March 21, 2014

Shadows is here!

Car

 

I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR  HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR I HAVE A CAR

I HAVE A CAR

I. HAVE. A. CAR.

I HAVE A CAR

I! HAVE! A! CAR!

. . . Erm.  Wolfgang’s home.  It’s been a long nine days.*  And, as I write this, it is sheeting out there.  I mean, yes, again, but while ground water levels will take months to settle down and there’s still serious water on the road in a few places around here**, we’d not had rain in over a week and I was reduced to watering plant pots yesterday.  It rained a little last night, tactfully between the time of the last hurtle and when we had to roll out for the walk*** home, but at the moment we’re back to the End of Days.

Oh yes and Feebledweeb made a third attempt this morning.   They will stop now, right?

* * *

* And I’m running out of underwear.  Tomorrow I am bringing a lot of dirty laundry to Peter’s about-to-be-very-tired washing machine.  I was not looking forward to ferrying dirty or clean but damp laundry back and forth by gigantic knapsack.

Meanwhile I will have a full car going back to the cottage tonight with the nine hundred and eleven apples from this week’s organic grocery delivery yesterday—I get through a lot of apples, and the hellterror is not averse to offering modest assistance—the fifty-six knitting magazines I’m keeping from this month’s haul—I am a knitting magazine junkie, and I read a lot of them on the sofa at the mews—the several additional knapsacks, sweaters, pairs of gloves and socks that have accumulated down here for some reason, and the hundred and twelve books that did not make the Book Rec cut and need to go into the Oxfam Box by the door at the cottage.

** Including one stretch that is incredibly badly semi-marked and on a dark corner, and why no one has taken out the invisible barrier like Grond at the gates of Gondor for simply not being able to see it and possibly for the character flaw of not being local and therefore being unaware of neighbourhood booby traps, I cannot imagine.  Fortunately it’s only a little back road—although it’s one of those little back roads that is your only plausible choice from point A to point B—so wild veering into the centre of the road and into the path of oncoming traffic . . . can mostly be accomplished in the absence of oncoming traffic.  Even so.  I think I tweeted a county headline that the latest guesstimate about repairing Hampshire’s roads after the floods is that the price tag is going to hit £36K.    I believe it too:  not only are there potholes the size of Zeppelins but a lot of roads are simply narrower than they used to be, aside from invisible barriers protecting deep water, because the shoulders have disintegrated.  And what’s left of the road surface is like driving on stucco.  I bet tyre- and shocks-manufacturer shareholders are holding champagne parties.  I hope the list of urgently-needed mending is comprehensive.

*** Between the frelling thirty-pound knapsack and the fact that there are three of them it is a walk, although the hellterror does a fair amount of hurtling on her own recognizance.  Which brings me to a moral dilemma.  The hellterror adores the late-night strolls back to the cottage, and is, for her, surprisingly well-mannered.^  The hellhounds slouch along doing passive-aggressive sulking^^ but it’s been a year and a half, guys, get over yourselves.  And late at night is the only time it’s worth the risk taking all three out together.  I wonder if . . . it’s a pity Wolfgang can’t get himself home and the thirty-pound knapsack, and let the rest of us amble after.

^ I am really really really hoping it’s not all the frelling false pregnancy.  Which I keep hoping isn’t happening but—moan—her breasts are slightly swollen, yesterday and today, so it probably is.  Only someone who spends a lot of time rubbing her tummy would notice, but I do and I have.  She hasn’t started shredding newspapers and hiding under the sofa—she doesn’t really fit under the sofa any more—so maybe she can have the imaginary puppies imaginarily and get on with life??  But it’s been pleasant having an only semi-manic imp of the perverse about the place.  I’ve been thinking I need to take her training slightly more seriously . . . no, no, not the walking quietly on heel and the perfect recall:  the paw-offering and the playing dead.  The useful stuff.  The stuff, it must be admitted, that happens on the kitchen floor at the cottage last thing before closing her down for the night and I go upstairs for a nice hot bath and a dropping of reading material in it.  This is not, I realise, optimum training timing, but it has two things going for it:  (a) it happens at all and (b) I get a good laugh at the end of the day and on bad days this is very welcome.

