It’s really hard to come up with a worthwhile blog post when your mind is preoccupied. I may also be suffering from writer’s block, all my writing, even my diary, remains ignored for the most part. But I love reading. I can’t get enough of that; books have always been my bolt hole, from a very early age I felt the need to escape into someone else’s life when I didn’t like my own very much. I’ve just finished two books, Emma Healey’s 'Elizabeth Is Missing', a story about an old lady’s Alzheimer’s-coloured obsession with her friend’s whereabouts and buried secrets of her own past, and Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God In Ruins’ about a bomber pilot in WWII, a kind of second half to her ‘Life After Life’. Neither book is light escapism, but well written and easy to read in spite of the subject matter.
The weather has been filthy, there’s been little gardening; the picture of Paul and Beloved having a tea break was taken on an exceptional day. I am very glad we have stopped opening for the public. The tallest and most impressive flowers are the white umbels of the pernicious ground elder, an absolutely destructive thug whose roots get into anything and are very hard to eradicate. The bane of my life, second only to the dreaded dandelion.
Millie has recovered from her crise de nerfs; luckily we have had no further violent thunderstorms round here, although other parts of the country have been inundated. We were invited to a birthday lunch at a very grand and very rich house, not by the owners, who were not in residence, but by their dog and house sitter, our good friend Jay, who is neither grand nor rich.
pets-for-homes.co.uk). They were in a spacious enclosure behind a wire fence. Apparently the owners are terrified that they could escape and get run over. They are never allowed to leave the premises.
Surely pugs are among the ugliest dogs ever? I am sorry if you are the proud owner of one, I mean no offence, although, no doubt, you are offended now. When I went up to the two of them to do my usual silly impression of a dog-besotted idiot they barked at me. Well, barking is exaggerated. They wheezed and snuffled at me in a hostile manner. The small one was pathetic: every two wheezes and he had to take a laboured breath before he could squeeze the next wheezy bark out. He had no tail at all, not even a stub end. His rear end was smooth, he’d been docked until there was not even a smidgeon of tail left. Poor little blighter, no wonder he was in a bad temper. The other one was older and seemed resigned.
How can it be good for a dog to be bred until he has a completely flat face and no nose to breathe through? Give me a Millie, with a great big wet hooter and a solid tail to wag any day, even if she’s the result of an unfortunate liaison between a collie and a lab.
We took her to the pub where she found shelter from the storm after she escaped and were told that she rushed in like a bat out of hell and shook herself all over the guests sitting at the tables. Well done Millie, they’ll not forget you in a hurry.
Millie’s been to the dog groomer. I swear that girl moults more than other dogs. She hates it when I leave her there and if I should stop and chat to Tina, the groomer, and Millie is already in her pre-wash and brush up cage, she growls and whines and weeps bitter tears. ‘Mummy, how could you’, she says. Two hours later when I pick her up, she pulls like a train to get out and away. Dogs just don’t appreciate a pampering session. Not like me, I went to Helen’s for a delicious facial and I didn’t growl or whine once! Instead, I purred.
Beloved hasn’t got any worse, in fact, he’s perked up a bit. I treated him to a couple of theatre visits: the RSC’s almost all black ‘Hamlet' with the rising star Paapa Essiedu in the title role and the Globe’s 'The Merchant Of Venice' with Jonathan Pryce as Shylock. Both productions were excellent. “The seats are too hard”, Beloved said of Hamlet (his bottom is skin and bones now) and when asked about The Merchant he flatly stated that he didn’t like it. My friend Sue, who had asked, was rather taken aback. “What don’t you like, the play or the production?” "I simply don’t like plays whose entire action revolves around prejudice”, he said. Okay, Hm? Are there any plays that don’t have some form of prejudice? In fact, isn’t human frailty the whole point of Shakespeare? I agree to some extent, though, The Merchant is tragically nasty throughout.
Anyway, I have booked tickets for three more productions; I shall be going by myself.