Jonathan: And it isn’t even the afternoon yet ;~(
Ennui, they called it in the 19th century. Women trapped in unchallenging lives by social mores and gender discrimination. It’s the unchallenging and trapped bit that applies in my case – though hopefully not for much longer.
The forecast for the weekend was promising, but in truth it’s just been warm and grey. Not that it would have made much difference if it had been fresh and sparkly: I just don’t have the motiviation, the enthusiasm, the emotional desire to engage in this land of strangers and strangeness.
During the week I picked up leaflets for various cycle routes leading in various directions from Welwyn Garden City. I need the exercise, I love being outdoors, and I love exploring. The Cole Green Way (WGC to Hertford and beyond) I cycle almost every day when I’m camped in Hertford (21 miles a day is definitely exercise enough!) but I haven’t tried the route the other way to St Alban’s. Perhaps I should. Some time. St Alban’s is, I feel sure, my sort of a town: I could even go to communion or evensong in the Cathedral, or both. (That said, I could easily have gone to a service in Chelmsford – but I didn’t).
It’s 1140 already – too late to make the most of the trip. I really should try this next weekend. I’ll almost certainly never have the chance again. I don’t like it here in SE England in general, but I’m sure there’s something at St Alban’s that will lift me out of myself. I’m thinking Cathedral, Roman remains, pleasant leafy avenues, old-fashioned bookshops (but not likely to be open on a Sunday?). There you are, I’ve written it down, I’ve got to do it now! Next Sunday. Unless it rains. ;~)
Denise: Here’s from an email that makes me have second thoughts – I could not bear the thought of anything happening to our lovely cats, or our hens, or our sheep …
These ex racing dogs can cause chaos and blood baths. Our next door neighbour started homing them, what was soon learnt was these dogs will chase anything that moves quickly. As you have 7 cats around the house you may see a dramatic decline in the family,also chichens if they start flapping wings and running round they to would become a target, possibly even the sheep. All these dogs are breed to do is run, so they are trained to chase things from early age, and that is all their’s no sit and stay fetch my slippers etc it is purely for the race and after 3-4 years they are retired either given away to people willing to give them a home, or they are put down. It is good that people are willing to take them on as on the whole they are lovely dogs. usually very friendly. b ut when they see something moving they are on it in a flash. The first day Kay (next door) had her first one. One cat died, she had 2 others plus 2 dogs (ok) and indoors they all fine together but outside if greyhound see cat, Trouble. they both lived, her mother took them. Several other cats died or had serious frights in that garden. The other problem being they are to old to do any serious training with. Also knew other people who had the same problem, with these x racing dogs.I don’t want to put you off getting one but maybe think about these things.
What do you think of that? Maybe I should abandon the idea …
Jonathan: Just as a drop of water will wear away a stone, Denise has over the past few months been dropping regular hints about greyhounds. D: Wouldn’t it be lovely … ? D [a few mintues later, pointing at website photo]: Look – Isn’t he cute …?! J: Hmmm. D: You’re not even looking! J: Hmmph! You know the sort of thing. Well the stone must have got so thin you could see through it, because this morning I gave way to the inevitable and said okay, in principle – you can look into it.
By this afternoon we were already down to names and possible dates. ‘Gary’ has been cat-tested and is considered ‘safe’ (safe that is for the dog, a cornered cat is easily a match for a gentle, slow-brained if quick-limbed greyhound); possible never been raced (so how come, I ask fatuously, he’s with the Retired Greyhound Trust) and so less likely to suffer arthritis.
Denise: Anyway we first have to be vetted as suitable adopters, and Gary might have been snatched away by someone else by the time we get to the point. But, for the record here’s a photo of the cute Garry the Greyhound.
Jonathan: Retired greyhounds for adoption are shown a cat to see their reaction, and determine what kind of a adoptive household would be suitable. Apparently they may also undergo chicken testing, but that might be just to find out whether they are fussy eaters ;~)
Denise: Buffy is a super-mum! Yesterday, I added to her own clutch of recently hatched chicks all those just hatched from an incubator – last night she managed to shelter 20 chicks, most less than a day old, under her voluminous skirts (Buff Orpingtons have feathering like crinolines!) and this morning they were all present and correct. What a marvellous mother she is! Today the chicks have been out in the run with her, some even climbing up and riding around on her back! For visitors to the Big Garden, it’s been quite a circus show: if I get round to taking a photo, I’ll add it in later. [Later: photo added – J]
Jonathan: Working at Mouchel office in Chelmsford today – very near the station. Took 80mins to travel 40miles there and another 30mins finding somewhere to park. Carrying out an independent check of major changes to a new road already under construction. The scheme is the extension of a Roscommon Way in Canvey Island, from the roundabout by Morrisons to industrial and housing areas close to the Thames shore. It was designed as a dual carriageway, but due to spending cuts it is being reduced to a single carriageway. Over 32 years in this business I’ve worked on lots of ‘dualling’ schemes: but ‘singling’ a road is a first for me! Original design was done well: the singling in a hurry, and it shows. I never like doing independent design checks: all the fundamental problems are always ignored, usually just a few of the relatively superficial errors are sorted out, and even that’s done grudgingly.
For all that Essex is a wealthy county and Chelmsford the county town, it seems to me a worn-out, dirty place. But the tiny CofE Cathedral has lovely grounds, and I enjoyed my lunch sitting on a bench in the September sunshine, watching the world go by. It was striking what a high proportion of people seemed to be young women: and striking also how most of them seemed to either be footballers’ wives – or wannabe footballers’ wives! Back at the office I mentioned this: Essex Girls, apparently, are in a class of their own.
To be honest, my day in Chelmsford left me more depressed than I’ve been for a while about the dreary shallowness of modern life. I cannot for the life of me think what I would do with myself if I had to live here in Chelmsford.