The Country Hello

Walkies is always intoned as a question (walking around a field or two is a collaborative endeavour, after all – a joint decision even if a predictable one); the response comes always via immediately expressive eyeballs (she would fold her arms at a policeman if she could, to show willingness) and, today, came accompanied by a sneeze and a lightning-quick circle on the spot. I needed a walk as much as she did; if indoors is deadlines and computers, stress and anxiety, outdoors is space and wind, trees and open sky. So off we went. I carried her over the initial muddy bit (she is too small, too pristine and too fair to want to wade through it, though she probably would have, with raised eyebrows as a challenge [it’s I who’d have had to bathe her], if I’d not intervened) and plonked her down again for her parade.

Walking my dog is often a sort of parade; she is a bit of a princess, even while sniffing and widdling all over the place, and is met with admiration and ecstasy wherever she goes, mostly because she looks like a cross between a small piglet and a fairy. She is a long-haired chihuahua, built for seasonal jumpers and a penchant for puppy food (by which I mean she refuses all else). When I occasionally mention her on dates (looking after her is an excellent excuse for leaving one early, if necessary), I am on the alert for any judgement; it is an interesting thing that dog breeds can be gendered (as baffling, really, as the fact that colours so often are); I admire a man who can admire a chihuahua and not have to check he’s still got a willy. Continue reading


All’s well

Whenever an individual, company or organisation sends me an email which starts with ‘I hope your well’, I can’t help but have a pleasing flash of a particular image in my mind before continuing with the missive.

How kind (I think, picturing my well – a deep, narrow drop I imagine in my back garden, quietly existing on its own, darkly and damply) of them to express their concern and interest. It’s lovely to think that complete strangers have high hopes (or hopes of any kind at all) for my well. It’s sweet of them to enquire about it so urgently as to put it at the very top of the email (‘How’s your family? How’s work? Hope your well’)… But I am always left imagining what was meant to come next – what exactly is the nature/content of these hopes – since no one ever finishes the sentence. ‘I hope your well…. isn’t too cold and lonely’? ‘… isn’t too full of stones or sticks or scared of its own darkness’? ‘I hope your well is a source of nutritious, clean water that brings pride and good health to you and all who know you’?

I don’t mind that they get distracted halfway through the sentence and cut straight to a new one; I know the thought is there, of whatever type, and I appreciate it. Thanks.

wellWell’s well.