William Hope Hodgson: For the Love of God, Montresor!

Welcome back to the strange, misguided world of our tribute to William Hope Hodgson. Where, oh where, dear Lord, are the fun-filled days of leaping longdogs and writerly wittering? Will this horror never end? Today I am appalled to offer, amongst other nuggets:

  • an exclusive new Carnacki story by author J Patrick Allen
  • twenty more covers up in the gallery under October Horror
  • details of the re-launch of web-site The Night Land
  • a rare French graphic novel mention of Carnacki
  • details of a German language audio version of Hodgson’s The Voice in the Night

I still have more WHH-related  items than I can cram into a month, and have one tiny request. If you have enjoyed any of this so far, do please leave a comment. It would be nice to hear from you. Are you having a good time? Or was this festival a Thing which should never have been birthed?

inheritors

But let us bite the bullet, and… Martha? What’s in these damned cartridges…

Our first feature is, as mentioned above, a brand new Carnacki story written especially for greydogtales! And we are, of course delighted.

jpatrickallen

J Patrick Allen is a Fantasy and Weird Western author out of St. Louis, Missouri. His first novel, West of Pale, arrives Spring 2016 from 18th Wall Productions and his first short story will be coming out this month in The Dragon Lord’s Library.

You can catch a free story every week on his website www.jpatrickallen.com, or you can follow him on Twitter @jpatrickauthor where he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. Click on the link below the image to read, or tell me and I’ll slam an .rtf version up pronto:

puddle2The Drowning Puddle

We’ve also heard from another writer  Brandon Barrows.  I obviously need to crush these pups quickly before my life-support fails (I suspect arming Willie Meikle is the answer).

The first book to be released under the new Dunham’s Manor hardcover series, The Castle-Town Tragedy features three brand-new tales in which Carnacki the Ghost-Finder faces tortured spirits, powerful other-worldly entities and things that go bump in the night. But, armed with an array of scientific instruments, a vast knowledge of the occult, and fueled by a drive to dispel the mysteries and horrors of the world, Carnacki welcomes the challenge as our world’s best defense against the malevolent denizens of the Outer Circle!

Castle_20Town_20Tragedy_20color_20with_20Sinatra_20font_20low_20res_20final_originalThe Castle-Town Tragedy

Oh well, maybe they’ll take up chartered accountancy instead. Brandon can be found at the link below:

Brandon Barrows web-site

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We move on to good news from Kate Coady, the new The Night Land web-hierarch (she said ‘web-master’, but our alpha female Chilli will have no truck with such terms):

In 1906, William Hope Hodgson published a long, terribly strange book called The Night Land. In 2001 Andy Robertson started a website about it. The front page read:

Argument: That the Night Land, Though Grotesque and Flawed, is one of the World’s Greatest Works of Fantasy.

The site’s content comprised criticism and essays based on The Night Land, and works of art influenced by it: visual arts, multimedia, and stories written by professionals and talented amateurs. These works form the substance of the Argument: The Night Land is great in itself, and great as a source of inspiration.

Later, Mr. Robertson would publish two anthologies of these stories (Night Lands Volume 1 and Volume 2). He planned to published more in book form. But his health began to fail, and in 2014, he died.

The Night Land website didn’t. Brett Davidson (who might be described as Mr. Robertson’s partner in Night Land literary creation) and I are keeping the site going, as previously arranged. The old domain was thenightland.co.uk. We are now at:

teng-violet-fractal-logoThe Night Land web-site

I’ve recently redesigned the site to make it mobile-friendly and easier to navigate, while trying to keep the spirit of Mr. Robertson’s original atmospheric design.

We now have a journal on-site; I’ll be updating it much more often than the old site log. I’ll be posting news and essays concerning Mr. Hodgson and his writing, and some other weird fiction and science fiction. Feel free to email me and tell me about new Hodgson-related works. (nightland -at- starsofwinter.com)

Thanks Kate.

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Meanwhile, I’m still tripping over cover art for various editions of WHH’s books and stories, so have a look and get in touch if you have any rarities I haven’t included yet. We would be pleased to add them and credit the source. If I get a moment, I might improve the display and put them in some sort of order – chronological, by title, by language or just by the number of tablets I took.

