Friday, 31 August 2007

Dressing abstract depictions of incessant enemies in burnt pantyhose

With a self-incriminating sniff, Bessy directed my attention to the notorious smell wafting through the hall. She'd left the bread under the grill long enough to help re-enact the ambiance of a scorched-earth policy orchestrated by a generation-gap guerrilla outfit that had withdrawn to watch a dire black and white silent movie. I looked around for the other props and noticed a group of men in green fatigues sitting around the TV having a smoke and laughing raucously at a silent film which turned out to be a reflection of themselves, with Bessy in the background. I left them some muesli and milk and put a bucket of water ready should the burnt toast turn into anything more.

Margaret never wakes when there's a smell of burning because she has horrors of being burnt whilst conscious. So I left her in bed.

Felix tells me he knew a man who used to communicate with the enemy using pieces of burnt toast arranged in various formations and posited above his head on the end of his sword. I asked if this had been discovered by his seniors. Yes, Felix said, but nobody, not least the soldier, understood what he was trying to communicate, so they let him carry on and the enemy ended up waving their own burnt toast around until everyone thought the war was over and ran out to burn toast together. Remarkable.

George was dressing a new patient in pantyhose when I arrived at the surgery. I asked, hopefully, if we were going to give up the serious business of dentistry for a day and act out something splendidly escapist. George told me I couldn't escape from anything, so I'd better get in the surgery and forget trying to get out of work. He has a way of turning glee to glumness, does George.

Cookie had managed to secure an appointment with an abstract depictor of incessant oddities who resides in the submerged spotlight above the dental chair. The appointment was ending as I entered the surgery. I waved up at the light, out of politeness to the depictor (though I've never seen or heard him), and asked what oddities were incessant these days. Cookie said that was a crazy question to ask given that everything is odd and everything is incessant, depending on what point of view one takes. She popped out of the light, and we got on with treating our first patient.

Which brings me on to the meaning of burnt offerings and the odd nature of all things dressed up ready for drama. Curious how it all seems to have something to do with retreating ignominiously, or making peace and falling into fits of laughter about oneself.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Swimming with wisdom in Alpine bus shelters

I woke up this morning to discover that, despite my dreams suggesting otherwise, I was not in Bavaria nor in a swimsuit made of ginger bread. Bessy, on the other hand, was most surprised to see me, judging by her reaction when I opened my eyes. Whether she thought I was in Bavaria too, I have no idea.

Margaret, whilst sleeping, wrote a long list of uncomfortable positions in which to sit. I thought that was a particularly productive use of her time and resolved to do the same should my unconscious allow it.

Felix told me this morning that Bessy had taken to learning a new language, having observed her mouthing things, and asked if I had encouraged it. At first it looked like she was yawning, to me but, when I looked again, I could see that she was indeed fairly fluent at something, though it was silent. Felix said she wasn't silent but was simply articulating herself at a pitch I couldn't hear. I asked why. Because I couldn't be trusted, he said, which left me feeling a little out of sorts.

George was part of a trial into the effects of sitting on radiator edges at extreme altitudes whilst picking one's toenails. It was part of a project to assess the potential behaviour of bare-footed male passengers waiting for buses in bus stops where radiators were positioned to give the impression that they were warm, even if they weren't, anywhere in the Swiss Alps. I asked if buses were so infrequent that he had to remain so long. That wasn't the point, for him. It was about endurance and he looked at me as if he wanted to let me know I wouldn't have been capable, which is probably true.

Mr Shortsleevestoshowthewrist was in with his daughter for a preschool check-up. The child opened her mouth for me to have a look. Cookie peered in, as she does, and commented on the beautiful arrangement of unsaid wisdoms that would unfold in later life. I'm not sure what these look like, but they were clearly there. I told the child to look after said wisdoms yet to unfold, at the same time as I wondered if I had looked after mine.

