Sunday, 17 February 2013

No blog.

It’s the prettiest day Scotland has seen since I can remember and instead of being outside in it, I am groaning on the sofa. I’m trying to use being under the weather to catch up with reading but the swimmy head and cross viral eyes are not making it easy.

There really is no blog today. I am only writing this because something so sweet has happened that it must be shared with the group.

Mr Stanley the Dog has assumed a new position.

I understand that in some quarters this might be considered UNDERWHELMING. Some quarters know bugger all about bugger all.

He has decided that instead of lying beside me when I watch the racing or read a book or, as now, type with my computer on my lap, that he will arrange himself delicately around the back and arm of the sofa, so that he is effectively draped around my head.

I don’t know quite why I find this so ludicrously sweet, but I do. And it is obviously very important that you should know it too.

Talking of sweet, I just saw an article in this week’s Speccie saying that people aren’t sweet any more. It managed to blame liberalism for this.

Sometimes, when I am feeling a bit weak, like today, I find it slightly tiring being a feminist, single, childless, liberal atheist. The religious people think I have no morals; the right wing think I am a fuzzy idiot who wants to nanny state everyone to death; the traditionalists harrumph because obviously we feminists hate all men and are working to undermine society from within; and the family values crowd say I am selfish and pointless because I refuse to mate and reproduce. The Daily Mail hates me on all four points. So, just sometimes, when I see a perfectly respectable periodical blaming liberalism for a reduction in people being sweet, I decide I have had ENOUGH.

I’m generally very polite to the right wing. I quite agree with some of their ideas. Others trouble me. I stretch and contort to understand their small state, free market ethos. I nod agreeably when they speak to me of the inefficiencies of bureaucracies, like the NHS and the BBC. They seem to like it when I do this. At last, they think, a sensible liberal, who can see our point of view. But then I turn out to have a point of view of my own. If they give me NHS screw-ups and government inefficiency, I offer them, very mildly, Enron and Lehman Brothers. At this point, they decide I am not so charming after all and go red in the face and start shouting. (Not all of them obviously. Some go very, very quiet and give me deathray stares.) Enron, in fact, is my touchstone for why the unfettered free market is a load of buggery bollocks. But apparently, in the bigger argument, it does not count.

This Speccie piece on sweetness is another old right wing meme which I have never quite understood. It goes, to paraphrase The Big Chill: we were great then and we’re shit now.

I’ve never quite understood why the right loves to wheel this intellectually cheap, empirically incorrect piece of old horse-burger out of the closet. You can hear the creaking from three fields away. I was going to knock it down for you, but I can’t actually be fagged. I could give you chapter and verse; I could show my working. But the fact is that I, and all of you, will have people in your life of unmitigated sweetness. You will have kind people and funny people and touching people and people who do something to make the world a better place. You will all know young people who make the new generation glitter with their energy and brightness and goodness. In a wider sense, you will have observed that despite economic crash caused by the free market fundamentalists, charities are still working and society is still functioning and people are still doing crappy, unsung jobs for not much money with amazing amounts of good grace.

And really, the reason that I don’t have to knock this argument down is that the sole piece of evidence that society was sweet then and is cynical and selfish now concerned some actor from Dad’s Army. Anecdotal Klaxon goes off; please walk quietly to the exits and stop universalising the particular.

Also, I wonder, when people make silly, grumpy arguments like this: have they ever heard of projection?

Stanley has gone to sleep now. The sun is beating in through the windows. I literally sat down to write two sentences to tell you how there was not going to be a blog today because I felt too ill. And then forty-eight paragraphs just fell out of my fingers.

Ah well, sorry about that.

Photographs are of the New Position:

It starts off with a bit of window duty:

17 Feb 1-001

Then moves into delicate paws:

17 Feb 1

17 Feb 3

Quizzical ear:

17 Feb 5

Channelling Audrey Hepburn, even though he is a fellow. There is no male equivalent of this level of elegance:

17 Feb 7

17 Feb 8

Slight posing fatigue now:

17 Feb 8-001

Because I think there is a race about to come on at Market Rasen:

17 Feb 9

And then full-blown chorus of PLEASE RELEASE ME, LET ME GO:

17 Feb 11

So funny, the Pigeon and the Duchess used to get the exact same look on their faces when they had had enough of posing for the camera.

I was thinking of them yesterday. I was thinking that I believed no one would ever fill their shoes; just too big a pawprint for anyone to match. But I must say, this fella is coming fast up the outside.


  1. Oh, my. There is so much love in those eyes. And the quizzical ear kills me.

    Every time I see Stanley I come closer to wanting to head off to the local rescue dog centre myself, even though our life is absurdly inappropriate for such an action, and I've never owned a dog (except for a depressingly neurotic, no-fun, pedigree Sheltie at the family home who was cared for mostly by my mum and put the rest of us off).