I have one here that is only for the real completists – the extremely appealing La Brigade Chimerique.

chimerique12140589_10204151846631411_3500510009218018694_n

I should warn you, Carnacki has only a passing involvement in this graphic novel, but I loved the art and the concept so much I had to include it. Georges Dodds, who has a far better grasp of French than I do, helped enormously with this, and provided me with his translation of the review in Le Figaro, November 2012. This extract is from the review by Laurent Suply:

La Brigade Chimérique harbours the solution to its own mystery: can Europe and France generate anew some superheroes, some modern myths? The answer is yes. A French interpretation of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it draws from it the idea of reusing historical or literary individuals. The Chimeric Brigade is a game of mirrors, sometimes demanding for the reader, between Lehman’s obsessions, a rereading of European history, and the pure adventure of comics.

The narration is very solid, planting clues throughout the sequence of episodes for the stunning revelations to come. Gess’ layouts are admirably coloured by Céline Bessonneau. This complete/unabridged edition finally fills the work’s only void: a tendency towards name-dropping, which becomes almost pedantic at times. The bonus materials here instead bring light on the work’s genesis and the many literary and historical references throughout.

A cult graphic novel for a small number of the initiated since it’s appearance in 2009, it has been adapted as a role playing game and more recently, a somewhat anecdotal sequel has appeared by way of the graphic novel “Masqué,” also by Serge Lehman. This complete collection is a perfect Christmas present for any graphic novel, SF or contemporary history buff – basically, lots of people.

La Brigade Chimérique , Editions L’Atalante. By Serge Lehman, with Fabrice Colin. Illustrated by Gess (Carmen McCallum). I think you may have to hunt this one down on eBay.

As we are in France (or French Canada, as I suspect in Georges’ case), I was pleased to find a 2014 French language audiobook of The Ghost Pirates, entitled unsurprisingly Les Pirates Fantomes. I translated that bit myself, I’ll have you know.

fantomesLes Pirates Fantomes

And then lo and behold, a German audio version of The Voice in the Night turned up, which sounds rather good, narrated by Marc Gruppe. How would you ever clog your brain cells up like this without me?

gruselkabinett_69Stimme in der Nacht

That’s it for today. If anyone out there is still alive, yet to come in our blog-fest: features and interviews with author John C Wright, editor James Bojaciuk and WHH scholar Sam Gafford, plus more literary, musical and audio links.

No, Martha, no, I won’t leave the attic yet, I won’t…

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William Hope Hodgson: The Inheritors

For our longdog and lurcher friends, hurrah, only two weeks to go before the end of October Horror! And for our horror friends, hurrah, two more weeks of October Horror yet to come…

inheritors

or The Writer on the Borderland 3

So, my dear ones, what difference did William Hope Hodgson make to the world of weird fiction? Does he actually have a legacy?

We don’t have the space here to cover all those writers peripherally influenced by WHH. It’s a long list, and could include a few surprising bedfellows – China Mieville, Dennis Wheatley and Clark Ashton Smith, for example. Hodgson’s originality meant that he had a surprising impact on many fertile imaginations.

Instead, we start with a range of contemporary authors who have been directly influenced by Hodgson, or who explore his characters and key themes in their own work. Our first feature author is William Meikle.

WMheadshot

What can we say about Willie? A proud Scot, a fellow beard owner and a master of the rollicking, scary adventure. We salute him here because of his Carnacki stories and the Hodgsonian elements in some of his other work, but he has, of course, written reams of strange and terrifying tales. The natural choice for successor to Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs, when he’s not off ploughing another furrow with his own brand of original horror stories.

His influence is terrifying, as well. I rarely write Carnacki stories myself because I don’t know if Scotland versus Yorkshire is a winnable match, and his Sweary Puffin is a mean beast. I waited until Carnacki was dead, just to be sure, before I started the main run of Tales of the Last Edwardian. Safer that way.

But he’s a fine and prolific fellow. He takes Carnacki and goes that bit further, with new equipment and new challenges. Faraday Cage, anyone? Willie has talked about his writing with a number of interviewers in the past, but has kindly focussed down on Hodgson for greydogtales:

greydog: Hello and welcome, Willie. Let’s get to the meat straight away. Of all the period characters you’ve revived so successfully, you still return to Carnacki. Is there something about the character and setting that particularly appeal to you?

Meikle: For me it’s all about the struggle of the dark against the light. The time and place, and the way it plays out is in some ways secondary to that. And when you’re dealing with archetypes, there’s only so many to go around, and it’s not surprising that the same concepts of death and betrayal, love and loss, turn up wherever, and whenever, the story is placed.

