Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Easing back in.

Look, no lead.

A step forward which has really only just taken place in the last couple of weeks. The progress has very largely been on my part, letting go of the fear and the need for control, trusting her. I've a few photos showing this state of affairs, most of them not very clear because of the rapid movement of the subject, but it's cheering to note that in all of them she's coming towards me. Not that that's always the case; fairly often I'm having to keep myself calm, steady and fairly quiet, only calling out an occasional 'Elfie, this way', while continuing on my own path, rather than shouting pointless recall commands and chasing after her, while she disappears into the depths of a maize field or bramble thicket or describes a wild, wide arc across an acre of open stubble or round a herd of cows, telling myself that she knows where I am and will of course return to me in a few moments with a puffing grin and an expectation of a click and a treat, which she does.

One of many exercises in detachment I've been practising, though I think perhaps some of it is more a case of having detachment thrust upon one than of purposely achieving it. We've done a tremendous amount of shedding.

Back in the gîte in Plémy again where we were in July, until the end of September, with internet and a dishwasher (the latter a joy hitherto unknown to us, believe it or not), and happy to be here. The final expert's report has gone through but the house won't be finished when we have to move back in; the painters and decorators can't do their job till the staircase carpenter has done his, and he can't start till the electrician has finished, and he's only just started... In spite of this, everyone wants deposits and the insurance company, though they have really been very good, still haven't sent us the cheque to cover these. We're OK, but it would be harder for someone who had lost more and had less of a financial cushion than we have. But still, all will be well, the cheque is in the post (as they say) and we count our blessings as always. A few minutes of sheer terror, a few hours of misery, worry and discomfort, a few days of shock, and then really rather a good summer, rootlessness and lightness of being, reflection and recouping, not bad at all. We'll be able to camp out comfortably enough, we've know worse.

I'll leave it at that for the moment, but this is one thing I don't want to shed, though snail mail letters and brown paper packages have their charms! Back soon, with more of Elfie if nothing else.

Freedom of the Garden. Tom's doing; I went out leaving strict instructions not to let her our etc etc which he ignored and she's been enjoying freedom with responsibility ever since.


Zhoen said...

I think detachment has to be imposed the first time, only after that do we know we'll survive, and trust that we will find a new comfort.

None of the Elfie images are showing for me, but I'll check back later.

A dishwasher became an essential, in apartments and for the House. Rather like microwave. Having dishes rinsed and dried is worth it for me.

Lucy said...

Cheers Z. Sorry about the photos, I return to find Picasa web albums, which I always relied on, have been completely done away with and no satisfactory way to replace their function. Google photos are hard to find a way around (I could never get with the whole Google+ thing), and attempts to transfer from them, either by copy and pasting or URL (laborious), don't seem to be working. I am cross and frustrated, having had to upload then download then upload again... can't see this being something I'll be doing much of at this rate.

Sorry for the rant, I seem to be struggling to detach in this instance! They should be there now.

marja-leena said...

It is so good to hear that you three are coping well, even enjoying the summer! You are patient! Wishing good luck with all the rest and that you will be back home soon.

(No problems seeing photos over here.)

the polish chick said...

you're back! how wonderful! and yes, shedding is both terrifying and therapeutic.

so happy to hear you had a good summer after all!

Catalyst said...

Elfie is a calendar girl, that's for sure.

Glad to hear your summer has been good but I'm somewhat upset that it's taking so long to get your house back in order.

Ah, well, this too shall pass. So they say.

Unknown said...

She's beautiful. And now sufficiently attached to you to be trusted to return. Wonderful. Sorry the process is so frustrating.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've only just caught up with what happened, glad you're safe and that your house is on its way to being repaired.

Avus said...

Well done with Elfie! She is showing you the way. Having trust, she has relaxed and with that relaxation she is detaching from whatever previous life she had. This is leading to calmness and hopefully a better life in the future.

I wish I could get my pooch to behave off the lead. She can be very good until she sees something (which is often as she has sight hound in her), then she freezes and then takes off away and nothing will tempt her back. It is lovely to see her going, but only in a secure field. As she doesn't like water I felt a field was secure with fencing on 3 sides and a small river on the other. She saw a "furry" over the water and just went, finding swimming no problem!

Glad for you and Tom that things are resolving - it's going to take time and patience but it will all be new and worthwhile when you emerge from the tunnel, as my daughter-in-oz, Susan, has found.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

In fact this rather itinerant and rootless summer existence isn't bad, it'll be going back that will be the problem. However, we have come to certain conclusions and decisions about our future, namely moving on, which I'll probably go into further, everything's still very up in the air just now.

Avus and Zhoen, re Elfie - One of the upsides to the places we've been staying has been the number of safe trackways and clean fields with slightly less wildlife in them than round our way, and in Hénon a really lovely large park on the edge of the village, in which to start enjoying some off-leash time. The garden here at the gite is well-fenced and safe, though she could at a pinch get over the back wall if she was determined, so far she's been fine here. She continues to be a great joy and comfort, and very well behaved in social situations both human and canine.

However, it's not perfect; the freedom and the sense that the bond is strong enough to bring her back has been exhilarating, and as you say Avus, it's lovely to see them run full-stretch and unconstrained, but the tendency to throw a deafy and bugger off is still very strong and rather worrisome. This morning I really felt she was just taking the mick, racing off an doing her own thing,ignoring my calls, popping up to check I was still there occasionally but really only coming back (for the reward) when she felt like, after going right out of sight for quite a while. Her former, hunting dog life was clearly reasserting itself. So I guess it's back to extending lead, long-line and very limited spells off-leash. I knew I'd have to curb her freedoms when we got home and into the hunting season - we don't want her running away with the raggle-taggle hunting dogs-oh, and I wouldn't put it past her, though she clearly does love us and her life with us. We have a good trainer whom we can talk to, who is down to earth and realistic about what you can and can't expect.

Avus, I guess you and I will just have to put cocker laziness and GSD conformity behind us, and just watch those hunting dogs go! But only now and then.

Roderick Robinson said...

You're living through a passage that regularly occurs in eighteenth-century novels; the one that's shoved in for no other reason than to create apartness between the two lovebirds. A week or two of walks going nowhere, conversations with characters devised purely for their vacuity, dissatisfying meals, books which are picked up and put down ten minutes later. Readers are meant to feel sympathy with the deprived central character (almost always a woman) but there's irritation round every corner. Boredom is in the air and the author must work hard to prevent this seeping out of the pages and into the 21st century. In your case you're not lovelorn but temporarily deracinated. Boredom need not be a menace in real life provided it is on your own terms. For God's sake don't give in to macramé.

tristan said...

oh, there you are ! hurrah !

Pam said...

(Seems a bit mean to pick on macramé. I can think of worse ways of spending time.) Well done for your detachment. I always feel like that in holiday homes: why do I have all this stuff when I can cope fine with just the basics? But I think this feeling would wear off after a bit.

Jeff said...

Glad to see you're back online!

I understand what you mean about detachment. I lived alone in a tiny flat for years, and some friends and family were genuinely puzzled to see how many conveniences I did without. Since moving to the woods and renting a large house, however, I've gone in the opposite direction: we have a dishwasher (for me, a new luxury), a garage for our cars, a backyard deck that allows me to enjoy the outdoors without buying expensive beverages, and rooms overflowing with books and art. I'm enjoying it—perhaps this is my midlife-crisis home—but I take comfort in knowing I could survive without most of it if Fate so decreed.

We also have several macrame owls in our entryway. Guests rarely know how to react to them.