Friday, 28 September 2007

Balancing contagious manoeuvres with unpleasant outcomes

I made a very curios discovery this morning when I woke: Margaret was balancing on Bessy's shoulders and Bessy was balancing on hers. I tried to rearrange the way I was sitting so that this seemed normal, but could not. I gave up and decided that this must be possible, even if I couldn't understand how.

Drinking tea with Felix on his bench overlooking the English Channel, I mentioned this phenomenon. Felix said it sounded like the ancient manoeuvres of a dying tribe of spiritualists he'd come across in these parts a couple of centuries ago. This rather upset me on account of Bessy and Margaret being the loves of my life. However, Felix reassured me that the death of the tribe and their manoeuvres were unconnected other than by the bodies doing each. I must say this did little to put my mind at rest.

However, I plodded on and asked George if there were any places he'd come across where a man could assuage his fear of annihilation due to the loss of important others. He said I was already well past annihilation and should button my lips in case of contagion. He has a curious way of responding sometimes, does George.

Cookie had arranged the surgery in such a way that we spent the morning treating all patients in a space of one inch squared. This was to allow the rest of the room to breathe. We managed it and I felt much the better for it.


Thursday, 27 September 2007

Drawing conclusions about duels fought between sand screens

For some reason Cookie was squeezed between the two panes of glass of the surgery's double-glazed window. I couldn't really make out what she was saying but it would appear she was attempting to come to a conclusion about the dualist nature of a hot and cold body. My first patient and I watched as the conclusion developed, but saw no change. So we drank some coffee and agreed to put off treatment for a week.

I mention this because Felix had introduced me to some very secretive information thought to be responsible in part for the sinking of the Mary Rose during the reign of Henry VIII. It was this: that a man (who happened to be Felix's future son if he'd ever have had one) had slid into a bottle of rum and floated across the English Channel until he came up against a Spanish ship, whereupon he concluded that no change would happen as a consequence of two countries duelling. Not in the grand scheme of things anyway. He floated back to the beach and was never seen or heard of again. Which is why it is a secret. Because nobody knows for sure that it was actually this that he thought.

And that brings me to George, who for some time as a young man pioneered a technique for turning sand into invisible screens for the unashamed stater of dubious facts. I wondered aloud if George kept one of these screens up around himself in perpetuity. George stated quite categorically that the technique was abandoned on account of the perceived future resource issues around sand and depleted beaches.

And that's where Margaret comes in: this morning she woke me by circling over the house calling out in the manner of a seagull. I know why she does this on days like today: because she's foreseen that all I wanted to do was play in the sand. To avoid me wasting my day as a child, I did it before I got out of bed, much to Bessy's annoyance.

Thus it seems there is no conclusion worth drawing from such events. Unless that is a conclusion in itself, which would be very puzzling.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Recognition of colurless horses riding submarines

Bessy had managed to wriggle into the bottom of a pot of seeding compost. She has done it every year since 1998. At that time I thought she might be preparing herself for a 'natural burial' and wanted me to plant an oak over her. So I did and it took her a fortnight to re-emerge in a somewhat bedraggled state. These days she does it when I'm asleep or otherwise occupied. Margaret interprets her behaviour as one of optmistic germination in an attempt to come to terms with sweet peas she happened to rip apart in the summer of 1998.

Felix and some fellows cut down a few oaks and built a horse that was able to paddle itself beside Cold War submarines whilst looking totally innocuous. In this manner they collected all sorts of useful data on submariner attitudes to everlasting dark days when not encountering horses. I suggested today that there must have been all sorts of things the submariners missed out on. Felix suggested I keep my theories to myself in case of harming the 'National Interest'. This much-spouted phenomenon seems to me to be such a vacuous one that I didn't bother arguing with Felix that any theory of mine would have little impact on a national, or any other, interest.

It was with some relief that George had returned from selling contraceptive pills to late flowering roses in the Algarve. George was competing in a competition and it would appear that he won it. I suggested that preventing contraception between flowers was likely to bring us more dour and dull days. George winked knowingly and said that just because a flower bought a contraceptive, there was nothing to say it would swallow it. I guess colour will live on, until there's a competition to get flowers to devour the pills too.