Which brings me back to not being where Bessy expected me to be and trials of endurance. There's got to be a lesson in that about avoiding negligence of wisdom.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Pruning thoughts around amplified caravans

Bessy was tucking the Wisteria in and pruning all the shoots when I woke this morning. As a dog, she's not bad at wielding shears. Margaret was at the peanut feeder in a way reminiscent of her youth because she was laughing like a child, which is wonderful to hear. Anyway, I left them to enjoy the late summer sunshine.

Felix was born sometime before his father, he tells me, on account of a strange tilt in the earth at that time. I asked if he'd rolled out first, instead of last. For some moments he looked at me very oddly, then said there is a phenomenon called the reversal of sloping time, which only certain privileged persons were aware of. I took that as rather a brush-off, so drank the remainder of my tea in silence.

George ran all the way round the earth in the manner of a tilted caravan (something to do with paying homage to a waylaid owner of such a vehicle, whose axle broke on the A40 to Oxford during the summer of 1956). He beat all the other contestants because he had mastered a curious technique of bunny-hopping-caravannery. I asked him this morning if he'd managed to park up in any beautiful spots, having shortly returned from some in Wales. He said the whole point was that, wherever in the world one was, one was always beside the A40 and therefore always smelling tarmac and exhaust fumes. I guess there's a reason for doing these things, but George wasn't in the mood for discussing it today.

Cookie was constructing a means of amplifying the thoughts of the butterflies milling around harmlessly in the surgery garden, from the various metal objects and wires in the surgery. I waited and eventually she tuned the apparatus into a particular butterfly's thoughts. It had ideas, it seemed, of becoming a champion for the rights of butterflies to have private thoughts. Cookie turned the apparatus off promptly. She had not realised they were so touchy.

Which brings me to tilted thoughts: when does one know objectively that they're beginning to lean one way or another? And would pruning them help restore equilibrium?

Monday, 27 August 2007

Turning mountains upside down with bleating sheep

Bessy, Margaret and I have just returned from spending the Bank Holiday weekend in the Brecon Beacons, a favourite spot of ours in which to get lost.

We had a bit of fun when Bessy decided that she would bleat. We couldn't find her for hours but then Margaret made a Welsh Cake as her Granny had taught her and the Beacons turned upside down and emptied Bessy out into my lap. She was still bleating, but wonderfully. Such was the weekend.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Unaware of cabbages returning with circular eyelids

It was a short sojourn and Bessy wasn't there when I got back. Perhaps it was longer than I thought. Margaret returned yesterday with a cabbage dressed in a monkey suit. I'm not sure why.

Felix was walking in circles when I arrived at the bench. He was contemplating how it must be when there's a reason to keep going over the same ground. I asked if he'd discovered such a reason. He stopped and looked at me as if I had just caused a fire alarm by raising an innocent eyebrow. No, he said, that's the point. I drank my tea and watched his circular motion and fell into a minor trance. Maybe that was the reason.

George once hypnotised a kangaroo with a nasty habit of being defiant. Today he suggested I should learn from the kangaroo's lesson. I asked what that was. George rested his chin on his hands and fluttered his eyelids innocently (at least that's what I thought).

I don't know what happened after that but Cookie said I was remarkably well behaved all day and that if I was lucky, the stars might bring me a wish that I hadn't yet thought of. I said that sounded great but Cookie warned me not to behave again, because it was boring.

Which brings me back to going on a sojourn, or thinking one is, or not even being aware that that is where one's just been. Or maybe I'm going in circles, and I've turned into a subdued kangaroo that was once defiant.

A brief sojourn

Bessy is guarding the end of the bed, while I make a brief sojourn to somewhere else. Back, hopefully, in a little while.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Rotating complexity causing water to boil in a pink wind

I woke up this morning and noticed the world wasn't where it had been last night. This troubled me, and it was all I could do just to get out of bed. I'm sure this had nothing to do with Bessy seeing a mythological creature during the night and Margaret chasing after it. The creature doesn't appear to have returned. Neither has Margaret. And the world's not righted itself yet.

