Letter 13

I had a great time in Monterey with the TED convention; surrounded by great thinkers really made me feel like I should have tried more at school and not bunked off to the music room to practise cello… I met many interesting people doing a myriad of incredible things as well as interesting parrots who could communicate and think for themselves and fabulous lizards – you see, at TED even the animals are brainy.

I then caught some dreadful lurgy and collapsed for a week or two when I returned. Then Kitty, one of my dogs had to have a difficult operation on her spine to save her from paralysis; they had to cut from under her chin all the way down to between her legs and approach the spine from underneath – I was so worried, but the dog hospital in Exeter is amazing and if I ever need a hospital I am going there!

I am trying to keep her from flying around too quickly as she thinks she is fine now, but she’s got another month of recuperating to do. Poor dog. She also has terrible allergies – a catalogue of complaints! – and I have had to learn to inject her with a special vaccine specially made for her to try to lessen the reaction to allergic substances. I was given a lesson and then I had to practise on a lemon for a couple of days but in the end it was easier to inject Kitty than the lemon, so that was a surprise! I was a little nervous, and so would Kitty have been had she known…

This last week my friend Clare Kenny came down and in between eating most of of the food in Devon and Cornwall (if you’ve never had a clotted cream tea then you should come to Cornwall and have one before too long) we did some recording which I’m really happy with. Then my running friend Bridget had to raise money for the London Marathon she ran in this year, so we had decided to do a Wine and Wisdom evening, which for those of you not in the West Country is a quiz fuelled by wine and variable amounts of wisdom. I got told off by Bridget – we call her ‘The Compeller’ to set a lot of the questions, and so everyone that couldn’t answer them now hates me and I may have to move to France! Clare also helped out by being my fellow judge and we both agreed that it was more stressful than any gig…

Then a dear friend of my old friend Susie’s died and I have been down in Sussex with her and there I met another friend of hers, Carly who is fab, a wonderful conversationalist, great with animals, helping Susie with all of her many creatures and exercising the horses and still only 11 years old.

I’ve put in plans to build a kennel for rescued greyhounds – I won’t know if I have permission to build for another two months – but if anyone wants to give a lovely greyhound a great home then just ask me.

I’ve also been really busy in the garden between recording and like last year I hope to provide all my vegetables for the year from my own organic garden. It’s really hard work and I’ve hurt my back and shoulder so I’ve been having to go to a sports therapist! Gardening as extreme sport – you should try it!

– Caroline Lavelle

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