For the sake of it, I heart Coopers, by proxy

1. The two dogs run around fighting over THE BEST STICK IN THE WORLD while he builds a dam in the beck. His handiwork will divide the water more equally between the two paths, so the one close to the path flows better. I know it’ll be washed away next time it rains heavily but it doesn’t matter. I tell him his hands must be freezing and he just smiles. The dogs play on.

2. Smoked mackerel fishcakes with my favourite salad leaves on a mild horseradish sauce base. Perfectly cooked chicken breast with sweet potato dauphinoise, with carrots, broccoli and deliciously tangy red cabbage. Lemon and ginger cheesecake without, our favourite waiter tells us proudly, fingerprints in the dusted icing sugar.

3. We rock back and forth in a hug as I tell him about the meal. He says he enjoyed it from just what I was saying. Then he goes in the bath and I sit next to him in the warm bathroom and enjoy that by proxy as well.

Food metres, great taste, dog identification

1. We’re supposed to have leftover risotto for lunch but what should have been a side dish for that becomes our main dish instead: John’s Grandma’s marrow flower fritters, made with flowers, courgettes and eggs from our garden. The risotto can wait for another day.

2. The holy basil cuts through the spice. It’s ages since I’ve had any Thai food and this is just wonderful.

3. The pub is full of dogs when we arrive and we sit near the terrier and the other one we can’t identify – she looks like a labrador in the distance – perfect shape and proportion but tiny. She looks so soft, smooth and uniformly black that we’re transfixed by her. Later on, we discover what it is: her owners don’t realise when she escapes and wanders around the pub introducing herself to everyone. After she’s nearly completed her round and heads over to the dog-loving shift manager for a hug, her owner spots her and says “oh look, there’s another Patterdale like Jessie.” Then he realises and laughs, and with a smile, warns us off the dark Erdinger.

3BT – nice weather for water birds, fab cats, ugly Google, happy hound

1. We’ve been avoiding the muddy woods and walk to Apperley Bridge instead. We watch the swans and their perfect reflections in the marina, then the ducks squabbling on the canal.

2. It’s 11th years to the day since Carla & her late brother Carbon came to live with me. Throughout the day, I sing celebration songs to Carla and miss her brother.

3. A joke becomes real and we all get headaches from looking at it for too long.

4. Lily sits at our feet while we enjoy the hearty meal. The shift manager sneaks her treats and tickles. On the way home, we stop for a park for a quick stroll at dusk and she plays with an excitable young terrier. All in all, a good evening for the dog and for us.

3BT – balance, beer and books

new-books1. As I wait for the bus to Bingley, I spy a crow perched in a tree near the bus stop. It’s too heavy for the tiny, spindly branches but it finds balance anyway.

2. After class, Katherine picks me up from Shipley and we go out to dinner at Coopers in Guiseley. At the end of the meal, we decided to both buy take home pints of ale for our Johns – she gets a Black Sheep, I get a Ruby Cascade but we somehow get them confused on the way to the car. On instant messenger later, we both simultaneously say “john doesn’t think his tastes like black sheep. he says either way it’s nice” then laugh.

3. I get home to find our book delivery has arrived. The first new-new books I’ve bought in a while – two by Richard Yates, two by TC Boyle. The off-white pages are flat and smooth.