Saturday, 26 December 2009

Favourite things to do at Christmas

  1. Go for a swim at North Berwick with only a swim suit on and feel the buzz
  2. Pick out cross-stich which you have been meaning to for (technically) years. It's an embroidery of baby galahs 
  3. Destroy zombies
  4. Put the turkey in the middle of the table away from Harvey
  5. Eat the rest of the trifle for breakfast.
  6. Play music trivia
  7. Learn how to play backgammon
  8. Relax until you see your swimming trunks on the Christmas Tree
  9. Write on the blog
  10. Drive people mad playing the Bodhran
  11. Speak to family in Oz on Skpye  and the phone

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Fence Key - A short story in the making!

Here are the first few paragraphs. They are my original attempt to start the story with an edit when I decided to include a hint about Jed's amazing gift.

Jed wasn’t expecting to have a good day but he hoped that if he could get through the week, things might improve. It was only Wednesday and the end of the week for him would be Saturday night. He looked in the mirror and saw red-rimmed eyes and a sallow complexion. I have to change, he thought.

Two days earlier, on Monday morning, Jed had gone down the hill to the shops as usual. He had been careful to put on his beanie before he left and when he got to Tesco’s he bought the Daily Star and some rolls. Everything seemed normal, and it was. The pain behind Jed’s eyes was like an old friend who whispered ‘larger… lots of lager.’ It wasn’t any different from any Monday morning… it was ‘par for the course.’ An annoying little cliché that he couldn’t get out of his mind, ‘par for the course,’ Dr. Kelly, the idiot psychiatrist said that during his last clinic appointment. Jed couldn’t take Dr. Kelly seriously. After all he was a flowery font – something that only Jed knew. Dr. Kelly’s thoughts were inconsistent (and no doubt ridden with guilt and self loathing), but one thing was clear the good Dr. had a crush on Jed. When Jed got home from Tesco’s the week started to deteriorate.

Jed looked down at his hands and they were trembling slightly. He stretched them and tried to get them to be still, just as they used to be, but it was no use, they only shook more. His fingernails were dirty - they never used to be. He looked out of the window and saw low, grey clouds. His mind went back to Monday morning.

When Jed got home from Tesco’s he had gone into the back garden and he poked his hand behind the wooden fence to the hook where the back door key hung. Two things happened straight away. He looked over the fence and through next doors window to see if the telly was on, but instead he locked eyes with James, his body building next-door neighbour. Jed looked away and tried to unhook the key, but it wasn’t there.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Do you want to write a short story?

This blog is about writing... stories, poems and any other stuff that is worth reading!! It also gives me a chance to write about Harvey and the places we go and of course the occasional film or concert or café I visit. I’m intending to write about the books I read as well. But the main thing is writing.

In this spirit, I’m going to write a short story and this is the rub… I want your help!. Now I don’t think I’m the first person to take this line. Kate Mosse… not the model – the author wrote about the process of developing her book 'Labyrinth’ online. She has a great web site, which I will put onto my links. So, what I am looking for are comments and ideas from you about the ideas I have for this story and we can see how it will work out. The initial idea for the story came from a small incident in my back garden… I was getting a key off a hook and my eyes locked with my neighbour. He didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know what he was thinking.

This is where I started with the story a couple of days ago.
  1. The storyline involves a key hidden behind a fence.
  2. In this story, I want to portray the personality of two characters.
  3. There must be four unexpected turns in the story.
    • Someone misinterprets the reason the lead is looking behind the fence.
    • The key goes missing.
    •  Jed turns out to be an alien -  dubbh
    •  Dubbh
  4. Action through dialogue
  5. What is the problem the character has to resolve?
  6. Run two stories in parallel
As you see, this was a flow of consciousness and two of my four turns in the story didn’t occur to me until later. But, a major turn in the story that I want to explore, is the incredible ability that Jed (he’s the main character has.) He may be mad but he can read  the thoughts that people are having. For instance, his psychiatrist has a flowery font, which turns out to be significant.

