Advent III: the Jocundity of Dachshunds

As if in proof to yesterday’s declaration that it’s not spices in tea, really, we swear on a bible, that we take objection to, today’s selection was called Gingerbread. Straight and to the point. It’s a robins packed chock full of ginger, and it smells and tastes like gingerbread in a cup. So much so that we investigated the ingredients for traces of molasses. We found none. Low on caffeine and richly flavoured, it’s a perfect evening tea. This is how you do spiced teas properly.

In other news, it’s Advent III, the Sunday when the rose vestments come out and we relax whatever Advent discipline we have going. We always think that if ever there was a day we could let the blog slip, it’s this one. But we enjoy the blog, and Gaudete Sunday happens to be our favourite. Even if we still haven’t sung Hills of the North Rejoice this season.

In perpetual embodiment of jubilation though, are the Dachshunds of Dawlish. We owe them a poem, not least because Miss Marschallin has had two this season to their none. But also, no one does unbridled joy like a Dachshund leaping around your knees. We don’t even have to do anything for it. If we look vaguely in the direction of the kitchen from three o’clock onwards, they leap in jocund fashion at the prospect of food. If you go into the kitchen any time after half three, they run in giddy circles. Open the gate to the family room and they race to see who can crush the sofa cushions fastest. It’s like being perpetually bombarded with optimism, and it’s contagious. So here’s a poem to the Dachshunds, with love and affection. We really are sorry we insisted on bathing them earlier today.

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Lost and Found

Ron Padgett

Man has lost his gods.
If he loses his dignity,
it’s all over.

I said that.

What did I mean?
First, that the belief
in divinity has almost
disappeared.

By dignity
I meant mutual
self-respect, the sense
that we have some right
to be here and that
there is value in it.
(Values are where
the gods went
when they died.)

My dog Susie doesn’t seem
to have any values, but she does
have Pat and me, gods
she gets to play with and bark at.

The Dachshunds have many values, if you’re curious. Fabulous Orange Ball is high on the list. It’s narrowly outranked by Food. Sun is crucial, and warm. We’re sort of in disgrace until the warm weather comes. But they bark anyway, because apparently part of being perpetually optimistic about the universe involves making a joyful noise unto the Lord at every possible occasion.

On which note, we’ll end with Hills of the North, just so someone sings it this year. The important thing to note here is that there are two sets of lyrics, and ours are right. Well, we think so. The people who sing the other ones probably disagree. Both are quite good in their own way though.

Returning to Sayers

This week the Dachshunds of Dawlish join us in finally getting to grips with Busman’s Honeymoon. We here confess to having never read it before, though there’s no good reason why we should not have, considering our love of Dorothy Sayers. Our hardback folios make for awkward travelling companions, is at least part of the trouble. Equally though, the ending of Gaudy Night has always felt so balanced and resolved that we’ve never read further. (That’s not strictly true either; two years ago, we picked up Thrones, Dominations but though we liked it, we never know how much to count it.)

If you’ve never tried it, reading with Dachshunds is not to be undertaken lightly. In fact, we find these reading companions exhausting. They want to run around at a great speed, and we need quiet to read.  If we do settle them, we are then pinned to the chair while they sleep —we are of course, the human pillow in this instance. There hasn’t been much sleeping on their part though, because we’re still only 30 pages in and it’s Wednesday.

What we’re really doing, we’ve decided, is savouring this particular Sayers. We love Harriet’s company, and are reluctant to give it up completely. Once the whirl of the holidays is over we suppose we’ll read it in earnest in spite of the Dachshunds, because after so much people-time we’ll need the excursion to Talboys like a good cup of tea. Then, well then I think we’ll be about due a return to that boating scene on the Cherwell, because it’s been ages since we read it in context and anyway, we meant it about not wanting to give these characters up.