On Friday I and the dogs went over to a campsite near Salisbury to meet up with some friends from the animal-rescuers forum. What a nightmare. It took me about 5 hours to get there because there were horrific roadwork delays on the A30. When we got there it was pouring with rain and very windy, and the dogs were cold and poor Azure was terrified by the people and the wind and the flapping tents.
If it hadn't taken so long to get there I'd have turned straight round and gone home.
Anyway, I took the dogs out for a walk along the old Roman road towards Salisbury (dogs both well wrapped up in their fleecy waterproof coats) and after that they were persuaded that it wasn't so terrible, once I had the tent up (popup tent: excellent! Remove bag, pop in tentpegs, done!) and stuffed with blankets and dog beds. So I got a chance to have a few drinks and relax a bit (the relaxing much aided by the fact that I had providently brought my plastic over-trousers and the raincoat that is big enough to fit a giant fleece inside it).
I had one of those plastic-backed picnic blankets on the floor, and the self-inflating airbed has paid for itself in that one night, as I think I was the only one staying a tent that wasn't cold. Azure makes a lovely hot water bottle. Mollydog doesn't: she practically goes into a coma at night. She breathes about once a minute and goes quite cold to the touch: it's very odd.
She woke up once at 2am, and screamed at the top of her voice, having suddenly realised she was in a tent in the dark. But she cheered up when she realised Az and I were both in there with her.
Saturday was sunny, thankfully, and so we did get to have the barbecue and a nice walk in the sunshine. Mollydog and Az took off with another ex-racing greyhound and hurtled about at top speeds (well Az didn't go quite so fast, he isn't built that way).
Then Az went all silly, and had a little fun with a Staffy lad:
A good time was had by all in the end, but I decided not to risk another night, as the clouds were starting to look ominous again. So we trundled home via Old Sarum, which I wanted to visit as a tribute to Diana Wynne Jones' "The Merlin Conspiracy" and to the idea of Rotten Boroughs - but, as I had half-hoped from the book, also turned out to be a great dog-walking place.
It was a bit of a DWJ weekend, as I read her first novel, Changeover, for the first time. I think it is probably her least fantasy and most 'adult' novel. Her writing style is perhaps less crisp and funny than it used to be. I was going to say that perhaps her characterisation has improved, but thinking about it, I don't think it has. All those people in Eight Days of Luke, all precisely characterised and distinct, for example. Anyway, I loved Changeover, and it made me laugh.
Then on Sunday Polo and I went to see the Da Vinci Code film, which turned out to be an enjoyable enough romp, with no more logical and historical holes than one would expect, and offering many opportunities for arguing about exactly how wrong it all was in the car on the way back. And a sort of albino monk person in the Darth Maul role, so to speak. There weren't enough explosions to fit my usual taste in bad films though.
T&A are off to Canada on the 19th June, but only for a couple of months to try it out. Midsummer is usually fairly quiet and we have no big programming enquiries that are likely to come good very soon, so with a bit of luck we will get away with that.