So, these ingredients may or not figure in the story…what do you think?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I don't belong to Glasgae

Took my life into my own hands and stayed over in Wegie land last Friday night. They know how to party over there. During our walk up Sauchiehall Street I avoided dozens of groups who were keen on carrying on their office party celebrations. My suggestion to pop into Yates’ Wine Lodge to sample the atmosphere received a definite ‘NO’ from Pat, so we made it to her friends, Terry and Danny in one piece.

I know many people like to strain the national grid these days with their Disneyland of Christmas lights, but not everyone puts on a high class Christmas show inside their home. Terry is one person who does. His two Christmas trees are a superb example of the fine art of Christmas decorations. The whole house sparkled with style and panache. This was topped off with a splendid meal and more that one or two glasses of the fizzy stuff.

Where was Harvey, you may ask? He had an equally exciting time on a sleep over with Skye. He spent a good deal of time on Saturday with Kara, Skye and Corrie, tearing around fields in the snow. He was quite sleepy on Saturday night.

So did everything go without a hitch? Well not quite… on the way home, I got on the train for North Berwick, when I was actually heading for Dunbar… oh well, you can’t win em all, but I did manage to get my own tree up today. Although it isn't a patch on Terry's tree, it does sit rather splendidly in the corner of the room.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Sir Herald arrived at his condo in good spirits. A walk along the beach with Jackson had done them both good.

“Just let anyone try to stop me taking you to the University with me,” he said and he gave Jackson a vigorous rub behind the ears. The dog looked at him, tongue hanging from his mouth, and exuded pure, uninhibited adoration. After a few moments the Professor noticed the red light on his answer machine blinking. He pressed the message button.

“Hello, Nancy, here. Thank you so much for the invitation darling. I’m very excited because I bought the red gown I’ve been saving up for. I thought to hell with the expense, you only live once, don’t you! The last tranny party at your place was a blast and I’m really looking forward to this one. But I promise not to get outrageously drunk this time. I will be behaving myself and looking very demure. You know how good I look in red don’t you! See you later darling.”

Sir Herald took the phone from his ear and stared at it. It wasn’t true, it couldn’t be true, then his thoughts arrived in a rush. Oh my God, what did Nancy say? See you later darling, he hadn’t sent the invitation to the t-group had he? He couldn’t have made a mistake like that. What would Professor Keen think if he met Nancy? It didn’t bear thinking about. Jackson walked over and nuzzled his master in the crouch, ears standing straight up – a sure sign that someone would soon ring the door bell.

“Who’s coming Jackson? I swear that you’re psychic.”

The door bell rang, and standing with a large box of groceries was Patrick.

“You can thank Gladys for this, she is a very persuasive women. That will be £68.50 please.”

“Of course, come in Patrick. I’m sorry about the misunderstanding at the shop, can we be friends?”

“Umm, you know that I like to be discreet, and you let the cat out of the bag, in front of my staff too.”

“I’m very sorry,” Sir Herald said.

“I suppose everyone deserves a second chance. But be discreet in the future. Okay!”

“Yes of course. Patrick. By the way, have you received an invitation to a t-party recently?”

“Just the one from you, I’m going to wear the black sequins tonight, what are you wearing?”

“Oh Patrick, Patrick, Patrick, I’ve made a terrible mistake, can you help me? I’ve double booked the party; all the most important people from the University have been invited tonight. They can’t bump into our T friends.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Can you call the t-members and tell them the party is off, I’d be eternally grateful.”

“Leave it to me, and don’t worry. We can go late night shopping instead that will keep everyone happy.”

Jackson stopped sniffing around Patrick’s legs and jumped up, paws on his shoulders almost knocking him over and giving him an enthusiastic lick all over his face.

