As you all know, I share my life with an incredibly daft German Shepherd called, in no particular order, Major, Dude, Idiot, Nob and Oh For Fuck Sake...
Dude is both my joy and my punishment for having been a bad person in one of my previous existences.
He truly has few social niceties. He delightedly farts directly at people and refuses to admit it was his bum 'wot did it', tries to climb on my knee whilst I'm working which frequently ends in disaster as he pushes me off my desk chair, pays absolutely no attention to individuals’ personal space bubbles, and regularly accompanies visitors to the toilet, causing much consternation and not a little embarrassment by watching intently, whatever they might be doing, just to make sure everything is above board and normal. I find this funny, my visitors, I would hazard a guess, not so much...
He is a complete softy but rocks an enormous bark, especially utilised when people have the temerity to use the road and pavement outside the house. If they knock on the door - Heaven help us all!
A couple of days ago, whilst I was on yet another never ending video call with work, there was a knock on the door, his booming bark echoed around the house deafening all on the call and knocking nearby small birds off branches.
' I can hear it you Nob!' I shout at him lovingly as I thunder down my stairs to answer the door.
I wrench the door open, holding Dude's collar - just in case there are cats - he does love to chase cats.
I peer out slightly confused that there is nobody there, and wonder if I am, after 98 million days in lockdown, finally beginning to enjoy auditory hallucinations, when a head peers around the side of Gertie's enormous arse end...
'Hello' I say quietly so as not to terrify the skinny local teenage boy who is looking at me nervously..'can I help you?'
'Hello Mrs' he says keeping one eye on the dog, who is by now quivering with excitement (likes children, can’t eat a whole one) 'I think my football is in your back garden? Could I have it back please?' he says with a slight shake in his voice as he retreats behind Gertie again.
Feeling slight uncomfortable with the whole 'Mrs' thing I dutifully trot of to the back garden, where Dude gleefully pounces on the said football - which was indeed in my back garden - in fact directly on top of one of my Artichoke plants.. a frustrating 5 minute tussle ensues, which by dint of shouting calmly,
'For Fuck Sake Dude leave the effing ball alone' I emerge from victorious, in possession of a Dude drool covered football.
Teenage boy loiters a nice safe 18 foot away from the front door and I have to effect a girl throw to reunite him with his missing ball.
'Thanks Mrs' he yells back running away not looking back - I return to my meeting, slightly out of breath, to be met with roaring laughter from my colleagues, who could hear the entire episode.
I felt about 1000 years old. Word will get round our small, but perfectly formed housing estate that the old dear at number 65 might look harmless in her five foot one stature and slightly startled expression, but beware of the wolf that lives with her.
Dude and I are very lucky to have such wonderful walks right on our doorstep, one of our favourites being a stroll around a rather lovely fishing lake just behind the house.
We usually pop around the lake first thing in the morning about 6.30 ish (yes that's early, yes I'm menopausal, yes not sleeping fucks with my happy place.)
It had been a really rainy wet night - I know because I was awake...listening to the rain thundering on my velux window things, wondering if I could open them without flooding the bedroom, and by 6.30 it had settled into one of those bright but drizzly days.
I have a rather natty rainproof coat, Berghaus or some such make I think, pockets full of the ubiquitous poo bags and several handfuls of stale dog treats, which Dude treats with the contempt they deserve, finishing off this charming outfit are my now, well worn in mud covered hiking boots.
I wrestled Dude into his collar and Halti face harness thing and off we trotted.
The lake is used by a local angling club, and is a haven for strange men that like to drink cider whilst sitting in a tent in the rain staring at an unmoving fishing rod for hours and hours, one regular has a little plaque for the outside of his tent that reads 'Hobbit Hole.'
The mind utterly boggles, then runs away and refuses to think about why on earth anyone would do this. Maybe he is single hence has no arbiter of good taste (i.e. wife) to stop him being such a twat?
The lake is also home to around 11ty billion Canada Geese. Noisy bastards geese. We see these geese every day, Dude and I have watched the baby goose things go from cute balls of fluff, through the awkward teengoose stage and into geese that are now indistinguishable from all the other Geese..Dude watches them calmly but with interest.
This particular morning they were all still roosting, sleeping, hanging out, whatever geese do at night, who knows, when we arrived for our morning stroll.
We have noticed before that there is always a look out goose, just on the edge of the gaggle, to give an early warning of any perceived threats to goose happiness.
This morning, the look out goose, unusually had a panic attack at the sight of Dude (he must have been new in role I think.)
'Now look what you have done.' I mutter at Dude quietly. He meanwhile is watching with interest the geese running around honking and making a mad dash for the lake, if they had arms they would be waving them in the air and shouting,
'Don’t panic!' a la Dads Army
If you have never seen panicking geese sprinting towards a large smelly lake, you have missed treat- let me tell you!
So there, we are, quietly standing watching, when Dude decides he really must investigate a little more closely and heads at top speed towards the stream of madly flapping geese, and to my horror, the lake!
Did I mention it had been raining?
The combination of goose shite (they were doing nervous poos whilst running, which was quite impressive) and mud created a slide of mammoth proportions, and I was being dragged along it by my insane and very annoying dog, directly towards the lake.
I'm yanking on his lead, and shouting but he has gone goose deaf, as far as Dude is concerned the entire universe is full of goose, and there is NO ROOM for anything else.
We hurtle towards the lake, I can see the rancid water looming in front of me. When suddenly and without warning the Idiot puts his brakes on, and stops dead in his tracks. I gracefully slide into him, go flying over his back and land face first in the cold, goose shit filled, manky lake.
I emerge from this humiliating position, dripping with weed, like the creature from the black lagoon and absolutely fucking furious, with the dog staring at me as much as to say,
'What on earth did you do that for?'
I squelched the half a mile home, fending off comments from concerned fishermen. One of whom actually had the temerity to ask me out. I refused in soggily polite tones.
Apparently I carry off pond weed couture well.