    A character such as Stanley would redeem that experience many-fold. I am so happy to know that he's coming up fast on the outside of the Pigeon and the Duchess: they take some beating.

  2. My Chester used to drape himself along the back of the sofa. I always felt he saw himself as a leopard relaxing in a tree, though he was more lion-coloured in fact.

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  4. Regarding the 38 paragraphs on politics: This is why I eschew politics, and I couldn't care less what any party thinks of me and my life choices. This leaves me plenty of free time to enjoy my life. It's not that I don't have strong opinions on issues, I do. I just refuse to be boxed and framed and placarded. Nobody agrees with each other, why should they agree with me, and why should I care? I really don't. It seems such a waste of time to pay attention to people who just sit around and bang on at each other, trying to change each other's minds. Why anyone should want to is beyond me. It would be like watching people argue about religion. Completely pointless. I say get on with life, live the best you can, the way that makes you happiest and brings you peace, and leave everyone else to do the same.

    Very excited about Stanley's new position, however! I love it when my furry friends devise a new game, adopt a new favorite spot, or in some way display their individual personalities. It's so special, and when it shows a deepening relationship, a closer trust, it's absolutely thrilling.

    Excellent photos of elegant Stanley, and here's hoping you're feeling better SOON!

    1. I agree with you so much, and I vastly enjoyed reading your comment.

      I could never, ever vote Tory. Not even in my demented dotage will I abandon that one guiding political principle, but argue about it with anyone else - no FEAR! I have a few long-standing Tory friends; we just talk about other stuff, and love each other despite what we know the other thinks about party politics. It can be done. Strong opinions are often best not expressed, on the whole, as one will alienate far more listeners than one has a hope in hell of converting.

  5. Stanley is perfectly stunning in every one of these photos! And your closing words about him are so lovely. And about all that grumpiness....thank you for giving it all your elegant words. I so tire of it and feel incapable of a response. Thank you for yours.

  6. It's a good dog day all around. You reminded me of the two cairns side by side on the sofa, chins and paws draped over the arm, waiting......for anything. We quit trying to protect the upholstery from their scratchy whiskers as they went through down to the frame. It's been re-uphostered, but not until they left.

  7. Stanley is SO beautiful! (even tho he's a chap) Been looking at Many Tears website & fantasising ........

  8. Dear Tania - I wish you well very soon! How awful to be under the weather while the weather is beautiful! And your Stanley is wonderful. He's come very far very fast, it seems, through your stories and photos. He is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. Kate

  9. I do hope this doesn't sound (too) mad but I've been paying close attention to Mr Stanley's eyes in all your pictures of him. The slight, understandable, wariness seeems to have completely disappeared which absolutely delights me. Although your final picture of him today did make me laugh out loud - poor posed-out Stanley.


  10. It's good to occasionally talk to right leaning and/or religious people, but you have to pick carefully the one you want to engage. Too many people speak in senseless talking points that you can't refute because they're convinced they're irrefutable. So pick carefully those with whom you will inevitably disagree.

    As for Stanley -- wow. But I have to say -- a dog is made better by a good owner and I see Stanley adjusting well because you are sensitive to his personality. So, good for you -- you made a gentleman out of him! He looks very stately and at the same time devoted.

  11. I do LOVE STANLEY - I echo what Nina says about good owners.

  12. Oh, Stanley! You are utterly lovely and quite, quite Audrey Hepburn like. :)

    Do hope you feel better soon, Tania. Push all the right leaning stuff out of your head for now. Chicken soup or your wondrous sounding Green soup and a good book is needed. Take care. x

  13. New piece en route - A Rhapsody for Mr Stanley....

    He is such a honey. The crossed paws are just so dapper. Two of ours do the same and it always makes me smile.

    And it is a wonderful position that he has taken up - fingers crossed that he doesn't start climbing over the top of your head. I regret having to give away an ancient sofa that had lovely wide back and arms. Sufficiently wide, let it be said, for an Irish Wolfhound to leap up and run along....

  14. Stanley is fast becoming your champion and that is the thing with rescue dogs: once they start to trust you it is the most wonderful feeling. The love ...and I agree with the reader above -the look of wariness has gone.


  15. How about Fred Astaire (when he's poised) and Gene Kelly (when he explodes into all-paws off the ground action)? -Jenertia

    PS- Sorry you're sick. I hope you're well enough to make yourself some of your magically restorative soups.

  16. Get well, great piece, agree with all your words and I love, love, love Stanley.

  17. Stanley the Dandy wins me over in every. single. photograph. I'm in love with his left ear!


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