“It’s just his way of saying thank you. He likes you. I don’t know what I would do without him. He even reminds me to take my tablets, but you forgot this morning, didn’t you Jackson. I must remember to take them; I think I’ve forgotten a few days now.”

“Yes, well if you could stop him licking himself in public, he would get on a lot better.”

Patrick left and Sir Herald started to prepare for the dinner party. First things first, he had to prepare the menu…. he was happy, happy… happy.

The first guest arrived early; naturally it was Dr. fat arse Pope. Fortunately Professor Keen rang the bell shortly afterwards. Next to arrive was Priscilla Jacques, tall, curvy and intelligent; she was high on Sir Herald’s list of desirable females.

“I would be most interested to hear your latest theory and how it relates to practice and naturally, to the fruit of practice,” she said,

Sir Herald couldn’t help feeling that he was being sized-up by Priscilla, whom he noticed had exquisite green eyes. A little group of chatting academics circled Sir Herald and a hush fell over the room. Sir Herald looked around and saw that all eyes were on him. Everyone was waiting for his answer but a disturbing thought occurred to him. Maybe they are waiting for him to make a mistake. Maybe their instincts told them that something interesting was in the air, maybe even an intellectual kill? He looked at them again and the circle looked aggressive. For the first time in his life, Sir Herald couldn’t think of an answer, and his mind was playing tricks on him. All he could think about was his tablets, he hadn’t taken them.

A high pitched squeal saved Sir Herald. Every one looked at Priscilla, whose expression was difficult to read. It was a mixture of shock but also pleasure at the attention she had been given by Jackson.

“He has such a cold nose, and you must teach him not to poke it up lady’s dresses, Sir Herald,” she said.

“Ah, yes, but in answer to your question, theory is essential in itself, it can stand alone. It doesn’t need practice or the fruit of practice to justify it.”

“Preposterous,” said Dr. Edgar Pope.

“Let’s go through to dinner, said Professor Keen.

“Good idea, I’ll go and answer the door first, you all go through.”

Sir Herald opened the door and there stood a six foot two inches high blond apparition with a slightly stubbled chin and a red sequined evening gown.

“Nancy, what are you doing here?” Sir Herald asked

“I’m here for the party darling… what else,” she said and swept past him and into the lounge. Jackson rushed over, enthusiastically wagging his tail, he liked Nancy. They were joined by Professor Keen.

“A very good joke Sir Herald, at least I hope it’s a joke. It is isn’t it?” he said.

“A joke, what do you mean? I must take my tablets professor, please excuse me.”

Sir Herald and Jackson disappeared into the toilet; he was there for a long time. Eventually Professor Keen, knocked on the door and Sir Herald came out, closely followed by Jackson.

“That’s better, forgot my amitriptyline again. I’ll be alright now.”

“But what’s this?” said Dr. fat arse. He was holding a sheet of paper. Each one of them was holding a sheet of paper.

“And who is this?” said Priscilla

“I told them I’m your good friend, darling,” said Nancy

Sir Herald took the easiest question.

“Well naturally, that’s the meal we’re having,” said Sir Herald, taking the sheet of paper from fat arse’s hand.

“But it’s a bloody recipe. We each have one on our plates, a very good recipe, but you can’t eat a recipe.”

Sir Herald looked at Nancy and then at Priscilla and slowly at the other faces in front of him. They all looked back at him in what he could only interpret as a threatening manner. Then he looked at Jackson who wagged his tail enthusiastically, head slightly over to one side.

“Let’s go for a walk,” he said.

The end

©   Ray Harris 

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

GOING DOWN – A Shortish story - Part 1

Professor, Sir, Herald Kelso looked around the packed auditorium and felt a warm glow of satisfaction. He had spun his web over his audience and they were enthralled.
The faces in front of him were mostly young, perhaps in their early twenties, but there were also a few older men, colleagues, who had attended the lecture so that they could listen to the magic of the Professor’s words. This is what the world needs, the Professor thought, sound, irrefutable theory which explains the way things are.