Cookie was preparing Mr Billowellow for a trip to the colourful world of musical-lip-balm-sticks-hovering-over-autumn-ponds. I've never been, but Mr Billowellow and Cookie always disappear for the duration of the appointment leaving me to get on with the rather lonely task of treating his teeth. I don't mind if it keeps the patient happy.

I think there's something in the burying of oneself deep away from the outside in an attempt to come to terms with the colour one has, at some point or another, destroyed. Recognising the lost opportunities regardless of the consequential dry lips would seem to be an essential outcome. Does that make sense?

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Planting with a backdrop of rearranged movement

It was a curious start to the day: Bessy decided Margaret needed to be educated in the best way to rearrange garden furniture and Margaret decided Bessy needed to be educated in the best way to rearrange rearranged furniture. I left them to it and planted some winter vegetables. Which made me wonder if there weren't opportunities in movement that one could exploit for one's own ends.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Forgetting songs when falling with graceful eyelashes

I woke this morning to see Bessy falling as a leaf in autumnal garb from the highest point of the beautiful oak in a neighbour's garden. She looked so natural I could have sworn she'd practiced it before but, being a leaf of only one year's living, this was clearly impossible.

Margaret was putting the finishing touches to the cold frame in the garden. She wanted somewhere to snuggle up in but not so much that she felt warm. It would appear that the sensation of a trill down her spine when curled up reminds her of her childhood and happy journeys to the seaside. I don't ask questions about these things. Thus she built a stone-walled cubicle with an old glass window for a roof, which looks perfect to me for hardening off some new plants in the spring - if Margaret leaves some space.

Felix had filled my space on the bench with wistful allusions to the past he was struggling to conjure up after a night with little sleep. He seemed troubled by his inability to put form to an era long gone when some distant relative had planted an acorn and sung a song for him. I asked if he could remember the song. The song, though, had been sucked in as the acorn germinated and so the whole episode was irretrievable. Hence his frustration. Sometimes I don't quite understand Felix. So long as he understands himself, though, I imagine the world will be OK.

George used to abseil down the necks of giraffes. It was, apparently, where he learned to really appreciate eyelashes. He fluttered them at me this morning in a most unnerving manner so I swept through to the surgery.

Cookie and our first patient, Mrs Jellyweeble were balancing each on a dental probe. Mrs Jellyweeble was once known for her remarkable ability to dress hamsters so that they were mistaken for City financiers betting on poor borrowers, or something. I asked her today if she couldn't dress a probe into some sort of floating giraffe absconding from responsibility. Cookie hopped off her probe and said that was the daftest thing she'd heard in ages given that there was no jam or cream on the premises. I didn't follow, but it didn't matter seeing as the day was such a fine autumnal one.

Which I suppose brings me to a thought I was having about childhood and falling gracefully: one ought to have perfected it or perfected another means of descending in a manner one doesn't forget. Or maybe one could learn to balance so that falling doesn't become necessary.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Hiding in wait for first-hand inabilities

I spent the weekend crouching in the long grass. Bessy wanted to pretend we were in a savanna and that we were lions waiting for a wildebeest. So we waited. And waited. And waited.

I'm not sure this part of Britain - if any part - ever had wildebeest, but the weather was good and the improvement in the sound of Bessy's growl was pleasing. Margaret brought us sandwiches and watched for game with binoculars, and the days passed in a contemplative reflection on the activities of end-of-summer insect life and philosophical assumptions on the part of dried stems of wild grass blowing freely in the light wind. How splendid.

Felix had heard that friends in an ill-fated early submarine (circa 1800) were passing by before they passed on, so he popped down to share some tea. It would appear they had no use for the beverage owing to their rather apoplectic response to Felix's prediction that in twenty-three seconds the vessel would sink and all perish within. I asked if it was worth me bothering with my cup of tea or if, as with the submariners, he was about to tell me I had only seconds to live. He said he wouldn't tell me even if I was, since I might not share a cup of tea with him. This rather put me ill at ease and I sipped my tea with a wary eye to note any change in Felix's expression.