Felix was exploring the mythical status of his own mind a few days ago, and discovered to his delight that his thoughts were as unsubstantiated - but as critical to the world - as they had been last time he explored, sometime in the Middle Ages. I said this sounded like Science had never arrived. He said Science was just another myth and, to make his point, didn't bother putting his kettle on the gas stove. The water boiled.

George once moved the axis of the earth, he tells me, by blowing warm air into a pink t-shirt attached to a brand new washing line. I asked if such an activity could reverse the rotation caused by mythical creatures being chased by a woman. George paused as he applied his lipstick long enough to signal that this was not the sort of thing he wished to discuss. So he didn't.

Cookie was still there. At least, in relation to the position she was at yesterday, if not in relation to the rest of the world. I asked her if she considered her position on earth to bear any consequence on the location of her spiritual friends in the yew tree. She looked at me rather oddly and said that in order for there to be a consequence there had to be an alternative, otherwise the two were inextricably linked, and therefore could not be a consequence of each other. This was quite complex for Cookie and far too complex for me, so I went to bring our first patient in.

So there we are: there's a mythical creature running around, the world has relocated, there's no need for a fire to boil water, and Cookie's gone complex on me. Perhaps that's why one shouldn't give up on myths just yet, if that was what one was thinking of doing.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Suffocating in congregations with little insight

Bessy was hard at work sticking all the molecules of air together in the back garden with superglue, when I emerged from my slumber. She gets so far and creates quite a mass of immovable air, and then begins to suffocate and gives up. Margaret looks forward to these days as she is forced to re-ventilate Bessy with bellows and it tickles her to see Bessy inflate and, if bellowed enough, to float. I attached a piece of string to Bessy's leg before I left, just in case Margaret forgets.

Felix lived in a water molecule for a period, he tells me, and charted its journey around the world. He had started in this very spot and, some three months later, returned to it. I asked if water molecules congregated, like humans, in particular places that meant something to them. Felix said that he knew for a fact that the molecules I kept excreting from my bladder, were always anxious to return. I considered my cup of tea and sniffed it a couple of times, but Felix reassured me that, like humans, water would always morph to suit the conditions.

George once won a competition in which the participants had to morph themselves into the shape of any object they liked so long as it was a teacup. George, being spectacular at this sort of thing, chose to be a teacup with a broken handle. It had some significance to a relationship he had at the time, but he won't say any more than that. The judges wept and awarded him first prize. I asked today if he might be able to re-morph into a teacup with handle glued back on. He replied that the past is the past, and there's no repairing what is broken.

After that sad bit of conversation, I found Mr Pillywiggle - he of the jaded sense of humour if the light's not right - discussing with Cookie the reflection of an insight he had just had, on the surgery window. I couldn't see a reflection and suggested we get on with placing his beautiful new crown. Cookie was, though, staring at a reflection with her mouth wide open. I asked her to describe it. She said it was of a man spinning on a ladybird whilst singing about a merry cow. I asked both of them what this insight was. Cookie said we didn't have to understand insights, just to appreciate that someone had had one. Mr Pillywiggle seemed perfectly happy with this vote of confidence. I guess the light was right.

So it seems that whilst one might have little insight, one can still appreciate unglued objects in life, even if said objects, when congregated, change their shape. I've got to talk to Felix about that.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Feuding over coloured utensils

I woke to find Bessy balancing the entire contents of the kitchen on her nose. The ceiling of the kitchen, the floor of the bathroom above, the ceiling of the bathroom, and the roof of the house had all opened up on time, thank goodness. Margaret was on top, with an umbrella, observing the horizon. I don't understand why she does it in the rain.

