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Sunday, 25 January 2015

make gloves not war

So it's snowdrop season and things in the soil are on the move. A mole poked his head up yesterday only to be greeted by a couple of dog snouts and quickly retreated. Up the top of the chimney the rooks are squabbling over nesting rights. You can hear them down the chimney and I was half expecting one of them to come tumbling down and land in the fireplace.

 Also yesterday, Pixie (no picture this time as I'm cross with her and I'm not going to give her social media coverage} ate one of my gloves. They were particularly nice ones too.

 It's a funny time of year up here - so much mud and not many things to divert your eyes to. No trees in blossom as yet or tulips bursting out of pots but it will come and I'm working hard to stay in the moment and just look at the mud without judgement. I am however considering gravelling over the whole lot.

 Next month I am doing a talk on The Boy with the tiger's Heart at Newport University and have managed with the help of the wonderful publicist Olivia at the publishers to put together a slide show to make it more interesting. I'm not very technically minded so hope I can press the right button at the right time. We have put on a series of circus pictures depicting animals in captivity having to do tricks and some health and safety headlines which are just too ridiculous for words.
Beezle going on his way
 Beezle (above) who deserves as much media coverage as he wants as he's never eaten one of my gloves, has told me not to worry too much and has assured me it'll all be alright in the end. As he and Nietzsche would say "You have your way and I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."
the ducks debating which is the way out

Instead of a poem I am putting up this manifesto instead.  

Saturday, 3 January 2015

linnets - innit?

Happy New Year dear Reader of cogsblog - heralded by this photo of a tree of remarkable singing linnets(photo taken by my dear friend Laura) If any ornithologists out there want to challenge the assumption they are linnets please leave a polite comment.
 So out with the old (see below)
 and in with the new. May this year be full of fun, adventure, romance, peace (oh where's the thesaurus when you want it) and beauty. Though as Beezle and John Ruskin would say
 "Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance."
 Well really - have neither of them thought of beautiful baby chicks.......

 or beautiful baby Pixies- who - ok are useless at tying up shoelaces but really excellent at eating the shoe. This year she has also eaten a large quantity of carrot cake. some cheese. a nice Turkish cushion and most of yesterday's lunch.
a beautiful baby Pixie
Dogs eh? Ever since Jai our first wolfhound died, the philosopher Beezle has refused to go into the living room.  I think he remember her in there - they used to lie happily together on the sofa - but for the last four and a half Pixie years he has not set foot in it and I don't think it's the scary dummies in there either.

I suppose, as he and Scott would say "Great God! This is an awful place."

However - this morning when I came down stairs and realised I'd left the living room door open - I heard him scampering out. His little claws make a clicking noise like knitting needles on the wooden floors. He looked guilty too - like he'd been disloyal to Jai. You just don't know what goes on in a dog's head do you?

O.K. If any of you are on this blog because it advertises it in the back of my book (The Boy with the tiger's Heart) and were hoping for bookish things all I can say is that sometimes I write about the books but mostly about dogs. However this year I will be beginning a book tour which will involve talking to loads of kids at schools and trying to be entertaining, witty, fun - oh where's the thesaurus when you need it?

Also I'm wondering if I should downsize? A life without encumbrance .......


Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door

every morning

without a hat or an umbrella,

without any money

or the keys to her dog house

never fails to fill the saucer of my heart

with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example

of a life without encumbrance—

Thoreau in his curtainless hut

with a single plate, a single spoon?

Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world

with nothing but her brown coat

and her modest blue collar,

following only her wet nose,

the twin portals of her steady breathing,

followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside

every morning

and eat all his food

what a model of self-containment she would be,

what a paragon of earthly detachment.

If only she were not so eager

for a rub behind the ears,

so acrobatic in her welcomes,

if only I were not her god.