I’m out on the street again tonight—Street Pastors. The weather has warmed up a little—which is why we could handbell at the cottage yesterday evening, because the sitting room was not full of plants—and it’s GOING TO RAIN. Either that or turn cold again. Depends on who/what you read/listen to.* I have my new battery-pack-operated heated waistcoat charged up and ready to go, and ordinary batteries for the socks and gloves poised for action . . . so it will probably rain. I haven’t ordered my waterproof trousers yet.**
And . . . I think it’s going to become official that I don’t write a proper blog on SP nights.*** Maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to post the links I never get around to posting, because they’re too wonderful and I want to celebrate them properly, like this one, which most of you author-blog-following readers will have already seen, but for anyone who hasn’t†:
. . . or because they’re too infuriatingly CONFIRMATORY of what you’ve known forever:
ARRRRRRRGH. LOTR fails? Am I surprised? I am not surprised.†† But I’m not sure you can rate SHAWSHANK REBELLION down: It’s laid in a men’s prison, for pity’s sake. On the other hand, I’m appalled that all but one of the HARRY POTTERs fails.††† What was Hermione doing all that time? Not talking to girls, evidently.
Right. Okay. I have to go put a pair of dry jeans in a bag to take with me in case I need a change during the break.‡ Night-night. Those of you so inclined, please pray for me. We’re supposed to go out there radiating the Armour of God or what-have-you. Also I can use all the help I can get chatting to strangers, even if I’m wearing the Armour of God.
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* One of my favourite things about the BBC weather site, which I have bookmarked, is the way the graphic at the top often says something different than the text at the bottom. This feels like the real experience of English weather.
** Chiefly due to a failure to find enough info on line to be sure of trousers that are long enough in the inseam AND don’t make horrible slushing noises with every step. You know they don’t give you any help with these crucial outfitting questions during the lengthy and arduous Street Pastors training.
*** Of which I have another one only next Friday, due to the inevitable stupidities of clashing schedules and the occasional inconvenient fifth Friday in a month.
† Thank you, b_twin
†† Yo, Jackson, you gonna mess with the story, how about you messed with that?
††† I know, I know. I didn’t see them past the first one which nearly bored me to death. But you know I’m hopeless. I didn’t see RETURN OF THE KING either.
‡ You’ll have seen Blogmom’s post about her taking the forum off line to wrestle with elderly technology. THIS MEANS THERE WILL BE NO FORUM TOMORROW FOR KES. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I LIVE FOR FORUM COMMENTS, ESPECIALLY FOR KES, SO WHILE I AM GOING TO BE A BIG PERSON AND POST IT ANYWAY^ PLEEEEEEEEASE SAVE ALL THOSE COMMENTS YOU WOULD HAVE MADE TILL THE FORUM GOES UP AGAIN. ::wipes fevered brow::
^ Also, I assume if I didn’t, some of you would hunt me down and kill me. You don’t want to do that, you know, I’m not quite finished at the far end where things are still Very Bad.
All right, this is not jolly upbeat blog tonight. Anyone of a delicate sensibility, leave now.
While the following is not my malfeasance, it is malfeasance of a mind-boggling variety and I’m still brooding about what I should have done or what I could do if it happens again. Hellhounds and I turned into the churchyard this morning behind an elderly gentleman and a terrier. An off-lead terrier. Hellhounds and I lingered to let this unwelcome pair get ahead of us. Only a little smoke was coming out of my ears at this point.
As we strolled along the terrier . . . stopped and had a crap. Gentleman was well in front paying no attention. He turned back in time to see terrier finishing its crap . . . and began to turn away again. I had just enough presence of mind to say, I hope you’re going to pick that up. Oh yes, said this piece of walking faecal matter, I usually do, I just have to go get a bag, thank you! —cheerily. And walked away.