The ghost story is no different in utilising the archetype of the return of the lost from the great beyond, but a good one needs verisimilitude.

If the reader doesn’t believe wholeheartedly in the supernatural element, even if only for the duration of the story, then they’ll be looking for the Scooby-Doo escape, the man in the mask that means everything before was just smoke and mirrors. Hodgson wasn’t above using the man in the mask escape himself of course, but those ones never appealed to me much. It’s my belief that to pull off a good ghost story, you need to get past that, and engage the reader at an emotional level with their fears.

Carnacki’s meetings with the supernatural resonated with me at that emotional level on my very first reading many years ago. On top of that, several of the stories have a Lovecraftian viewpoint, with cosmic entities that have no regard for the doings of mankind. The background Hodgson proposes fits with some of my own viewpoint on the ways the Universe might function, and the slightly formal Edwardian language seems to be a “voice” I fall into naturally.

Long story short, I write them because of love, pure and simple.

You may notice while reading that Carnacki likes a drink and a smoke, and a hearty meal with his friends gathered round. This dovetails perfectly with my own idea of a good time. And although I no longer smoke, witing about characters who do allows me a small vicarious reminder of my own younger days. I wish I had Carnacki’s library, his toys, but most of all, I envy him his regular visits from his tight group of friends, all more than willing to listen to his tales of adventure into the weird places of the world while drinking his Scotch and smoking his cigarettes.

greydog: A nice Laphroaig in your case, we assume. Speaking of his unusual equipment and inventions, his toys, you’ve recently written a story about the contemporary discovery of Carnacki’s electric pentacle. Do you plan to extend and explore Carnacki’s technological innovations any further, or was this just fun?

Meikle: My new novella, Pentacle (from DarkFuse) was mostly just fun. I was exploring part of a mythos I’m building of goings on in a certain kind of strange house. I wondered what old Carnacki would have made of it, and suddenly my character found the Pentacle in the basement. It just kind of happened 🙂

That said, I do have a couple of ideas bubbling under to do with his colour theory so I’ll no doubt get round to them at some point. I’m a long way away from being finished with Carnacki’s toys.

greydog: We’re glad to hear it – we love stories bending Edwardian technology to new and strange uses. And what of Hodgson’s other fiction? Did his sea stories influence some of your works, or did you write them independently of reading those?

Meikle: A lot of my own work is based at sea or in seaside towns – I live on the coast, and have done for twenty out of the past twenty five years. I was born and raised within 10 miles of the Firth of Clyde, so it was something that came to me naturally anyway. Many of my own favorite books are also sea based, with The Ghost Pirates, Dan Simmons’ The Terror. Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides and John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes all influencing me along the way.

So adding Captain Gault in to three of the stories in the new collection also felt natural. I thought it was about time the two of them met, and I had so much fun with those that I’m pretty sure the old chaps will be meeting again in the near future.

greydog: Would you ever consider exploring The Nightland in your stories, or do you think it too out-dated now?

Meikle: It has appeared in passing in several of my Carnacki stories – there’s a big black pyramid in The Dark Island novella in the first collection, and it appears again in The Parliament of Owls story in the deluxe edition of the new one. And there’s more than a passing reference in Pentacle too. The far future aspect of it, and the sense of cosmic scale is the appeal to me. The archaic language is something I would never attempt, and I’m not really interested in the many creatures – although I do have an unpublished story about the origin of the Swine Things in Nightland that might get an airing some day…

greydog: Thank you, Willie Meikle.

71MbKeqnnDL

Willie has two Carnacki collections currently available:

Carnacki: Heaven and Hell at Dark Regions Press

(Hardcover sold out; a nice trade paperback edition still available, complete with Wayne Miller illustrations, and an ebook.)

Carnacki: The Watcher at the Gate at Dark Renaissance

(Limited edition hardcover, with color illos again by Wayne Miller. There will be a paperback and ebook along in due course.)

Several stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines, so check out his website: William Meikle

Carnacki’s newest story The Keys of the Door, will be in The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Tales, edited by Maxim Jacobowski. (November 2015). We also plan to have a feature interview and showcase session with Wayne Miller, the artist mentioned above, in November.

####

But now come back in time with greydogtales. Before Meikle there was… Kidd and Kennett.