^^ I am very, very, very tired of sibling rivalry, or whatever the doodah it is.  Chaos would rather be friends but Darkness is convinced she’s the antichrist and Chaos, for all his buffoonery and in-your-faceness, when in doubt, defers to Darkness.  Night before last Chaos forgot himself so far as to play tug of war with Pav and the stick she was prancing around flourishing.  There was much mock-growling and tail-wagging and I was thrilled . . . till Darkness, who had been lagging behind at the very end of his extending lead, suddenly leaped into full sprint and went past me like a cheetah after a gazelle.  I realised a third of a second before he bloody well had me over that he wasn’t going to stop, which gave me just enough instinctive time to yell and hit the end of the lead going the other way.  You colossal little ratbag.  Arrrrrgh.

I said I was going to hang some baubles on Peter

 

 

Father Christmas

Father Christmas

 

I was laughing so hard* I could barely take the shot.**  But one must commit to one’s inspiration.***

It has been sheeting with rain much of the day, in evil sneaky sudden outbursts, but barring mad dimming and  flickering of the lights, the occasional irritated bleep out of some tech item or other and Radio Three taking a nosedive off the air for several hours Monday night we’ve escaped the worst of the weather as well as the worst of the results of the weather.  I had a few top heavy camellias in their pots go over but no walls fell down.  It was sleeting last night so I didn’t make it to midnight mass, sigh–and I’ve managed to wedge so much of the indoor jungle onto windowsills that it only takes about ten minutes to get everything remaining in/out again.  When you have brandy butter to make you don’t want to be spending a lot of time on botanical airlift rescue.

There was turkey and champagne and Brussels sprouts with chestnuts . . . and mince pies with brandy butter.  I seem to have eaten four of these.†  Well, they were small.   And Peter went to bed at nearly midnight and promises to sleep in tomorrow so I don’t have to get down here EARLY.  I don’t think early is an option.

Oh yes and . . . Jesus is born.  For those of us that way inclined, yaaay. ††

* * *

* Which is a great improvement on this time last week.

** Actually I took several.  Once he got up again it was going to be all over.  He’d said originally did I want him standing up or sitting down?  Sitting down, I said, this may take a while.  In case anyone is interested, I’ve tied the star on by looping garden twine through the tag inside the collar of his shirt.  Great stuff, garden twine.  It’s stringing the baubles too.  And yes, I’ve been wondering about the length of those canines for twenty-two years.  Alternative and Little Discussed Origins of ME/CFS.

*** . . . for an easy blog post.

†  The hellterror says, hey, boss, I could help you with that.

††  Also probably the only day of the year I don’t feel silly singing in public.  People who object to the plangent tones of The First Nowell, The Cherry Tree Carol, etc, can just leave town for the day.

 

 

KES comments continued. . . .

 

Prologue:

I hv hellterror in lap that is 2 say sharing chair WHICH IS NOT BIG ENUF 4 BOTH OF US & I am so uncomfortbl I cld die

* * *

. . . I may be crippled for life.  No, I think the blood is beginning to flow in the right direction(s) again.  When I’ve thought ahead I’ve brought the piano stool in and set it next to my chair so she has something to spill onto and I get to keep my butt ON THE CHAIR.  She’s too small and square to have useful staying-on-chair inertia:  if she slides she’s gone.  I am long and lanky and quite a bit of me can hang off something like a chair quite securely . . . barring the intense pain this causes.  THE THINGS WE DO FOR OUR CRITTERS.   I still haven’t got the lying-together-in-a-heap system right;  the hellhounds think the sofa is theirs and while I CAN trap her in such a manner that she is prevented from molesting them it’s not like I can lie there enjoying my book while I’m on constant Suppression Alert not to mention crisping slightly under the burning accusatory glare from the two pairs of hellhound eyes.*  Arrrrgh.    Hellterror laptime at the cottage is even more death defying—for both of us.  I’m usually on a stool, a, what’s more tall stool, and she has to cling to me like a young monkey grasping its treetop-swinging mum.  She’s fine with this.**  Me, not so much.

She is now the size she should remain and likes laps.  I’d better figure something out.

LHurst

I was reading your author website today, Robin, when I was supposed to be doing something else, and I loved the comment about characters in LOTR speaking “High Forsoothly.”

It’s not original I’m afraid.  It’s been around quite a while;  I can’t remember where I first read/heard it—I assume I already didn’t remember when I was writing that bit and so didn’t identify it there?—although it was in a Tolkien context.  But I bagged it instantly and have used it ever since.  Kes too.  Kes was also crucially shaped by reading LOTR young but the twenty-year difference in Kes’ and my ages*** means that when she got to the end of RETURN OF THE KING she had other options than going back to page one of FELLOWSHIP.†  You may have noticed she seems to have read some McKinley.