I stood there I think literally with my mouth open, hellhounds waiting patiently beside me. Fortunately the terrier was not mayhem-minded because I would have been in no shape to fend off barrage and foray. Okay, what should I have done? I did have enough time to have offered him a frelling bag out of my lavish store . . . and I didn’t (remember I had to make my feeble, as-usual-short-of-sleep mind up quickly) because I didn’t yet know what kind of a caprice the off-lead terrier might manifest, and Darkness is in one of his touchy moods lately. I could have said, yo, you miserable stinking lice-brained toe-rag, pick that up with your bare hands if you have to, before I loose the forces of Darkness and Chaos on you. I could have said, I want your name and address so I can frelling report you to the frelling dog warden.**
I did none of these things. I stood there. With my mouth open. Till Mr Disease Bacterium toddled away with his terrier behind him. And his terrier’s pile of fresh crap left farther and farther behind him.***
People are amazing. Not in a good way.
But speaking of dogs, as I so often am, a forum member recently put this in her tag line (if it’s tag line I mean):
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” —Milan Kundera
Say what? This was another mouth-open occasion.† I copied and pasted this interesting remark several days ago to ponder upon. Now I adore my assortment of furry catastropes and as a pleasant fantasy I can see this as a tag line but . . . has Kundera ever met a real dog? They don’t know jealousy? He can’t have lived with more than one dog and watched them knock each other out of the way for the petting hand or the bit of raw liver or the best place on the sofa.†† He’s never watched the established regime watch beady-eyed every scrap of attention and/or food the young interloper receives.††† Dogs don’t know discontent? Listen to the yelping and baying if you get home later than they were expecting you to take them for their next hurtle. Darkness goes more for the enigmatic, but Chaos has a reproachful look that would melt case-hardened steel.‡ And evil? Eh. I belong to the love-wins camp of who God is. Evil is evil, but it’s also ultimately transitory.‡‡ Although I agree that dogs don’t know evil. They live in the moment—which is why they are such good company on a sunny hillside—but their focus is on themselves. You are a means to an end. Sure they love you. You’re still a means to an end. They cooperate with us and our weird ideas about leads and harnesses and coming when called and not eating garbage because we’ve made it worth their while. We’ve spent forty thousand years breeding them to be dependent on us and to believe they like it that way. They’re still mortal, and jealousy and discontent kind of go with the package as soon as your brain evolves beyond the medium-sized ganglion stage.
Maybe I’m not in a very good mood.
Maybe I should go sing.
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* Sigh. It would be the first footnote that I cut, and forgot that I cut. I can’t face changing all the icons from the hysteria-prone WordPress window again. Sorry about that. THERE IS NO FIRST FOOTNOTE.
** Yes we do have one. She’s overworked. She covers like half of Hampshire. I went into this not long ago.
*** And if I see him again, what am I going to do? Good question. Since the terrier seems relatively harmless I can perhaps risk being somewhat . . . tenacious. What I wonder, because the creep is clearly by his accent posh, and picking up dog crap is for the lower orders^, if I asked for his name would he give it to me? How unplugged from reality is he? Does he have any notion of social responsibility and/or guilt? Or would he expect the dog warden to recognise his class superiority, pull her forelock, and go away?
I should call the cops. Someone on the non-emergency line could at least tell me what my options are.
^ In which case he needs to bring his batman with him on terrier excursions.
† Although at least there’s no need to call the cops. The asylum for people who are too sweet and hopeful and kind to live maybe.
†† He’s also never been at the animal shelter when someone brings in the previously-beloved family pet because it keeps trying to eat the baby. Yes, that’s bad socialisation, but it’s also jealousy.
††† One of the few reliable ways of getting hellhounds to express an interest in food is to feed the hellterror. Unfortunately the interest doesn’t last long enough to do much to improve calorie intake—but hellhounds are both there looking alert every time I bribe the hellterror into her crate with a handful of kibble, waiting for their, as it were, door prize of a square of fish jerky each.^ Which they do at least eat.
‡ Pav, who is on her side incandescent with jealousy of the hellhounds most of the time, specialises in screaming a wide variety of imprecations and hurling herself repeatedly against the door of her crate. Or running up my leg like a banana-harvester up a tree with a particularly succulent bunch at the very top.
