritual when she really, really, really wants to scratch her back. Lately she’s more interested in whacking me with her long yellow rubber toy till I yield to the inevitable and play with her. But she doesn’t look moth eaten any more.
You have dogs because they make you laugh.
* * *
* This includes that Penelope and I went to a big National Trust garden over Ditherington direction this afternoon and sat in the sun and totally vagued out the way denizens of the British Isles may very well because . . . sunlight!?!^
^ Also because most of Main Street in New Arcadia has been dug up and is in heaps placed for maximum inconvenience plus scaffolding+ and temporary stoplights with boa-constrictor sized cables running everywhere and GETTING ANYWHERE takes about 1,000,000 times longer than usual. In fact, I’m still in a frelling queue.
+ The scaffolding is up near me and isn’t the town unplanners or anything civic. The Big House on the Corner belongs to We Are Wealthier Than God#, You Are Peons and We Don’t Care, and they put scaffolding up at least once a year when buying and selling small countries palls and they want to make their presence felt closer to home. Then they hang workpersons all over the scaffolding in decorative patterns. Who eat sandwiches and chat and sometimes they sit on the planks dangling their feet. And six weeks or six months later they take the scaffolding down again.
# I don’t think God does money, does he/she/they?
One of the nasty little surprises awaiting me at Third House* was the FRELLING BOXES OF OLD PAPER FILES. Crushed frelling boxes, just by the way, since they’d got mixed up with the backlist. But when Atlas was loading up his trailer to take backlist to the storage unit last autumn I asked him to set anything that wasn’t book boxes aside. And then life happened and the last few months Atlas has seen more of Third House than I have.**
It’s quite amazing how much STUFF is left after you’ve emptied a house. Curtains. Rolled up rugs. Bits of china you never liked and hadn’t decided what to do with. BOOKS THAT MUST BE SORTED. It’s also quite amazing how many old files I seem to have. Speaking of things that need sorting.
Twenty or thirty years ago when I was buying filing cabinets in Maine you could get black ones. Or grey ones. Or black. Or grey. Or . . . I bought black. But I did not love them, and I left them behind because standard British paper is longer than standard American paper and it wasn’t going to fit in standard American filing cabinets. I had a gorgeous old wooden filing cabinet at the old house, its only drawbacks being that it took ten strong men and a team of eight Shire horses to move it and that the drawers kept falling off their rails. It then declined to fit through the door at Third House. MORE ARRRGH. So I sold it, and put the files in cardboard boxes. Which I was going to deal with. Later.
Well. It’s later. And I have to WEDGE everything I had sprawled all over Third House into the attic because the ground floor is now Peter’s.***
I went on line. I searched for two-drawer filing cabinets, because they have to fit under the eaves that make the attic a living space for people who like crawling around on their hands and knees. COLOURED FILING CABINETS. COLOURED FILING CABINETS. Be still my heart. So I bought a PINK one. Of course I bought a pink one. Two pink ones is so obvious however so I bought a yellow one.† Yaaay.
Except that the on line description says ‘self assembly’. Golly, I thought, nuts and bolts. But I have my secret weapon, Atlas, so, fine. I ordered. And I had them delivered to the cottage because of the whole WHAT DO YOU MEAN DELIVER TO AN ADDRESS NOT ATTACHED TO YOUR CREDIT CARD AND OF COURSE WE AREN’T GOING TO TELL YOU WHEN WE’RE ARRIVING SO YOU CAN GET UP THERE TO ACCEPT DELIVERY. WHICH WE WON’T LET YOU HAVE ANYWAY BECAUSE IT’S NOT THE ADDRESS ATTACHED TO YOUR CREDIT CARD thing.
I don’t know what the self-assembly part is but two filing cabinets arrived today. I looked at them and my heart sank. I wasn’t at all sure even one of them lying on its side would fit in Wolfgang’s boot.
Wolfgang, my hero.
* * *
* That’s aside from the fact that we’re going to have to RIP OUT BOOKSHELVES to get Peter’s desk into his office. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE. What is wrong with it is that the second, smaller bedroom is now a staircase with a little angular wodge of semi-usable space around it. Arrrgh. Building regs^ ARRRRRRRGH. And Peter is so inconvenient as to have a LARGE desk. Why can’t he just balance his laptop on his knee? Feh. Half a wall of bookshelves has to go. Misery.