Felix tells me he visited the horizon not long ago, so that he could watch at close quarters the end of a dynastic feud that had been raging for centuries. The feud had something to do with the choice of red used for the stripes on the lighthouse. I suggested it was about time they finished their disagreement given that it was just about paint but Felix looked at me severely and said that what might appear trivial sitting here, had a very different complexity when you're standing on the distant flats. I looked at my cup of tea and wondered how much more complicated life could get, but didn't say anything more to Felix.

George used to paint stripes on glaciers in all sorts of colours. He then skied the glacier on his bare feet as a way of adding a random pattern to their soles. Cookie commented that it was good for a foot's spiritual well-being to be dosed up with frozen colours. George and I considered what she had said, but could find no relevance, so we got on with the day.

Which brings me to a thought I had as I was doing root canal therapy on Mr Brownsteig's lower molar: could a feud be painted a peaceful colour, balanced on a dog's nose, and marvelled at until it resolves itself?

Monday, 20 August 2007

Charging with misunderstanding into a feast of conversation

Bessy woke this morning, picked up Margaret's red coat and waved it menacingly at the ironing board. The board charged and Bessy ran out of the house. Margaret jumped on the board and brought it under control, and we all sat down to a breakfast of eggs and toast. I like it when weeks start like this.

Felix was ready with my tea when I arrived at his bench this morning. He had been to see a dancer on a bench overlooking the same bit of coast, but in a different era, and had returned early on account of the dancer's lack of conversation. I asked if the era was one past or future. Felix said that was irrelevant as there would always be something one could discuss if so inclined. I asked if we could discuss the effect of an era on conversation. Felix didn't comment.

George once sailed to Barcelona dressed as a sleepy fellow of inordinate intelligence, to dispute with a man there the origin of the Feast of Misunderstanding about the Concept of Unanimity. I mention this because this morning George and my first patient told me that if I applied myself in life I might actually turn out to more than a mere conception of a grave misunderstanding. I have to say that I was at a loss to know what to make of this. With brave face I asked the patient to come into the surgery for his examination and buried my anxiety.

It turns out that the patient - a Mr Adrian Buginmybedwithscurvy - is excellent at painting white walls white whilst alluding to the inherent diversity in colour that might have been. As I examined his teeth I asked if he'd ever had anything charge at one of his white walls, perhaps alluding to a perception that it might have been red, if only it wasn't white. Cookie said that within walls there were spirits with all sorts of emotions, including envy. Mr Buginmybedwithscury was lost. As was I.

So it is when the week begins with a feast for breakfast: one ends up conversing about misunderstandings and concepts of misunderstandings that blow one's mind away. Sometimes, though, I just don't understand what's happening, which is something I've yet to grow comfortable with.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Understanding tea that floats on a Sunday morning

Given that it is Sunday today, it was surprising that any of us woke before Mrs Beetleman opposite. Even more surprising was that Mrs Beetleman didn't surface at all. This caused us some alarm at first but we convinced ourselves that we were indeed awake - and alive - by reciting poetry none of us understood. Margaret is convinced that only when one is dead does one fully understand anything. I was happy to believe her this morning, given the circumstances.

I don't normally go to see Felix on a Sunday owing to his not drinking tea on the Sabbath. I asked him today why he didn't, as he has never followed religious doctrine of any sort. He said he had been to visit friends in Ireland one Sunday and discovered they had all taken to drifting aimlessly on logs in their local lake. Since they had survived the day without tea, he decided that it was safe to abscond on the Lord's day, whether or not he was around, which, I suppose, makes sense.

It makes me think just what wonderful things there are to discover from one's closest friends on Sundays that begin with a shock. I'm sure there's something in that.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Fossilised waste products of imagination

This morning I was dreaming of the consequences of acid erosion on the tails of Precambrian squirrels. I've no idea if such animals existed, but the effect was disastrous and, no doubt, has ramifications today. This dream may have been prompted by Bessy's discovery yesterday of fossils of creatures morally corrupted by a declining will to paint beautifully. I'm not sure how Bessy elucidated this but Margaret fears contamination and has insisted the fossils be put in quarantine. Bessy isn't too pleased.

