Skipped yesterday, I suppose you might say the strain is beginning to tell now. Partly that of daily posting, partly of dog hosting. Poor Bram, at just over a year old, after three homes and two refuges, he doesn't know he's only here for a few days, that his mum will come and get him on Friday, (or indeed what Friday means) and restore him to a two-dog household so all the onus of doggy responsibility is not on him, that no one means him any ill, that when Tom bends down to scratch his leg across the room he is not intending to do whatever nasty thing it was someone* used to do when they bent down, or that I am not the one and only resource he has left in the world so that I must be stuck to for dear life and guarded from all comers, or at least from Tom.
Poor us that we really can't find a way to communicate this to him firmly but comfortingly, and he's a big, young dog with impressive gnashers so we begin to fear that unpredictable reaction prompted by fear and misunderstandings could deteriorate into actual aggression, which we're not prepared to cope with. A single false move seems to undo days of apparent progress, and it would take months and experienced patience and even possibly the intervention of an expensive dog psychologist to properly remedy the situation, none of which we have, but in fact we've realised it wouldn't really be what we would want to spend precious time and money doing anyway. When E entrusted him to us, with typically robust optimism, she suggested that it might help to get us over our reluctance to get another dog, but I'm afraid it has had the opposite effect, and made us wonder whether we really want to take on such a thing again at all. It seems to me a terrible thing to rescue a dog from a refuge then find you simply can't integrate its peculiarities, problems and general hitherto unseen baggage into your life and so have to take it back again, but I can see how it happens. And this week has made us miss Mol more than ever, and appreciate how marvellously balanced the triangle of the relationship we had with her was, with never any sense of preference or jealousy or hierarchy needing to be expressed at all. Plus she never ate poo, or other disgusting things, or indeed farted so as to strip the paint from the walls (another downside of being the object of his devoted, closer-than-a-brother, attachment). But then she had awful health problems from overbreeding, so it seems like you can't win.
However, E is besotted with Bram, is not a worrier and has plenty of time and space to devote to bringing him round, and no man in her life nor any plan to have one, which is just as well, as I think Bram would put the kibosh on them if she had, and if it came to an 'it's me or the dog' ultimatum with E it would be the dog every time. He came to us as she had to go to Paris to fetch a passport, a plan already arranged and paid for before she got him, his big 'brother' Moos was already booked into the kennels with the dog of the friend she was going with, and she thought he'd be better at home with us. In fact though, if she goes away again after a while, I think he'd be OK in the kennels, which are a ruggedly female-run establishment owned by a terrifyingly competent and bossy British woman, he's not too bothered by the presence of other dogs and he loves his meals and walks which he would have there.
Anyway, deciding the best thing was to get a bit of space between Bram and himself, Tom decided to make a virtue out of expediency and pretend he was going into a monastery for the day, ensconcing himself upstairs in his study with books and computer and monastic sort of music**. Except of course he gets Bovril and tea and biscuits and wine and chocolate brought to him by his wife, whom he also gets to sleep with at the end of the day, so it wasn't very monastic at all really. Unless you believe the people who told Henry VIII why he should set about the Dissolution, which by and large I suppose I do. He rather enjoyed himself anyway, and still came down for meals, when he and Bram mostly managed to ignore each other very deliberately.
Iceland mostly all planned and bookings made, rather a hectic time for us, what with plunging into hot springs, chasing the aurora, slithering around the Golden Circle (diamond geysers!) and bouncing about on Icelandic horses which are not to be called ponies. One of the few sagas I read at university in its entirety in the original Old Norse was Hrafnkel's Saga, where the horse is the agent of much mischief, I recall. I rather wonder whether we shouldn't have stuck to mooching about Reykjavik, eating and drinking and looking at museums of archaeology which I'm sure could easily have taken up three days. Should we invest in ice walkers, I wonder? What are ice walkers, I wonder, and can one buy them in Decathlon? These questions and more will doubtless be answered.
Here are some spring flowers to brighten up these sad November days.
* presumably a man since I and any other woman he meets seem to be able to move as and how we will without a negative reaction.
** which only differs from how he spends his time normally by the upstairs element, and perhaps the Gregorian chant.