‡‡ Not nearly transitory enough however. As too many of us know.
It’s been a beautiful if cold late autumn/early winter day* and since you never know when the English weather is going suddenly to develop unending sleet for the next twelve weeks it seemed like a good idea to get everyone out for a Glorious Country Walk today. Which would explain why I am shattered. One of the rather expensive-in-other-ways aspects of no longer having a dog minder is that not only can I wedge in another Glorious Country Walk at a nonstandard time but I’m motivated to do so because with two shifts of critters seven days a week** it would be easy to go frelling nuts with only the standard local half-dozen hurtle possibilities. I find that I’m using the poor hellterror as a kind of advance scouting party: countryside we’ve fallen out of the habit of using in the last year, since the hellterror, and the second hurtle shift, arrived, I take her first, to look for new bad-tempered Mastiffs having moved into the neighbourhood. Because I can pick her up. And while you still get idiots who are brass-faced enough to tell you as their ****** dog is jumping all over you as you stand there with your critter in your arms that if you’d only put her DOWN you wouldn’t have a PROBLEM, generally speaking the owners of discourteous off-lead dogs are embarrassed if the frelling beast attacks you because you have uplifted your delicate little four-legged furry flower and are clutching her frantically you hope above drool and gnash level.*** Arrrrrrgh.
Hellhounds and I had a lovely extended hurtle out Jenny’s way and then farther into the sheepy hinterlands—you are slightly less likely to meet off-lead monsters in active sheep country. Slightly. I took Pav for a hurtle over a piece of ground I haven’t been to in yonks . . . and there appear to be no ill-natured Baskervilleans newly installed. Excellent. But it’s a longer stretch than I remembered and we were kind of each holding the other up by the time we got back to Wolfgang. And this might explain why when I let Herself out of her crate after dinner to do her dangling-from-the-chandelier thing at the mews† she trotted around a bit, had an uncharacteristically mild go at a toy or two . . . and then came and nested . . . in EXACTLY the place I LEAST WANT HER. I’ve been putting her long-down ‘bed’ to the other side of where I sit at the kitchen table with my computer because the side next to the bookshelves is also where all the wiring lives, the computer, the telephone, the electric fire, the glibberzinge. And my knapsack(s) with their interesting ends of knitting yarn and lovely velvety-textural laptop sleeve and so on sticking out the tops sit leaning against the bookcase.
So that’s where she wants to curl up like a normal dog instead of a perpetual-motion hellterror and have a snooze. Siiiiiiiigh. She had quite fifteen more minutes of semi-structured pootling before I was going to make her long down. And she went and frelling pre-empted me. Here I am, with a nice quiet well-behaved dozing hellterror in the wrong place so when she woke up enough to ask for a lap, well, clearly this was the easy way out.†† Except of course that she takes up most of the space on the seat of the chair, because I need both hands free to type instead of holding a hellterror in place, and I am hanging by a thread and RATHER UNCOMFORTABLE.
It’ll keep me awake long enough to torture you a little in anticipation of tomorrow.
Robin!! Did you HAVE to do that when I’m spending the night in a hotel room??
When I don’t sleep tonight I’m holding you responsible!
I dooooooo hope you aren’t in a hotel room tomorrow night. Mwa hahahahahahaha.
All RIGHT then…(glancing at the swords in the hall.) NOW we know where we are…(wondering where the dagger is. Yes, that one.)
Sigh. I do have some weaponry: I have a fencing sabre, which . . . well, it looks like something you take fencing lessons with, rather than something you repel burglars or Yog Sothoth or invaders from other dimensions with. And I do have a Blue Sword, I’ve told you this story, haven’t I? How it arrived in the post LOOKING like a sword, with a tactful little label on the obviously sword-shaped parcel-wrapping saying ‘ornamental arme’? (It was from a friend who makes swords in France.) But I envy you being able to say ‘glancing at the swords in the hall’. And ‘wondering where the dagger is . . .’
