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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t forget the Hob! I’m sure his dinner counts for something!
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.
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 . . .
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.
*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 . . .
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.
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.
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:
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.
Hellterror: Want a lap.
Hellgoddess: It’s too hot.
Hellterror: Want a lap.
Hellgoddess: It’s too hot and I’m wearing shorts.
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.*
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.
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.
::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.†††
* * *
* No, the one I was reading.
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.
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.
A fortnight or so ago a New Friend sidled up to me at St Margaret’s and said that she’d bought a ticket for a charity concert—so she wouldn’t chicken out of going at the last minute, I know that one, on the day you’re too comfortable on the sofa with hellhounds or similar—but she wondered if she could bamboozle me into buying a ticket and coming too? It was a worthy cause and we could hang out. We’ve made half-hearted attempts to hang out previously but they’ve never come off because we never nail one down by saying THIS place and THIS time and putting it in the diary, you know? Modern life. Who has time for spontaneity?*
So despite a qualm or two about the concert itself I said yes. You can put up with a lot in congenial company. And she and I were finally getting somewhere, you know?
And then last week at St Margaret’s when I told her I’d got one of the few remaining tickets** she looked all doleful and woebegone and said she hadn’t rung me because it hadn’t been confirmed yet but for Inarguable Personal Reasons it looked like she wasn’t going to be able to go after all. . . .
Oh. Feh. So I’m now stuck with a ticket to a concert I was only looking forward to because I was going to see her.
But I had the frelling reservation and, at this point, a close personal relationship with the venue’s box office, who had hired a uniformed guard with two Alsatians and a Darth Vader clone to protect my investment till I arrived IN PERSON and offered my palm print as proof I was the correct individual to cede the ticket to, so I’d better go. I went.
Fortunately I took my knitting.
IT WAS UNBELIEVABLY DIRE. UNBELIEVABLY. DIRE. The concert. It was. AAAAAAAAUGH. Words fail. Words need to fail or I will be banned from WordPress for the rest of my life.*** The one minor stroke of good fortune was that I’d arrived early enough it was worth getting my knitting out immediately so it was already on my lap when these jokers got up on stage and started prancing about doing whatever the frell they thought they were doing ARRRRRRRRRRRGH. After the first . . . incident . . . I firmly picked my knitting up again and got QUITE A FEW ROWS done by the time it was over. I swear I would have run away screaming† if I hadn’t had my knitting. . . .
Which leads me to the next thing. I’ve been torturing myself, and some harmless hanks of yarn, trying to make another gift. Me and my frelling Secret Projects. GIVE IT UP, MCKINLEY. I’ve already frogged this one once. This second time it looks a lot better than it did the first time but it’s still what you might call . . . clearly hand made. Does anyone out there have any useful guidelines for when you cut your losses and frog again and when you soldier on on the grounds that your friend will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to even if SHE BURIES THE FINAL OBJECT IN THE BACK GARDEN IN CASE IT’S CONTAGIOUS?
Siiiiiiiigh. . . .
I also got distracted on Etsy the Evil†† from my (relatively) honest quest for a needle roll††† into yarn bowls. And I made the perilous decision to ask Twitter if any of the twitterverse’s knitters use yarn bowls. Am I just being flimflammed by a pretty face? Hand-thrown pottery bowls are very pretty. Or do they help with what I have dubbed the invisible-kitten problem with your wodge of working yarn? In the rush of helpful answers—including plastic bags, yarn cozies [sic], and teapots—I suddenly had a FABULOUS IDEA.
Was this totally sitting on a shelf waiting to be a yarn bowl through the long years of no longer being required for blanc-mange or what? Stay tuned.
