I don't know how many of you realise that writing a blog every Friday is a huge act of faith. Somehow and coming from somewhere will be something like five to seven hundred words which are, at worst, readable and sometimes, at best, worth reading. Usually at some time on Thursday there is a glimmer of an idea which, by some strange and probably miraculous process, matures overnight so that in the morning there it is, waiting to be written. John Bailey recounts how his wife, Iris Murdoch, would say - with relief - "Well, that's the book finished. Now all I have to do is write it down." Within the infinitely smaller and less erudite context of my Friday blog, I would say that I know exactly what she meant.
Not, however, this week. This week I have not even an acorn of an idea let alone a mature oak. So,where does that leave us?
Marcia has need of some brooding before getting back to her computer. This happens. I needed some inspiration for today's blog. Clearly the thing to do was to drive into Totnes and see whether that particular Totnesian buzz - a buzz I have found in no other part of the world that I have visited including places such as New York, Paris and Basle to name but three - could work its magic once again.
We arrived and parked (Marcia's little car) in the Heath car park next to the huge van with 'Sitting Room' written on it which belongs to our friend Bob who, as you may have guessed, runs a shop in the town of that name which sells everything that you might find in - well, a sitting room. Then over to The Brioche to enjoy coffee whilst sitting at a table on the pavement - after all, we are nearly at the end of the summer and this might be the last day this year when it will be warm enough for this to be an option. Being a Friday it is market day and we can sit there and watch some of the colourful folk who have stalls here selling everything from fish to furniture, cauliflowers to clothes, sausages to scarves.
We had just finished our coffee when a couple walked by with an absolutely beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog. I could not resist him so I accosted them and asked if he could be a blog dog. This, of course, means explaining the Friday blog and so on but I am quite used to that now. He is called Oscar and he is a hospital PAT - pet as therapy - which means he goes into the hospital and patients stroke and cuddle him and, as a result, feel much calmer and generally happier. You will see the him here in a few week's time.
On the subject of pets acting in a therapeutic way, the first Cat Cafe in the UK opened here, in Totnes, a few weeks ago. The idea comes from Japan and China where people have difficulty in keeping cats. The concept is simple: in the cafe are the four cats who are on duty that day so that people can go in and enjoy a drink while cuddling or playing with a cat. It seems that there are enough people who are away from home and missing their cat or who live in places where they cannot have a cat to keep the place pretty busy.
Back to today - and the need to write a blog. Oscar duly recorded in the camera, I left Marcia to her own devices and repaired to Rumour where, fortified by yet more coffee and (more importantly?) a large glass of Rioja (and Marcia is, of course, driving today) I settled down to tell you all about it. Writing is indeed a mysterious business. Now, with any luck, next Thursday ...
Your probably won't believe this but when I was "back at the ranch" and preparing the photographs for the blog, I discovered (to my horror, I suppose) that this week's blog dog is also called Oscar - and to think of all those people who wait for years to get an Oscar and I find I have two in one day!