Well, it surprised me! Not sure about the dogs…

I was taking the little doggies for their evening walk yesterday, and it was dark. I dunno about where you live, but here we have those horrible sodium lights which just seem to turn everything a sickly yellow-brown colour without actually shedding much in the way of actual light, so it was pretty gloomy.


There I was walking the dogs, and – since the outing was for their benefit – letting them sniff at this and that and pee up things* and all, and there is this one hedge where they nearly always spend a few minutes reading the pee-mail. I expect it serves as the local doggy newsagent, or something. And then it dawned on me that I’d been standing there for quite a few minutes, and the dogs still had their noses in the hedge, so I took a step towards them and …


Well. It made ME jump! Not so the dogs, who still had their noses stuck in the hedge closely observing (as it turned out) a cat. A very vocal cat. A cat who was tired of being observed by two very large and curious dogs and was issuing a serious threat in Classical Feline.

Clearly the dogs don’t speak the lingo, so it was up to me to interpret.

‘Come on chaps’, I said, gently pulling on the leads. ‘Unless you want to get your eyes scratched out’.

And they came instantly. Suspiciously fast. Almost as if – dare I say – they were just waiting for a reason to leave without unseemly and undignified haste.

‘I was just ‘splaining to Ranger …’ said Sid, hopping rapidly up the road behind me, and not looking back.

‘Yes, but what IS it?’ demanded Ranger. ‘Looked quite int’resting to me. Smelled funny though .. ‘

‘Trust me, you don’t want it’ I told him, firmly. ‘They bite and they scratch’.

‘OK’, Ranger said, tucking himself between me and Sid. ‘Anyway, you know I don’t like fluffy toys. Especially if they have sharp bits!’

Tonight we walked by that same hedge again. I half-expected them both to pull over towards it to see if the cat was still there, but no. They studiously ignored it and passed without a glance.

But I did find the cat stuffie Ranger was given for Christmas later, tossed out of his bed with half its tail missing.

I blame Sid. Remember the octopus?

* Not people’s cars, or flower beds, or rubbish bins, obviously. People can show a deplorable lack of understanding about such things.

Posted on January 11, 2012 in Food and Drink, The Home Front by Jay7 Comments »

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Well, it’s been a while since I took part in Sunday Selections, but I have a lot of unpublished photos (and a whole lot of things I don’t want to do around the house) and it is a great meme, so I’m going to show you some pictures of the Italian Festival which came to Peterborough. I’m taking you back in time, but not so very far, because this event took place in September 2011.

It was fun to see a little bit of Italy right here in England – they brought what they could, including (naturally) a scooter or two.

And even a Ferrari, even if it was a miniature one!

There were market stalls, of course, and this was my favourite;

Mmm! Wine, olive oil and pasta, straight from Puglia. I was quite proud of myself, because I bought some beautiful greeny-gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil, communicating completely in Italian (which surprised the young man behind the counter) and managed to make myself understood quite well. I would have bought some wine, too, except that they had forgotten to bring some glasses. A seriously bad oversight, because while they might sell a bottle or two, they could probably have sold it by the case if people had been able to taste before buying. It was a good price .. but I simply cannot drink poor quality, acidic wine any more.

The bread stall amused and slightly irritated me. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture, because the variety of bread was quite staggering, and looked delicious. I gave it my best shot and, again using my best Italian, asked the olive-skinned, Italian-looking guy if he had any Tuscan bread – which I like because it has no added salt. He grinned apologetically at me and said in a strong local accent:

‘Sorry luv, I don’t speak Italian!’

Well, that made me look silly, didn’t it? Tee hee.

Anyway, later on they brought out the men in tights buglers in mediaeval dress.

They were the heralds for the flag-throwing display team.  The flag-throwers were interesting – and not just because they wore tights!  They tossed full-sized flags into the air in formation, and did little … I dunno, kind of baton-twirling routines with them.  It was such a windy day, that I held my breath expecting one to be snatched away and end up yards from the outstretched hand of the owner, but no!  They were very skilful and every one was properly caught.  Well, most of them.  A couple of our brave, tights-clad men had to run for it, and I think it was a very close thing for one, and someone in the crowd got an unexpected moment of excitement.

And not just because they were wearing tights!

Seriously, it was a fun day. They even set up a stage and had a couple of Italian singers, who for some reason were dressed like waiters.

They were pretty good, but I was a tad disappointed with them. I mean, they sang Italian songs, alright, but they sang them mostly in English!! And the ones they sang in Italian were cover versions of English songs. What? Do they think we’re so uncultured that we can’t appreciate proper Italian music?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to next year. Meanwhile, why not mosey on over to Kim at Frog Ponds Rock, and see what other bloggers have for you today?


Posted on January 6, 2012 in Hounds, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay10 Comments »

I’m a soft touch when it comes to my dogs, and I know it. Their comfort and wellbeing is important to me and I take pains to consider it, though not to the point of letting them get away with running the household – because that would be bad for them as well as for us.

So, when I see someone walking their small dog on an extending lead, and striding out with absolutely no thought for the length of the dog’s legs or the needs of his bladder, I am appalled. I mean, why get a dog? And having got one, what is the point of taking it for a walk if you’re not going to let the poor thing pee?

I followed a young woman today for several hundred yards along the road. During that time her dog attempted to pee three or four times, only to get to the point of lifting his leg and managing to get out a quick squirt before she reached the end of the leash and he was yanked off-balance by the neck and had to stop peeing and gallop to catch up.

My dogs were watching this with great interest, partly because it was a small, fast moving dog, and secondly because his progress was so erratic. They behaved themselves very well, though I did cross the road and have a go at catching up so that I could ask her if she had any idea her dog wanted to pee.

Unfortunately I failed, because she was walking so fast and we were quite a way behind, but it’s a pity. I might also have asked her if her dog peed in the house and if she ever wondered why that could be. Anyway, soon, she turned off our road and disappeared, and we continued on our way.

Then both Sid and Ranger got interested in the same spot in a likely-looking hedge and jointly decided to pee on it, and feeling faintly smug, I stopped to let them. I had to wait for them to sort themselves out, because Ranger has this thing about burying his head and neck in the foliage and doing a 180 degree turn before he can possibly relieve himself – I’m trying to train it out of him because it can be very inconvenient, but he’s had nine years being allowed to pee like this so it’s taking time. Meanwhile, we manage as best we can.

So, I’m standing there trying to keep the leads untangled and Sid a little way back because I know what Ranger’s like, when ..

THUNK! Yelp.

In his frantic gyrations, trying to get his body caressed by the leaves and his pee on exactly the right twig, Ranger head-butted Sid hard enough for me to hear the impact of their skulls. And it was Sid who yelped, by the way – Ranger didn’t even seem to notice what he’d done!

So, is it worse to be a small dog unable to pee properly because you’re yanked off your legs by a stupid insensitive owner each time you lift a leg? Or is it worse to be a large three-legged dog who is head-butted by his stupid insensitive companion and who has a sensitive but stupid owner who seems unable to stop it happening?

I think Sid might have an opinion.

If only he could talk!