Dogsbody and wood chips

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading Dogsbody to the kids at bedtime. I love it! I’m now a huge Diana Wynne Jones fan despite having never heard of her before. The book is so well-written and so entertaining in a can’t-put-it-down kind of way.

It’s a fantasy novel told from the perspective of a dog and it’s clear the author knows about dogs. It’s set in England in 1975 at a time of tension between England and Ireland. People today associate terrorists with Muslims but back then it was the IRA blowing things up. I’m fairly ignorant of the politics but I should point out that the IRA did not blow themselves up and nor did they make it their modus operandi to target civilians as Islamic terrorists do. However it seems poignant that terrorism is still a problem today; only our foes have changed.

Terrorism doesn’t feature in the story but a young Irish girl, the main character, is the victim of racist abuse because of the political situation at the time. I was surprised by this because I didn’t realise the Irish were targeted by racists.

I read that if you like the Harry Potter books then you’ll like Diana Wynne Jones. I definitely plan to read some of her others stories.

Last weekend I ordered a cubic metre of wood chips to put under the new trampoline. This was a stupid idea for two reasons: a) Ben was away in Russia when they arrived. b) We have no pavement outside our house because the city council is still ripping up tree roots and putting in a new one. This meant I had a couple of problems. Where was the delivery man going to put a cubic metre of wood chips? And how was I going to transport them to our backyard very quickly and by myself?

The wood chips arrived on Tuesday afternoon, after the city council workers had left for the day. I was pleased about this because the irony of my fierce objection to them felling our trees and then ordering a cubic metre of chopped up tree was not lost on me. I didn’t want them to see the wood chips because that would have been embarrassing! This meant I had to get rid of them that evening before they turned up again the next morning.

Here’s a photo of our pavement, or lack of, taken on Tuesday:

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As you can see there’s no pavement there at all. The bag had to go on that yellow board.

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As soon as it arrived I got to straight to work ferrying wood chips to our back yard. This was not an easy task because I had to take them up some stairs, through part of our house, then down some stairs. From there I could use a wheelbarrow and transport them all the way down to the very back of our yard. I tried to rope the kids into helping out but after a few small bucket-loads they lost interest. How did the Victorians ever get kids to work down the mines? Kids today have it too easy.

The whole job took me about an hour and a half. I cleaned up all the bits and there was no sign of any wood chips having been there other than the leftover pallet which the city council workers took the next day. I left it on my own pathway (not the yellow board) but they must have thought it was one of theirs and that was fine with me. I didn’t want it anyway 🙂