Someone, sometwo or somethree have been sneaking onto my blog and registering as users when my back was turned. I’ve swept them out the door and removed the option to register from my log-in page. The lesson, I think, is to spend a little more time in the blog-garden myself. Unmown lawns and clambering weeds have always looked enticing to strays.
What do you think about when you swim up and down lanes? I realised this morning that for me it depends on the stroke. My friend and sister-in-law recently passed on tips from her lessons so doing overarm I’m fully absorbed imprinting the new technique, drawing the straight arm and lightly cupped hand across the midline and all the way down to the outer thigh, rolling rather than twisting for a breath, trying to relax so I don’t sink. Backstroking, I think about raising the thumb first, then swiveling the arm so that the pinky re-enters the water then — revelation! — rather than throwing the arm back and scooping, pushing it directly to one’s side, . You can feel the acceleration. Breaststroking, I just bob along. I haven’t had the lesson tips yet so my mind goes wandering across the lanes (gosh, hairy shoulders! I wonder if my cap’s as bunched as a cook’s turban, like hers; eergh! sticking plaster; R’s stroke’s improving; uh-oh, here comes The Splasher with his three-foot flippers). Deep stuff.
Yesterday I had a meeting with a dog that shook me up I realised when I woke this morning with the sense that it had entered my dreams as well. I was at my aunt’s when a friend I hadn’t seen for years turned up with her two-year-old female Rhodesian Ridgeback, a slight, muscular animal (very small for her breed, said J) with black eyes that burned above the muzzle holding her in check as they entered the room. ‘The thing with this breed is not to make eye contact,’ J said. Too late. I’d been scorched. Amber was ready to tear my throat. Nevertheless, I sat while J brought her to meet me. ‘They don’t like being touched, either.’ But my hand had already responded to the soft, enquiring snout. Stones rumbled in her throat. I sat still, willing myself to relax as Amber walked around me, sniffed once more and went to lie down. ‘She’s never accepted someone so readily,’ J said. ‘Thanks for allowing the experiment; most of my friends are too scared.’ This was a very different beast from the lamb in dog’s clothing, the Ridgeback-Lab cross, that we’d minded in April. Amber must be a constant liability to her carers; she would allow for no casual visitors, no careless walking out with dog unrestrained. And yet that something in her, so raw and fierce, so well beyond the timbre of everyday, left its mark on my psyche and I find myself almost hankering to meet her again.