The remains of summer have fizzled out unspectacularly, leaving the characteristic chill of autumn nights. I cranked the heating into action once again, counting myself fortunate that since we had the new boiler fitted the gas bill these days is a mere shadow of its former self. Doesn't stop spammers phoning regularly (or, more accurately, phoning the answerphone regularly) to remind me about the government boiler grant awaiting me alongside my unclaimed PPI refund. Do people actually respond to this rubbish, I wonder?
And I've had time too to reflect on, and start coming to terms with, Raggs' passing away. I got the casket containing her ashes back: one of my fellow students of Italian kindly gave me a lift to the vets' after our class on the Friday that week, and I carried it home on the bus in the little posh carrier bag looking for all the world as if I'd gone to do a bit of upmarket shopping! I haven't yet decided what to do with them. Although I'm conscious of the theory that clinging on to the remains acts as an impediment to grieving properly and letting nature take its course, I'm a little undecided. I didn't want to scatter them in the woods as I had done with Molly, but I rather favour the idea of perhaps burying the casket in the garden amongst some spring bulbs to make something resembling a little shrine, Maybe that in its own way is just as creepy an idea though. For the moment I'm not in a hurry. I find its presence acts as a comforting souvenir of the happy times we had together and I'm happy to accept it as that however ghoulish it may sound. While I initially found it difficult to accept the proposition that we can't have another dog, the plain reality is that I don't any longer have either the physical ability or the lifestyle to walk as far or as regularly as I'd need to and it really wouldn't be fair or kind. Even an older dog needs some exercise. I haven't ruled out the idea of another cat on the other hand: maybe I'll just wait and see how things pan out.
And after a short summer break we start our Italian tutorial sessions again next week. I did briefly resurrect the idea of going for an A level, but decided to plod on with our informal classes and buld up a bit more of a foundation while waiting to see how the transition from AS and A2 levels back to a proper 2-year course works out. My practice is still sporadic and I have some "homework" exercises which I should have done and keep putting off but I'm heartened to find when I check out an Italian blog that I follow, I seem to be retaining more of what I've learned than I'd anticipated. It's certainly encouraging me to keep at it, anyway.