Today clearly wasn't the day as I made it to the surgery where I learnt George had spent the weekend practicing the look of a perplexed guardian of moral absolutes. I asked if such absolutes made any reference to the passing of seasons and the life of wild animals in long grass. He contorted his face in such a way that there was no question that the morality of wild animals in long grass had been decided there and then and was fixed forever. I didn't dare ask what that morality was.

Cookie was dressing a few words of hers in music so that they hovered like butterflies over the dental chair. When I brought in Mr Chamberlain (who is, incidentally, a practitioner of the art of producing vowels in ways that people think they are consonants) he was showered with a veritable symphony, owing to Cookie's profound liking of the patient's ability to construe her name into something that sounds closer to Cwwkyy. It's hard to reproduce in print.

It seems to me that there exists an association between hiding in long grass, being offered tea by someone pronouncing one's imminent demise, and being absolutely moralised just by a look. I have a feeling that association stems from the wonder of experiencing these things first-hand and the seeming inability, however hard one might try, to communicate it to anybody else. Which is also a rather lonely prospect. Unless one shares one's inability with others of similar inability. Or something like that.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Waking to rocket-propelled rifts and italicised nuptials

Bessy woke (after we'd spent the last week in a splendidly blissful sleep) and acted in a manner that suggested she had dreamt of the correct positioning of an underprivileged canine in an over privileged society. This involved her removing a rather splendid mohair suit I keep hidden for special occasions, and fashioning it into a kite, to which she attached herself and flew off in the sunshine to inspect the shoreline.

She clearly hadn't been sharing my dream which involved the re-enactment of Margaret and my wedding some years earlier, which had involved the rather pleasant joining together of family members for a period of abstract reflection on the meaning of rocket-propelled Robin Reliants and the need for cohesive forces to keep soggy chips (French fries of a peculiarly fat and British sort, to any non-British readers) together. When I woke, I felt like calling up all the participants to say what a privilege it had been to have them all attend but Margaret had spent the week dreaming about the rights of those of poor repute to a life of privacy. So I didn't pick up the phone, in case any of those who attended the wedding had, by some means, fallen into disrepute.

Felix had not noticed my absence for the week owing to his recent conviction that all conversations and interactions barely touch reality anyway. Bessy sailed in and landed on his lap and he ruffled her ears. He said she was a different dog from the last time he'd seen her. I said she was the same dog but with a different view on her position in life. This proved his point, he said, and gave her a cup of tea, which she accepted with a wink in my direction.

George was standing in the waiting area of the surgery in the manner of a soggy chip that has learnt to italicise itself so that it can make a statement of profundity. It would appear that at some time in the past, George perfected this position whilst aboard a dhow in the Indian Ocean, for the benefit of some bored fishermen with a need for excitement. Despite there having never seen a soggy chip, George tells me the effect was transforming, until they were all italicised and no-one stood out. A rift began to open between the fishermen, but then George moved onto the un-italicised soggy chip and harmony was achieved again. It's always curious to me what people get up to on dhows.

Cookie was in a rift of her own, she told me, though I have no idea what she meant. However, in a spirit of goodwill after a week of nuptial reflections, I did fall in with her rhythm as we got into the swing of things after a week away from the surgery.

Which brings me back to the changes one sees in all manner of creature after a short period away. Though, if one is to follow Felix's line, it's difficult to be sure those creatures - human or otherwise - were there in the first place. But then, does it matter if, on reflecting about them, one brings back happy memories?

Monday, 3 September 2007

Ringing patience by the ear and having fun

There's a curious thing that happens when the church bells ring in the distance: Bessy starts balancing candles on her left ear and wags her tail like there's a pile of her favourite comics in front of her. Margaret thinks she met Pavlov before she was born. I've no idea, but the bells were silent this morning and Bessy didn't do any balancing or wagging. I'm not sure what that means for her.

I took the day off today in order to count the gravel stones we have on the driveway. George left a note yesterday suggesting this would be a useful exercise in acquiring the art of patience and then of self-respect. I was looking for neither, but clearly George thought I should be, so I sat down in the gravel and felt like I was three years old again. What a joy, I forgot there was a day to pass and totally forgot to be patient.

Which brings me back to the bells. I reckon one either has a Pavlovian ability to remain patient when the stimuli suggests one shouldn't. Or one never met Pavlov in the first place. All very interesting.