* * *
* Hey, I finished the day’s stint early/it’s raining and I don’t feel like gardening/if I hear my neighbour’s extra-loud telephone bell go one more time^ I shall run mad with an axe, want to grab a cup of tea somewhere? No, sorry, I can’t, I’m working a double shift today/it’s raining so I’m sorting out the garage^^/I have to sort out the garage because I need to hide a body fast.^^^
^ They need fewer friends
^^ No friend of mine would ever use that excuse
^^^ Ah. Okay. Need help?+
+ I found a drowned mouse in a bucket today. Ewwwwwwww. I have no truck with the ‘mice are cute’ brigade and am perfectly happy to trap the suckers, using the fastest, lethalest traps available, but drowning in a bucket is a slow, crummy way to die and made me sad.
** And my email, possessed by demons as it is, failed to accept the confirmatory email from the venue so I’m all AM I GOING OR NOT. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO HERE, CONSULT AN ASTROLOGER?
*** Banned—? From WordPress? Um . . . actually . . .
† Most of the people who preach at St Margaret’s I like and find not merely worth listening to but interesting. But there is one . . . I have been trying to decide if it is worth establishing a habit of knitting during the sermons so that the next time this joker stands up I won’t have to gnaw my knuckles till they bleed so as not to run away screaming.^
^ I realise that a Supreme Being needs a sense of humour, but I feel perhaps we might review some of said humour’s minor manifestations? People who have been at this Christian thing a long time keep telling me that God likes engaging with his mortal children on their level. Okay. So let’s discuss the practical jokes.
†† You know I have been complaining about the mess and confusion of Etsy’s so-called search function and have finally realised . . . it’s all a careful plan to entice you in deeper and deeper.
††† The design I like best is only in a bunch of dumb fabrics. ARRRRRGH. Also I object to spending more than £11,872.33 (most of this is the overseas shipping cost from America) for a needle roll. So this is still an open question.
Southdowner was here yesterday. I got an email from her Saturday afternoon saying, YEEEEE-HA. BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY. I could come down tomorrow? —I looked nervously at Pav. You’re not perfect! I said. And it’s all my fault because I’m a BAD OWNER! She wagged her tail. All stimuli lead to tail-wagging in a hellterror.* Also, I added, you’re still TOO THIN according to breed fashion!** She wagged her tail harder. You could see the thought balloon though: FEEEEEEED MEEEEEEEEEE.
Still. It would be nice to see Southdowner. Especially because—hee hee hee hee hee—have I told you she’s ended up with TWO of Pav’s siblings? Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee. Nothing on earth, of course, was going to persuade her to have even ONE because she already has ninety-seven dogs and a small house. But first there was Fruitcake, who has turned out to be rather a stunner***, and Olivia was dithering about him, she’d actually turned down two buyers because she is derang—I mean, because she felt they were going to treat him as an artefact or a Breed Standard Winning Machine instead of a dog. So she still had him, but she didn’t really want to keep an entire dog with an entire bitch . . . at which point Southdowner said she’d have him. I wasn’t there, so I can’t categorically state there was a gleam in her eye, but I bet there was. Southdowner herself has said that the family she’s bred for three generations, and of which Lavvy, Olivia’s bitch, is one, has mostly produced gorgeous girls and reasonably nice boys. There’s been at least one world-beater boy, but most of the world-beaters have been girls. I suspect Southdowner has had her eye on Fruitcake for a long time and Olivia has been pretending she didn’t know it.
So far so . . . almost reasonable. Hey, Southdowner is a bullie breeder, of course she’s going to be interested in a gorgeous scion of her own family. But then Scone, who was recognised as The Handful and Too Clever By Half when the final cut was made and Pav came to me, and who had gone to experienced bullie owners, nonetheless proved to be too much for them. Whereupon poor Olivia teetered on the brink of meltdown because one of HER PRECIOUS PUPPIES was not having the happy life she deserved—but Olivia herself has a full time job and is not a dog behaviourist and . . .
. . . Southdowner said she’d have her.
And Scone is darling. Of course. I’ve seen her twice since Southdowner took her and I can’t see anything wrong with her. She’s just your average mad frantic bullie. But from where I’m standing I’m delighted Southdowner has half of Pav’s litter—and there are plans afoot† for all of us to meet up with Croissant in London. . . .