So how much of this, I wonder, is because Kes has refused to call her agent back (unless I missed that episode somehow while traveling or something.) Or has whatsisface the ex-husband sent trouble after her because of those rosebushes? And do hobs who are happy with their new householders ever go stick a knife in an invader’s ankle?
I am under the impression, although I have often been wrong in stories past, that Mr Wolverine is being held in abeyance for future atrocities. And I don’t actually think Gelasio is a villain. He’s just some dork in midlife crisis with bad taste in relationship hopping. Although I think possibly his second wife outclasses him as much as his first one does. We shall see. I hope. Oh, and the hob! Well . . . um . . . †††
Eeep! I know you are having fun with cliffhangers, but gosh! I don’t know how I’m going to wait a whole week to find out what happens next! You really weren’t kidding yesterday.
It’s only going to get worse, you know. I may have mentioned that it’s only going to get worse?
I wish you many more years of terrorizing your readers with cliff-hangers!
Thank you! Thank you very much! Heh heh heh heh heh.
I’m really hoping KES comes out in a hard-copy version for off-screen reading..
So am I.
I am now very glad that when KES is posted on the blog and I get to read it it is in daylight hours!!
Hmm. Now that is something I hadn’t planned on. Yo, Blogmom, is there any way to delay posting the blog in Australia till NIGHT TIME? ‡
As for KES – where do I even begin to comment on this? The world is ending! Hoofbeats and candlelight and Sid barking (and Sid’s collar change)
Well observed. Extra points.
and Caedmon rousing himself and Rose Manor shuddering and the driveway-rut universe descending and then… ?!?!?!?!
Yep. Definitely ?!?!?!?!
In true hellgoddess form, that was a frelling ratbag of a cliffhanger!
Can’t wait til Saturday – will there be resolution? Will our heroine finally find herself irretrievably swallowed up by the alternate reality that has been shadowing her?
We-ell . . .
(I should just mention, by the way, that if Murac and all the scaries get horses, Kes better be given a magnificent, swift and sure-of-foot steed PDQ. Maybe Merry transforms into a glorious fleet-footed steed? I wonder if Caedmon will play an alternate-reality part? Protector, maybe? Although Sid seems to be covering that part pretty well…)
Hee hee hee hee hee . . .
Halfway through the week now. Only 72 hours left until KES tightens the rack on us…
::falls down laughing:: Only twenty four hours now. . . . Is that the creak of rack-screws I hear—?
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* Summer is in many ways to be preferred, because in the first place there are roses, and in the second place there is A LOT MORE DAYLIGHT^. But there is nothing like the long golden afternoon light of this time of year, especially when you are fortunate enough to be watching it lying over countryside—Hampshire’s, for example—that is pretty fabulous to begin with.
^ You will observe I have my priorities clearly in order. Even if perhaps the latter has a critical effect on the former.+
+ Note also that latitude has a lot to do with it. You do get more sensitive to daylight, and lack of it, as you get older, and I was still relatively (!) young when I left Maine. But the south of England, despite the friendlier climate#, is a LOT farther north and the swings of daylight-plus to daylight-minus are extreme. My fantasy of the castle in Scotland didn’t founder so much on the standard questions of money and so on, but on the realisation that Scotland has even less daylight in the winter. I don’t know how people in, oh, say, Lapland, or Barrow, Alaska bear it.
# Thank you, Gulf Stream, please don’t go away
** Which is twenty-eight hurtles a week, plus tiny round-the-block/churchyard/park sprints of about another two a day . . . this does not bear thinking about. What a good thing my arithmetic is really bad.
*** Cough cough cough. I like to think that it is a development of trust in my goddessy abilities that appears to make Pav enjoy these confrontations.
† The mews does not have chandeliers. I have the chandelier(s).
†† Clever little ratbags, hellterrors.
††† Mwa hahahahahahaha.
‡ No, I’m not a nice person. You knew that.