Felix tells me there are men in the lighthouse below his bench who have been corrupted by their poor grasp of location. This has lead them to believe that they are in the centre of a gigantic slag heap somewhere in the north of England. I asked if it made much difference where they believed they were so long as they were where they are. Felix looked upset and said if they didn't believe they were down in the lighthouse, where did that leave him. The idea left me feeling a little queasy, so I didn't pursue it.

George ponders from time to time on the prehensile abilities of humans carrying themselves across gorges whilst discussing the rights and wrongs of moral degradation in the Outer Hebrides during the reign of King James I. He was at it again this morning when I arrived at the surgery and had hoisted himself above Mrs Farshorewithnosand who was waiting to make an appointment. I suggested to George that now might not be the time to contemplate matters Scottish but he looked down on us and said it was a terrible time and terrible times were always apt to be contemplated on Thursday mornings. I left him to it.

Cookie had wrapped the surgery in a paper made from the forgotten products of fruitful yet wasted imagination. It looked very pretty, but sad too.

I suppose there's something in beautiful things, or beautiful people, buried or forgotten. Perhaps in time they'll be dug up and thought of as fossils grasping, still, for expression.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Tunnelling through armoured thoughts

Bessy tunnelled under the house last night. It would appear she was looking for the firefly that had stolen the thought she was having when Margaret put her out to relieve herself before bed. Margaret followed her through the tunnel and sang songs about restless cities crying for the greenery they'd left behind. Needless to say, I was kept awake.

Felix commented that stolen thoughts are on the rise along with all sorts of other antisocial behaviour. The secret is to guard one's thoughts by remaining silent about them. I said that sounded like he'd just revealed a thought, to which he replied that I was the one putting my thoughts in danger. It felt a little like ping pong, so I drank my tea in silence.

George once built a tunnel underneath the Atlantic because he had been told the bedrock was a good place to grow a beard, which at that time appealed to him. I asked him this morning if burrowing somehow helped him retrieve stolen thoughts. He looked at me sternly and said that in this world people ought to be more happy to share their thoughts so nobody feels compelled to steal them. I asked if he'd like to hear a thought of mine. He said there was some filing to do and left me standing at the desk.

Cookie was standing on the dental chair. She said there was a plane of interesting information at that level, she'd recently discovered, and she was listening in. I asked if she was stealing thoughts. There's no need to protect thoughts, she said, with armour. I'm sure that's a good metaphor, but I've no idea how it related to my question.

Which brings me back to the way I lost the thought I was having before Bessy lost hers. I had hoped this blog would help, but it hasn't. But then, there are always other thoughts to take its place, like thinking that there's a wonderful piece of apple pie waiting for me to eat when I get home. If, that is, nobody's stolen it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Catching wisdom with moribund chest hair

Margaret and Bessy were sitting in the garden with the rain pouring down this morning. I asked if either wanted a hot drink. They then disappeared from my view and the next thing I knew there were shrieks of laughter from behind me in the kitchen. It's an old trick they like to play when they think I'm not all there. I find it mildly irritating, so left them and went to find Felix.

Felix tells me there are men with irregularly trimmed chest hair on their way to subvert us all by preaching incessant words of moribund wisdom. I asked what wisdom is ever moribund. Felix asked if I knew my name. I told him what it was. He said that was moribund since neither of us needed to know it. That rather disturbed me.

George tells me that when he was reading vast works of medieval tax code he used to catch raindrops with chopsticks. I asked him if that was a trick he still did. He looked at me very severely and said that wisdom was not acquired by trickery but by the development of self control and intellectual rigour. I nodded and left the reception silently.

