Monday 7 October 2013

Confessions: Act 2, Scene 4. Dog Walkers.

I hate cats:  bloody things always lying in wait by the bird table. I spend far too much money on sunflower seeds to fatten up the goldfinches, only to have next door's cat benefit.  Don't like grey squirrels much either.  Good photogenic subjects, but when they are eating away at my roof timbers I don't feel like getting out the Minolta.  £2500 the bill to repair the roof!

But most of all, I hate dogs...and dog walkers.  As an angler I find I just cannot avoid them.  Why some people have the need to hunt fishermen with watered down wolves, I have no idea.  Only today some small white rat-like creature jumped up at me as I was walking along a pathway carrying my tackle.   Had I been wearing a white lounge suit, no doubt it would have been splattered with muddy paw prints and the remains of other dogs "leavings".   The footprints today are probably still there, but are at least invisible on my fishing trousers.   However I put my foot up and gently, and I really mean that, gently pushed the dog away.   The dog's owner was less than happy, even though I took great care not to hurt it. Her precious little brute had been pushed away, by me: using my foot.  I had not done the expected, and petted it saying "What a nice little doggie.", as it would seem, many others do.  Instead I said that the dog should have been on a lead, and muzzled.   The lady mumbled at me, insisting that I was completely in the wrong, and so I suggested that next time I would give it a good swift kick, in order that I might fully deserve her criticism.   When she returned later it was on a lead.   I call that a win.      

A couple of years ago I had a far worse incident.   Fishing the river, peacefully, upsetting no-one, I was suddenly aware of something behind me.  A dalmation, one of those horrible spotty creatures, and it was heading right for my tackle and bait.  It scattered everything it could not eat, and ate as much of my bait as it could wolf down.    I shooed it away.  
"Don't you dare shoo my dog." came a cry from behind me.  "It has as much right being there as you have."  "I have been coming down this river with my dog for years."
"Look" says I, " I have sharp hooks and other tackle down here that you would definitely not want your dog to eat.  And it has already eaten some of my bait."
"I've been coming down here far longer than you have.  My dog has every right to jump into the river here."
" Could you not have let him swim upstream where no-one is fishing?"
"Nope, I am down here every day, and if you shoo my dog again, I'll bloody well have you."    Said the ginger headed moron who owned the dog.  And as I was more than twice his age ( he was about thirty), I decided that maybe I should retreat, and keep quiet.   Say nothing.  Just fume quietly.  And wish that he be struck down by a thunderbolt. Or that he would....well  never mind. 
He then disappeared for about thirty minutes, during which time it appears he had gathered a number of very large pebbles from the shallows upstream. On his return, he proceeded to throw them into my swim, and threatened to do the same every time he saw me shoo his dog away.
"I am here again tomorrow,", said I  "and was that really necessary? That really was not very nice at all. I was just trying to protect your dog."    Meanwhile my thoughts were "What an obnoxious little so and so. Shame the dog didn't drown."...and far worse
The next day, along came the dog again,  and it gambolled gaily through my gear once again.  This time I said nothing.  Discretion is the far better part of getting ones head kicked in. The owner watched and grinned.

The dog however ate six large lumps of luncheon meat from on the top of my bait box.  Oh dear!   He should not have done that.   Earlier I had prepared the meat specially, pressing two constipation relief pills into each.  My son, then a student doctor,  had recommended them as the strongest available in the UK without prescription.  My only regret is that I did not get to see the results.   But I hoped that either his car, or lounge carpet (or both) would have felt the full pebble dash effects that those pills were going to have a couple of hours later.

My third unfortunate incident with a dog was some years ago.   I was on a large public field, and I was practising with a very large boomerang.   This, measured along its length, was about two feet of carved plywood.  Heavy, it must have weighed a good half pound.   Although not an expert, I could usually get it to return to within ten or fifteen feet from me.     Occasionally it would come back very precisely,  but  very occasionally.   When you throw a boomerang you launch it at an angle of about 30 degrees to the vertical, with as much speed as you can impart, and some rotation.   The angle, together with the aerofoil section causes it to fly, in theory, in a horizontal circle.  But something else happens:  as it progresses around the circle, it slows down, and its angle changes into a flatter spin.   The energy it loses slowing down is partially changed into rotational energy. It starts to spin far more rapidly.    Ideally you then catch it flat between the two palms of your hands, one above, one below, as it hovers, completely flat, in front of you.     Now I admit that I had never managed to catch it.  On those occasions it returned close enough, the speed at which this substantial lump of wood was spinning fair put me off trying to catch it. I valued my fingers far too much.  Of course when throwing you need to be safe: check the area.  I had, the previous week warned my son's friend to always watch the boomerang carefully, and not to just run away from it.     Silly, silly boy, and the lump on the back of his head that resulted was worryingly big.   But no permanent damage resulted, the boomerang still worked perfectly.
But on this occasion, a week later, no problem, no-one in the flight area, just a lady with her dog 40 yards behind me.  So I threw, threw it hard, and its trajectory looked as if it would return quite close.  Not a bad throw at all.  I was still not quite brave enough to try a catch  though, and as I watched it spinning very rapidly, hovering almost stationary, in front of me, there was a very small brown flash, and a Yorkshire Terrier leapt up and tried to catch the boomerang in its mouth.  It must have seen me throw a stick, and then chased after it.   Kangaroos probably have more sense.  Evolution has removed their impulse to chase thrown sticks. Unfortunately, the boomerang  arm hit the dog very hard indeed, and the poor pooch dropped like a stone, twitched a bit, and was dead.  And I had to face a very irate lady who no longer had her pet Yorkie.  Threatened to call the police too. Much was said, and I think I only escaped by pointing out the "Dogs Must Be On A Lead" notice.      It was unfortunate, and I did feel a bit guilty.  Well very guilty actually.  She picked up the dog and put it in her shopping basket!

I wandered off slowly, deciding that maybe then was not a good time for another throw or two.

1 comment:

  1. "Are you having that Jim?" "I am having that Dave." " 1-0, fancy a pint down the Feathers?". it was the shopping basket bit at the end..