Saturday 11 July 2009

The Youth of Today!

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.


  1. Oh, I read that book a few years ago, Teresa. I thought it was great.
    I read it because after seeing the BBC Big Read, I set myself the challenge of reading all the top one hundred books to see if I enjoyed any of them more than my favourite all time book, which is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
    I didn't find any better books than that,(in my opinion) but I discovered all sorts of books that I would never have read and enjoyed otherwise like The Secret History by Donna Tartt and A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving.
    I also had to re-read lots of old favourites like To Kill A Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby, but I have to admit that I still haven't read one of the hundred although I managed the other ninety nine. War and Peace is still sitting in the bottom of my wardrobe and I don't think I'm ever going to be able to face it!

  2. Hi, Teresa! It's a bit of a shock when the 'yoof' of today are polite and considerate isn't it! I told three lads off today who were setting fire to something in a kid's playground. I just bellowed that if they didn't clear off in five seconds I was going to call the police. The one lad, in a fit of misguided bravado, decided he'd try and give me some lip back - the other two weren't so stupid and had cleared off! He soon changed his tune when he saw a big chap striding towards him having a go at him too!It's such a shame that the few manage to tar the image of the many isn't it?!

    Got to be a few short stories in there eh, Teresa?!!

    Julie xx

  3. I have to agree with your youth support, Teresa. There are many (many!) people in this world who get on my wick, Grumpy Middle-Aged Woman that I am. I could do you a list but I'd probably offend every one of your blog readers. Suffice it to say that they are rarely teenagers.

  4. I have to agree with you, Teresa, about the ramblers, joggers and cyclists etc. I encounter exactly the same thing myself. The bikes I find the worse as they can creep up on you without warning. Having said that, most of the cyclists are considerate and polite. The joggers though are something else. Most of those never seem to acknowledge anything even when I go out of the way to ensure the dogs are out of their path. They just seem to grunt and spit. The joggers not the dogs. Then again, maybe they are busy concentrating.

    Even more curious though was something I haven't encountered before. I was walking along the Taff Trail, something I have done for many years when I saw what I thought was a push bike with a knapsack on the back. When I got up close I could see it was a rather large young lady sitting right in the middle of the path with push chair one side and a man standing the other. When I came back that way around a quarter of an hour later, the man was on top of the woman!

    They seemed amiable enough but it seemed so inappropriate at 10.30 in the morning on a public pathway. I dread to think what might have happened if a load of cyclists had come past at the same time as I had hardly any room to pass by.

    All it takes is a little consideration from everyone involved.

  5. Most people, young or otherwise, seem to be far nicer individually than they are in a group.

  6. I think we're all probably very protective of the group we're in at the moment. I used to push my children in a pushchair and would get cross at cyclists not dinging their bell behind me; then I became a cyclist myself and wondered at the selfishness of mothers with pushchairs; then, perhaps sadly, I don't know, I became a jogger (and still am)but tend to jog in our big playing field nearby and so don't come across either puchchairs or cyclists but I do come across dog walkers - all lovely, it has to be said - apart from when you put your foot in a .....well you get my drift. (Why on earth dog walkers don't all pick up their dogs' waste products is completely beyond me. Not good on the bottom of your jogging shoes!)

  7. I've worked with some fantastic young people in the last few years, who've really restored my faith. As with everything, it's so often just a few that give a bad name too many.

  8. That was a huge challenge to set yourself, Susan! 99 out of the 100 is great going. I tried reading War and Peace once . . .

    That was brave of you, Julie!

    I love that expression, Bernadette “get on my wick” – it’s one of my favourites and there are a lot of people who get on mine too!

    So glad I’m not the only one who gets peed off with these people for their lack of consideration, Lynette. Those two you encountered though – reminds me of the time my dogs ran ahead to the beach and startled a naked sunbather! He was quite old, very wrinkly and in possession of what the dogs thought was an interesting looking sausage!

    That is very true, Patsy! A few months ago I was verbally beaten up by three old (well older than me) people and I’ve met them all individually since and they’ve been as nice as pie as if they never stood there and shouted at me a few weeks before!

    Helen that winds me up no end too – people not clearing up their dog mess and what winds me up even more is people letting their dogs do it on my front garden as if it’s some sort of public loo for dogs!

    I think that’s true, Helen – and it’s a small few too isn’t it.

  9. Release the hounds! Release them I say! Let's see those grumpy joggers run! I've never had the luxury of a dog big enough to do anything but look cute but now I've seen the light!

  10. When I walk my Jack Russell, Milo, I don't have a problem with joggers, cyclists or ramblers as EVERYONE gets out of his way. He looks and sounds like a grumpy rottweiler on steroids but he's as daft as a brush...but I won't tell 'em that!

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  12. Rambling Borg! Love it, so descriptive and in just two words!

  13. Thanks, Calistro! Scary innit?

  14. I love Jack Russells, Sue! Great characters! Milo sounds lovely.

  15. As a biker (not cyclist) and a rambler (not jogger) I have to agree with you. I hate going out with the ramblers because they seem to think the whole world owes them a living. One day they started to waltz across a newly sown farmer's field when the farmer had left a generous border around the edge. They said he should leave the right of way clear, and had he not left the extra room, they may have had a point. But I was proud when I started to edge the field and the others started to follow me. About 2 or 3 hardy walkers were left stranded several yards into the young crop, but even they joined us, amid mumbles and grumbles about upstart newcomers taking over ...

    And I have yet to meet a rude biker.

    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, in my humble opinion, is a book that everyone should be forced to read and/or study at school or at some point in their lives.

  16. That is exactly what happens here on one of the fields. The farmer used to leave a path round the edge, but they ignored it and walked through the crop and now he's given up leaving a bit round the edge and tolerates them going through the middle. The daft thing is, the path he left round the edge was far easier to walk on than the slithery ploughed up bit across the middle! Talk about cutting off noses!

    Good for you Diane in making a stand! And good for those that followed you (you upstart newcomer you!)

    I had never even heard of Ragged Trousers until a few months ago - very glad to have read it and I agree, should be required reading!

  17. The ramblers believe, apparently (or at least many of the ones that I've been with), that the farmer shouldn't plough that part of his field. Yup, s/he's supposed to down tools (or lift them, whichever ...) just for that part, or plough to that point and turn around, then do the other side when s/he's finished that one ...

  18. I know some landowners deliberately make it difficult for people to use rights of way, but I think if they're willing to give a little then so should the ramblers.
    If only they had half your sense Diane!