Right up until this morning this was going to be a blog about how – after decades as a dedicated cat person – I was coming round to the idea of dogs making quite good pets really.
Over lockdown, like manymanymany other people, some of my friends became dog owners. 3.2 million pets were purchased during lockdown (how? I am not sure even Amazon were delivering gerbils and so on). As you all know, I love a good walk so am usually up for a good wander and a putting-the-world-to-rights session with friends, and the advent of furry fiends makes these even more enjoyable.
Bella, belonging to my neighbours, was the first: an adorable miniature poodle puppy who is guaranteed to be pleased to see me and is not afraid to show it. She loves to run after tennis balls and bring them back, adores other dogs and was utterly bemused when a new kitten entered their household this year. Watching her try and encourage the kitten to play by bringing it cat toys was funny to watch, especially as Ziggy was really not convinced. This week we have been watching Ziggy attempt friendly overtures to my three furry idiots through the fence – Lulu is predictably outraged and spends ages staring through to a spot where she once spotted Zig, in case he returns. Ted and Bailey treat him more as a form of entertainment.
Dobby and Kreacher then joined the gang: rescue dogs from Europe, they moved in and have proved resistant to the idea of all other dogs. They live with Miriam and Roy, where I occasionally take refuge when working from home and there is building work happening next door. (OK, I take refuge there when I’m not working as well – this is where I play D&D and drink a lot of coffee). Dobby is the original Heinz 57 mixture and Kreacher is a miniature pinscher with enormous bat ears and a pathological hatred of pigeons. They like to sit on my lap during online meetings and stare intently into the camera. They have Mark, another of the D&D party, so well-trained that with just one look he now opens the door for them to go outside and gives them their biscuit afterwards.
On Saturday mornings Miriam, Jill (when she gets up) and I often go for an early walk through the local fields, come back via the market with pastries and drink coffee. They have now banned dogs from the market as it’s getting busy again but we still walk the hounds. Kreacher barks at all pigeons and other birds just in case, tries to stalk pheasants and both of them go demented when they see another dog. This morning Miriam and I took them out again and Dobby managed to get away from me and went to bounce at another small dog, racing round it in circles and until we caught her again. We had taken Dobby and Kreacher into the middle of the field to give the lady lots of space, but she meandered her way along s-l-o-w-l-y by which time D & K were thoroughly overexcited. I got my adrenalin from that this morning rather than a cold dip… and yes Dobby, you are the reason I am still a cat person this morning!
Other dogs in my life include Marshall and Luna, who belong to my timeshare teenagers; Loki, who is a recent arrival to the gang and the world’s biggest puppy; and Jax, who belongs to a friend in London and who I get to join on the odd walk round Shoreditch when she’s on holiday. Another rescue dog, this one hates drug dealers and has happy memories of that time he saw a squirrel in the dog park. He always greets new arrivals to his home by bringing them his teddy bear, which is very sweet. Honourable mentions to Kalie and Barney – the bruise on my leg from Kalie’s head has just about gone!
Crochet, crochet and more crochet
I finally had confirmation that I have a stall at Epping Christmas Market (3 Dec, 10am – 4pm) this year again, so have been making new stock in preparation – the trick is not letting Jill buy all of it before the day as every time I post something new she puts in an order!
There will also be the usual range of earrings (including felted puddings) and other jewellery, crocheted baubles, shawls, and so on. I am particularly enjoying these little jumpers and will be making a mini clothes rail later to hang them on. The jumper pattern is by Blue Star Crochet if you want to have a go yourself.
Other things making me happy this week
- My first outing as one of the external advisors to Eton College Collections this week – a meeting, a short tour of their Natural History Museum and an excellent dinner. The occasion was made even better by the discovery that an ex-colleague is another advisor, so we had a good catch up.
- A visit to the Young V&A site – it’s starting to come together! This was followed by cuddles with gorgeous baby Rudi.
- The start of a friend’s 50th birthday celebrations in the pub last night – building up to a night away at a spa next weekend.
- Coffee out this afternoon with another friend
- The Elizabeth Line. 20 minutes from Paddington to Stratford!)
Things making me less happy this week
- Three hours at A&E/Urgent Care GP dept with Thing 1 yesterday – severe tonsillitis (which we were told would have been considerably worse had we waited till Monday
- Tube strikes (though I fully support their position, obvs.)
- Train strikes (called off but still chaos)
Right, the ironing is looking at me (though I will be watching Bruce Springsteen on Graham Norton’s show on catch-up while I do it). Same time next week!
What I’ve been reading:
The Ramble Book – Adam Buxton
Fairy Tale – Stephen King
Last Tango in Aberystwyth – Malcolm Pryce