Thursday, 25 October 2007

Building loops out of sand and dropping coins on Frenchmen

It is some time since Bessy woke me in the morning to a rendition of The funniest thing a dog can do (or something approximating that) - a piece she composed herself in her spare time. The tune is not bad but the woofs are in a constant loop so that it was midday before I realised the song probably could have finished by now and shut her up (by making a grunt that she associates with the dispiriting one given by a critic at some performance or other when she was a mere puppy. I hate to use such a manipulative means of stopping the music, but one has to get up).

Margaret was in the attic building herself a nest. I've no idea why.

I sat down with Felix and we drank some tea on his bench. He told me there were wondrous things going on at the bottom of the sea as a consequence of a child of nine dropping a coin off the edge of the cliff in the dying days of 1913. It would appear that the coin caused a flourish of improvisation among divers on the seabeds across the globe this year. I asked if such improvisation was likely to continue. Felix said he hadn't planned it to when he dropped the coin and we finished our tea in silence.

George competed to build a sandcastle on the seabed in an attempt to defy the tides. It worked and he got so carried away that he surfaced one day on top of his castle in the middle of the Atlantic. He called out to claim his prize, but everyone else had given up and gone home. This morning he looked as though he was still atop the sand: his eyes were bright and eager and ready to take what was his. Since I didn't have a prize, I left him and went through to the surgery.

Cookie had dressed the surgery up to be a reminder of a Napoleonic war tent. It would seem that some relative was a Napoleonic reader of indigestible facts of which, I hear, the great Frenchman was terribly afraid. When our first patient came in Cookie asked if she was Napoleon. For some reason she said yes and Cookie said that today's indigestible fact was that she would never walk on English soil. And she was right: the patient had spent her entire life hovering two centimetres (it couldn't have been an inch) above the ground.

Funny, these things. People throw things into the sea and wait for the loop to return to the beginning. Or decide that the waiting is too long and get on with building something even if it gets washed away in the big loop. Or get confused and become the loop themselves.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Non-progressing vaccuum-filled cherry pickers

Bessy was practising how to be a cat, having recently seen a performance of Ionescu's Rhinoceros. Margaret was cooking an egg that had no yoke or white inside it. It would appear that she was trying to see if there was a meaning to an egg, she told me, when it is no longer an egg. I looked at Bessy and wondered what she would be if she wasn't a dog anymore but a cat, and then wondered if we were anything that we thought we were.

Felix tells me that a vacuous egg is an inconspicuous weapon in some parts of the world on account of the vacuum inside when appropriately treated. Apparently, on shattering, the vacuum pulls the feet of anyone standing within a ten yard radius, thus arranging them like a star on the ground and immobilising them. I gulped as I thought of the consequences of that egg of Margaret's slipping from her spoon.

George walked on eggshells for the duration of a cherry harvest some years back. I asked him if he'd fallen out with the other cherry pickers. No, he said, he was nowhere near the cherry trees but in a pod at the bottom of the sea. We looked at each other for some moments before I asked the obvious question: what did he dress in? He didn't dress, he said, and smiled diffidently.

Cookie seems to have developed an interest in hanging loose thoughts on periodic progression of the non-progression of lifeless people. This makes for an interesting, though somewhat dispiriting, display. I complimented her on the volume of thoughts and wondered aloud if anyone really progressed, indeed, if progression wasn't just another myth made up to give life meaning. Cookie put that thought up with the others and we got on with the day.

There's not much to add. Only to reflect that the empty egg may one day be a cat, which would be paradoxical.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Denying one's place in beautiful myths

I was finishing my breakfast of toast and coffee when Margaret slipped out from the cutlery draw. This is not an uncommon event but that she had not invited me in to share the space was. I mentioned this and she told me to stop being soft and finish my breakfast. Bessy seemed to be in on the act too as she emerged with a fork piercing her snout in what, Margaret told me, was a test of self-denial. The hound had wanted to pierce herself with the bread knife.

Felix tells me he spent many years training himself in self-denial to such an extent that he is no longer here. That seemed odd to me given that were drinking tea together but I didn't push it. I must have been talking to myself all these years.

George has never denied himself anything, so long as it added something to his beauty or to his character, he tells me regularly. I asked if that wasn't a bit selfish. He looked at me very severely and said that when there were so many people around on whom anything beautiful or character-building was wasted - and here he stared at me some moments - his behaviour was quite the opposite. He turned to do some filing and I wondered what it was that meant I didn't take advantage of beautiful and characterful things.

