While walking my dogs, I have met some real nightmares masquerading as human beings.
Once I was shoved into a bush by the sheer volume of ramblers coming round a corner in the lane en masse. They were like an army of giant ants, striding along and they were not going to move to one side for anyone, least of all an innocent dog walker who wasn’t even properly dressed (sandals with no socks, a sleeveless top and jogging trousers – whatever next?).
It’s true! There is room in the lane to pass side by side, but you each have to give a little. I gave a lot, they gave nothing and they carried on walking past without even breaking their stride as I extricated myself from the brambles.
If nothing else they may have learnt a few new words that day!
I’ve nothing against ramblers. I daresay it is a pleasant pastime. You don’t see them round our way walking the paths when they’re knee deep in mud and overgrown with brambles and nettles though.
It is left to we dog walkers and the occasional hardy birdwatcher to walk the paths every day come rain or shine, keeping them open and walkable so that once a year a herd of ramblers can walk their walk unhindered by nature.
I’ll say it again, I’ve nothing against ramblers. It’s a free country so they say and they’re as entitled to their walk as anyone else. Individually they seem like very nice people, but together they seem to form some kind of collective – a bit like a rambling Borg and maybe if I hadn’t been pushed in the bush I would have been assimilated and be walking everywhere now with my trousers tucked into my socks and my map tucked into my belt!
Same with joggers. I meet some very nice joggers and I always put my dogs on leads so that they can run past without a dog attached to their bottoms. Occasionally they will say “Good morning,” or even “Thank you,” as they jog past. Sometimes they glare at you as you sink into the mud or teeter on the edge of the bank in your efforts to keep out of their way.
I am tempted so very tempted on such occasions to release the hounds and see just how fast the jogger can run!
I don’t particularly want thanks – one man was so grovellingly grateful it was downright embarrassing, but a smile or a nod as they pass by wouldn’t cost anything would it?
I’ve nothing against joggers either – I have on occasion jogged myself. But it’s the same with people on bikes . . . I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been walking along the pavement with three dogs, a pushchair and a small child when one or more have come speeding up behind us making dogs and children jump! They don’t even slow down!
Again, nothing against cyclists. I used to cycle everywhere, but I used to do my cycling on the road.
Now see what’s happened? I came on here to write a short post about something that happened today and I’ve ended up having a long rant and I haven’t even got to the point yet.
I seem to be in Grumpy Old Writer mode!
And please if you ramble, jog or cycle don’t take this personally – I really don’t hold it against you for the rudeness of a few. I am all for live and let live and each to his own and all that.
The point is that today I was halfway round the big wheat field with the dogs when I saw two motorbikes coming up the side towards me. There isn’t room to pass side by side, but I managed to find a slightly wider spot and with the dogs on leads, stood out of the way.
Meanwhile, the motorbikes had done the same, pulled right over into the nettles and undergrowth and switched their engines off so as not to startle the dogs. So I hurried past them and they apologised for getting in the way!
It’s worth repeating – they apologised! And I thanked them – in fact I was in danger of being grovellingly grateful like the jogger . . .
They were two young lads. And when I come to think about it, most of those I’ve encountered on motorbikes have been very considerate, keeping as much out of the way as possible and even stopping to give me time to get my dogs on leads.
There have been a few scary moments with motorbikes, but they have been in the minority.
So this post is in praise of the youth of today! And it’s only taken me about 700 words to get to the point.
As this is supposed to be a blog about writing I’ll just mention a book I read recently.
It was The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. It is a brilliant piece of social history with characters you come to care about. Written almost a century ago, it tells the story of working men - decorators.
The names of the characters are brilliant too. Almost picturesquely Dickensian. Names such as Councillor Didlum, Doctor Weakling and companies such as Smeariton & Leavit and Driver and Botchit.
It illustrates how much things have changed – and at the same time how some things will never change. I learnt a lot from reading it.
Writing? Yes, yes I know – it’s the weekend and my writing time – I’ll get round to it . . . eventually.