^ For anyone who wasn’t reading the blog then: I wanted to put a WEIGHT BEARING FLOOR in the attic for all the BACKLIST. As soon as you put in a weight-bearing floor the Building Regulation Goons are all over you. A weight-bearing floor means living space, never mind you can’t stand up in it. Or that it’s going to be full of boxes of books. Living space means you have to have a proper staircase. Good bye, second bedroom.
** Mowing the grass, propping up the frelling FRELLING boundary fence so next door’s evil little ratbag terrier doesn’t keep getting through and crapping all over my garden,^ taking over the garden shed with boy tools.
^ Evil little spiky-haired ratbag terriers are an entirely different, monumentally inferior order of being from, you know, bull coughcoughcough terriers.
*** This happens to involve carrying all 1,098 crushed boxes of files up the stairs to the attic again.
† I probably need three or four. I’ll worry about that LATER.
Poor Nadia emailed yesterday that she had tonsillitis**, so I phoned Atlas and asked him to bring his trailer today, Monday being his usual McKinley-Dickinson day, and I’m usually having a voice lesson.*** But now that I’m NOT letting Third House, the garden is again mine.# So I thought I might send some of the botanical overflow from the cottage to Third House, whose borders are nothing like full since the awful truth is that living in three houses is Not Really Practical. Ahem. At least not unless you have staff which is not one of the options here. And while Atlas to cut the grass is great## if you have a garden because you like gardening you don’t really want someone else doing all the fun stuff, which is basically everything but mowing lawns.###
Atlas, grinning hugely, said, So, Robin, what are you going to do with all the SPACE? –SPACE? WHAT SPACE? You can still only get out the kitchen door at the cottage carefully. You can barely tell anything’s changed. Especially after I spent the remainder of the afternoon at the cottage, potting up and potting on.~ Things race out so, this time of year, with summer icumen and all. I also found, not to say unearthed, a good Wolfgang’s boot-load of plants that should have gone up in the trailer. Except there wasn’t room. Tomorrow. I can take them up tomorrow ~~. Tomorrow I may teach Fiona the basics of gardening.~~~
* * *
* And I wish the cuckoo would sing, they’re getting rarer and rarer. When I moved over here twenty-odd years ago they were dead common. They’re now dead rare. I hope they don’t finish this progression to dead dead.
** It’ll be good when everyone’s immune system adjusts to kids-in-school germs. Stella still goes down with everything on offer and generously passes about half of it on to her mother. And there’s Renfrew to add to the germ-factory joy in a couple of years.
*** It is really very annoying that the world does not revolve around me, so I could schedule everything to suit my convenience.
# All right, I’m going to have to share it with Peter. Our garden. Not some random rent-paying stranger’s garden.
## I used to the mow the little lawns–ie with a hand mower, not some snarling sit-on behemoth–in the walled garden at the old house AND IT’S ABOUT THE MOST BORING THING EVER.
### Almost everything. Battling perennial weeds with roots to China is also a major ratbag since I won’t use chemical -icides.
~ I need more potting compost. Sigh.
~~ Okay, so I buy too many plants like I buy too much yarn and too many books and music and . . . but I have a serious dahlia problem this year. Which is that I think all of last year’s are still alive. And of course I ordered more, because attrition can be expected to run anywhere from about 60% to 100%. Little green dahlia leaves in one of last year’s pots are usually cause for excitement and celebration not a blank look of disbelief and a muttered, another one?
~~~ First you buy your Royal Horticultural Society/Victoria & Albert Museum kneeler, with the fabulous William Morris or Redoubte rose print, and then you need your pink gloves^. . . .
^ They’ve started making pink hand tools but so far the ones I’ve seen appear to be for people who don’t actually . . . plan to use them. Hmmph. Who wants tools that don’t do the job?? Decorative tools? Spare me. Although I’m just as happy not to spend top-end prices on another pair of secateurs. If Felco comes out with pink secateurs I’m in trouble.