Wednesday 27th April 2022

Dear Diary,

Don’t panic, it’s just me, the absentee houseboy, checking in to say I’m still above ground.

I confess to having gone through one of my ‘dark’ phases. It happens from time to time. I suffered from a lack of motivation on every level. I couldn’t write, or be bothered with the garden, housework has been lacklustre and the men folk have been subjected to gloom and a general lack of charm on my part. Houseguests haven’t witnessed the best of me either. One fled in the middle of the night, leaving a note saying they’d rather slum it in a Travelodge with a bedbug problem than put up with a passive aggressive host who made them feel about as welcome as a carnivore at a vegan convention. (Lie Detector says: no, it didn’t happen.) Okay, okay, so I exaggerate, but only just. The poor bugger in question developed a nervous twitch and left a day early, citing some fictitious ‘forgotten’ appointment. His car tyres all but left scorch marks on the drive as he exited. I’m not expecting a Christmas card from him.

Shane sorted me out with his usual calm understanding. He understood I was being a rude, sullen brat and he wasn’t putting up with it. Donning his dominant Daddy hat, he calmly hoisted me over his knee and spanked and paddled my bare backside. Tears flowed I can tell you. It was a catharsis of sorts.  Afterwards, I was better able to pinpoint and articulate what was driving my mood down.

Some of my downer was to do with changes. As you know, I’m not good with changes. It’s silly, trivial things really, like Smashwords merging with some other platform. Mergers are never good for the little folk like me, not in the long term. We tend to be pushed out of the pond so the bigger fish have more room to swim. Then there are recent ongoing problems with the twats at Amazon. My miniscule ‘vanity’ publishing career appears to be on the brink of fizzling out altogether. Add all the horrible events going on in the world: like the war in Ukraine and the fear that Pumpkin Head Putin will unleash nuclear hell, as well as the cost of living crisis, plus the energy crisis, and I suppose anxiety is par for the course for most of us at the moment. I’m just making a meal of it all I guess.

Shane channelled Doris Day with a ‘Que Sera, Sera’ outlook. Whatever will be will be, he said, and we will deal with it when it happens and not before. He said we’re very fortunate, as we’re in a better position than most when it comes to weathering all the economic changes going on.  He then turned the heating down to just above freezing and informed me and Dick that jumpers cost nothing to run and have zero carbon emissions.

The main trigger for my mood crash though was an attack back in mid March, not by a human, but by a dog. I was enjoying a park run one morning when the mutt slipped its lead and went for me, sinking its fangs into my leg. It was terrifying, and seriously painful. The dog, a Cairn terrier, is well known in the area. It belongs to a woman who found it amusing when the ill tempered little shit barked, snarled and lunged at anyone who came within a mile of it. Her mantra was: ‘he’s just being friendly, he doesn’t mean any harm.’

Friendly, my fucking arse! She didn’t even try to help me after the attack. She told me it was my own fault for running near him and then collared her devil dog and buggered off, leaving me lying on the ground gushing blood from the gash on my calf, which needed six stitches. It was other dog walkers who came to my aid, and one of them gave me her name and address. They told me I should report the incident, as it could be a kiddie next time.

The men folk were livid about it. They agreed the incident needed to be reported to the police. I tearfully begged and pleaded with them not to. I was worried the dog would be put down and I didn’t want it on my conscience. I reckon its owner just hadn’t taught the beast any better. To my horror, and by way of a compromise, Shane insisted on paying the dog owner a visit. I imagine he left her in no doubt of what it felt like to be snarled and barked at by a scary brute. He issued a warning - get the dog properly trained and make sure it was muzzled when it went out, or risk a visit from the police. I have it on good authority the dog is now muzzled in public and she seems to be making an effort to control it better, which is good. I haven’t seen her since it happened because I’ve been avoiding the park. I’m embarrassed and rather ashamed by just how scared I was. Hearing a dog bark still makes me nervous and jumpy.

Anyway, that’s enough chuntering for now. I've got socks to wash and spuds to peel.

Thank you, dear readers, for all the Easter greetings and other notes too. I wish you all well and hope any ailments are now well on the way to getting better. Ciao for now.


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