The Professor looked down at Jackson, his Pointer-Setter, lazily licking his balls, without a care in the world. Now for the exit, leave them wanting more, he thought and stood, ignoring the waving hand of a student.

“Come on Jackson,” he said, stepping down from the podium.

“Sir Herald, can I ask a question?”

“No time for questions today, read my book,” he said and swept down the aisle, heading for the door.

“But how does all this apply in the field?” an irritating voice said.

“Chapter 6, page 155,” the Professor shouted over his shoulder.

Little upstart, he thought. I’m sure that was the same student who tried to ask me a question last time. Always wanting to know how it applies… well I’m not going to tell him. Jackson looked up and seemed to nod in approval.

“No time to discuss the finer points with the students, Jackson, I have to get home early and plan my new strategy,” he said.

Professor Kelso walked at a brisk pace along the long corridor towards his office and the glow of satisfaction evaporated. Oh no, he thought, looking at his arch rival walking towards him with a fixed, steely grin on his face.

“A fine lecture Sir Herald, but I would like to go over some of the issues you raised if you have a moment,” said Dr. Edgar Pope.

Jackson’s hair bristled slightly and the white of bared fangs showed beneath his curled lips.

“I can’t stop now, I’m having friends around, it needs to be planned you know.”

“Ah, yes, your campaign, that will need planning,” the Doctor said moving away from Jackson.

The Professor walked on along the corridor with Jackson at his heel, and he wondered if Dr. Pope, or fat arse, as he preferred to call him, really knew his plans. But how could fat arse know? Hadn’t Professor Kelso decided only last week, that the dinner party was the answer to his problem? He needed to meet the right sort of woman He had to meet someone with a broad outlook. Connie had turned out to be a disappointment.

“Herald, I cannot understand what you are saying,” she told him on their last date together.

“I’m afraid that your lack of understanding is not my problem,” he answered.

“But you don’t make sense. Not only that but whenever I ask you to do something you, make an excuse and don’t do it. And another thing, Jackson’s behaviour, in public, is embarrassing. Why do you take him everywhere you go?”

“Love me, love my dog,” he said and that was that.

The plan to invite the most important members of the Faculty and the most eligible women to a dinner party was a master piece. No one would suspect his real motives, he thought. First stop the grocery store.

Dr, Edgar Pope, watched his adversary walk along the main corridor and out of the door.

That dog should not be in the University building, he thought and Professor high and mighty Kelso is heading for a big fall… he knew it and he thought that all he had to do was to work out how to help him on his way. He was an able… to be fair, a brilliant lecturer, but his behaviour was getting stranger. His refusal to answer questions or to carry out experiments was as arrogant as it was unsustainable. Dr. Pope couldn’t understand why he had been by-passed for the Head of Department position and why Professor, high and mighty Kelso had been appointed. Everyone knew that he couldn’t organise the veritable piss up in a brewery. If he didn’t have Gladys he would never make it to the lectures, let alone run a Department.

“He can’t keep all the balls in the air, and I will be watching, when they fall, guess who will pick them up,” he said to himself and an evil grin flickered across his face.

“Bloody car, what’s wrong with you?” said the Professor, “and more importantly, what’s wrong with the bloody garage mechanics? Didn’t I give them clear written instructions on the service I required? They said that they couldn’t carry them out, that they were ‘too complicated,’ and when I remonstrated with them, they said that I could stick my instructions where the sun doesn’t shine… really!”

“Okay, I am going to count to three and if you don’t go this time you are for the junk heap, do you understand?” In reply the car back-fired, let out a cloud of black smoke and then dwindled and died.

“That was your last chance,” the Professor said and he turned the key another time… the engine purred into life.

“So you were just playing hard to get, let’s go to the grocers,” he said.

Professor Kelso entered the shop, and noticed the girl he had left his list with, go over to the manager and look towards him.

“Can I help you sir?” The manager said.

“Yes, you can, I would like my order please.”