Katinseattle

Although it strains my patience to get the chapters only once a week, I like the opportunity to talk back to the author at the end of each one. I’ve often wanted to do that.

‘Talk back’ used, perhaps, advisedly.††  Although may I just offer my forum a compliment here:  thank you all for being so polite.†††  Which means I get to enjoy the process too.‡  I hope it’s not just that my mods’ delete fingers are smokin’ hot.  But along with merely relishing giving you a hard time—by definition, you know:  it’s still all about turning pages, even when the pages are virtual and only happen once a week—I’m fascinated by what all of you pick up and what you don’t, or at least what you don’t feel is worth commenting on.

Morrigan

I have to wonder if Sid will be curious enough to taste the new gooey floor covering… And then how poor Kes will react to that.

Probably not.  In the first place Sid is also going to be busy and in the second place . . . not all dogs find the same truly disgusting substances delightful, and sighthounds are even more bonkers than the usual run [sic] of canine peculiarity.  This is an occasion where I can’t see that, in this case, Sid licking the floor is going to further the plot . . . and therefore I get to say it doesn’t happen.  The Story Council grants me these small decisions now and then to keep me cheerful and writing.

Given that Kes has already seen one face she overtly recognized – I am also wondering how intertwined the current dimensional meld is with her writing. And if they are at all – which is the chicken, and which the egg? Does she think these people and places, therefore they are? Or does she write them because they already exist, and it is the knowledge of them that slips through dimensional cracks into her skull?

Remember that I say (a) there’s a crack in my skull where the stories come through (b) the stories exist, I don’t make them up, I only write them down, and never well enough and (c) . . . I am often in the position of trying to write them down by being there, wherever there is, frantically waving my notebook and pen‡‡ in the air and saying Wait!  Wait for me!, and . . . that where I am (wherever it is) is very, very vivid.

Climbingivy

Don’t forget the Hob! I’m sure his dinner counts for something!

Yep.  Does.

Sheerasmom

Can’t wait for her horse to show up.

I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY I HAVE ALL THESE HORSE CRAZIES ON MY BLOG.  I CAN’T IMAGINE.

Rainycity1

Speaking of names, I’m expecting that we’ll finally find out Mr. W.Shoulder’s ????

Yes.  But not next Saturday.  Or even the Saturday after that.  Or . . .

Leeanne

I’m still asking Santa-Robin for an additional episode at Christmas…I’ve been a good girl, I promise

I’ll think about it.  I promise NOTHING.

Thewoobdog

*gnash gnash gnash*

Why, thank you.

WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN TO COMMENT ON THAT?!

Wherever you like.

Okay, well, at the beginning, I suppose.

Sounds like a plan.

I bet Kes is glad she doesn’t sleep in the altogether – a nightgown is bad enough in this situation, but stark raving naked would be so much worse.

In such an extremity if the Story Council didn’t allow me to throw her a dressing-gown I would have done it anyway.

. . . I love how Kes is so focused on the sheer quantity of blood, like any normal person would be, but so significantly unlike most unwitting hero/ines in 95.8% of fiction.

Thank you.  Certainly there are too many supposedly ordinary characters who are not freaked out by—er—calamitous events.  Or so I as reader feel.  This is what I was talking about last night:  secrets to writing plausible fiction, including fantasy fiction:  how would you feel if, etc.  Stop and frelling THINK about it.  As someone who’s been writing stories for over half a century (eeeeeep) I do this automatically—but I also sometimes STOP and try and make sure I’m paying enough attention to the ordinary-person-in-extraordinary-situation aspect.

The blood almost becomes a featured character in this little episode . . .

Snork.

Not letting the reader forget about it, pulling one further into that sense of actually being there . . .

Oh good.  That’s the idea.

. . . Same with the way Kes’s mind keeps jumping around to random inconsequentials (floor cleaning, security deposit, HA).

Which is often what you do when you’re freaked out by something, isn’t it?  Well, it’s often what I do.  HELP.  I’M OUT OF CONTROL.  And so you/I scrabble for little bits of things to have opinions about.  ‡‡‡

. . . I can’t stand not knowing who the “we” is WS keeps mentioning. Do we get to meet them in the next ep? Do we, do we, huh? Do we, huh, huh?

NEXT ep?  No way.  Take a few deep breaths and make yourself some nice hot chocolate.

I’m guessing Kes’s dinner plans for the following day are shot now, huh?

Shot?  Not at all.  Why would they be?  In the first place, tomorrow night is a long way away§ and in the second place . . . um . . . Hayley has already been surprising, hasn’t she?

