Of lost dogs, books, wind and sleep

I’m really tired today. Lucky this is only a four day week, just trying to hang on until Thursday (ANZAC day). When we arrived home last night we discovered that Meiji, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel we are minding for Beatrice’s brother was missing. She had crawled out through the gap between the bottom of the gate to the backgarden.

I walked along our street, knocking on the doors of the residents. A couple had seen her run past earlier in the day. It was a good way to meet our neighbours, but not very successful until one neighbour suggested we try the nearest vet clinic. At this stage I was posting up lost dog signs on the lamp posts. Following the neighbour’s suggestions we drove around to the vet who, to our great relief, was indeed minding a dog of Meiji’s description. Apparently somebody had found her wandering around the local department store.

We were absolutely overjoyed to have the crazy little dog back. Our main worries were that somebody would fall inlove with her and decide to keep her, or that she would run under a car. Meiji isn’t very street smart, although she’s very intelligent in other ways.

By the time we had returned from the vet and cooked dinner and showered it was past 9:30pm. Although I was quite tired, I knew I needed some time to relax before sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like reading any of the books I borrowed from the library. They are all British SF or fantasy (of the Terry Pratchett, China Meiville type) and I’m just not in the mood for it. So I hunted through my still unpacked bags of books and found Terry Dowling’s Blackwater Days, a very strange series of psychological horror fantasy stories. Normally I am a hard science fiction man, but Dowling’s incredible descriptive ability make him my favourite writer (he also has written some wonderful SF). He’s an Australian too, which probably gives me some sort of frame for visualising his imaginings.

I felt like a participant in one of the stories “Beckoning Nightframe” on Sunday night. I had spent the whole day working – cleaning up the garden, the house, and painting until late at night. No rest time meant that I couldn’t sleep and ended staying awake until the wee hours of Monday morning. It was terribly windy that night. The vertical blinds flapped noisily, the doors moved just enough on their hinges to annoy with each gust.

Unable to sleep, I wandered through the dark house and into the study. I love the bedroom that I have claimed as my study. It overlooks a small valley and across to distant hills. I just sat on my piano stool, light off, and watched the silhouetted trees vibrate in the wind. Everything else was quiet, the residents asleep. You can imagine so many stories in the night. Not tales of horror, but of alternative life under the stars or the orange light of the street lamps.

I think I’ll return to this theme of beautiful nights another time. For now, it’s time to get back to work.

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