“Ah, yes, the order… an attempt at a joke sir, although I must say that our staff failed to find the funny side of it. Oh, and another thing sir, would you mind leaving your dog outside, animals are not allowed into the shop.”

“I gave clear written instructions on the way I wanted my order handled. Is there a problem, there shouldn’t be should there… Patrick?” The Professor smiled at him. He remembered the last time they met, at a t-party, make-up and eye-liner made a big difference to the shop manager. His attention was brought back to the present by a high pitched laugh from the shop assistant girl. Sir Herald followed the direction of her gaze. Why did people always find it fascinating to see Jackson licking himself? There was no harm in it!

“I am sorry sir, but we cannot handle your order, you will have to try elsewhere.”

The Professor did what he always did on occasions like that. He adjusted and tightened his dickey-bow, gave the shop manager a disdainful look and turned to leave.

“See you at the next t-party, Patrick,” he said and walked out with his head held high. Jackson, in his usual aristocratic way, followed at his heel.

“I must have a word with you about Professor, Sir, Herald Kelso,” said Dr. Edgar Pope to the head of the Faculty, Professor Keen.

“Not again Edgar, you will just have to accept that the appointment board were slightly more impressed with Herald’s CV and interview than they were with yours. It was his grasp on the theory that did it,” said the Professor.

“That’s not what I’m here for; I’m here to report his strange behaviour. His lectures are of course brilliant, but apart from that he has problems.”

“What sort of problems.”

“Since he was appointed Head of Department, he has been issuing instructions to everyone from the cleaner to the Professional staff and quite frankly, they are obtuse in the extreme.”


“I’m sorry to say, that not only is it an inappropriate way to behave, but no-one can understand what he has written. That is partly his hand writing but also… they don’t make sense.”

“Well Edgar, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it all.”

“There’s also the problem of his dog.”

“Oh yes, Jackson, a lovely animal… I don’t see any problem there. By the way have you been invited to his dinner-party tonight? It should be quite a grand occasion.”

“As it happens, I have and I’m considering whether I should go. Will you be there?”

“Indeed, I will and I would advise you, to go too. There will be a lot of very important people attending.”

“Naturally, I will be there,” said Dr. Edgar Pope, fixing Professor Keen with a steely smile.

“Gladys, where are you when I need you?” the Professor shouted slamming the door to his office.

“What is it now Herald,” replied Gladys in her efficient, no-nonsense manner which the Professor had grown to love.

Jackson gave Gladys a big slobbery lick, his tail flapping furiously at the sight and sound of his favourite human female.

“People are not following my instructions.”

“You should have let me type them out and send them by email, rather than doing everything by hand, you must be worn out.”

“I’m not talking about the University staff; I’m talking about the bloody supermarket and the garage.”

“Well, Herald, I’m supposed to be here to help with your University work. But tell me what the problem is and we’ll see if we can get it fixed. “

“I would by-pass the whole bloody lot of them and do it all myself, but you know how things have a tendency to go wrong. It’s all to do with the theory; if I got that right then everything would be hunky dory.”

“Sir Herald, your strong point is the theory; it’s when you try to do the practical things that it goes wrong. That’s why I’m here… to smooth the way forward for you.”

Jackson whimpered in agreement.

“I know, and you’re an angel, what would I do without you?”

“By the way Dr, Edgar Pope rang.”

“What did old ‘fat arse’ want?”

“He said he would be pleased to attend your dinner party tonight.”

“Cheeky blighter, I didn’t invite him. My God, I must get away and plan for the grand occasion. Is there anything I have to do before I go”.

“Only this,” Gladys held up a pink garter.

“Oh, yes the t-party invitation. Is it that time again? I haven’t got a thing to wear. They’ve seen everything I’ve got… Never mind, could you send a note, saying that I fancy the Lana Turner outfit for the next… hmm gathering.”

“Will do, is there anything else?”