* * *

* On rare occasions I do find them all three in the hellhound bed—either here or at the cottage—but she usually gets too excited at her own (nearly) unprecedented success and they roll their eyes and turf her out.^

^ Which reminds me of the New Dog Bed photo essay I keep meaning to organise. . . .

** Most dogs, in my experience, are more than happy to put their paws on your shoulders or even around your neck, probably the better to lick your face, but in whatever friendly companionable manner.  I’m not used to a dog, especially something whose legs are only about three inches long, who without prompting puts her forelegs around your body and hugs you.^

^ Although she’s probably destroying the thighs of your jeans with her hind legs at the same time.  This is not fear, mind you, this is, Hey!  We’re having FUN!  I think I told you, my first official Street Pastor night, I realised that the clean jeans I had put on just before coming out, the clean dog-hair-muddy-pawprints-and-dog-food-fleck-free jeans, were pretty tatty.  I apologised to Fearless Leader and said I’d do better next time.  Next time, which is to say last Friday, I discovered I HAVEN’T GOT any tough denim jeans that aren’t tatty any more.  I have some lightweight ones . . . but the ones that will withstand a hard (cold) night on the town or a hellterror all look like they’ve done more hellterror-withstanding than is good for them.

*** Which is going to keep stretching alarmingly in real time.  I was approaching my sixtieth birthday when I started KES and while she still is approaching her fortieth birthday I’ve turned sixty-one.  Once I’ve got her settled I hope I can SKIP FORWARD a bit.  I have plans for her fortieth birthday and I don’t want to die of extreme old age before she’s paid her second month’s rent on Rose Manor.

† Or THE HOBBIT, but I don’t think I’ve read that as many as half the number of times I’ve read LOTR. ^

^ That’s still quite a few.

†† YOU DID WHAT?  SHE’S WHAT?  IT’S WHAT?  Blondviolinist covered this well.

††† . . . mostly.

‡ . . . MOSTLY.

‡‡ Or, lately, possibly iPad.  Although if I’m going to go wandering multi-dimensionally I should buy a second battery in case the local power source is incompatible.

‡‡‡ Not, perhaps, wholly unlike a hellterror scrabbling to stay in a lap.

§ Especially in terms of likely number of eps.  Gah.

Sixteen November, revisited

 

 

Mostly Peter.  The magnificent peony bag is from Nina (and contains a SPARKLY scarf).

Mostly Peter. The magnificent peony bag is from Nina (and contains a SPARKLY scarf).

The thing that amuses me is that that flowered paper on the far right appeared three times this birthday:  people seem to think they know what I like.  They would be right about this.

I was going to post birthday photos yesterday and then frelling Niall and his frelling handbells intervened.  To put my tiny triumph into perspective, by the way, tonight at tower practise one of Forza’s good ringers was telling me excitedly that she’d rung her first full peal on twelve bells.  In the tower, this is, so she was only ringing one bell, but she was standing up for three and a half hours to do it and it was some infernal surprise method—I don’t think anyone bothers to ring anything but Infernal Surprise on higher numbers of bells—so while I don’t think she rings handbells, and I did tell her about my quarter, it was still like telling someone who’s just earned a place in the Horse of the Year show that you won your walk-trot class at the local gymkhana.

Anyway.  I wanted to get my NEW WATCH back from the jewellers before I posted photos:  I needed about nineteen links taken out of the massive wristband* but I wanted the blog photo of it ON MY WRIST.

Tah dah.

Tah dah.

 

This is however slightly a lesson in ordering things on line.  As soon as I discovered that pink gold [plate] and rhinestones were in in wristwatches I stopped looking at anything else.  And as soon as I noticed this one had a day dial—I haven’t had a watch that told me the day of the week in decades, and I love having a watch that tells me what day it is:  us stay at home free lancers can be seriously pathetic that way**—I knew this was the one.  Also I love Roman numerals—Roman numerals and it tells me the day of the week??  And rhinestones?  Be still my heart.  I’ve never had anything half so fabulous.

And it is fabulous.  It also weighs four ounces—a quarter of a frelling pound—and is nearly half an inch thick.  I knew the face had to be big from the on line photo of everything that’s on it.  I did not know wearing it would feel like having a pendant hellterror dangling from that wrist at all times, or that I couldn’t ring [tower] bells in it because it would hook the rope.***  I feel that someone somewhere along the design line absent-mindedly added a zero on the dimensions;  and the giant-sized wristband is perfectly in keeping with the watch.  It was originally made perhaps for the Brobdingnag market, where pink and rhinestones did not go over.