My usual flippant remark ‘nobody died’ as a summing-up of my standard type of semi-adventure doesn’t really work well here, because while so far as I know nobody in our bailiwick did die, still, intervention in potentially life-threatening situations is one of the things we’re for. And we did have two medical emergencies and two ambulances Friday night—one per team, as it happens. There were six of us, which meant two teams—plus two Prayer Pastors who remain back at base but stay in touch by phone and pray for people and situations and perform a practical grounding or centring function for us street operatives.*
My new fearless leader whom we will call . . . Walker** put me on his team so he could keep an eye on me, not surprisingly. I didn’t, er, put my foot in it too badly, I think. Or at least I haven’t had the email telling me not to come back . . . but then maybe it’s another of those non-arriving emails. Or maybe I’ll get it tomorrow when Llewellyn gets back to the office. . . .
MCKINLEY. STOP IT.
I think it went okay. It was certainly extremely interesting—not always in the best way but then if everything was all happy and jolly there wouldn’t be Street Pastors in the first place. It was very striking during our training that all the presenters kept referring to the nightttime economy—not in the money sense but the social-structure sense. And Walker referred to ‘our community’. In the briefing before we went out there was a run-down of all the ongoing stories and what the ‘regulars’ are up to—the homeless, the ne’er-do-wells and the troublemakers, which make up a Venn diagram and are not the same thing—anything the cops want us to be aware of, anything previous teams want us to know has been going on recently. A lot of it went straight past me but that team thing was very strong*** as was the sense that here was a world, which is to say an economy, that ordinary daylight working tax-paying (relatively) sober folk have no idea of. It was a bit of a fantasy-novel moment—although we didn’t see any dragons.
We could have used a (friendly) dragon—it was SO COLD. SO. COLD. It was even colder when we went back out after our break. I am so ordering a battery-heated waistcoat before the next duty night.† And all these CHILDREN†† go clubbing, coatless of course, coats are totally uncool,††† in within-a-degree-of-freezing-according-to-my-kitchen-thermometer weather in sleeveless and in some cases backless frocks which are so short they barely cover . . . well. In some cases they don’t.‡ The boys are nearly as bad in their meagre t shirts. It makes us oldies even colder just looking at them. At least it wasn’t raining. It would have been sleet, how cold it was: I’m not sure what I’m going to do if some winter duty night it comes on to sleet: driving home at 4 am is challenging enough without any help from the weather.
I got home at about 4:30 and had to feed and hurtle confused hellcritters. I went to bed at about six, and got up at half-past noon. . . .
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* They also get a cup of tea any time they want one. We have to wait till break.
** Hee hee hee hee hee
*** I’VE PUT MYSELF IN ANOTHER FRELLING TEAM SITUATION. WHAT THE FRELL, MCKINLEY?? ISN’T REGULARLY MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF BELL RINGING ENOUGH? I rang twice today, it being Remembrance Sunday and extra services being laid on in churches with bells in them.
I didn’t ring at Forza last Sunday because they cancelled afternoon service ring without updating their frelling web site—I think I had a nice restrained grumble about this last week—and then I didn’t go to tower practise on Wednesday after Pav and I on our evening hurtle had another run in with an aggressive dog, this one the size of a 50’s Cadillac, and Pav did her staring-it-down trick while I imploded in a massive surge of adrenaline and felt so ill and trembly after I didn’t think I was safe to drive.^ So it’s been over a week since I rang—tried to ring those golblarging bells and I made a serious city-centre-in-rush-hour snarl^^ of poor old Grandsire Triples. GT is usually the first triples method you learn and in theory I should have learnt it and moved on but the problem is that anything I don’t ring I lose and since I’m supposed to know it already I don’t ring it on practise nights. Which I missed the last one of anyway. As well as not ringing last Sunday which means the bells are all out to get me again. I tell myself that when I’ve been ringing them as long as I’ve been ringing the triple-blasted demon-possessed bells at Old Eden^^^ they will no longer be able to gang up on me like that after a mere week and a half away. However there were no swords for me to fall on so I had to ring Stedman Triples which is like after screwing up on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star being asked to ring Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic. I was even on the wrong frelling bell—Gemma and I always fight over the treble for Stedman and I lost# so I was on the two. Good ringers invariably sneer delicately and say that it shouldn’t matter which bell. Well, it shouldn’t, but it does, and I don’t CARE how well you know the ratblasted line on a page in a method book. The perverse thing is that I got through the Stedman ##. So I didn’t have to race out of the tower and look for a sword to fall on.