* * *
* Some stimuli, especially those including fooooooood, lead to other predictable behaviours, screaming, hanging from the rafters, etc, but the beginning of all hellterror activity is tail wagging.
** And slightly under what even I prefer thanks to what I assume was an unobserved snack of something noxious on our FOUR WAY HURTLE at Warm Upford on Saturday afternoon. Well, I needed petrol^ and it was a BEAUTIFUL DAY and . . . who was I going to leave behind? So we all went. And we all lived and I don’t even have rope/lead burns. But it would have been more fun if I hadn’t spent all of it scanning the horizon for other people’s loose dogs. Anyway. Pav was on short rations for about a day and a half after something disagreed with her^^ and was therefore a trifle tucked up even by my standards.^^^ All that tail-wagging takes a lot of energy.
^ Even the pet shop owner thinks I need a new car. Isn’t that moss growing on the roof? she said. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH IT? WOLFGANG FRELLING LIVES OUT. HE FRELLING LIVES OUT, UNDER A TREE. OF COURSE HE’S GOT MOSS GROWING ON HIS ROOF, BECAUSE I DON’T WASH IT OFF.+ What is the matter with people? He RUNS. The bottom line is that he RUNS. We’ve had two bad, expensive moments with Wolfgang, one several years ago when we put eight hundred frelling quid into the steering at which point the end had better not have been nigh and, fortunately, wasn’t, and then a year or so ago when they finally figured out what was causing the extremely unnerving and demoralising not-starting thing, which was after all the drama relatively cheap to put right. The expensive part was the effect on my peace of mind and stomach lining. Not that I would know peace of mind if it bit me ++ but there are better seasons and worse seasons for not sleeping or for waking up and going AAAAAAUGH.
+ And at this point can’t. Who knew that moss could get its roots through hard-finish automobile paint? Feh. Bad design somewhere.
++ This is another reason my road to Damascus moment last 12 September was so indisputable. I don’t do the peace that passeth all understanding, even in fiction. If someone was standing there shining with it . . . it wasn’t anything I was making up.
^^ MINOR SQUICK WARNING. Well, I think minor. But then I’m a critter owner and we have to be tough. So READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK. I keep telling you that Pav isn’t a bull terrier really, she just looks like one. One of the tricks both Olivia and Southdowner warned me about is the extra-dimensional pouches bullies have in their cheeks, to hide things you’re trying to take away from them. Even if you have a bullie that lets you open its mouth it’s not guaranteed you’re going to find what you’re looking for. Now, very often what you’re looking for is not something you want to fish around for with your bare hands.+ I discovered, quite by accident, and as part of the whole astonishing another-poor-sad-deluded-creature-accepts-me-as-hellgoddess business++, that if I hold Pav’s head nose down while keeping her jaws well open and give it a shake, the offending object/substance may fly out. In fact surprisingly often does. Even when it’s . . . you know, squishy. Sometimes it helps to clamp the entire hellterror vertically upside down between my legs and then shaking the open-jawed head. . . . Yes, she puts up with this. I’m convinced however that this has very little to do with my status as Alpha+++ and everything to do with the well-developed and one might even say notorious bullie sense of humour.
+ Some of you will remember South Desuetude Cemetery Adventure. Ewwwwwwwww.
++ BUT THIS ONE EATS.#
# I mean wow, does she ever eat. Still.
+++ We all know that the whole Alpha business is pretty much bogus, right? It has limited usefulness—yes you are the boss, or you’d better be—but Alpha? Nah.
^^^ I think it is my destiny to be awarded digestively-challenged critters. I can’t starve the hellhounds when they have the rivers because empty stomachs make them worse. I can’t starve the hellterror when she has the purees because she eats her bedding.
*** Not of course as stunning as Pavlova.
† Or apaw, if you prefer.