But it is definitely fabulous.  And yes, those are rhinestones in the face as well as around the border:  the border ones only look pink because they’re reflecting the pink gold.

You will now see me coming any time I have my sleeves pushed up.

Oh, and my favourite silly present from a friend:

Hee hee hee hee.

Hee hee hee hee.

In case I never find that blank needlework pillow I’m still covered. †    This is one of the other things that arrived in that rose paper in the first photo. . . .††

* * *

* This was part of my running-around day yesterday.  I also did thrilling things like buy vitamins.  And puppy toys.  There’s a very high rate of attrition in the puppy toy category.^

^ Ignorant, naïve people say to me, she’s not a puppy any more, she’s a year old!  Hollow laughter.  Whippets (and perforce whippet crosses) and bull terriers are apparently notorious for being slow maturers, but are there any dogs out there who are actually ADULT at a year old?  I’ve never met one.  I’m not planning to panic about the lifestyle of the adult bull terrier for at least another nine months.+

+ There is a fifteen-month-old puppy having a swell time with a bit of disintegrating sofa cover right now.  She has however earned it:  she long downed for AN HOUR with only occasional interventions.  I can even get out of my chair to pour myself another cup of peppermint tea without her immediately bouncing to her feet to follow me.#  Usually.  ##

# Because any excuse will do.

## And having spent 90% of that hour stiff with outrage/misery/disbelief/despair, despite the comfy nest of towels at my feet and the fact that all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, if obliged by circumstance she is quite a good sleeper . . . upon release she spent ten minutes racketing around the house like an extra-large rhinoceros in a china shop . . . and is now completely crashed out on my lap, which practically speaking is a lot less comfy than the towel nest.

**  Handbells are quite a useful way of keeping track of the passage of the days however because of the texts from Niall.

*** If I wear it for ringing handbells my left arm will become twice as large and muscular as my right.  I suppose I could swap wrists to a carefully balanced schedule.

† Whoever said I’d have trouble finding one . . . you’re right.  WHY?  There must be other people out there who’d like to choose their own Words to Live By.

†† Bratsche, I’ll post a photo of my dress TOMORROW.^

^ If I forget, nag me.

 

Fun with your critters

 

 

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot and I’m wearing shorts.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot, I’m wearing shorts, if I put you on my lap my legs will break out in large prickly red splotches, and if I put a towel or a sweatshirt over my legs it kind of ruins the shorts part, okay?  Also, dog body temperature is higher than human, which is not attractive in this weather.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  Why don’t you go play with a nice toy?

Hellterror and hellgoddess engage in staring match.  Hellterror eventually heaves deep sigh of sadness, disillusionment and crushedness and wanders off, channelling Eeyore with every dragging, melancholy step.  Hellgoddess warily goes back to her book.*

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

::Rustling noise::.

Hellterror comes prancing back, bearing her trophy, and settles down on her nice comfy floor-padding blanket at the hellgoddess’ feet to enjoy it.

Hellterror:  Have a shoe.

Hellgoddess briefly presses fingers to forehead.  She lays her book down.**

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat shoes.

Removes shoe, while hellterror looks at her through her eyelashes.  Wags tail.  Hellgoddess puts the sacred All Star back under the bookcase by the front door with its 1,000,001 friends.***

Hellgoddess offers toy that has found favour at other times.  Hellterror accepts it listlessly.

Hellgoddess goes back to her book.  Warily.  Hellterror rests her head on boring toy and contemplates options.

Hellterror trots off purposefully.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hellterror returns bearing another trophy.  The scene as before.

Hellterror:  Have another shoe.

Hellgoddess doesn’t bother with the finger-pressing this time, although she does heave a deep sigh.  She sighs much more deeply than hellterror because her lungs are bigger.†  Also her lungs are very well developed because of all the hurtling.

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat shoes.

Removes shoe.  Offers a different toy that has found favour at other times.  Hellterror lets off a glare with her evil little varminty eyes that would knock Jericho’s walls down without benefit of trumpet, but the hellgoddess is made of sturdy stuff.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

::Different rustling noises::

Hellterror:  Got a sock.

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat socks either.  Or bras, knickers or t-shirts.††

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  ALL RIGHT.  ALL RIGHT.†††

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzz.

* * *

* No, the one I was reading.

Gwyn_sully

I’ve been reading some rather good cheezy science fiction.  But I’m not going to tell you what, because I would be fallen on in a body and pummelled to death for disrespect.