Chico Kidd, as A F Kidd, and Rick Kennett shared their mutual interest to produce the first Carnacki rebirth, the result being No. 472 Cheyne Walk. Published by the Ghost Story Society in 1992, this volume containing four stories, described as pastiches.

A decade later, Ash Tree press published No. 472 Cheyne Walk: Carnacki, the Untold Stories with a further eight new tales. Thus Carnacki lived again, and readers were also delighted that Kidd and Kennett went ‘Giant Rat of Sumatra’ on them and wrote up some of the cases mentioned but not described in the Hodgson stories.

No472No-472 Cheyne Walk (e-book)

I was in touch with Chico as part of the WHH blog-fest, and although she has no more Carnackis planned, she is still scribing.

author-chico-kidd

The Captain da Silva stories are her current project, particularly fitting to mention here because da Silva’s first appearance was in No. 472 Cheyne Walk, and Hodgson did love a sea story. Chico described them to me thusly:

“Early 20th century funny-ish noir-ish urban fantasy mashups as the Cap’n and his Scooby gang take on every supernatural nasty you can imagine, and some you can’t. Numerous short stories in anthologies. First 2 novels available on Amazon, ‘Demon Weather’ and ‘The Werewolf of Lisbon’. Coming soon book 3, ‘Resurrection’.”

You can discover more,  including other great ghostly stories, at Chico’s web-site here: Chico Kidd

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I have known David Langford for a scarily long time, and careened off him at many a drunken SF convention. While he has written a number of excellent books, I fear that I’ve gained the most pleasure from his parodies. The Dragonhiker’s Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune’s Edge: Odyssey Two began it, and all of Dave’s parodies were eventually collected in the bemusingly-titled He Do the Time Police in Different Voices (2003).

David-Langford

His Dagon Smythe stories are, essentially, contemporary piss-takes of Carnacki. True to British tradition, they commence with a gathering in the pub, not the parlour, where the inner circle hears Smythe’s dubious stories of his latest case, whether they want to or not. And they usually don’t. They also have to buy the drinks.

‘Among our circle that evening was the well-known psychic investigator Dagon Smythe, who preserved his silence but now shuddered theatrically. I recognised the symptoms and took rapid action, crying: “Beastly weather this week, chaps! Would you call it seasonal for the time of year?”

‘But it was too late. Before the razor-sharp wits around the table could pounce upon this always fruitful topic, Smythe interrupted in his peculiarly penetrating tones. “Speaking of prediction… I once dabbled a little in the divinatory arts.”

‘“And you have a tale to tell,” said old Hyphen-Jones with a trace of resignation.’

‘Not Ours to See’, David Langford

There were four initial Dagon Smythe stories, and a number of wicked parodies of Lovecraft, Poe and Conan Doyle (amongst others), plus an extra Dagon in the ebook. It’s good stuff.

timepolHe Do the Time Police in Different Voices

There we have it. Progressions, pastiches and parodies. And it gets even better in the next fortnight!

inheritors

Coming up we have an exclusive brand-new Carnacki story by author J Patrick Allen, more young turks, an in-depth interview with John C Wright of Night Land fame, some surprising articles by James Bojaciuk and lots of extra fun. You’ve come this far, you might as well carry on…

 

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The Writer on the Borderland 2.5

The worst Carnacki adaptation ever, some fabulous artwork from Sebastian Cabrol, strange links, and a warning from history. The William Hope Hodgson festival continues, still astonishingly in full swing. Who’d have thought the old fellow had so much in him?

My prize find for this post is the Pepsi-Cola Playhouse adaptation of Hodgson’s Carnacki story, The Whistling Room. Yep, Pepsi-Cola. I could tell you now what they’ve done with the character of Carnacki, and with the entire plot, but it really is better if you watch it yourself.

Cracking stuff. Back to links in a minute, but first I’d like to share some more illustrations by the talented Sebastian Cabrol, kindly supplied by Hermida Editores. We showed you the cover last week. These are the interior illos, and I love them, all from Hermida’s Spanish edition of The House on the Borderland, coming this November.

cabrol1 cabrol3 cabrol2

Hermida Editores

Writer on the Borderland 2: The Voice of Horror ran out of room, so here are some of the items which wouldn’t fit in. We will be running an interview with Willie Meikle in a few days, and I mentioned the audio of his Treason and Plot before. Morgan Scorpion, our featured interviewee last week, has also recorded another of his Carnacki stories, The Hellfire Mirror:

A range of Meikle stories are available on audio as well. No more Carnacki as yet, but it can only be a matter of time. The full list can be found by clicking on the link below:

William Meikle audiobooks

In addition to Pepsi-Cola, others have sought to adapt or interpret Hodgson. It’s not a long list. One more now, the rest next time.  Today’s mention goes to the rather miscast version of the story The Horse of the Invisible, produced as part of the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes British television series. It’s not an awful adaptation, but somehow Donald Pleasence just doesn’t work as Carnacki. Some of the non-Hodgson episodes are quite fun, though.

Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD

rivalsof

Clearly to rectify this failing, Eibon la Furies, an English metal band described as “a fusion of avant-garde black metal, dark rock and occult spiritual darkness” recorded their own musical version of The Horse of the Invisible. Here’s the link to a live version. If I were younger and had stronger eardrums, I could probably tell you what it sounds like.

Tune in for some more audiovisual and musical interpretations in a later mid-week post.

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Our final item has been retrieved from the microfiche records of a London newspaper, and extracted for your perusal.

gazette

14th September 1907

A REQUEST FROM THE EDITOR

We regret to announce the disappearance of Arthur Gordon Smith. Mr Smith, one of this paper’s most promising young journalists, was last seen undertaking enquiries in the area of the Embankment two days ago. Whilst we still hope for his safe return, we have to add that his overcoat and water-damaged notebook were discovered only this morning by a police constable, not far from Cheyne Walk.
We have decided therefore to publish this partial interview, reconstructed from the Pitman shorthand entries in Smith’s notebook, and ask that the gentlemen named therein contact either the Chelsea Constabulary or ourselves at their earliest convenience.

(unreadable) for some years.

Dodgson: You keep calling them stories. They are, however, records of actual events. I have no reason to doubt Carnacki’s veracity.

S (Smith): Yet certain details are surely beyond belief, such as the concept of monstrosities beyond this world?

Arkright: Only for those unimaginative milksops who sit together in darkened parlours, those who prefer to hear about their late aunt’s inheritance, or want to know if their cat is happy in Heaven. The serious student of psychic…

The older man makes choking noises, and is assisted by Taylor. Unwell?

Dodgson: We are heading to our beds, sir. If you have nothing sensible to ask…

S: Gentlemen, you will concede that there are many fakes and scoundrels in this new century, so-called psychical researchers who gull the innocent, be it over monstrous hauntings or their dead cat’s welfare?

Dodgson: To a point. Carnacki, however, is scrupulous in considering the possibility that mundane causes might be at the root of the matter. Most scrupulous. In the Reston fraud case recently, for example, he proved conclusively that no abnormal element was responsible.

Taylor: And he exposed the real criminals, eh? Remember that.

S: So are you gentlemen, as his intimates, also involved in these investigations?

Dodgson: Dr Arkright has considerable academic knowledge of the more obscure monographs and papers relevant to the field. Taylor and I make no such claims, and have no role in Carnacki’s cases.

S: Doctor Arkright? A medical man then, sir?

Arkright: Philology, you damnable pup, and if (unreadable)

(unreadable)

(unreadable) psychical gifts at all yourselves?

Dodgson: Carnacki does not claim ‘psychical gifts’, as you call them. He is a methodical investigator with an understanding of the abnormal. And no. Taylor, Jessop and I are merely friends of his. We do not dabble in occult matters ourselves.

S: Would you ever consider doing so?

Dodgson: Absolutely not. I have seen enough to —

S: When you and Mr Taylor were based in the Cape Colony during the war? I understand you both saw action at Paardeburg, under Kitchener, and that there were certain events with the Boers…

Taylor reddens, looks to approach me. Dodgson gestures him back.

Dodgson: I think we are finished here.

Dodgson suddenly very abrupt. Must look into D’s time in Cape Colony further.

Arkright: Have you nothing better to do, you and those other meddlers from the rags?

S: Excuse me, Dr Arkright. I am an accredited reporter. And, as it happens, I am this very night embarking upon the Herald & Gazette’s own investigation into the Deptford Assassin himself.

Arkright and Taylor turn away, suddenly. Dodgson shakes his head.

Dodgson: Then I pray, sir, for your own sake, that you do not discover anything. Goodnight.

They leave. Note to self – file interview in morning, send request to clippings service re Arkright background, Paardeburg (unreadable)

This is the end of Arthur Gordon Smith’s notes. Anyone with information on Mr Smith’s whereabouts is welcome to contact the Herald & Gazette by telephone on Chelsea 102, or call in at our offices.

