Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Re-discovering literature

I cant say that I was ever the worlds greatest fan of poetry. I found English Lit tedious when I was at school. Probably because the teacher was the most boring old fart in the world. He was just counting the days until he retired and used to plonk books in front of us, tell us to read whichever bit of Shakespeare he had picked out, and spent the entire lesson with his feet up on his desk smoking his pipe and giving us no feedback whatsoever. He sometimes even fell asleep - and we would then do what any responsible and well brought up young people would do............ start having spit ball fights and writing graffiti all over each others work books.

What a waste of 3 years of my life.

And then in my early 20's, I discovered a love of English poets that I never knew was lurking alongside the love I had (at the time) for dance music, partying, tequila and cigarettes. And although the only one of those young loves I still have is for music (it now extends beyond dance music you'll be glad to hear), my passion for poetry has just grown and grown.

I sat here musing about my favourites. What is the one poem that makes me sigh every time I read it? And I have to admit, after a long time thinking about it, I will step out onto the ledge and say it is "To Autumn" by John Keats.

For anyone who has never had the pleasure of sitting in a field in the English countryside, as summer slowly turns to Autumn, watching the farmers bailing the straw. If you have never spent time staring at the golden stalks they leave behind in the stubble fields, and havent watched the swallows diving and swooping before lining up on the telephone wires waiting to leave for the winter, the following is for you.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind,
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twin├Ęd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Im so excited - Lorrie comes on Sunday !!! yayyyy

No - Im not having a hot date with someone called Lorrie (nor am I having a rather large van delivered either).

On Sunday, I shall be going with Murphy to pick up the new addition to our little Moorland family............Im getting a new dog.

She is absolutely beautiful and her name is Lorrie.

Ive always had 2 dogs, until my ex partner decided to "steal" one of them and he has point blank refused to give her back - even though she was my baby for almost 12 years. I hoped that Murphy would settle for being an "only dog" but despite me leaving it for 4 months to see how he got along on his own, he is still desperately sad without canine company. So I made the decision to get another - and to be honest, I actually miss having two of them creating merry hell in my home.

As much as I love puppies, I know a young pup isnt practical for me, and there are enough dogs in the world that nobody wants, so I decided to rehome an older dog. Then struggled with myself over which breed.

And I kept coming back to Border Collie every single time. I swore after Minstral (my other dog) that I would never have another BC because she was such a handfull when she was younger. She came from a farm at 6 months old as she was refusing to run sheep and I fell in love with her when I saw her....until she started to eat the house. Every night I came home she had done something else - like eaten the floorboards (honestly), chewed a hole in the wall, or ripped up the carpet. But they have such intelligence and personalities that I couldnt resist getting another to replace her - and besides, they are the only breed of dog that has the stamina to keep up with "himself". And he loves Border Collies - Im sure he thinks whenever he sees one that it's Minstral coming back.

Anyway - Im digressing a little here.
So I started trawling the dogs homes (but after ending up in floods of tears outside the last one I visited as I couldnt pick just one dog and leave all those other dogs with their sad faces wondering "why didnt she pick me?") I decided to check out the private rescues and rehoming centres.

And lo and behold I was put in touch with one of the top Border Collie breeders in the country who had just had one of her dogs returned to her after 6 years. I still cannot fathom why someone would turn their beloved pet over for rehoming after that length of time - I would never part with Murf - not even if it meant I had to live on the streets. He's my baby. But I am not going to start going through the whys and wherefores of the whole thing. Because at the end of the day, other people making silly decisions has resulted in me finding Lorrie.

And wait until you see some photos of her which I will post hopefully on Sunday sometime. She is a stunner. And such a lovely placid and friendly girl. She is the same age as Murf so thats a bonus, and she was also a top show champion when she was owned by her breeder and even appeared at Crufts - although the people she was sold to at 3 years old didnt do very much with her after they bought her.

Ive got her spot set out for her bed, and have bought her a new feed bowl and a lead. Murf and I bought her some Markies (a firm favourite with all dogs) but he decided that he wanted to try them to make sure they werent poisoned - and so we need to now buy another packet for Lorrie :-)

The whole village know she is coming on Sunday, and so I expect we will have a reception party waiting to meet us when we come home with her. And I really hope that she will settle here with us. Because one thing I know how to do well is love my dogs. And I think she will like us, because for the last year with her previous owners, she was locked in a house for 14 hours at a time with very little exercise.

She's going to get such a shock when she sees the farm and the woods and the open moors. And I know that Murphy is going to have her tearing round like a maniac with him chasing the chickens and the cows and hunting for rabbit in the brambles, and running after the deer up on Anglezarke Moor.

I cant stand to think that a lovely dog has been neglected in any way, so I regret to say that I will probably be spoiling her rotten with cuddles and squeaky toys and lots of loves on the sofa with me and Murf. I also have a sneaky suspiscion that he will have a quiet word with her and say "if you sneak up on the bed in the night, and give her the puppy dog eyes when she tells you to get off, she'll let you stay up there" "Oh and if you jump up and grab your lead every time she gets up out of her chair, we get an extra walk - especially if you start whining"..... I can see me being taken for a complete and utter mug.

Dogs eh? Dontcha just love 'em? :-)