taking it easy

After a rubbish couple of weeks, some very nice things have been happening here recently. I was stupidly thrilled to see my name (in connection with this post) on page 7 of the current issue of The Ambridge Voice. What? You’ve not heard of this esteemed publication? It is, of course, the newsletter of the Archers Addicts fan club. I’m more of an anarchist myself, but it was still damned exciting.

Then I had a fun day with Mel, who came round to help me sort out my yarn stash, which is considerable. . .

Mel is super-organised, and produced a spreadsheet and everything. When the yardage section is complete, I will be able to terrify Tom with how many miles of wool I own! On the same day, Mel and I were driving up Broughton St, when we spotted the Queen pootling along in the opposite direction. There was no public engagement going on or anything, Brenda was just driving along past Crombie’s Sausage shop. (Well, obviously she wasn’t driving herself, but you know what I mean). I’m really not sure why I, who have no time at all for the monarchy, am telling you this, except that it was a moment surreal in its ordinariness.

I have also been enjoying the epic spectacle that is le Tour while working on something whose colours remind me of a vintage cycling jersey:

. . .more of which anon.

But I’m sure you are all dying to know about the doggy hat that Tom is sporting above. Well, that is BRUCE, and Bruce is my new buddy! He is a black labrador, is almost 8 weeks old, and is just lovely. His mother’s name is Islay, (so we knew things were meant to be) and we were able to give Bruce his pedigree name – Finlaggan. And before you ask: yes, Bruce and Jesus have met, and things were just fine. Bruce did not go ape. Jesus was composed, but skeptical. Both continued on with their respective canine / feline activities, and that was that. Hurrah! I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to going for long walks with Bruce as he gets older, and I get stronger. At the moment we are both pretty much indoor dogs, but I am thankfully housetrained. Bruce is doing his best.

86 responses

  1. Bruce! Just the thing to keep your spirits up – puppies are the best thing ever for making you smile. Mine is now 5 and she still makes me smile all the time (especially when she lets out a very un-ladylike belch after every meal!).

    So happy that you’ve had some nice things to cheer you Kate. :)

  2. Bruce is gorgeous! And what a lovely photograph of Tom and Bruce. I’m sure he’ll brighten up each and every day – except perhaps on the days when his lack of housetraining strains the patience!

  3. Oh, if I were a doctor, Bruce is just what I would have ordered for you and Tom and Jesus! My adult daughters often say that they were raised by Labrador Retrievers and, while it hurts my feelings a little bit, I’d say we’ve all been better off because they were part of our lives. And we never were without at least one cat so I am slowly writing about all those dear creatures and calling it “Raised By Dogs… and Elevated By Some Cats Too”.
    Happy Housebreaking!

  4. Great pic, with wonderful expressions captured on both their faces!

    And so good to hear a happier tone in your post. Appeal that damn DLA decision.
    You might be dreading it and the thought of expending energy on such an activity, but you are entitled, and hopefully it will be worth it in the end. You will kick yourself much later if you give in and don’t. Go Girl!

  5. Puppy smiles will perk up anyone’s day.

    I have never thought of beginning spreadsheet for keeping track of stash items, let alone the yardage, but now it sort of fills me with glee. The trick will be in keeping it up with incoming and outgoing. How do you tell how many yards you’ve used from a partially started skein – is there a trick or does one simply have to measure?

  6. Hooray for Bruce! Labs are such wonderful dogs. I look forward to hearing about your walks with him, as he gets older and you get stronger!

    I tried to be very good about keeping track of my stash using Ravelry, but have gotten terribly disorganized in the last year or so, and the thought of actually tallying up all of the miles of yarn I currently possess is slightly scary!

  7. ooooh, ooooh, ooooh, BRUCE is GORGEOUS! So pretty, when I saw him on Tom’s head I hoped he was a new addition. How lovely. And I’m thrilled about the Ambridge Voice mention – I’ve never joined the fanclub myself as I still get creeped out by learning too much about backstage etc as it highlights that it isn’t real. (This is very strange as obviously I know it is a radio play but I just don’t like it too highlighted!) Cannot wait for the unveiling of the yardage and the spreadsheet sounds dreamy to me. Glad that nice things are happening too – I’m still very sad about the DWP horrendousness. Lxxx

  8. Hurrah for Bruce! :) My parents just got a puppy unexpectedly and my Mom cooed about him for half an hour on the phone today. At the end of the conversation I added to the traditional “give Sis and the nephews a hug for me” a “and pet the Dog for me” – he seems to be that important already… ;)

  9. What two fine fellows!
    What a fine friend to help you with your yarn stash!
    The Queen? Brenda? Am I too confused of an American? I don’t understand, please explain.
    Lots of Love,
    Chesley

  10. Congrats! I’d imagine that the love and kisses and silliness of a puppy will do nothing but help your healing process along. What a cutie!

