The due cani (2 dogs) departed. Thankfully. Keep thinking of chilli con cani. Or possibly chilli con cani customer. Or chilli senza (without) cane. Or cani customers senza sense ....

Received an email from a dog customer asking if I know of: “a self catering cottage which excepts dogs.”

Another batty dog owner called to ask if we could have her dog while she was away on holiday. Replied in the affirmative and told her the price. ‘Oh,’ she said with glee, ‘that will almost pay for my flight.’ She thought we paid her for the privilege of having her dog. Am apparently running Rent-a-Dog.

On Thursday K was booked on the Eurostar to start her gap year sojourn in Bordeaux. On Friday she returned home. France was closed. On strike. Now waiting for France to re-open. May be a long wait.

The battle between Mr Online Casino and the Parish Council is hotting up again. Mr OC is his own worst enemy. Sent me a copy of a letter that he proposed sending to the entire village. It resembled a legal document, ran to over 1200 words, attacked the Parish Council and used the pompous phrase “My wife and I” an alarming number of times. After cringing for him, I invited myself round for a drink. “I don’t think you want to send this anywhere,” I told the wounded animal in its [own] cage. Two hours and a bottle of Mr OC’s exceedingly good claret later we concluded that he wouldn’t. Another two hours and something simple and amicable was ready for circulation. It’s tough being a control freak without any control.

I know this. I have O. Still have O as have not yet auctioned him on Ebay.

And O has been playing rugby. First against xxxx and yesterday xxxx. O has never willingly played rugby – or not since junior school - and has hitherto demonstrated only lack of ability. I suspected this a-long-way-away-away match to be an alibi for some undesirable ulterior plot. Until O forced me into a sports shop demanding new boots and a polystyrene cage for his head. And then allowed me to deliver him onto a coach to xxxx. He returned 5 hours later ecstatic at having been thrashed. Ditto yesterday. Now attribute O’s inclusion in the ‘C’ team to underhand dabbling. Thank you Mr P. Am only too delighted to commute solitary electronic nihilism to collective writhing in mud for half a dozen Saturdays this side of Christmas.

To my immense irritation, my Debit card was cloned at Waitrose cash machine. ‘You’d have thought that would be the safest one,’ I bemoaned to the bank. ‘No,’ retorted Miss Santander, ‘that’s the worst one. The thieves know that Waitrose customers are the most likely ones to have sums worth stealing in their accounts.’ Makes sense. The only sense to have originated from Santander to date. To inform me that my card had been cloned, Santander made a dozen automated phone calls. Each began: ‘This is the Santander Fraud Department ...’ and then asked me to put my account details into the phone. Assumed this to be a scam and put the phone down. After the umpteenth call, called Santander to inform them of the scam. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘that’s how our fraud dept. contacts customers.’ Which makes Santander insane as well as stupid.

The local police are as frantically busy as ever fighting the terrible crimes of this sleepy rural valley. Most recent high priority email: “I have just been informed that we have recovered two wheelbarrows from a recent theft. We are struggling to identify an owner - anyone missing them? Regards, PC Peace”

I’m apparently equally overworked. Caught sight of a blue tit swinging on the passion flower creeper outside my studio window. Very deliberately swinging to and fro like a child in a playground. And quite as happy. Took a pic through the window and then ventured outside. Tip toed down path expecting him to flee. He didn’t. Just carried on swinging with camera within inches. Then he stopped and surveyed me and the camera. Then hopped onto the camera. Wish I’d had another camera in the other hand. Didn’t. So held hand up to camera with finger extended. He hopped onto finger and just stayed there looking at me and into lens and all around. 


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