Missed Posts, 1: Puppytime

What a year! I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy as I was in 2014. Completely lunatic. Absolutely mad. You might have thought that after damn-near 70 years (in 6 weeks) on this planet, I would have learnt to plan my life a bit better. Most of my contemporaries have managed it. Some have retired completely and are proud of doing nothing. These are the real time-wasters:

‘Any chance we could pop over next week? Our cruise to Outer Mongolia isn’t for a fortnight, and it would be so nice if we could catch-up on old times. Haven’t seen you since that week in March last year …’

I remember it well: mid-lambing. Rushed off our bloody feet. They said they only wanted to be put-up en route to the in-laws in Yorkshire. But they stayed a God-awful week, and then insisted they took us out for a meal on their last night. There was only one ewe who hadn’t lambed, and of course that’s precisely what she did, as soon as we’d closed the gate behind us. And then she sat on it and suffocated the poor little thing. It wouldn’t have happened if we’d been there. Ugh, I was livid! And what was worse, our self-invited ‘guests’ didn’t seem to care:

‘Oh well, don’t worry: these things happen. See you next year!’

And off they swanned.

But I digress.

As I said, some retire and become time-wasters. Others manage to do a few consultancies and a bit of voluntary work. And they’re the happy ones: a nice pension and plenty of genuinely useful things to do to occupy their time. It’s what I’ve been trying to achieve for the past five years, but it just doesn’t seem to happen. I vowed, for instance that I’d write no more archaeology books, but I’m planning one already. And Alan Cadbury’s exploits have proved ludicrously absorbing. Did you know, I’d no idea young Alan had been up to so much behind the scenes. And can you believe it, but he’s already started telling me about a third exploit, and the second hasn’t yet been funded:

‘Oh for Christ’s sake Alan,’ I almost wept, ‘Please don’t start another one.’

‘Would you rather I told that nice Mr Rankin in the Oxford Bar? Edinburgh’s less than four hours by train and I’m sure there must be fens in Scotland where Rebus could happily uncover the dark truth. And I have to admit, it’s a cracking tale. Right up his street.  DCI Lane thought so too, at the time. Said it’ll probably earn him promotion. Or the sack.’

So I let him talk.

The next thing I knew I’d accumulated six pages in my iPad’s Notes app.

Anyhow, I’m absolutely determined not to let things slip so badly in 2015. I enjoy writing my blog and what is ‘retirement’ about, if not enjoyment? So I’ve decided that COME WHAT MAY I am going to write-up the blog posts I had prepared in 2014, but never got round to doing. I’ll try to do them in chronological order, except for this one. Which is very short. Or rather it was, before my earlier digression on the joys of retirement. It’s also quite simple to write, and as the sun has just poked through the leaden skies, I’m keen to get out into the vegetable garden and start digging. You never know, we might have a frost in this record hot year (and some brain-dead people still deny climate change – leaves me speechless!!). And that’s just what the veg garden needs: a good air frost on freshly turned soil. It should help clear-up the fungal diseases that are starting to become quite problematic. Oh dear, I feel a digression is starting to happen…

Back to the point of this blog, which is the first of five posts that I had intended to write in 2014, if life hadn’t been quite so frantic. Its purpose is simple: to introduce the world to a young puppy called Pen. Pen is the result of a working Border Collie who jumped onto an unsuspecting chocolate Labrador bitch, on my niece’s farm in the Yorkshire Moors. So her working pedigree is impeccable. She has turned out to have the brains of both breeds, but the energy and lithe body of a Collie. She also has the short, fine coat of a Labrador and it looks like she’ll turn out to be as big as one. She certainly seems to have a Labrador’s appetite. Most important of all, she has a very sweet nature. Right now she’s just over six months old and is starting to behave a bit like a naughty teenager, but that’s fine. It’s what happens.  The two photos I’ve posted here were taken on the 2nd of October, shortly after we returned from collecting her in Yorkshire. She’s a lot bigger now, but no less charming. If I get sufficient Tweets I’ll take another picture of her closer to Christmas.

And come to think of it, isn’t it about time that Alan Cadbury acquired a pet….?

Pen on her back Pen close-up

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