Cookie was in the photo on the wall. The photo is one I took of a man playing a flute in a Confucius temple. He was in pain, Cookie told me, so she was going to bring him for us to treat, which she did. And we treated him, and he was pleased, and then he went back to the picture and played a happy tune, which was lovely.

And there I am again: thinking that all is lost only to discover that, after all, it isn't. Or perhaps I just don't want it to be, so it isn't. Or perhaps it is all a trick, and someone's having a good laugh at me as they trim their chest hair.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Observing transient reflections through shards of pottery

Bessy spent most of last night building an observatory from the bricks lying about the garden. It would seem she wanted a closer look at her alter ego, residing currently on a piece of rock near Pluto. Margaret said I should check the view through the telescope before Bessy did, just in case said ego was frightening. I like Bessy as she is and had no wish to see her as anything else. So I left Margaret to do the scary bit and went to find Felix.

Felix is, he tells me, the alter ego of a canary known to float along the French Riviera on a polystyrene cool box and, at the same time, that of a professor of philosophy with bunions, buried in an Oxfordshire churchyard sometime in the nineteenth century. I asked if the two original egos knew each other. He said that was impossible given that the bird was incapable of seeing anything but its own reflection.

George was an astronaut once and took flowers with him in case he found a suitable recipient in space. I suggested the flowers would never droop if there was no gravity, which would be a good thing. George said there was no merit in that, since the drooping was an essential part of why we found them beautiful in the first place. I felt George was about to start his life-is-transient-so stop-wasting-it lesson, so I left for the surgery.

Cookie had covered Mr Barryparry's face with a special cloth weaved from the thoughts of all the nice people in the world who hold fragments of pottery together as the glue sets. Cookie insists it helps fragile people who come to the surgery. I asked Mr Barryparry if he'd seen his alter ego and broken into many parts. Cookie said that was perfectly possible given that Mr Barryparry visits churches built with movable parts. I'm not sure I or Mr Barryparry followed, but the allusion was charming, as ever.

It seems to me that, however hard you look for the other side of a personality, it'll always be obscured by glued-together fragments of one sort or another. Perhaps it's not worth looking for after all given the transience of life. Or perhaps it is, if it interests you.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Trouble in the garden

With the trouble in the garden today, Bessy thanked Margaret for avoiding sending her out. I'm not sure any of us knew what said trouble was, but it wasn't worth risking getting involved.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Knitting anxious dreams for extinct cakes

Bessy dreamt she was a rhino last night. This wouldn't be a problem normally, but she woke up in a sweat worried that she might already be extinct. Margaret gave her a kick and she yelped, and soon she was her normal self.

Felix tells me that the world is extinct in its entirety as soon as a moment in time passes. He said that we were extinct too and that we should all be breaking out in anxious sweats. I gave him a kick and he yelped and poured his tea all over my trousers. The wet patch is still there...which sugests to me there are exceptions to Felix's theory.

George lead an expedition once to find a lost bottle with a curious message, somewhere on Salisbury Plane. Amid gunfire from friendly army people, his team of one discovered no such bottle but did discover a curious message scribbled on the underside of a performing two-legged cow (who, incidentally, has a sister knitting sweaters in Alaska). I asked what the message said. George went pale and said there were messages that were not meant for mortal eyes. I'm not sure what the cow made of it but George came back a changed man.

Mrs Billawellow was complaining that her husband was cooking too many sweet cakes and that was why her teeth were rotting. I suggested she consider declaring the cake an extinct species, making its removal from the house a fait accomplit. Cookie said that to make a species extinct just so a person could save their teeth was a disgrace. I agreed, suddenly realising how insensitive I'd been to her nature concerns, and Mrs Billawellow smiled at the thought of another cake.

Which brings me back to this blog, which will soon be extinct, if it isn't already, just like me. Or perhaps extinction itself will soon be extinct, which would be a relief.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Oil paintings and open wounds

Bessy likes to lick wounds. I believe at heart she is a healer. I'm not sure Margaret's mother, hanging on the wall in the form of an oil painting, shares my confidence in the hound: Bessy was licking a wound on her face that had appeared overnight. She was most disconcerted but Margaret told her to quieten down. I suggested it was now time to remove the picture. Margaret's mother praised Bessy and her wound-healing.