^ Speaking of occasions when ‘nobody died’ is appropriate.
^^ In several senses of the term
^^^ Which was my extra ring today. It was pretty funny really. We had six ringers for six bells but we were a motley crew so we were each on the bell most appropriate for our skill level. Niall and Vicky were on the back two which are heavy enough to be vicious when they’re in a snit, and the five likes to fall down on you just when you begin to relax because it seems to be in a good mood (ask me how I know this), and I was on the three which is a sod but not tremendously heavy: bell ringing is never about brute strength, but the heavier a ratbag bell is the better a ringer you have to be to cope, the two and the four which are relatively polite were rung by our two beginners, and our semi-invalid who is still ringing because she’s an amazingly gallant old thing was on the treble, which is pretty small anyway and has reasonably good manners. Hey, the bells got rung. That’s the main thing.
# This is PARTICULARLY UNFAIR because she’s a much steadier, less, ahem, hysterical ringer than I am.
## In spite of someone else going adrift.
† Supposing that ‘don’t come back’ email continues not to arrive.
†† And I am so old.
††† Also, I’m told, most clubs have nowhere to put coats. Oh.
‡ This is a genuine management issue and one of the reasons if at all possible they send you out in mixed-gender teams. If you have a scantily-clad drunk-on-her-rear female to deal with—the women of the team do the hands-on dealing. Which can then become a different sort of problem, if the drunk is large and the team members are small—which is exactly what happened to our other team on Friday.
Last night I turned the Aga back on*, closed the kitchen and attic windows for the first time in months and ate my first apples of the season off my little tree**. I also wore gloves to take hellhounds for their last hurtle at glurp o’clock in the morning. And it was dark tonight at eight o’clock. Trying to get everybody hurtled at least occasionally in daylight is going to be more challenging this year, since the dream of a regular three-way hurtle isn’t looking too good.***
Good-bye summer, I guess. But I’d like to keep my dahlias till November, okay?
* * *
* It’s been off long enough that I’d got used to being able to put stuff on it. What with the bowls of fruit, small decorative jars of (decanted) dog food, caddies of (also decanted) bird food^, piles of magazines and knitting there is no counter, you know, space, and I have to decide what to put my computer on.^^ At least I managed to remember to take the plug-in single electric burner off the top of one of the Aga burner lids. I forgot last time and the little rubber pads on the ends of the legs of the electric burner melted.
^ I need yet another new bird feeder. I have two of those squirrel-repelling cage ones, the theory being that the mesh is big enough only to let small birds through. I discovered, by the simple expedient of doing the washing-up while the assault on Everest was being performed in my back garden, that the mesh is too small to let the (fat) resident robin through.+
+ The size differential among British robins is pretty extreme. Of the breeding pair a year ago who raised two broods in my greenhouse# one was nearly twice the size of the other one and easily differentiated even when there was only one visible. And it’s the bigger one that did most of the nest sitting and who disappeared as soon as the babies were half fledged, leaving the other to finish the job—which ought to mean she was mum. But according to on line the male robin is slightly bigger. Well, on line isn’t always correct, and maybe this robin has the short-man-likes-big-women complex.
# I have my fingers crossed for next year. This year my greenhouse was full of the results of a fallen-down wall which is to say first a shortage of walls and shelves to put nests on and second a Strange Man wielding wall-building materials and a trowel.