  11. What a happy addition! Congratulations, and I’m so glad Jesus and Bruce are cool with it :) And what a beautiful swatch of colorwork you’re showing us!!

  12. Hurray for Bruce! Feel free to ask me if you have any puppy-training questions (I work with dogs), I love to talk about puppies. If you haven’t already considered this, I would highly recommend crate-training Bruce earlier rather than later. Besides the other benefits of crate training labs especially are notorious chewers and if he’s comfy in his crate you can leave him alone in the house without worry when you need to.

  13. I’m a dog person and think that a dog cheers a household immensely. When I’m sick, my dog makes sure I can’t sit around feeling too sorry for myself — and that’s a good thing! Congrats on your puppy.

  14. Hi Kate, such a wonderful little post and congrats on your new pal! I was laughing when reading your reaction to seeing the queen. My man once saw her on the Royal Mile and, being highly critical of the Monarchy, he was very surprised when he found himself waving at her. What a dafty! Years of school indoctrination probably. And yes, she waved back! (or so he claims..) Best wishes, L

  15. Is there anything better than a pup who seems to think he is a hat? My dad has retired and I am trying to persuade him that this is the perfect dog opportunity, but he is having none of it, ‘bad enough having you’ etc.

    I’m really glad to hear that there have been some nice things lately! And I hope there are many more, canine-related and otherwise.

  16. Oh my goodness!! I nearly fell off the sofa when I read the old Archers post – I hadn’t seen it before. You won’t believe this, but I have just cast-off a shawl using Argyll Ambridge 4 ply! I have previously made a vest top with some of it. It came from my Granny, and I have absolutely no idea where she got it. On the label it says it’s 75% Pure Botanic Wool, and 25% Nylon. I know from previous experience with the top that it stretches like elastic when it’s washed. Tumble-drying it fixes it though!

    Despite some previous Ravelry searching, I’d never come across anybody else having this yarn – hence the surprise! It’s a small woolly world!

    And I love Bruce, he’s gorgeous. :)

  17. You know, I think this is the first time I’ve ever said this…but that dog looks like a Bruce.

    I love the colors of your new knitting–*very* nosy about the details now…

  18. Congrats on the new addition! I can’t imagine my life without dogs. I’ve usually had two, sometimes one, but they’ve always been around. And we have several Islays here in my area of CA; Islay Creek, Islay Hill and Islay Street. Don’t know the history of how they came to be named, though now I’m curious.

  19. Good to hear of happier things. And I loved the Archers post. Like so many people I just grew up with the Archers and often have conversations with my mum or my sister about them which anyone overhearing would assume were about people we actually knew ( you know, ‘real’ people). I love Jill and could not listen for several weeks after Phil died, but I loathe both her daughters (partly envy, I expect, for being her daughters). What I have always wondered is where the Archer women get their accents; Jennifer, Shula, Elizabeth, Jennifer’s irritating daughters, they all sound like they should be playing lacrosse somewhere. Yet neither Peggy nor Jill, nor any of the men have that accent, so where does it come from?

  20. Congratulations on your new puppy! I would buy one myself if I didn’t live in a flat and work in an office full-time. Glad to hear things are looking up for you!

  21. An excellent name! The plush toy warthog my darling bought me while on a work trip to South Africa is also called Bruce (his colleague queried whether I would really be pleased to receive a plush toy warthog rather than perfume or some tchotchke for the house. My darling’s instinct was correct).

    There really is nothing better than a pup for the spirits. I got my pup Lola as part of an holistic approach to dealing with a nasty bout of depression, and she works.

  22. Bruce is so adorable. I’ve been doing a verrrry similar colorwork pattern. I see you have one plain round in there…I’ve gone with a diamond pattern that has no plain rounds. Very fun to knit, and easy to remember the pattern.

