For those of you that don’t know, I live in a country lane with few neighbours and my coach driver husband often goes away overnight. This is not a Craiglist personals ad, (well, it was meant to be but I started typing in the wrong window..)
No. This is the beginning of my excuse for giving in to years of family pressure. Three months ago, hiding under the duvet as some fox-hybrid-type creature howled outside my window while Mr was away overnight, I resigned to get a dog; for security you understand. My eldest three have now fled the nest and so I was beginning to feel quite vulnerable with only a teenager, a nine year old and two cats to throw out before me in a hostage situation. A dog, I thought, was just what I needed to feel safe at night.
A trip to the local Dogs Trust, some owner training and a home visit later and we had our newest family member, Sally the Collie-lab. Sally has now lived with us for around three months and has turned my writing world upside down. If you have been a follower of my posts, you will know that everything I create begins on actual paper as I am a fan of working longhand. My ‘office space’ is propped on a cushion, in front of the fireplace which I now have to fight to only share on a daily basis. And you will have to see The Longhand of the Hill – Fifty Shades of Graphite to fully understand how much I loved the mechanical pencil I discovered chewed and broken when I started work this morning. Garrrggghh!
As I write this line, longhand, she is here pressed by my side huffing like a petulant teenager because it’s not playtime yet. And so my dog days are begun, with me, the reluctant, once indifferent pet owner who went very quickly from referring to her as ‘the new pup’ to ‘Sally-Wally-Woo.’ And everyday, in every way, she tries to stop me from messing with that paper and rather tasty stick thing to come and play; even after my taking advantage of some nice weather to work in the landlord’s field behind my house. A couple of acres to play in didn’t stop her sabotage efforts as she tried to nick off with my ground sheet. Although, she did enjoy chasing twenty pages of blown away manuscript round the field with me as I sang the ‘oh f*ck, noooo!’ song.
So, the Mrs David Dando rewrites continue regardless, with the usual family distractions plus some nudging, pressing and pencil stealing from Sally-Wally-Woo, whom I now – begrudgingly – love dearly in a completely over adjective using way. Even if she will only be protecting us at night by licking intruders very noisily to death, giving us precious minutes to escape.
Anyone thinking of getting a dog, beware; you may just fall in love. You may also fall over as they drag you across ice to the toilet corner in the garden at 5am. But it’s all worthwhile.
I’m still scribbling away, working with the help of the fantastic proof-reading and editing assistance of Flora Napier, who is excellent and very reasonably priced for new, hard-up writers like my good self. I highly recommend her and am very confident and excited to know I’ll have this book out for submission very, very soon.
PS I am advised (from a source that I cannot reveal) to tell any potential burglars reading this post that they can take everything except my sons Xbox…
Have a good week!