On not getting a dog – part 2

The dogs home was much bigger and quite a lot better than I’d expected. Also they don’t just have dogs..

The animals are kept in groups (cats/small animals/dogs/exotic animals/birds/farm animals), where each group is assigned its own area.

Each area is divided into different sections, the dogs area has a compound for dogs that were found and are waiting for their owners to collect them, one for dogs that are ill, and 3 for dogs that can be adopted.

Each compound has 3 round buildings surrounded by pens/cages. Each cage has 1-3 dogs and an assortment of toys and bedding. And a dog flap so they can go and play outside whenever they want.

By the time we’d been round the three adoption compounds without finding P, the home was in the process of closing for the evening. We found a carer who told up P was still in “rehab”, but gave us a number to phone the next day.

Rehab in Germany generally refers to recovery from health problems rather than drug problems. In this case, P had rather bad stomach problems and severe diarrhoea.


On definitely not getting a dog – part 1

Sporadically, DB looks at pictures of dogs currently in the dogs home. It’s a bit like a dating site; each dog has a profile picture, several additional pictures, and a list of information people may or may not consider interesting or necessary.

Occasionally, while scrolling through the pictures, he will sigh and tell me all about the unfairness of the world.

Sometimes, rarely, he will show me a picture.

Well, “rarely” until a few months ago.

Recently, finding show-and-tell worthy pictures has become increasingly more common.

In November there was a labrador puppy. Shortly afterwards there was a run of other dogs I failed to register as important.

Just before Christmas he discovered a Wolfsspitz/Keeshond, named P, who’d just been added to the dog-dating list. That’s the breed he grew up with, and the breed his father still has. His father’s dog, C, is ill. He has some kind of problem with his heart which causes him to have seizures. DB can’t imagine his dad without a dog, and suggested he adopt P. That way C could help her settle in and, in turn, she (P) could help his dad deal with C’s inevitable death.

DB’s dad was originally against the idea of getting a new dog, mostly because he’s not sure he’ll outlive another one, partly because he says C isn’t dead yead, and might hold out a couple more years yet… 

When he saw the pictures he slowly started changing his mind. 

When she caught wind of all the planning DB’s mother said “no way”. She wasn’t against a new dog per se, or even against this particular one, she was against having 2 at a time. 

A month or so of various persuasional tactics later, she was still adamant and DB’s dad more interested.

In January DB suggested we go to see whether she was still there and take some more pictures of her for his dad – a kind of secret mission to undermine his mother.

I went along for the ride – and to make sure he didn’t come home with a vanful of assorted homeless dogs.

On not having a dog – prologue

[A short history]

I didn’t want a dog.

I don’t remember ever wanting a dog.

Not even as a kid.

My family wasn’t and isn’t particularly dog-friendly, and besides, we had a mouse, followed by cats, chickens, goats and pigs. I had no need for a dog. I could snuggle up in bed with the cat, set up obstacle courses for the mouse, take the goats for walks, watch the pigs go crazy for treats (like crab apples), chase, and be chased by, the chickens.. Why constrict yourself to just one animal, when you could have so many?

Years later, living alone, I still had no need or wish for a dog. I wanted to be flexible – to have the freedom to go out, to stay out all night if I wanted to, to go away with very little notice, to travel on trains and busses and aeroplanes, to get lifts in cars with strangers. To have people over, or to stay by myself, hiding under the duvet, peering at the world without actually going out in it. A dog would have been restrictive, would have made me change the way I stumbled through my day, would have required planning and multiple daily walks and dog sitters and the transport of heavy bags of dog food in addition to my own shopping. I didn’t even buy a rabbit because it would’ve needed looking after when I was away.

As recently as Christmas I would have told you I didn’t want a dog, and not just because dogs aren’t for Christmas. DB and I regularly look after his parents’ dog. It’s selectively deaf, very stubborn, very hairy, and very lazy. It has the ability to completely and almost instantaneously cover the floor in fur and mud and slobber. Walks take longer with him than the same walk twice over might otherwise take without him. It howls when neither DB nor his owners are around, and barks and howls when they are. It demands dog treats every time either it or anyone else comes through the front door, regardless of how long they spend on the other side of it. It not only smells permanently of wet dog, even if it hasn’t been anywhere wet, it also has hideously bad breath. In short, it’s a joy to have around. I’m all for doing favours for people. But there was no way I would have wanted to adopt it. Luckily it isn’t an option – DB’s parents love it to bits.

Last summer, we looked after a friend’s dog. It’s far older, but far more interesting than DB’s folks’ dog, because it is at least prepared to walk. It’s interested in what’s going on around it, and it’s better able to put difficult commands like ‘sit’ into practice.

I enjoyed that week more than other dog weeks…..But I still didn’t want one.

Life gets planned, based on what the dog wants or needs to do. You can’t leave it alone, you often can’t take it with you. After a week or so, that’s pretty dull..

DB on the other hand, thinks life without a dog is dull…

On passing exams and failing to meet expectations

I got my results today. They came in the post, in an innocuous white envelope.

I’d almost given up on them ever arriving. It’s been over a month since the exams. A long kind of month. A month with christmas and travel and parties and illness. I have no idea how I got through the long summers waiting for GCSE, AS or A level results to come out. That took 3 months.


The news is that I passed.

All three of the exams.


I scraped 2 passes, one of them 0.75 % over the pass mark, one 3%, and just about struggled through the third with a grand total of 68%.