Cookie, thank goodness, was practising how to build myths from rubber gloves. I asked if there weren't already enough myths to go around but she said that this would be a sterile one that no-one would ever contaminate. I guess that means it will be a better one, somehow.

And that's why there will always be some space in the world for denying myths and recreating others for when we're not here. Or denying myths unless they make the world more beautiful or characterful. Or anything that seems useful at the time. Mm.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Posing intently with prophetic blush

Tonight we are popping into town to listen to some chamber music. Bessy was, therefore, up early this morning practicing her glancing piercingly at the leading violinist so as to cause maximum distraction pose, which always makes us laugh. Margaret, on these occasions, floats up to a point in the centre of the auditorium where she remains, motionless, until the final note. This morning she told me that she would angle herself at 37 degrees to the horizontal on account of the ensemble playing Haydn. He would approve, no doubt.

Felix was watching the sea this morning with great intent. It would appear that a man was hoolah-hooping across the English Channel whilst doing unnecessary exercises to assuage the demands of a certainty-hungry society. I couldn't see the man. Felix smiled and said that he was half way to France. I asked if he was sure. Felix didn't reply but went very pale. I'm not sure why.

George was far from pale having applied copious quantities of blush to his cheeks. George, in is heyday, had been a regular participant in the annual blush your neighbour campaign. This involved knocking on as many doors as possible, calling the person who answered it 'lovely neighbour' and then applying rouge to their face in vast quantities. I asked George why he had never dabbed red all over me. He said that to call me lovely neighbour was going too far. I didn't think that was very pleasant.

Cookie was getting Mrs Jackson ready for treatment. Mrs Jackson has a very interesting ability to carve sheep kidneys with prophetic symbols using a hammer and chisel. I asked her today if she was working on anything at the present time - perhaps a prophesy of certainty in becoming a good neighbour. Cookie looked at me in her adult talking patronisingly to child way, and said: sheep's kidneys would only respond to a certain Baa Baa. I didn't follow, but that's the wonderful thing about Cookie: it's great to get lost.

Which brings me to a thought: that whatever one jumps through, it seems there's no way round the possibility that there's nothing on the other side. Mind you, if you do the jumping to beautiful music it probably doesn't really matter.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Enjoying time embracing shadows on drops of love

Margaret and I spent some hours yesterday walking in a most contemplative manner on the drops of water left in the air after Bessy has jumped into the water. It's a pleasant pastime and brings many rewards for the active mind. Bessy, incidentally, spent the whole day attempting not to produce a splash when she dived in so as to deprive us - in the most loving way - of this experience. She failed not least because a Basset Hound joined in and failed to realise quite why Bessy was so preoccupied with shaping herself like a sewing needle.

Felix, I discovered this morning, had spent the weekend examining the footsteps of a society ill-at-ease with itself during the autumn of 1354. The footsteps, he tells me, were interspersed with incisions typical of a common practice at that time of cutting one's shadow in order to release one's desire for central heating. This, it seems, was to deny an unhealthy preoccupation with the future. I asked Felix if the footsteps revealed a healthiness in their appreciation of the present. Felix looked at me for some time before saying that the footsteps were in the past as soon as they were made and, thus, could reveal nothing about their - or our - present health or otherwise. Bessy and I looked at each other rather blankly.

George used to wrap surf boards in electric cable and sell them to newly-weds as a means of establishing marital harmony through pseudo-electromagnetism. It would appear that the device, when spun continuously by the happy couple, produced so much attraction between them that they were locked forever in an embrace around the board. I suggested that just because people were embracing each other didn't mean they wanted to. George wagged a finger at me and told me that cynicism was at the heart of all relational dissolution. I gulped guiltily and made my way to the surgery.

Cookie was distracted this morning with an unpleasant memory of a conversation she'd had with an upturned lover wearing decorative bobbles whilst painting clouds with his toes. That left me to attend to Mr Cherook who was in for root canal treatment. Mr Cherook is attempting to metamorphose into a cast-iron lamp post bearing no shadow on passers-by. I asked if such a light was needed to prevent an unhealthy preoccupation with the future that would lead to all people dis-embracing catastrophically. Cookie at that instant left the lover and said that there was no way of knowing what would make people let their trousers down in the dark. Mr Cherook looked completely confused. I struggled to follow too.

Be that as it may, I wondered if the future would mean anything if I was a drop of coloured water embracing my lover and gazing on our shadow below. I suppose it would depend on whether there were dogs having fun. Or anybody else for that matter.