My Roman numerals are getting a tad shakey, now: I think I have it right, but will gladly be corrected. It's supposed to be 18, which I think was shown as two short of twenty. Perhaps I should Google it, but, frankly, the day's too good to be fussing about trifles like that.
December 27th, and logical informs me that the Boxing Day sales should be over. Mind you, logic also insists that the Boxing day sales are a one-day phenomenon, for Boxing Day only. However, such is the commercial frenzy that infects people at this time of year that at least two major retailers started their so-called Boxing Day sales two days prior to Christmas Day. This is the side of Christmas that I despises, Precious.
The advertising got increasingly shrill and desperate. If I were to nominate one TV commercial shill to be the most objectionable for the year, it'd be a close-run thing between the guys who bellows at us for Harvey Norman (so obviously an Australian. Being shouted at is bad enough. being shouted by an Aussie is just, well, nasty.) and the pit-bull who shouts at us for Big Save Furniture. She is beyond nasty. Attractive until she opens her mouth to display her money-stained teeth, she's the epitome of everything that's foul about modern commercialism. So I think she takes the prize this year.
Christmas Day itself was great. My niece and her instant family were in attendance: three terrific kids, allof whom are experimental thinkers. I don't know what school they're going to, but it's obviously one that encourages independant thought. Terrific. And their Dad is one of those sweet, gentle, and loving men who are so often overlooked. Shannon got lucky when she hooked up with him... and the relationship looks solid, too. Rejoice, for happiness is with us.
It's time to think about New Year's resolutions. I haven't made a decent NYR since the year I gave up smoking. This year I've been thinking about nobility a lot, so I should, perhaps, think how I could bring more nobility into my life. On the other hand, I've also been thinking about tolerance, and have been having a lot of fun becoming less tolerant of the things that really piss me off: hypocracy, shonky punctuation, and intolerance. So perhaps I'll just resolve to become less tolerant of intolerance.
I intend to get a Tee Shirt printed for next Christmas: I Wish You a God-free Christmas.
Happy New Year, everyone. Happy New Decade! May the grace of Offler, the Crocodile God, shine upon you.
Listening to: Jimmy Buffet, "Songs You Know By Heart". Perfect summer's day listening.
Reading: Still getting through "My Year of Living Biblically". It's a book all atheists should read. The author is an atheist, but his year of living biblically is giving him some terrific insights into the value of the Bible. I've read the Bible around 20 times (I can't see how anyone could call themselves an atheists if they're not able to describe what they don't believe in) and I know where this chap's coming from.
New York, is one answer...
Word of the Day: resolution. Jenny's going to read all of Dante's great canto, "The Divine Comedy". I wish I'd thought of that.
More Rats, folks!
The horse snorted, and lifted her hoof. Jayne gasped in astonishment, and Arthur glared at her. His eyes told her she was not to make a sound. She nodded her apology. He turned back to the horse, and ran his left down the great horse’s leg, to the inside, and he cupped the great hoof, supporting it while he straddled it, and caught it between his thighs, his back to the great animal. He never once stopped talking. “My now, that’s a fine hoof, Beth, and a great and fine piece of work you are.”
The horse farted.
“And for that, I and the great Lord above thankyou, Beth,” said the boy. Jayne judged his age at eighteen. She was over by two years. She listened, fascinated.
“Let’s see now, Beth. This’ll be your problem. You’ve a nail caught and twisted here, and a nice river stone’s caught in your frog. That’ll hurt, so it will.” He reached into his back pocket, and pulled out a pair of pincers, and a clasp knife. Grasping the horse’s hood tighter in his thighs, he opened the knife and dug into the soft flesh at the centre of the hoof. The horse muttered and grumbled, and the boy continued his talk, gently calming her. A stone flicked away and pinged off the anvil, and the boy closed the knife and put it back in his pocket. “There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place, ain’t that right, Beth-my-girl,’ he said. The ongoing commentary amused Jayne, and she found herself wondering if the boy was simple. She watched as he took the pincers, and nipped the nail in half, then drew what was left straight from the hoof. Then he spent a couple of minutes with his file, cleaning and tidying the he hoof’s rim, so he’d have a clean surface for the shoes. “There you go, my girl,” he said, and fished into his pocket for a length of string, which he used to measure around the hoof, which he then eased to down to the floor.
“That was ama-“ started Jayne.
“Ma-am, please. Quiet.” Jayne shut up, wondering at the authority in the boy’s voice. He moved back to the great white face, and rubbed it for a moment, his strong hands rough against the horse’s muzzle. Then he kissed her between the nostrils, and told her she was a good girl, and she could go outside for a few minutes. Beth rolled her eyes at him again, backed out of the smithy, and stopped. Jayne gasped, again. She’d owned Bethesda for five years, and had never been able to get her to walk backwards. Not easily, anyway.
“Now then, ma’am. I reckon I have a blank here that’ll fit her. Are you comfortable with me doing the job, or would you rather we waited for Grampa Smith?”
“A smith called Smith?” smiled Jayne, genuinely amused.
“Aye ma’am. Many’s the long laugh we’ve had over supper with that wee jest.” Arthur’s face was as blank as a brick. The woman smiled, acknowledging she’d been well put in her place. Simple? I don’t think so, she thought.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
“Eh? Oh, sorry, ma’am. I’m Arthur. Arthur Tomlinson.” He stuck his hand out awkwardly, and Jayne saw him for the age he was. “I’m Grampa Smith’s Godson and ward.”
“Oh,” said Jayne, and raised an inquisitive eyebrow. She heard the volumes of information in that small phrase: Godson and ward. There was little doubt that the boy was an orphan, and that this Grampa Smith was a man who took his promises seriously. She took his hand, and shook it. “I think,” she said, “that I’d like to have you do the job.”
“Good oh, ma’am,” he replied.