Monthly Archives: January 2009


Like everybody else, when I post on Thinking Anglicans, what I long for is the kind of dispute that gets comment after comment after the piece. It is rank ingratitude to regret that I tend to get kind and appreciative comments.

and her place shall know her no more

Generally, I struggle with decisions. One working hypothesis is that this universe is meaningful. Believing this, I also tend to believe that there is something I should be doing, a best course of action. And indeed, life itself teaches us that if we constantly make the wrong decision, we will be in trouble (e.g. overweight and out of shape and broke from eating too much, never exercising and over spending).

However, despite the laments of one friend that I am very poor at listening to the wisdom and sensibility located somewhere within, just occasionally I do something which feels so utterly right that I am without second thoughts. I have handed in my notice at work. From next Friday I will once again be wholly self employed.


..where have you been

Em rarely strays far form the house – on a nice day she likes to saunter fifteen yards to the outbuildings and enjoy a little terrorism. But when it is as wintry as it is today, she likes to keep her fur unruffled indoors. Hence, her vanishing for nealry ten hours caused consternation. I tried the attic where she has hidden before, but it is a small room and there was no sign of her. She missed a meal – not in itself worrying, as the furry Rugby ball would take no harm form a little fasting, but seriously untypical. em4 Then came the miaow – and the furry face at the head of the attic ladder. She had holed up UNDER the Christmas decorations, or rather, she had excavated a cave IN them. She cannot get down the ladder. (I believe Tigger had similar problems due to a tail) and she is terrified of being carried down. Stalemate. In the end, she managed to be carried down, bu hooking her claws firmly into each side of my neck.

..of arms and of the goose


They are here – my Christmas present to myself. Arrived on Sunday, and today, due to the total mess made of the afternoon due to ‘circumstances beyond my control’, I let them out for the first time, and watched them take to the small pond like, er, like, like a goose to water. They have never had a pond before, and their delight was huge.


And I stood and pondered names. They are magisterial, a little nervous, clad in off-white, and likely to respond to any threat in a martial manner. Invention is definitely limited. There is considerable affection in this arranged marriage.

They have been named Maro and Horatia.

It’s not against any religion….

ter want ter dispose of a pigeon….

I’m sure it is, you know. Sure some forms of Buddhism disapprove of it, some forms of Hinduism too. In general terms, though, Gibb of Galston would also tend to disapprove of it as a good deal of their income is generated by middle aged men animadverting seriously on the rival merits of Irish Racing, competition, Top Flight and other mixes . On the other hand, Gibb are not fussy.

You can buy De Lux Chinchilla Mix, and Premium Rat mix, (why are chinchillas de lux, 417kqdylqsl_sl500_aa280_2and rats premium, is it a fur versus brains thing?) and four different kinds of rabbit food. You can buy food for small dogs, large dogs, racing dogs, and one which promotes the ability of the dog to smell scents. A feature which I fear is omitted from most working dog foods, though my dogs seem to manage splendidly without its help.

I am however most amused by the approach to squirrels. One one shelf, you can purchase this splendid product for the wild squirrels in your garden. It is nutritionally balanced, and will promote healthy growth (and to judge from the illustration, splendid tail and whiskers).

Round the next corner, there is a live trap, which is not, I fear, designed to facilitate photography. But, hey, if it sells…..

Driving out the old year


It was 5 pm or so when I set out, driving down the old year. A few cars were still heading home. Drivers were fast, longing to get home, changed and into a party. Twenty miles on, and the small stream had slowed to a drip. My sat nav suggested a new route, and disliking hair pin bends on a road what is only allegedly an A I agreed, heading out over an unknown road with slowed and restricted me. It seemed an age before Carlisle and the motorway.

The trickle had slowed to a drip. My sat nav was predicting a ten pm arrival by now, unable to understand the effect of a dark narrow A road on a never over confident motorist driving an old car. I was one small dark car, barely light in a dark world.

So we drove down the sped trapped motorway at a steady 70, and over the almost deserted A66 – which was as deserted as though it was 2am and not 8 pm. I forced myself to stop for a coffee from my flask, but the intensity of Hogmany was beginning to drive me. I’m not a pure bred Scot, and I probably don’t really understand Hogmany, but it fills me with hopes and sorrows religious in intensity. I wanted warmth, light, family. Scotch Corner was a surreal experience. On that huge, traffic light controlled roundabout there were my car and one other. It was not yet 9pm and I felt like an extra on ‘Survivors’.

And so the last stretch, the A1 almost empty. A few cars hurrying north, and then a six lane motorway empty – no other cars in sight. And then the turn off, and small roads, and my daughter’s home, and hot tea, hot chilli and champaign, and a new year, calm and smooth and untrodden and full of hope. Any miracle might happen.