Felix tells me that to suffer wounds is a fool's game. He says pious men drifting in submarines might insist that breaking each other's bones was good for the soul, but he begged to differ. I said it sounded like he didn't think much of biblical torture and tormented sacrifice for the good of self and others. He opened his flask of boiling water and poured it over my head. I screamed and he asked if I thought it had done me any good. He has a way of making a point, does Felix.

George's face looks something like an oil painting on days when he's in a rush. I noticed a small red mark on his chin and wondered if it was a shaving cut or a slash of lipstick. I mentioned it and George said it was neither, but a scar from an attack by a stuffed dodo in the the Science Museum. He turned round and touched it up, and we continued with the day.

Mr Hussain's best friend had smashed his teeth with a squash racket. Both his upper central incisors were fractured at the level of the pulp. He regularly put his tongue over the exposed nervous tissue and I asked if he was a healer. Cookie interrupted and said no, Mr Hussain walks on his toes like a graceful ballerina - it was what she most liked about him. I guess she knew what she was talking about, but I didn't.

Which is why I brought Bessy in at the beginning, because there seems to be something about licking wounds of the past and present, and in the meantime playing with the dead, and doing it all without taking any scars. Or inflicting any.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Influencing stones and tractors

Felix tells me there are ways of driving tractors so that a tyre mark is never left, but you had to be a master of passing through life without influencing it in order to know how. I mention this because Bessy has a tractor logo stamped on her bed. This may seem innocuous but Margaret this morning was seated in mid-air as if atop a tractor but was, in fact, above Bessy's bed. Though there was no tractor in the kitchen, there were tyre marks on the floor. It was most strange.

George spent some time in a priory that had fallen into disrepair. In fact, I believe it would be more accurate to say he lived among a priory, and spent much time contemplating how best to climb the ruins with both hands in the pose of prayer. I asked him this morning if during that time he ever found himself thinking he was atop a wall when in fact he was mid-air. He asked if I was OK, which I suppose meant he hadn't.

Jack Wobbleripple came in clutching his milk-soaked tooth, which he'd knocked out when he tripped over the old stone he was making into a witch. We sat him in the chair and Cookie gave him a good telling-off about stones and witches. I asked if he'd thought he was sitting on something and then discovered he wasn't and that was why he'd knocked the tooth out. Cookie said I was always talking about keeping secrets that weren't really secrets and that I should get on and re-implant the tooth. I'm not sure I ever mentioned secrets, but then, Cookie knows things I don't.

And that's why passing through life and influencing it seems so hazardous, if there's a stone or a wall in the way at least.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Waving hello to composed crocodiles

There are times when Bessy and Margaret go out for a night-walk in the wind and rain. When they do, I wake up full of woe. Last night they went for such a walk. This morning I was full of woe. There's no explanation for it, as far as I can see.

Felix had spied a foreign sailing boat on the horizon and so popped over for breakfast. He had left a note on the bench saying if I waved, he'd see me and wave back. I couldn't see any boat, let alone Felix, but I waved since I needed cheering up. And sure enough, Felix waved back. At least, Bessy wagged her tail and barked at the sea.

George eats breakfast from a banana leaf as a way of reminding himself of his days on the coast in Sri Lanka. In those days, mind, he used to surf on banana leaves, he tells me. This morning his hair was in a mess, he said. I commented that it looked as good as ever. He said that if I cared, I'd have noticed the stray hairs sticking out. Given there are only half a dozen and they were all plastered down to his skull, I decided it was better if I left him to worry alone.

