I’m just in from a quick wee-poop trip with aforementioned WonderDogs and a pit stop at our local corner shop.
Sven very quickly escaped my grasp post-poop to chase another passing dog but immediately returned to me.
The shop is tiny and there was a queue so we waited patiently outside before we had space to pop our heads in. I say that like Sven was going to ask for the paper and AnnaPuppy for a bag of jellies while I topped up the electric meter (I’d highly recommend the meter: you become so aware of how much power you use, so it’s economic and you’re doing your bit for this battered environment of ours).
Anyway, this middle aged man I’d seen around before came out and bent down to pet AnnaPuppy. I thought, “Oh no, Sven’s going to do his nut (is that a real country thing to say?) but the man was so nice to AP that he moved in for his own slice of admiration. The man told me about a spaniel he sees tied up to a pavement post in the mornings: he reckons maybe the owner goes to work and leaves the little guy outside for someone to walk him but if Walker doesn’t show up little guy stays out there all day. That’s his theory. (I grow increasingly like My Lady, who attracts randomers for conversation wherever she goes. I miss me Ma this week actually.) He says he’s checked the law and you’re not actually committing a crime (don’t ask me, I’ve no idea, I just know that if someone took mine I’d tie them to a pavement post) so the next time he sees the dog he’s going to take it and leave a ransom note in its place, stating that owner may have the dog back if he/she (bet it’s a guy) agrees to cop the fuck on (my words, not his, he was too posh). “Great idea”, I replied, wondering how long more I could hold onto my pair of nutcases: my ungloved hands starting to numb out. (AnnaPuppy just launched herself at my ear and licked it, she’s obsessed with ears. They both need a bath, must remember to put that on the to do list. ) So then, this old man comes along, AnnaPuppy does a little leap to say hi and he goes ballistic, slapping her away: “Get that mutt away from me!”; “He [she’s a SHE!] should have a muzzle on it!”; “That yoke shouldn’t be allowed out!” Of course, my instant reaction is “I’m so sorry, she’s just a puppy!” And of course, I wouldn’t approve of rowdy kids misbehaving in public (I’m a perfect parent: ElsaDaughter never threw a tantrum in her life… ) but he was so cantankerous. The Dog Thief leaped into action, defending my honour and the reputation of my dogs. He argued with the clearly, very old, man – not in an aggressive way but in a very no screaming/cursing dignified way. I started to well up – what is with me crying?! – and he hugged me and said, “That oul lad never had a hug in his life and who’d want to hug him, the bitterness of him?” I was at once unbelievably grateful to this lovely, warm, slightly eccentric stranger who had dived in to my little chilly world and, concomitantly (That’s for The Good Doctor), sad and lonely for that poor man who must have some huge fear or loss or emptiness in his life. Our shopkeeper told me he’s ninety six, as if that’s an excuse, and I thought of my lovely Nana, Miss Marple, with her big, warm heart still so full of love and divilment and life and I thought how cruel life can be, to leave some people unhugged.
Anyway, it was a snapshot of life.
And now I must go. Life admin awaits.