“Just wish me luck for tonight.”

“Good luck, show them what you can do, and err… good luck with the ladies.”

“Oh, there is one other thing.”


“Could you have a look at this grocery list for me please?”

“Okay, Herald, I’ll ring the grocers and ask them to drop it off at your house. Is that alright?”

“Thank you Gladys, what would I do without you? Come on Jackson, let’s go.”

Part 2 tomorrow

© Ray Harris  Dec '09

Monday, 14 December 2009

Harvey here #2

That’s a picture of me pulling Ray along on our run at Dunbar. Woof
They have this thing called Christmas fancy dress and they put on clothes to look like fairies and pixies, seems a bit strange to me. Arrff.
Everyone was very nice and said I was cute! Woff woff.
Ray and me went to Belhaven beach the other day and I chased a flock of birds, right into the sea. They didn’t think I was cute, grrr grrr.
We go to the beach a lot. Last week we went to Belhaven beach again, but this time we were by the chalets. Ray wanted me to go over the footbridge with all the holes in it, not on your nelly, I thought and I jumped straight into the river. It was only when I got wet that I remembered I hadn’t tried to swim before, but I’ve got a good doggie paddle and just about made it. Woff grrr.
Since I started living with humans, I’ve noticed that they have some strange habits. For instance, they never pee on trees or lampposts, they always use a big white bucket thing and pull a chain. Woof woof.
Another thing… they never give each other a good sniff, I don’t know have they get to know each other. Arff, woff.
Ray is looking a bit stressed out today. He said he has to get all these things ready for Christmas and he wants to write a short story…whatever that is. grrr grrr.
I’m quite happy lying in my bed until it’s time to go for a walk. Woof woof.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Cinderella at Florabank

There’s nothing quite like a good amateur panto to put you in the Christmas mood…
Oh no there isn’t… Oh yes there is.
I went along to Florabank residential care home on Friday night to watch Cinderella and the place was packed. They must know something I don’t I thought as I sat cross legged on the floor, between my dad and another octogenarian. My dad’s great granddaughter and his granddaughter and partner soon joined us and we were ready for the show, but not before Carols. Now, there’s nothing like Carols to give you that Christmas feeling…
Oh no there isn’t… Oh yes there is.
However, the Carols went on o’er long, and we started to suspect that there might have been a few hiccups with the cast. The compare confirmed this when he announced that Santa was having trouble parking the reindeer. Before too long we heard a bell ringing and Santa appeared carrying a bag of pressies. Santa this year wasn’t his usual rolly-polly, ho ho ho, self. He had a distinct edge about him and a sort of gruff charm. One or two of us had to watch out and avoid the bell. But Santa’s little helpers did a splendid job, even though Santa had forgotten his glasses and couldn’t read the names on the pressies.

After all that excitement, we were more than ready for the panto. It turned out to be hilarious, especially in the unscripted comedy bits. The ugly sisters lived up to their name and the fairy godmother was someone you wouldn’t want to meet on your way home in the dark…
Oh no you wouldn’t… Oh yes you would.
Buttons was a real star and held it all together while Cinderella was very beautiful. So, Cinders went to the Ball and the residents got their pressies, and we all had a splendid buffet afterwards. If you’re wondering where Santa went… he’s behind you.

Monday, 7 December 2009

The running blogger - how's that for a brand name?

If you have read this blog before, you might notice - I have given it a makeover. Those wonderful Google people supply a whole range of templates that you can use. You can even preview the set up before you use it… so I’ve been experimenting. A good looking blog is attractive but it’s the content that’s important. As a fledgling blogger, I’ve been surveying the blogging scene and have found some very good blogs out there. I’m following four literary blogs, which are packed with useful information. Two of these are in the US - California and New York. It’s interesting to compare the different styles, and as you would expect the Californian blog is rather laid back and cool, but gets 250+ comments for every blog he writes and the New York blog is altogether more ‘in your face and let’s do it, style.’ (All my blog links are on the side bar.) I’d like to link to a few down to earth bloggers who like me are swimming in the sea of unpublished aspirations. I hear that the way to do it is to leave comments on their blogs and they will do the same… worth a try!

