Saturday 14 March 2009

Some moment when the moon was blood

Most of the crime round these parts is carried out by one particularly grouchy donkey. A section of fence is repeatedly vandalised, wing-mirrors are chewed, plant pots are scattered, trousers are taken from the line and meticulously destroyed overnight. That's okay. It's modestly funny (after two deep breaths) and I get on pretty well with the donkey in question.

He's a grumpy rat, it's true, but I've seen how lovely he can be with the horses and I like the way he conducts himself generally. He's a terribly fine (passing) companion altogether and I welcome his visits, missing him on those days he doesn't stop by. Here he is, standing on the "road" which passes by my garden:

I find him quite beautiful, in a rough, scabby, misshapen kind of way. He's nice, isn't he? And here he is (below) with his new baby, which means, of course, that he's a she and probably always has been. I can't break the habit of calling him a he, however, and don't see that this will materially affect our relationship in any way, so where's the harm, really? Look:

(and here and here)

Outstanding, no? And he's a good mum, Demosthenes. (I've never found it hard to imagine him giving crazily malcontented speeches to the senate - I mean, just look at him. Save for his child, I reckon he sees the whole world as one great big Philip of Macedon. I have some sympathy with this outlook, to be sure.) I don't call him Demosthenes to his face, though - why would I? - only in my head or if I'm telling my girlfriend about something he's probably said or saying. After twenty-odd years she no longer feels entirely uncomfortable blanking me, okay, so don't you be worrying about her.

When he comes round these days, in fact, I tend not to say anything too controversial at all. Why spoil things? Two times I've said: "now look here, just you stop chewing that thing immediately." And two times his eyes said "or what?" Fair point.

But with this new baby of his he always seems to be saying "look what I made, Mister Man - what do you say to that?" I could point to Emma, I suppose (seen here discussing Willa Muir's Imagined Corners at her book club, I fancy), and hit back with an incredulous "you think you have a monopoly on clever, Donkeyoaty?" But this would feel churlish and I should simply hate for us to become competitive parents, always trying to get one up on each other. Those people are vulgar and transparent (and not in the good way).

If he could speak my language, though, I know for a fact that he would answer any wildly erratic questions I might throw at him in the correct and longed for manner - which is brilliant. Or a start. Or both. Everything else just follows on from there. I mean, what's not to like? And his crimes are so gentle, so hard to fault. This is one very welcome trespasser and it's simply amazing how little I miss Glasgow. (Just thought I'd slip that in.) The middle of nowhere is a very fine place and I recommend it most highly, just so long as you find your own piece of nowhere, far, far away, in the middle of somewhere quite different.

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