A heron flies over head- not a rarity round here but not common either. A crow accompanies it- at a safe distance- as if escorting it away from crow airspace.
I've been watching the horses and donkeys eat. They don't stay long in one place but browse the available buffet. The big donkey strips a branch from a sapling then moves on to the next. My hope is that over the winter they'll halt the advancing scrub and tread and eat the field back into pastureland.
It's a damp, mild day. Grey skies. Very October.
Everyone in the house is coughing. Peak cough was yesterday. It's not a cheerful sound.
As I seem to be less congested than anyone else this morning I made a proposal that anyone heard hacking should have to stand on one leg, sing a comic song and give everyone else five pounds.
You don't have five pounds, said Ailz.
I'm wading through the final pages of Nicholas Nickleby. Things become much lighter and breezier whenever Squeers appears. How odd that a child-abusing, money-grabbing sociopath should be the most entertaining character in the book. But, then again, we all love Mr Punch. Vis a vis Mrs Nickleby: someone might have pointed out to Dickens that it may not be such a great strategy to give a character who is designed to be annoying quite so much space to annoy us in. A dash of Mrs N is invigorating; pages of her rabbiting on tempt the reader to skip.
I don't usually back the winner in big sporting events; This is because I favour underdogs- and there's usually a good reason why they have that status; but yesterday I was cheering for Swiatek and she not only won but never really looked in danger of losing. People- commentators- have been pronouncing her name as if there is an "N" in the middle. Shwee-an-teck. Can that really be right?
Two incidents in the episode of Midsommer Murders which I watched this evening that wouldn't be allowable in a contemporary TV show:
1. A man is attacked while trying to make a call from the village phone box.
2. A murderer leaves a message in the name of his victim at an airport reception desk. The victim's lover, who is the recipient, draws the conclusion that he is still alive. This is a plot point of middling importance.
In both cases the thing that has rendered the events implausible- going on vanishingly unlikely- is the fact that everybody now has a mobile phone.
The episode is only 15 years old.
My computer woke up this morning and told me it didn't want to go on the internet. I did everything I could to persuade it otherwise but it was adamant.
So I'm writing on Ailz's computer. I've had to reset all my passwords because they were saved on my computer and I'd forgotten what they were.
I hope to live to see a day when the computers of 2020 will seem as quaintly clunky as the manual typewriters and boxy black and white TVs of my youth.
Odi has sent us pictures and a video of Pickles. (In spite of everything they've kept her old name.) She looks sleek and fat and is clearly a general favourite. Even Odi, who has never had a pet before and was resistant to having one now- has fallen in love with her. So that's a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.
Since I'm remembering dreams in some detail I might as well record them.
Dream 1: I'm staying at a country house in Scotland. A man with no legs (he may lack arms as well) manages to wheedle and threaten his way in. I'm not particularly frightened of him, but recognise him as the kind of folkloric character who is best not annoyed. While he settles down for a kip in my father's armchair, his female companion, who looks like a child's drawing of a malevolent fairy, suggests we all go out for dinner in town.
Dream 2: We have acquired a large old tape recorder complete with recordings of a seance. We play these back at what turns out to be a get together of the spirit medium's family, complete with children and grandparents. They are not best pleased. The medium's husband is the same person as the Rumplestiltskin character in dream 1. (I have borrowed his face from a the presenter of a current TV advert for guide dogs.)
Dream 3: I've gathered together a group of my fellow hotel guests to make a short movie. I own all the equipment and seem to know how to use it. I will direct and work the camera, a girl I knew at University will record the sound. A couple of old men who look like Mr Magoo will play estranged brothers. Their shirt fronts go brown and crispy- burning up from the effort of trying to invent a story line.