Quite often, when I am in this cousin visit, I sit down, far too late, to write the blog and say something like: ah well, the day got away from me like a wild horse. Usually this is just because I am not accustomed to the sinews of family life. I always forget what acres of time I have at home. I expand my activities to fill the hours available, which is possibly why I know quite so much about American politics, but there really are hours.
That is why I am always in awe and wonder of those of you who do the parenting.
Today, though, apart from making a chicken risotto, I did not have that much domestic or child life. The hours ran away for quite other reasons. I was concerned with two things which will have serious consequences for my actual life, and how it goes on from here.
I got one done in the morning, and it is not yet resolved. In some ways, it does not matter so much. I am adapting. I discover that, as I get older, I am not calcified into hard habit, as rumour suggests, but oddly flexible. So, one thing did not work out quite as I had planned; there shall be an alternative, there may be a swerve in direction. Perhaps it is because I am still in the early days of life without the Pigeon. Losing a Beloved can make one realise that other frets are small things indeed.
The second, which has been going on for a while, and needed a final bit of logistic, and then some patient waiting for the result, was to do with the Rescue Gent.
I really, really was not going to tell you about this. I did not want to tempt fate; I did not want to have to go into explanations should the thing fail; I did not even especially want my family to know, and have their expectations raised. But the hope grew so great in me that it kept leaking out about the edges. I could not help mentioning it here. I sent a hinting email to The Mother. The World Traveller got a telephone message, and sent one back, transports in her voice.
Part of my pathetic attempts at discretion were, I am slightly ashamed to admit, to do with a completely irrational idea about my two old girls. There was a part of me which felt as if I was committing some kind of betrayal. I know this is absurd, and empirically incorrect, but there we are; it turns out that despite my rationalist self, I cannot help a little magical thinking creeping in around the edges.
Many people, Dear Readers included, say, when an adored dog dies, that you must get another. I was convinced that was a load of buggery bollocks. There must be a pause, a grave mourning period, a time of proper and right grief. Hats must be doffed; respect must be paid. But late at night, when I was feeling particularly melancholy, I could not help wandering around the internet, looking at other dogs.
I kept coming back to the Gentleman. There are literally thousands of dogs out there which need a home. There are pleading beauties everywhere you look. But his face was the one that drew me back, time and time again. And in a particularly odd confluence of synchronicity, it turned out that his foster humans and I had a family connection, through my dear departed dad. It seemed like a sign, even though I’m never quite sure I believe in signs.
So, the application was made. Then I convinced myself that I would not be deemed suitable. I am slightly used to not being suitable, on account of not always following the path most travelled. Besides, writing gets you used to rejection. The pitch is not quite the right one, the profile is not what the publishers are looking for, the market is crying out for anything except for one. I drew on old resources and steeled myself for failure.
The vet was asked for a reference. God knows what he will say, I thought. Last time he saw me, I was sobbing in his office; face scarlet with emotion, eyes pigged with grief.
Finally, all the due diligence was done. I had sent off the last requested piece of information. I sat down and tried to think of something else. Every time my email pinged, I rushed to the computer. I never realised how much absurd email I got (missives from The Racing Post reminding me about the Ten to Follow competition, Google alerts about Kauto Star, kind offers from John Lewis for 20% off for Christmas) until I was waiting for the ONE VITAL MESSAGE.
In the end, it was a telephone call.
It was YES.
I’m afraid to say I put the telephone down and burst into tears. I like to think I believe in stoicism and putting a good face on things, but sometimes that does fail. Just then, it failed. Luckily, the Beloved Cousin and the visiting Old Friend have no fear of strong emotion. They flung their arms out in celebration. I shall always remember the moment I was told that the Rescue Gentleman should be mine, because those two great women were here to celebrate it with me.
One more absurdity, if you will kindly bear with me. (I am used to being slightly absurd, but sometimes I do feel the levels are getting near the Move to the Exit zone.) Everyone here, as you know, gets a blog name. Even the animals get blog names. It’s a nutty privacy thing. But for some reason, I am going to call the Rescue Gent by his real name. It’s such a great name, and I want you to know it.
He is a small lurcher, and his name is Stanley. My dream is that, at some stage, I shall get a friend for him, and the friend shall be christened Dr Livingstone. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this thought brings me.
So, my darlings, welcome a new addition to the blog. Say hello to Stanley the Lurcher, and the start of a whole new life.
No time or energy for many pictures today; just past and present and future Beloveds:
My darling Duchess and Pigeon:
Myfanwy the Pony, and Red the Mare, waiting patiently for me in Scotland, reported to have been on immaculate behaviour in my absence:
Oh, that furry face, with its slightly questing look. Luckily she adores dogs, so she shall be pleased about the New Addition.
And here he is, our lovely fellow, to be with us very, very soon:
Stanley the Lurcher. You do see.
PS. I am so tired my eyes are actually blurred, so I cannot begin to do a proof-read, or an edit. There are almost certainly terrible blunders and typos and nonsenses. Please forgive.