Alfred

He’s brown, white and furry, barks crazily at passing cars, lawnmowers or postal vans, and likes long walks in long wet grass. He probably prefers long walks in green forests. But he came to stay with us for the weekend, so I was frequently persuaded to take the other end of his leash while he introduced me to the pleasures of lampposts and trees.

Alfred
Alfred

He’s called Alfred, and while on those long, damp walks he’s surprisingly silent. He does stop and stare at me adoringly, when I unguardedly call him a “good boy.” He seems to believe those two words placed together mean “Look, I’m going to give you a treat.” I guess he’s got me well-trained.

Meanwhile, apparently, he’s also very good at training imaginary characters. Those wonderful folk in my current work-in-progress became progressively more voluble as Alfred took me for walks. Maybe they just liked the fresh air and exercise. Or maybe they like dogs, though they seem to keep seeing cats. Anyway, Subtraction’s now up to nearly 40,000 words and growing.

If Alfred stayed another week or so, perhaps I’d get it completed. But he’s gone home, my computer’s going crazy because I installed a new virus scanner, my Mum really wishes I’d finish installing same so she can listen to the Archers (BBC Radio 4 for the uninitiated), and my husband wishes I’d figure out how to install it without driving the computer insane, since my next job is to install the virus scanner on his machine.

Actually, talking to those characters in Subtraction is really rather fun. Perhaps I’ll go for a walk. Has anyone got a leash for me?

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