^^ Fruit is a bad choice: too knobbly.+
+ I am so looking forward to the hellterror being old enough to learn ‘go lie down [and stay there for more than ten seconds]’ so that I can START USING MY OFFICE AGAIN. At the moment it’s just a bridge too far. I can’t exactly work with her underfoot in the cottage kitchen but certain things are possible.# And she has to spend enough time in her crate: hellhounds and I don’t have to go upstairs. Hellhounds flee occasionally## but I stay in the kitchen, providing her with a Focus for Existence, and balancing my computer on tall piles of mostly magazines. It’s not a bad thing to have the computer higher than usual if I end up with a hellterror in my lap, which I mostly do. This wouldn’t work at all at a desk, by the way. My knees against the cupboard door and her butt tucked under the edge of the counter is what keeps her in position and I can still type.
# Chiefly fishing her out of the hellhound crate for the 1,000,000,000,000th time this hour.
## Although Chaos usually creeps down again and crouches on the stairs peering through the railing and waiting for me to notice and open the gate. Then he quickly plasters his cranky-uncle expression on and bolts for the hellhound crate.
** Not so little really. I’m still saying it has to get through its first winter after the wall fell down and was rebuilt around it before I stop worrying about the state of its roots, but the fact that it is producing lovely apples despite the gaspingly dry summer is a good sign. I have been watering it—and I don’t usually water anything that is both well-established and in the ground since I have way way WAAAAAAY too many dratblasted pots to keep up with—but even a middling-sized apple tree is still a tree.
*** All five of us went to see Tabitha today. Tabitha lives on the edge of one of the suburbs of Mauncester, with farmland starting at the end of her drive. I hurtle while Peter is getting thumped.^ And the hellterror so loooooongs to be One of Us I can’t quite give up on the three-way hurtle idea^^. So we all three/four went up the road and then turned to come back across the stubble fields. I had a pocket full of kibble and half an insane plan to try and let them all off lead again.
Only the field was full of frelling game birds. Even aside from the fact that they’ve no doubt been raised for shooting and the local keeper would not be pleased to have them exploded off the territory by havoc-running dogs, I’m not going to slip hellcritters when there’s wildlife in view. Hellhounds are used to this unreasonableness from the hellgoddess. Hellterror is used to nothing. I thought (a) the frelling birds would fly when they realised that slowly ambling group behind them was going to keep coming and (b) that the FRELLING HELLTERROR would eventually give up when the birds didn’t fly but the hellgoddess didn’t let go either.
Wrong on both counts. I think the blasted birds were enjoying the show. They kept looking back over their shoulders, clacking, and then going back to winnowing through the stubble. ARRRRRRRRGH. Fortunately I am the arthritic sixty-year-old skinny white girl version of Watermelon Shoulders and she didn’t have a chance.^^^ But by the time we got back to the car I was ready to give her away. I remind myself that I spent YEARS threatening to leave hellhounds in a box by the side of the road with a sign saying FREE HELLHOUNDS.
^ Peter then falls asleep on Tabitha’s sofa while I get thumped. When we get home again I fall asleep on Peter’s sofa. It’s the Tabitha Effect and is why I try to book on days I am not ringing bells in the evening.
^^ As well that three-way would be saving me a little time and wear. I am NOT THINKING about the possibility that—chiefly thanks to other people’s dogs#—it will never be really safe or practical to harness the troika.
# I believe I said recently that I had mostly sorted out the neighbour’s terrier crapping in the drive at Third House by keeping the gate shut? Next time I went up there . . . there was a fresh pile of dog crap immediately outside the gate. Very funny. Very, very, very funny.
^^^ Fortunately she was in her shiny new padded harness after she ate her pink one. Ten minutes unsupervised in the car and one of the crucial connecting straps was hanging by a shred. This happened Saturday afternoon, of course, so I spent a day and a half threading the long lead through the bits of the harness that were still harness so that when the shred gave way I would still have a hellterror on the end of the lead.
The new padded harness is very flash. And sturdy. But it’s only red. Sigh.