Sometimes when I am out walking my dog, I see something that makes me laugh and this week a little girl called Lydia had me in stitches. She was walking along a track on Woodbury Common, a large stretch of open land that has great views of the sea. We were following the little figure, I guess she was about three, as she toddled along following her Dad, her older sister and their two dogs. Lydia, I knew her name because her Dad was shouting to her to hurry up as the rest of the family were way out in front of her. She was not to be hurried. Dressed in pink from head to toe, pink
Wellington boots with yellow butterflies, pink over trousers and a pink mac she was determined to paddle through the pools of water that lay along the path. At each puddle and there were quite a lot of them, she stood arms outstretched like birds wings, waited for a second or so and then leapt into the air only to come down with both feet firmly in the water. She laughed and giggled as the water splashed up around her, her blond hair flying in the wind. It didn’t matter how many times her father called her, she repeated the action at each stretch of water she came to, until one of the dogs, a puppy called Polly vanished into the undergrowth, followed by the elder daughter, Emma. At that point, father gave up waiting for her; he ran back to Lydia and grabbed her under his arm before running off in the direction Emma and the puppy had gone. We heard him calling for the dog for quite a while but didn’t see them again. The picture of Lydia thrusting herself feet first into those puddles kept me laughing most of the day.
Coincidences happen all the time, but how easy is it to make them convincing in a novel. A senior editor told me it was easier in a play or film because the viewer has less time to think than the reader. Would you find this convincing?
I have owned a small cottage in the South of France for twenty five years, and when we first bought it we wanted to have a roof terrace. Somewhere to eat and sit in the sun. We were advised to speak to a builder in the next village, a Monsieur Martin. He was described as a ‘Homme Serious’ meaning he was well respected. We went to see him at his home to discuss our proposal for the new terrace. He was sturdy, dark haired and spoke French with a strong Provencal accent. His wife was an attractive brunette, who moved swiftly around the large sitting room, fetching coffee and water for us, as we had walked from our cottage to their house and it was very hot. From time to time she translated his heavily accented French into a more standard version.
While we were in England the following winter, M. Martin did the work on our terrace, but when we asked him to do some more work he declined, saying he was building a school in a nearby town and would be occupied there for some time to come. In spite of living very near to us and in a village we visited frequently, we never saw him again.
Now we have sold the cottage and this summer was the last visit we would make with our dog, Rudi. Three days before we left Uzes, we took Rudi to the vets to have his worm treatment and his passport updated, for the return to the UK. The surgery was very busy and the waiting room was full of other people with their dogs. The only cat owner decided to stand outside rather than risk causing mayhem. In addition to us, their was a sophisticated woman in a blue and orange shift dress with her six month old brown labrador, a large Alsation who appeared to have a cough with his two equally large owners. Sitting at the far end of the row of seats from us, was an elderly couple with very old poodle. The dog was emaciated and unable to stand on all four legs.
When the vet came to call them into the consulting room, she said, ‘Monsieur Martin.’
‘I thought I recognised him,’ Alan said to me.
‘Are you sure,’ I said.
At first the man refused to go in, but his wife insisted. She lead the way towards the consulting room, with the poodle gamely following. M. Martin trailed behind her, his steps heavy and slow.
Some ten minutes later, we saw them emerge from the door at the rear of the building. M. Martin was carrying a plain brown box. There was no sign of the poodle.
We were called by the vet for our consultation. We got up and walked towards her office. Alan asked her if that was M. Martin from our village and she said it was. The dog had been so ill, there was no option but to end it’s life.
Is it a true story or not?
I have just read Ashley Jillian’s post on Social Media Etiquette and whilst I agreed with most of it, I do like GoodReads so I’d say if you like books then it’s quite a good place to do a book review and pass on some good recommendations. But, when did cats ever do socializing. I love the creatures feline aristocrats, snobs to their last claw, but social they are not. Now dogs, and that’s my baby, are great socialites. Rudi is really smart too. He was adopted from a rescue centre when he was eighteen months old, the product of a broken home. He’s a working Springer Spaniel and that spells energy. He loved hunting and we don’t, so he would go off and hunt for himself usually for an hour or so, leaving us hanging around waiting for him to get back to us. We tried all sorts of training techniques, but unlike most examples of bad behaviour disobeying a call to return is very hard to deal with, if you chastise the dog when it gets back to you, he’s more likely to stay away, so you give him a reward, in our case a small treat. Now he’s 11 and an old dog, so he doesn’t want to hunt so much, but he is greedy so he plays a game of hide and seek with us. He goes off and hides behind trees and bushes and then comes back, sits down besides you and looks up at you and then at the pocket where he knows you have the dog biscuits, willing you to get the bag of treats out and give him one. Like I said smart.