  23. Oh happy day, the arrival of a puppy in the house! We just got a puppy two weeks ago and I couldn’t be more thrilled with him, or more boring to my friends and family. Congratulations to you!

  24. Other than our new kitten, there’s not much else in this world that melts my heart more than a Lab puppy! Congratulations on your new little love.

  25. there is nothing like a labrador for chasing away the blues. i don’t want to imagine what life will be like without both of ours.

  26. acey amapola tompkins, the world’s oldest living animal (b. ca. Jan. 10, 1996), sends sweet licks and hair. she says there’s nothing like a boon companion. trust her.

  27. Oh Kate, how fabulous for you! By the time you start going out with him on the hills you’ll be wondering how on earth you enjoyed walking in the countryside without a dog! I have two dalmatians and I cannot imagine walking anywhere without them..! To many many many happy years of happy walkies to both of of!

  28. Hooray Kate! You are finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. There is nothing like a new friend’s unconditional love. I can’t wait to see what you create or the next place you go. Wishing you a hasty recovery and happy days indeed!

  29. Ah Kate, Bruce is beautiful. You will soon be wondering how you managed without a dog.
    Once the early training regime is established that is!
    Maybe you would like to have a look at this http://www.labradorforums.co.uk

    Information and advice about all aspects of owning a Labrador.

  30. Hi Kate
    Well, I just love your new little puppy too. Hours of tail waggingly wonderful fun.
    Just so pleased for you.

  31. Oh he is just soooo cute.

    Glad to see he’s not climbing on the furniture…. has he crept into your bed yet…. give it time!!!!

  32. Love the puppy! Our border collie goes almost everywhere with my daughter and I. Everyday we both look forward to our walks. Also, she gets along wonderfully with our 3 cats. Have fun!

  33. I am happy for you.
    To see that things are now better and to know that this little lovely Bruce will give you fun and joy. And of course, the yarn in order that the summum!:)

  34. A PUPPY !!!!!!!! A puppy is just what you need , and I must tell you from experience of getting our first five years ago, raising a puppy is nothing short of raising your own child. I think it is a perfect idea and you will grow together and life will be so amazingly different ~ for the better ~ guaranteed. Then you’ll wonder a few years from now how you could have ever existed without Bruce.

  35. I am so happy for you Kate! Surrounded Tom, Bruce – the most adorable new puppy, Jesus, friends and yarn.

    Who could ask for anything more…?

  36. A black Labrador puppy is a wonderful cure for many ills. I’m sure he will be a huge support and a great friend in the months and years ahead. I shall also be interested to hear how his relationship with Jesus evolves. Our black Labrador, Ghillie, on first meeting Sally (our tough-as-nails teen mum shelter rescue cat), tentatively and respectfully licked her derriere. Since then, she has never really bothered to tidy her hind quarters herself (my godmother used to call it ‘playing the cello’), preferring to sidle up to the dog and present it for him to tidy for her. We imagine that she greets him with a jovial ‘Hey! Buttwipe. How’s it going?’, as she comes springing across the lawn to meet him.

  37. So happy to hear that good things has been around. Love the look of the VCJ, and Bruce is just too darn cute and looks very much at home already!
    Oh, and good luck with the inventory … it can be both wholesome and scary to realize the amount one’s stash comes to ;)

  38. I also took on a new, small animal (in this case, a tiny little gray male kitten – Oliver) while I was recuperating. It’s amazing what this little animal and his need to cuddle, to be cared for, and his interest in the simple things of life (hummingbirds at the feeder, a ball of yarn, a leaf) did to help me heal. Welcome to your little Bruce. You’re fortunate Jesus is so “understanding.” Our Lucy (9 year old queen cat of the house) has never made up with Oliver and to this day greets him every morning with a growl and a hiss. They actually fight like brother and sister.

  39. I’m so happy Bruce has adopted you! Life is so much better with a dog to share it with! And getting your yarn organized is a wonderful thing! I’m glad you are having some happy moments this week!