I was peeved last time round, when I ‘only’ got around 75% average. This time, I have about 57%.

57 is a pass. I could be happy.

But I’m not.

I wanted to do well, really well, so I could cancel out the less-than-perfect grades I got in summer.

I don’t think I’m stupid. I don’t want to be anyway. And I don’t like giving up. But I’m not sure how I’m going to make the next exams go well enough to drag these grades up to somewhere I feel comfortable celebrating.

I’m also a bit stuck on how to act now. I passed, which tends to encourage people to congratulate one, but I don’t feel happy to have passed. Probably because I know I didn’t put in as much effort as I could have done. I don’t know, even with the benefit of hindsight, exactly what I should have done differently, given my time constraints and the ‘extracurricular activities’ I engage in, but I am sure it must be possible. I suppose I could have read more during my commute, re-read my notes and the textbooks before each new lecture.. not bought new fish, or worked on the book.

I am trying to tell myself that I did ok, considering. But I don’t believe myself. I don’t believe anyone else if they say it either.

I don’t deal well with failure, even if it’s only failure in my head. I had dreams of being good at what I do, and being brought back to the real world hurts. It shouldn’t. But it does.

I sat through almost 200 hours of lessons, gave up lots of lie-ins and otherwise-free-evenings, took a week’s holiday to sit in school and used another 10 days of what should have been a holiday to revise on the beach, and it still isn’t ‘good enough’.

Good enough for whom or for what isn’t clear. Even to me. 

I don’t know who’s keeping score. I’m not aware of anyone frowning down at me. I’m paying for the course myself, so it’s not as if I’m letting a sponsor down.
And yet… *sighs*

I’ve been told nobody cares about grades. Problem is, I do. Even though I know they’re just numbers, just hoops other people hold up for you to jump through. Despite all the head-y knowledge-y thoughts that none of it really matters, I am disappointed.

I could have done better. I should have done better.

 “Could do better” is something lots of people quote from old school reports. I didn’t often get comments like that. I did well. I was ‘conscientious’ and ‘diligent’. I passed exams, I functioned and I achieved. I wasn’t always the best (academically), but I was occasionally, and when I wasn’t, I wasn’t far behind.

I don’t know how to deal with not being good. I don’t even know how to function when I ‘fail’. Not that these results are even real fails. At least when I failed the practical part of my Meister exam I could resit and pass properly the second time round. Scraping through, when it didn’t feel like it should be such a struggle is just frustrating.

In theory I should stand up, brush myself off, tell myself it’s experience, and get my head down for the next round. Instead, I’m wallowing,  writing this when I should be sleeping, defeating myself before I even begin. Tomorrow I will be unable to fully concentrate on whatever new content we get presented with and be too tired to review it when I get home.

I need to get a new mindset if I’m to stand any chance of not going crazy between now and September.

Anyone got any ideas where they’re sold? Not that I have any money to buy one. Anyone got any ideas where they’re giving them away?

Hello world – take 2!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

No, dear WordPress. This is my 462nd post… This was my your first post, way back in 2012. What a long time ago that was.


It IS a new site 🙂


Welcome, all ye who enter here 🙂

I’m so glad you found me.

I was worried you wouldn’t.

Expect a lot of changing appearances while I play with all the buttons 🙂


Until soon,


On the magic of new books

Nothing like a brand new book or two to cheer one up, even if they are ‘only’ school books.

This pile of brand new school books arrived today. I received them in exchange for a small fortune.. 

They contain – I hope – the knowledge I need to pass the next lot of exams AND – at least theoretically – figure out how to advise companies to keep improving…. That’s pretty magical.

Now I just have to read them! 🙂

On wishing myself well

This year I’m going to be selfish. I’m going to do the things I want to do with the people I want to do them with. I’m going to go where I want to go and see what I want to see. I’m going to figure out what’s really important to me and spend less time and thoughts on anything that isn’t. I’m going to eat more vegetables, even if that means eating by myself. I’m going to get my book finished and my website sorted out and my mini-company off the ground. I’m going to make time for myself and for catching up with the people who have been waiting for me to wake up to the notion that life is not only worth living, but also happens outside my house and the narrow constricts that have kept me too busy to talk. I’m going to keep up with my school work so that I don’t hurt my thumb writing like a banshee for the last few weeks before the exams. I’m going to get rid of lots of excess baggage – the things I surround myself with which I neither believe to be beautiful nor know to be useful and which have been weighing me down and holding me back by nagging at me to do something about them. I am going to marvel at the sunlight as it dances on the frost and maybe even dance myself if the opportunity arises. I miss dancing. I’m going to read more widely, paint more daringly and listen more loudly. I’m going to remind myself that I’m loved, and remember to make sure other people know that I love them. I’m going to swim 100km over the course of the year and hopefully manage to squeeze 80 lengths into an hour. I’m going to put more pictures up and make my space so pretty it’s like getting a mental hug every time I look at it. I’m going to learn how to use LaTex and how to keep my desk clear enough to put my new laptop down without worrying about it sliding down the paperwork mountain and crashing into my tub of paints or knocking the hopefully no longer overflowing dustbin over. I’m going to go iceskating and cycling and to the zoo. I’m going to sew more, write more, create more, sleep more. I’m going to find the time for all these things by wasting less working on other people’s dreams.

I think this is going to be a good year.

Not only do I wish myself well for the coming year, I also wish you all a fantastic year, doing the things you want to do :).