Some of you might have caught a post here from yesterday cataloguing our Sad Animal Week which I quickly took down because who needs too much information about sad on a Friday...and apologies to those who still received it by email.
The gist was that either side of bidding farewell to the Tinker we have also said goodbye to one of our Dowager cats Tess back in February..
and this week Sticks ("Sticky") the Gamekeeper's faithful twelve year old gun dog, here in very happy retirement with us, but who sadly broke his front leg while we were out walking last weekend...
We have laughed (and cried) since as we think of the Tinker up there somewhere with this lifetime of a menagerie of ours to look after (sorry Dad) .. dogs Ben, Will, Another Ben, Barney, Sticky, cats Charlie, William, Corky, Rocky, Dusty, Tess, guinea pigs Clover and Parsley, a rabbit who went to the bad and whose name I have forgotten, hamsters Chippy the First and Chippy the Second, ferret Bobby, gerbils, fish various...the list is endless and the parting is sad, but what lessons they have taught us and growing children about loving and caring for them through good and bad times.
Feeling in need of an all-absorbing project we set to....
Bookhound is painting the house, and my job was to help buy the paint and now I am watching him.
And today we are zipping up to Hay-on-Wye for a couple of events at the literary festival, Helen Macdonald and Robert Macfarlane. And don't miss the latest edition of Five Dials, the online magazine from Hamish Hamilton, this latest one edited by Robert Macfarlane.
Today's journey will be interesting because we have finally caved and bought a SatNav, so Serena will be in charge while I knit (and Bookhound drives obviously).
The deciding factor was negotiating Bideford town centre a few weeks ago in the hope of eventually reaching Arlington Court.
'Oh look,' I said, ' a sort of google satnav thing on my new phone, let's give that a try...'
I ignored all warnings about it being 'in development' and 'beta' and 'possibly inaccurate' until we had done several circuits of Bideford which kept bringing us back to the same roundabout, with the same rather odd pseudo-neolithic Ring of Brodgar installation, and of a confusing similarity from every angle and approach road. It's at this point that navigator's panic sets in because, having relaxed and devolved all responsibility, I suddenly had to find a map and glasses and Take Charge. None of this helped by the fact that the road map was 2008 and the bit we needed was right on the spiral binding...
'That's it, we're buying a SatNav,'
And that wasn't me, it was Bookhound, finally capitulating.
I do pride myself on basic old-fashioned map-reading and navigational skills though, especially up on Dartmoor. I love a nice map, and having heard Tristan Gooley speaking about natural navigation a few weeks ago, and how the art is being lost thanks to SatNav and GPS, it seems like an important skill that could soon be all but defunct. In fact we now realise that everyone else has a SatNav and therefore drives confidently and assertively in the right lane at the right time and there really is no room for dithering on the roads these days, or saying you can't see what the roundabout sign says until you are a bit closer.
So we have it, the TomTom, and I am hoping to have mastered it by the time we reach Bristol, beyond which and turning left we don't do very often, and it had better work because I have knitting planned.
Some very beautiful wool crossed my path recently but was out of stock. It was the Knit Angel who sealed the deal by booking skeins from the next dye lot and sending me one..
The Devon-based clever person who dyed this is here and the shade is Exmoor. The Knit Angel had knitted some up into a Hitchhiker scarf which looked beyond superlative, a stunning yet subtle range of colours, so I will be doing likewise as long as Serena plays the game.
Any SatNav hints gratefully received...especially What Not to Do and How Not to Upset Serena...I'll read them on the way...
Meanwhile, any making going on over your way...