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From the same organ, box at bottom of Page Seven

16th September 1907

The Herald & Gazette has decided to postpone its coverage of certain recent murders as a mark of respect for Mr Arthur Smith, an unaffiliated freelance reporter who occasionally submitted to this paper. Mr Smith’s body was recovered from the Thames late last night, and the matter is in the hands of the constabulary.

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Coming next, Hodgson – The Inheritors, where we explore those noble authors who have continued or re-interpreted WHH’s themes and characters. Goodnight, and remember, there is no monstrous Hogge from the Outer Circles snuffling under your bed. Probably.

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Lurcher v Squirrel: The Battle of Dork’s Drift

For one day only, a lurcher post to break up the horror!

Autumn, then. Yes, it’s that wondrous mellow season when enough leaves fall off the trees to make every longdog and lurcher aware of their ancient foe. Camouflage lost, the plume-tailed rats from Hell descend to wreak havoc…

The squirrels claim, of course, that they’re quietly collecting nuts and other goodies for the long winter ahead. They’re not. Having had lurchers for many years, I know only too well that the squirrel army is beginning its winter campaign.

The little cute ones appear first, munching on an acorn. People go, aw, that’s so sweet. The grizzled squirrel elders, perched high above, observe our every movement. It’s the film Zulu all over again:

Lieutenant Linseed Grant: Adendorff, what’s wrong with them? Why don’t they fight?
Adendorff: They’re counting your londgogs.
Lieutenant Twiglet (too old for active service): *What?*
Adendorff: Can’t you see that old boy up in the tree? He’s counting your longdogs. Testing your biting power with the lives of his warriors.

squirrel-80575_1920
“Come on then, I can take you!”

Our response is initially muted. A start of Chilli’s head and stretch of her neck, the famous longdog ‘point’ as she stiffens in the face of the enemy, ready to charge. Django trips over his paws, notices an interesting snail and finds part of a Greggs pastie. He is brought into line by the alpha, told that there are no conscientious objectors in this war.

Lieutenant Twiglet sits down and refuses to go on. She isn’t against the fight, but she’s 93, her bum hurts and she hasn’t had a cup of tea for hours. Adendorff, who is only there in the tortured mind of J Linseed Grant (Officer Commanding, Dork’s Drift), decides to be someone else’s imaginary friend and disappears.

Chilli prepares herself.

She is, to be frank, a distinct improvement on our late lurcher Jade, who was incapable of planned action or wise restraint. I once let a friend walk Jade with me in autumn. Once.

“She’s fine, but you’ll have to watch out for squirrels. She really will go mental.”

Friend nods knowingly, confident in his dog-experience. “No problem.” he says.

Ten minutes later, friend is hauling desperately on a heavy leash, rope burns on his hands and his heels dug into the turf. At the other end is 30 plus kilos of Bedlington x greyhound x wolfhound, shrieking insanely and incessantly at the top of her voice and in the process of clawing apart a 200 year old sycamore. One small squirrel sits at the top, quietly enjoying the scene.

“I didn’t realise.” sobs friend, handing me the lead afterwards. “I thought you were joking!”

He took Twiglet the next time.

October is when the larger warrior squirrels begin to emerge, bold and not so cute. They have already scared off the neighbourhood cats, stripped down the few walnuts we had waited ten years for, and generally ruined my pickling plans. I thought that when my partner and I saw a squirrel carting a large banana around, way back, that we’d seen how far they would go, but no, this year they have assaulted the fig tree. My beloved fig tree!

“Look, I can grow figs in Yorkshire.” says I. “Look, the squirrels are eating them all.” says my best beloved.

figsquirrel
Squirrel scout tests local supplies

So today I took our two best troops into the woods and let them loose. It was a sort of reconnoitre, testing the enemy strength in return. Just how many prime warrior squirrels do they have up there? It didn’t do much good, of course, because even Chilli can’t get eighty foot up an oak, no matter how hard she tries. But she did try, and she scared the little buggers, at least. Unlike dear old Jade, she gives a sharp bark and then gets down to it with agility and cunning. Good dog.

Django found a discarded packet of crisps, and peed on a birch tree.

I don’t think we’re going to win.

Back to the weird and wonderful world of October Horror in a couple of days; more longdogs after everyone is scared enough…

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Literature, lurchers and life