Everything has a brand these days, including blogs it would seem. Nicola Morgan suggests this is a good idea and she calls herself a crabbit literary agent who likes chocolate and stilettos. So I should get myself a brand name, which will hang well, when I’m getting all those comments on my blog. Perhaps over the hill runner and aspiring writer would go down well, or painter seeking a subject, or writer seeking a publisher. It’s not as easy as it sounds. If you have any ideas please let me know (nothing too rude!)

I got a reply from Jenny Brown Associates today, which is a lot better than not hearing anything for eight weeks and assuming that they are not interested. It was a very nice email thanking me for sending the story and saying that she enjoyed reading my chapters but the novel isn’t quite the one for her. Jenny is now neatly packed away in my publishers and agents ‘word table’ with the other five or six rejections so far. Stephen King used to keep his on a rusty nail, in the days of letters. Incidentally, most agents and publishers I have come across so far prefer the old-fashioned method – a letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters. There is now an envelope sitting next to me waiting to be posted, with just those ingredients in it.

Harvey wants me to tell you that he had a great time at the weekend. He got to know a lot of people at the Dunbar running club and he thought the fancy dress was very good.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

An Autunm Leaf with Attitude - short version


This season is done, but
I’ll leave in a blaze.
I’ve changed already.
I’m a chameleon of earth colours
fluttering at the tip of my branch.

I was a note in the symphony.
You listened to me rise and fall
with the breeze.
Watched me move,
in the dappled light.

I watch my cousins
sail the burn
to some far away bank.
I smell their bodies
feeding the earth.

When the time is right
I’ll join the fall,
become part of the ensemble.

We will fly on the wind,
cover you like a storm
and feel children play
amazed by our bounty.

Ray Harris © 2009

Saturday, 5 December 2009

To be or not to be... and what will Harvey do?

Getting out and about has proved a bit tricky the last few weeks because I have Harvey to think about. I decided to adopt a policy of taking him with me to as many places as possible and in general, this worked out very well, no doubt largely due to his charming personality. He is a regular feature at the Tyneside Tavern on Wednesday nights after the running club session, but there are places I can’t take him to. Work is one of them, so the decision is should I leave him at home or leave him in the car near where I work, so that I can pop out to give him a quick walk at tea break and a longer one at lunch time? Mostly, I have left him in the car. Last Thursday I left him at home in his usual place with his comfy bed and told him I would be back after work. I didn’t put him in his cage because he has been quite settled at night in that situation. Before I left work that night, Kerry said ‘I hope he’s been a bit naughty, but not too naughty.’ Sure enough he had been a bit naughty. He had ripped up a plastic bag and a bamboo stick… not too bad I thought as I picked them up off the floor, then I noticed the lead to the radio. Harvey had bitten right through it… he’s got teeth that cuts through wire! Luckily, I had switched the plugs off, of I could have had a fried Harvey to come home to.

Going out at night requires another decision about Harvey, which revolves around, should I take him with me or leave him at home or… ask someone to look after him. There have been no end of volunteers since I got him. So, Harvey had his first sleep over last night. He stayed in Innerwick with his pal Skye. That left me free to attend the opening party of the new shiatsu school and practice premises at 35 – 37 Bread Street, Ed. It is a great setting to receive shiatsu and Tamsin Granger, who runs the Shiatsu School is a wonderful practitioner… highly recommended. After that I went to see ‘Me and Orson Wells, starring the remarkable Christian McKay and the wonderful Claire Danes. This is a real quality film about the early career of the great man. It is set in the early 1930’s and shows the action through the eyes of a young man, who becomes an actor. I enjoyed the film immensely, and yes, actors do have ego’s the size of a double decker bus.