Separated by a Common Language

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

James walked into the sitting room and sat down heavily on the sofa. Bob thumped a welcome with his tail on the floor and James reached down to stroke the dog’s head.

Jane smiled, carefully capped her pen, and blotted the ink on the letter she’d been writing. She poured him a glass from the bottle on the table.

“Is she asleep?”

He nodded, taking an appreciative sip and turned the bottle so he could read the label. Continue reading

Serene Sunday

Picture posting will have to wait until I get home. But from where I am stretched out in the fore cabin I have fine views of the changing skies. It looked like the heavens would open a little while ago, but the winds blew the grey clouds over and we had just a few drops of rain. MasterB is asleep and serene. He didn't like it when I left his sight and meted rather plaintively, so I have not carried out my plan for a short walk plus camera. Maybe in a few minutes.

Older Nephew may drop by with the new woman in his life, but it is fairly unlikely. I have done a good job on yesterday's paper, written some fiction, and feel incomparably lazy. Continue reading


Just over a week ago I was mentally congratulating myself on having got through the winter with no more than a few sniffles.


As spring sunshine turned skies blue and my neighbours socialised in their gardens, I was wrapped in my quilt, the light filtered through the half closed shutters, my temperature risen and my head pounding.

It’s amazing how quickly things fall apart. I can easily understand how people are reduced to eating sardines out of the can; leaving the washing up; allowing laundry, cleaning, everything to slip. Illness, physical or mental throws us off balance, upsets our routines, our systems; reveals the chaos that lies just beneath the surface.

I had to work on Saturday and again on Sunday morning. It’s all a bit of a blur, but I was very glad to get home and into bed. There I stayed for two and a half days with some breaks lying on the sofa or letting MasterB in and out.

At least it provided some precious reading time when I wasn’t sleeping. I read Helen Macdonald’s sublime and extraordinary H is for Hawk which won the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction last year. After her father died, she decided to train a goshawk. Continue reading

Of Cats, Jennifer Johnston, Armagh and Debates

Some animals really suffer. Cousin’s cats are discouraged from coming indoors, though they stroll through the house with remarkable insouciance to seek out favourite spots.

As for the garden, there are insulated houses for them in poor weather, and one they particularly like on a neighbour’s property which pleases the neighbour no end, as he says there is not a mouse or a rat anywhere near.

His contentment even extends to forgiving Marple for stealing the meat from his plate when he was out of the room.

But the moment the sun shines, the favourite spot is the sun chair with its striped cushion.

Fido seems to have established the greatest claim, and has worked hard on perfecting his lounging technique.

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Successful Blogging

What does success in blogging mean to you?

It’s a question that I ponder every now again, usually as a result of some missive from WordPress that suggests something that I should do to increase my traffic.

Is successful blogging really just about numbers? When I join in with the photo challenges the number of hits my blog gets rises. Is that success – random people looking at a picture I have posted? Some just paste a link to their own blog. That counts as a hit and a comment but hardly suggests they have lingered to see and appreciate what I have written or photographed.

I notice that some people visit and like my blog after I have visited and liked theirs. Politeness? Quid pro quo? Hardly an endorsement of my writing. If I like a hundred posts and those hundred like mine back because the bloggers think that is what they should do, it doesn’t make my post better.

Pictures of my cat also bring in the likes. Now, I agree that MasterB is the most beautiful cat alive, and my heart swells with pride every time someone says something nice about him, but cutting edge, it ain’t.

Continue reading

And of course, thank you for your sweat!

And of course, thank you for your sweat!

Not the sort of thing people say to me everyday, you’ll be relieved to hear. But as we haven’t yet got odour apps you might just have to take my word for it. Nice to know Air Max Nike appreciates me though. AMN left me a comment here on my blog. His cousin, Nike Free Run 3.0 also popped by and commented on the same post, Introducing Madame Fang. I had a bit of trouble following his thinking:

Thank you for any other wonderful article. The place else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect method of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the look for such information.

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Weather, Work Changes and a Cat Called Trevor

Rain, wind and sun. We have had it all today. Though fortunately no flooding. Apparently the Thames Barrier has been put to use for the eleventh tide in a row. I thanked my lucky stars that I was working from home. MasterB, currently lying beside me on the sofa, took himself back to bed in a drawer in the divan base. As I had to turn on the light at just after ten in the morning in order to see what I was doing I was tempted to follow his example and crawl back under the quilt.
However, this evening finds me feeling things have been achieved and a few more items have been crossed off my list. Having given up my salaried job, the calls I received offering me freelance work were more than welcome. Whether it brings in enough to keep the wolf from the door remains to be seen. Friends’ reactions to my decision have ranged for congratulations and cheers, to shaking heads and forecasts of doom. Financially I admit to misgivings, but there are times when you have to take risks. I am not going to go into detail about what I am doing, but writing is going to play a bigger part in putting food on my table than it has for a while.
Do feel free to commission me!
Trevor the cat has given me pause for thought. Cat rescue certainly doesn’t pay the bills, but it is very satisfying, more satisfying than anything I have done recently. However, I can’t see myself retraining as an RSPCA officer. Continue reading

Excitement, Excrement and Early Nights

Last night I sloped off to bed just after half past eight. Thinking about courses, and phoning the council seemed to have taken up an awful lot of my day.
Because the excrement saga continued.
It was still there when I got home. This was after the 48 hour response time was up. A voice at the end of the line said he would try to get it sorted by the end of the day. Not good enough I said. I wanted a guarantee someone would come out. He couldn’t give one, not working in the same office as the street cleaning people. He put me onto his supervisor. She was horrified at my story, confirmed there is no category for human excrement, and that my call had been logged as a complaint about dog waste.
She promised to call the street cleaning department herself. She called back within the hour to say she had not been able to speak to anyone but she would continue to try. She has children and is appalled that they could walk through human waste on a street.

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Of Coffee Stains, Interviews, and Food Before Art

Within the first hour of arriving at work I spilled some coffee on my nice white linen top. Never a good look, but worse because in the evening I had an interview for the BA in Creative Writing. I was in a meeting, so I couldn’t really rush out and rinse my top under the tap immediately as I should have liked. I began to feel very impatient with one of the meeting who said the same thing about six times in not very different ways.

And I am not exaggerating. Or at least not about the impatience. 

When she finally decided that we had heard her opinion as much as we could take, the meeting ended and I shot off to the loo where fortunately the hand basin is also behind a locked door. The next hour was fairly damp, but the worst of the stain was gone.

At lunchtime, I left that place of work and set off to another of my jobs. Today was warm, and by the mid afternoon sunny with blue skies. Anyway, I had an enjoyable time at work and then just an hour to kill before my interview.

I was pretty relaxed, more relaxed than I have ever been previously before an interview. I had so little to go on and had not submitted an application form so I didn’t really know what was going to happen, but I did have some questions of my own to ask.

Continue reading