Tuesday, 18 January 2011

19. Memories Part I: Four-Legged Bodyguards

Klefti (left) and Purdey (right) proved to be capable sentinels

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you will know that Klefti, our Greek stray died last summer.  The madness of trying to control his energy, while bringing up baby twins, was one of the reasons I started this blog only a couple of months earlier.  He was, after all, a wily survivor, a beach dog, with whom we fell so madly in love we had no choice but to bring him back to the UK.  We even bought our flat for him, as it has an 80' garden in a desirable part of town.

A surrogate child?  No, never.  We have always adored dogs.  He, Tatty and Purdey came first, and if children followed, they would be a blessing.  Dogs are not a dress rehearsal.  I always feel sad when dogs are rehomed when people have children.  To make a multi-species household work, you have to love your dogs as much as your children (a different love, but a love nevertheless).  You need patience.  They need love.  Sounds familiar?   Well, we didn't have dogs to test out what commitment felt like.  They just happened.  Big Daddy bought Tatty (the Westie) before I met him, but Klefti and Purdey were strays that we rescued; the first in Greece, the second in Ireland.

I stumbled across this picture of our bemused canines 'guarding' our newborns and thought I should share it.  When the picture was taken, the babies were about a week old.  Magpie is on the left, The Tank on the right - not that you can see very much of them, they are so tiny, cocooned in their swaddle blankets.

Klefti never got to do rough and tumble with the girls, as they were still 'drunken totterers' when he died.  We always loved watching him humour kids in the park, play-bowing and showing his teeth in a submissive smile.  He was a clown in dog's clothing. The girls would have their very own clown - or so we hoped.

Now that job is left to Purdey, who patiently allows the girls to ride him, stroke him, take his toys and, of course, feed him.  I'm not sure Klefti would have been so amenable, ('look, girls, I'm not a bloody horse,' he might have said) but his willfulness and surety of his own mind is what made him so unique, so strangely human.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

18. New Year's Absolution

Is there an average age when people no longer make New Year's resolutions, I wonder?  I ask because I make vague resolutions all year, not just at the end of December.  Or rather, I have so many failings that I go round muttering under my breath 'I must stop doing X' and I should do more of Y.'  This means by the end of the year, if I've tidied up my office, done some ironing, checked my bank balance, ordered in dog food, found almost-new coats, shoes or cashmere cardis at the local Kid's Fara shop, I feel I've done quite well.

This is of course, aside from the need to rebuild my career, do charitable works, be endlessly patient and to improve any strained familial relationships.

But New Year's resolutions?  I would like to absolve myself from this pressure.

And can I just share a photo with you?

The Tank attempts to take poor patient Purdey for a walk around the sitting room.  Magpie is scurrying around on the floor pretending to be a Dachshund.  As I say below, in 2011 I mustn't rely so heavily on a labrador to entertain my children. 

I do, however, have a 'to do' list for both my life and my blog.  'To do' lists are surely less pressurising?

Life 'to do' list

I will rebuild my career (as much as I can with two under two)

I must get my hair cut regularly (so it doesn't resemble Katie's from X Factor)

I will take control of my finances (well....this relates to the first point)

I must ignore Big Daddy when he's picking for a fight (and hopefully he'll ignore me too when it's vice versa)

I will not lose my temper with my mother (unless pushed beyond extreme limits??)

I shall do more interesting things with the kids than going to the park/playground/playgroup/playdates

I must not rely on my labrador to entertain the children (hard as it will be)

I will swim regularly again (Yoga is so much easier as you don't need to get wet)

This is what happens if you neglect that regular appointment with the hairdresser.  2011 is the year of  'too short is  better than too dry'

Blog 'to do' list

I will find the time (somehow!) to read other blogs, with consistency

I will remember to make things au courant (Christmasy posts at Christmas, Eastery posts at Easter, etc)

I must be more proflific (one post a week, at very best?  Come on, girl)

I will not be paralysed by the effortless humour, originality and brilliance of other bloggers' blogs

I shall become more technically savvy so that when another blogger wows me with her amazing badge, link capability, advertising, etc etc....I can match the competition (any blogging tutors out there???)


When I was in high-achiever mode, before I became a ditherer and later a mother, I once told a friend that we should all do something altruistic and something scary everyday, pushing both kindness and ambition (or fearlessness?) to the limit.

To use that awful modern term, that's a big ask, but is it possible?  Maybe weekly targets would be more realistic....

What do you think?