  40. I am so very glad that things are looking up, with HM the Q and dog and all.

    I was well and truly humbled at at an Archers Anarchist evening with a friend – they knew so much about Archers history. I may be misremembering the evening as an AGM. Anarchists AGM? Surely not…

  41. Sigh!!!!!!!!!
    Having had three labs in my life – I am ashamed to say that I am soooooo jealous. You are in for such a fab time. And you deserve it.

    Enjoy!

  42. Wonderful news on your new mate Bruce! I saw a program just last night on ECAD, an American group that connects dogs with people with varying needs- the program focused on returning war veterans with post-traumatic stress and other anxiety disorders and the tremendous relationships that they often develop with their dogs.

    May you share any wonderful walks together, even the daydreaming kind!

  43. OMG PUPPY!

    He is adorable. I want to snorgle him.

    Re: yarn spreadsheets, you do know that if you put your stash into Ravelry, you can click a button and it will export the whole lot into Excel?

  44. I’m so excited to meet Bruce. I know when I’m not feeling well, and just want to rest, my own dogs’ big expectant eyes make me get up and push myself. He is adorable and will be so lovely for both of you.

  45. Wow, what an adorable puppy! I’m quite envious! I’m also intrigued by the knitting sneak peak…and having fallen into one of the John Lewis yarn sale bins over the weekend (not literally, but a good bit of it came home with me…) I think I also need a stash spreadsheet. So thanks as ever for inspiration!

  46. We have a Patterdale terrier who is such fun she loves running in the Cumbrian fells.
    I know Bruce will give you great joy, dogs are such good companions and I’m sure you will enjoy many a walk whether to the corner and back or up a hill or two……..

  47. Hello!
    My love for Scotland and handycraft such as knitting, nalebinding if that is the english correct word for it (like the did on viking age) , Crochet, dye woolyarn with plant and many other tnings, somehow showed me the way to your blog. My name is Marina and I live in Sweden, north of Sweden. 2005 when I turned 30!! (how THAT could happen?……..) my family decided to give me the best presents of all – and my dream come true – a vacation for a week in Scotland!! I love your country, so beautiful I don´t have words for it, and I felt like THIS is my homeland…….I must have lived another life before this and in Scotland. =)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and tell you I´m very sorry that you suffered a stroke and that you knit beauuuuuuuutiful things!! And have lovely photos of everything. I will now follow your blog every week and I´m already looking forword to see the next design you make. Absolutely outstanding!!

    Best regards
    Marina/Disa that is my blogname

  48. What a beautiful little dog. I have a soft spot for black labs, my grandparents had a lovely one when I was young. I think he will be good for your recuperation, and will look out for you. It’s good that he is OK with your cat, they usually get on OK when they have to live in the same house.

  49. I think Bruce is fabulous! He looks like a little ball of fluff now but when the weather gets a bit colder, surely he’ll need a few jumpers of his own. Very good thing you’ve got all that yarn!

    Did you wave to Brenda?

  50. Yay for Bruce. He looks right at home on Tom’s head!
    So glad to hear that things have taken a happier turn.
    Oh…and I have severe spread sheet envy ;o)

  51. A dog is an essential part of life! Ralph is my best buddy. He doesn’t judge me when I feel sad and just gives unconditional love! Good luck with a lab and keeping him fed!!! They love to eat! Ha ha!

  52. The queen? I was not aware that the British queen shows herself unless she has a ribbon to cut. Was she wearing a hat and handbag? I shamefully must admit that I sport tons of awfull prejudice agianst the royalties of Europe -the are all colourblind, their blood does not clot and they are all fierce Banjo players – sort of prejudice, thank god they marry red blooded people these days. But they are entertaining. Oh, and congratulations to Bruce, such a lovely puppy.

  53. I think Bruce was nipping at Tom’s ear prior to that photo being taken. He looks decidedly put out that he had to stop chewing on Tom to have his picture taken. I think Bruce will nibble on any bit of human or Jesus flesh he can get his tongue on.

    And I think that’s a very good thing because everyone knows that black lab puppies make the world go ’round.

  54. I’ve got nothing against cats, but dogs are they best, especially labs. Bruce looks like he will be a great walking companion.

  55. Hi Kate,

    I expect you have heard about this survey since you are in Edinburgh.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10467184

    I think Bruce would be a wonderful subject for study! I know you will all have many happy years together. Our black lab, Dudley, gives us many smiles in a day (did you know that labs smile?) and makes us smile too.

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