Mrs Benson came in today for a check up. She has a very remarkable ability to possess composure even under the harshest conditions. Only this morning she had retained it despite being flogged in a market for stealing a crocodile with ear muffs, somewhere along the coast. I asked if she felt humiliated by the experience. She smiled enigmatically and Cookie remarked on how composed she looked. And then we polished her teeth.

What it is to be composed, whether walking in the wind and rain, hopping onto distant boats or surfing on leaves. It seems easier to compose a short recollection of a day, than to recollect composure for a short day. Perhaps it comes down to what one wears on one's ears.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Monks examining nests with integrity

In applying for a post as an examiner of archetypal dog pack leaders, Bessy happened to question the integrity of the process. Margaret said there were no leaders, only followers, just like there were no processes, just followers of them. Bessy was a little put out and left the application for another day.

Felix is a man of integrity, so I have no reason to doubt him when he tells me there is a monastery on an island in the North Sea inhabited by monks dressed in yellow and with continuously itchy feet. I asked what happened if their feet stopped itching. Felix said the monk is thrown out and condemned to a life examining the outside world. I thought that was rather a good outcome, but Felix was nonplussed. He looked at his feet longingly and we drank our tea in a most contemplative state.

George says he had a good monk as a friend once, and they excelled in competitions on forward planning. In one competition the competitors were asked to forward plan for the arrival of the unforeseen consequence of the unknowable. That seemed rather complex to me. George said that was why I couldn't compete. I asked if he'd planned to spend his last working days as a receptionist in a dental surgery. He said yes, but not in this one, in a manner that left little doubt that he intended me to be offended. I was.

Cookie's mind was competing with that of Mr Barnes for a place in the ancient nest that once sat in the yew tree, but which was burned to ashes ninety-three years ago. I couldn't interrupt in case it did them some harm. Cookie got there first, as usual, and Mr Barnes said he wouldn't play again, as usual, and I replaced the composite (white) filling on the edge of his right central incisor that his mind had fractured whilst scrambling up the tree, as usual.

And there lies the complex interweaving of examining and competing, and winning and losing, and of doing nothing but watching it all happen, which is my preference when all is said and done.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Spirilevation whilst fixing a washing machine

Bessy had taken it upon herself to fix the washing machine, the spin cycle of which appears to be defunct. She thought she could do this by pushing it out into the garden and trapping a pigeon inside and then chasing it round and round until the spin cycle continued unaided. The pigeons stayed away and Margaret got in instead. It was a bit cramped but they were still at it when I left to visit Felix.

Felix says there are people who spend their lives spinning. I asked if that wasn't a bit pointless. He poured me a cup of tea and said I could answer that myself.

George once exported washing machines to an uninhabited island in the Pacific. There was a rumour at the time that a rarely seen phenomenon called a Spontaneous and Unforeseen Population Explosion was about to take place there. I asked if the members of said population would be fully clad when they exploded. George said it was only people like me who envisaged humans of any population running around without a well-tailored shirt and trousers, or beautifully sewn dress. The machines are still there, apparently, and used for some sort of gull to lay eggs.

Cookie has invented a new instrument for the surgery. It is called the Spirilevator and is intended, at the same time as elevating a tooth from its socket, to lift the patient to a higher spiritual level. It looks very much like my conventional elevator but with pretty symbols engraved on the handle.

Mrs Hellovajob, whose spirit was very low on account of her being a miserable person, was unaffected by the instrument, despite my best attempts to give her a fair go. Cookie looked a little disappointed that spirilevation had apparently failed in this case. I suggested the combination of local anaesthetic, pushing, and blood, had conspired to delay the onset of said spirilevation but it would no doubt come. Cookie consulted the yew tree and came back to say spirilevation had nothing to do with the pointy bits on churches so they wouldn't get involved. I'm not sure I followed.

But there has to be something that links the chasing of a higher spiritual place and trying to generate the self-momentum necessary to keep a washing machine spinning. I suppose it's optimism or speculation, or the fear of explosions of some description.