If I promise not to pummel you to death will you tell? I could use some good cheezy sci fi, and I’m not attached enough to anyone to get offended at their being put in such a category.

I read that when it came in and thought, okay, how am I going to do this?  Anagram?  Smoke signals?^  But I’m going to do a book rec on it, so all is well except for the part when I admit that as far as I’m concerned a Classic of the Genre is cheezy science fiction, it just happens to be good.  Hey, I write cheezy fantasy, wizards, dragons, enchanted swords, retold fairy tales, the occasional vampire and so on.  It just happens to be—ahem—good.

^ DM?  Please.  Besides, mine is turned off and I don’t want to know how to turn it on.

** Carefully.  I’m near the end and it’s very exciting.

*** There are more upstairs in the bedroom cupboard.  With the yarn.  There are even more in the attic.

† Hellterror is tiny.  Southdowner has been around kind of a lot this week^ because she’s visiting her family on the south coast, and we’ve met both Monster Scone and Super-Monster Fruitcake.  Fruitcake is ENORMOUS.  Fruitcake is probably twice the hellterror’s size.  I like tiny.  Tiny means I can still tuck her under one arm and go shopping.  Tiny is, of course, relative, and twenty-seven pounds starts to weigh kind of a lot after a few minutes, especially if it wriggles, although thanks to all that dedicated holding of baby puppies, it’s actually pretty good about not wriggling.  But southdowner was talking about a semi-non-confrontation she’d had recently with Scone, and had simply picked Scone up out of the target zone while the idiot owner harrumphed about how his dog was friendly and the dog demonstrated body language of a less than friendly sort.  I had one of these semi-non-confrontations today, when I saw a Jack Russell-y type dog get all low-bodied and intent and . . . I picked the hellterror up.  Isn’t yours okay? said this idiot owner, while his dog held its tail out stiff as a frelling poker and its head low and menacing.  Mine is okay.  Oh yeah? I didn’t say, and kept moving.  I’d’ve been staggering pretty quickly if I’d been carrying Scone or Fruitcake.

And, you know, ha ha ha ha ha and everything, but the aggressive off-lead dog problem depresses the frelling frelling out of me.

^ I’ve been getting a few Remedial Hellterror Owner lessons.  Some of this adolescence thing has been worrying me a little.+  If there are any long-time, naively believe they have some clue dog owners out there thinking of branching out into terriers, be aware that terriers are a whole different life form.  All that standard training and response stuff with other dogs?  Doesn’t work with terriers.  Oh.

+Oh my God, have I BROKEN her??

†† Hellterror’s distressing fondness for dirty laundry—that is, the hellgoddess’ dirty laundry—makes me wonder if I should try wearing new toys before I give them to her, to make them more attractive.  The laundry issue is ongoing, since the laundry bags live in a heap among the bevy of dwarf appliances under the stairs at the cottage.  There isn’t any other place for them to be.  And hellterror appears to have learnt to untie drawstring bags.

††† The funny thing is that I did not break out in itchy red splotches.  Either there’s a seasonal thing going on—she’s pretty low to the ground, and she runs through a lot of grass—or I’m adapting to the third dog I live with.  Her body temperature is still too high for August however.

‡ abigailmm

Chaos and Darkness are the most beautiful dogs, period, I have ever seen. If I knew anything about keeping dogs, and if I thought I could physically manage to exercise them, I would look for some of my own.

If you’re serious, it would be worth contacting your local greyhound rescue and asking about middle-aged couch potatoes.  Older dogs are harder to place so they would love to hear from you, and a good rescue will know their dogs pretty well and could suggest one or two of the couch-potato-iest.  It’s a myth that retired greyhounds need huge amounts of exercise.  Individuals vary, but older retired racers mostly have done all that and are looking for the sofa stage of existence and a little regular gentle ambling outdoors and your company indoors is adequate.  You do have to remember that they can hit top speed in a couple of bounds if they choose to, so you have to be ALERT out walking them.  I have mine on extending leads, but they’ve been with me their entire lives which works both ways—I’m used to watching them for rocketing-off symptoms and they know how long their leads are.  If I ever bring a retired greyhound home it will be on a short, non-extending lead for a long time.  Possibly the rest of its life.

My guys are of course not greyhounds, they’re whippet cross deerhound.  And whippets aren’t quite small greyhounds, there are some differences in detail:  personally I find whippets the more beautiful, but there are some 100% eye candy greyhounds out there just longing for an ordinary, non-racing-kennels home.

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People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. -- Logan Pearsall Smith