In praise of the domestic arts

When I talk about the ‘domestic arts’, I’m not just talking about the ironing. I’m talking about everything that goes into the management of a household and the nurturing of the family that resides within it. From the construction and maintenance of a dwelling to the growing and preserving of food, from the management of the household budget to the raising of the next generation. And, yes, the ironing. These are all essential skills. But we’re losing them.

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A rare moment of calm

It’s very quiet here. I went out earlier with Ozzy (my younger Labrador) for a brisk run around the local countryside. We then came back and collected Molly (my older Labrador) for an hour’s walk at a slightly more sedate pace. Upon our return home, I prepared their dinner and added some microwaved chicken, which always puts them in a good mood. And now I’m back at my desk, while the dogs snooze contentedly.

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On the passing of time

A few weeks back, one of the gizmos in my home’s heating system started to play up. It seemed like only recently that we’d replaced this particular widget, but a quick look at my ‘gas, water and electricity’ file (don’t judge me) confirmed that we’d in fact fitted a new one over six years ago. And we’d installed the previous one roughly six years before that. While the problem with the heating was, thankfully, easily fixed, it did get me thinking about the way we observe the passing of time.

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Everything travels down the lead

There’s a saying among dog trainers and handlers: Everything travels down the lead. Because working with a dog is about much more than the commands that we give them. It’s about the way in which we give them. About our tone of voice. Our body language. Even the mood we’re in. To work effectively with a dog, we need to be in the right frame of mind. And we need to put everything else aside. Continue reading