Well not destruction exactly,just a squirty water bottle. A bottle which can be directed at an unruly dog and squirted – making him unhappy and hopefully obedient.We have decided it’s time for a bit of Jack discipline in this house and, following on from reading the spiritual discipline book, it seems that some of the principles you could apply to overcome a human habit also apply to dealing with a barky dog.
- Identify the habit/problem that needs your attention. How long have you got? You can choose from a long list. With Morecambe we’re going for barking hysterically and flinging himself at the kitchen door whenever anyone arrives at or leaves the house.
- Pin down exactly why you want to deal with this. Believe it or not, Morc’s reasons for needing this dealt with ain’t that different from a human habit. Firstly, this is something that can do him harm. Our kitchen door has a big glass window in it and we all have nightmares about him just jumping through it. This will be very dangerous but possibly not as dangerous as what might happen to him if he smashed the expensive kitchen door (this time at the hands of Head of House)
- Enlist the help of those in your community that you trust. All human beings in the family are on board and supporting this. Mainly because people would like to have friends round without needing to run through the kitchen like Usain Bolt. Lucy, however, doesn’t give a monkeys about Morcs and his habits and isn’t above taking advantage of his hysteria to nip his bottom or steal his food. (There is a moral here – not everyone will be on board when you are trying to change a habit – they will not always show this by trying to bite your bottom)
- Eyes on the prize. Sometimes, when we are recreating the classic scene from Singing in the Rain by wildly squirting water at a hysterical dog while we try to leave the house, we do wonder if it is worth it. As this point, it helps to visualize how good it would be to walk in and out unhindered and for the gas man to visit without having to apologise because the dog has lost control of his wee wee tube – up aforementioned man’s trousers.
- Reward any progress with something good. For you this will probably not be a bit of frozen liver but that’s what floats Morecambe’s boat so there you are.
Of course, there’s not very much spiritual here. He’s only a Jack Russell and there’s a limit to how far you can stretch the analogy. Still quite interesting to compare and contrast. I only wish Morecambe was as keen on the process as we are.
Lo and behold it getteth warmer and sunnier. I did try and do one of my favourite things – see above re garden, book and brew but the truth is its still quite parky really and too much time outside leads to frozen fingers. Witness lunch today. Husband, Lord and Master breaks up my humdrum working day to take me for pasty in the park. My how we live. Anyway, I’m quite happy – they’re nice pasties. Still, couldn’t sit very long. Nose was getting redder and redder. Moved on to buy chocolate thereby keeping warm and having little chocolate treat to see me through the afternoon at work. Still, Spring is definitely giving the whole arriving thing some thought.
Reading about spiritual disciplines. More interesting than it sounds. The chapter about prayer is especially good. Has lots of ideas about praying that challenge all my prejudices. One idea is to resolve to pray for one particular issue for 30 days non stop. (Well not non stop, I have to go to work and things but you know what I mean ) A part of me thinks this is like setting a deadline for God which is disrespectful but, as I have a few things going on at the moment, I am thinking I would like to give it a try. And, if God thinks I am out of order, he can just ignore me. No harm done. Except to my faith. and my life. Oh well.
Rushing out of house to Communications Team meeting on Monday night and shower unit exploded – literally. Yes really literally for once. Always happens when you are in a hurry. Now we have no shower. Baths all round now till we get it sorted. Twelve foot tall son baths like Flipper the dolphin thus doubling damp potential in bathroom. Do you only stop worrying when you die?
The sun is out in Devon (today anyway) and Mad Dog is as pleased as anyone. I have spent some of the week at a Community Transport Conference in Manchester (any more of this and people will think I am a real manager) so thoughts are a bit random again. (No change there I hear you cry.)
Returning to Manchester was good. Had some nice times with family and friends in the evening – after working hard all day and networking for England in case my trustees are reading this. Stayed in the Midland Hotel which was very nice indeed. I managed not to touch room service or the mini-bar. A hotel breakfast is surely one of life’s lovely things. “Coffee or tea madam? Brown or white toast? Help yourself to the buffet.” These are some of the nicest words in the English language.
Anyway, I’m not the only one gallivanting. Head of House and Senior Sprog have just got back from looking at York University. The boy completely loved it and that’s where he wants to go. You must not think that my frequent hysterical sobbing means that I am remotely troubled by the fact that this is about as far north as he could go without leaving the country. I love York too but this seems a bit of an extreme course of action to make sure that we can all get tickets for the panto. (BTW – York Panto – best in the country. No discussion. Although any information in comments about York gratefully received) Senior Sprog’s results so far are good. He has the offer. He’s going I think.
Finally, some culture. I don’t want you to think that I’m any kind of expert on Shakespeare because I’m not. Believe me, you couldn’t be living here. Most theatre companies treat Plymouth like Narnia – only further away. But this week we were visited by the National Theatre who presented us with Hamlet. It was in modern dress, set in a kind of police state, giving it a completely different perspective. Rory Kinnear was as amazing as everyone said but there wasn’t a bad performance. I went with Junior Sprog and at half time when I asked her what she thought, she was so captivated, she could hardly speak. We actually stood up to applaud at the end and I haven’t done that since I saw the Funk Brothers at the Apollo in Manchester. Quite a moment.
Christian women are sometimes a bit iffy about feminist issues. But the fact is that if you are female and you have a mortgage, vote, expect equal rights in your marriage and the bringing up of your children, then you have benefited from the work done by women’s groups in the past. Watch this – it seems the work continues…
There are some questions which have simple answers
- The dog behaves like that just because he wants to
- Most annoying Glee character is Mr Schuster (although he has a lot of competition)
- Paul was the best Beatle
- West Wing is the best piece of TV ever made.
However, when I look at this photo, I have do have one question which I don’t have the answer to
- WHEN DID I BECOME THE FAMILY MIDGET? (or perhaps more shockingly – the family Anne Widecombe look-alike?)
This week school sent home eldest sprog’s last ever school report and the date for his last ever parents’ evening. And so, despite all my attempts to ignore the facts before my very eyes, I now have to accept that the Head of the House and my good self are parents to a young man. We are both slowly coming to terms with the realisation that he will probably never again pronounce the word “gloves” as “glubs”. He is unlikely to lie on his back with his feet in the air singing nursery rhymes (no matter how often we ask) He is now to be found shouting abuse at Question Time and insisting that his Thrash Metal cannot be heard three doors down. So as he leaves to check out universities, trailing the Head of the House (acting as his chauffeur) in his wake, I just wanted to draw your attention to the obvious. Time really does go so much faster that you could ever believe. Every moment has to be snatched , treasured, held to your heart and remembered. You probably know all of this and I probably know it too. It’s just like most things it becomes a lot more real when it affects me.
However I will always remember him the way he was when we first gave him sweet potato……..