Saturday, 25 June 2011


It does happen sometimes that dog-owners get to look like their dogs. I used to know a girl called Gill who kept a pair of Afghan hounds. As she was a hairdresser (mine, actually) their coat was always beautifully kempt; so of course was hers, and she shared with the hounds a friendly disposition, a lean, fine-drawn and slightly aristocratic appearance as well as a bouncy and cheerful mien, though unlike them her ears were not silky and long and her legs were not a bit shaggy, so far as I could tell.

I saw today an example of the opposite, a totally disparate dog-and-owner pairing.

It was at a little caff usefully sited half-way between the town and the gentle slope up to my home, where it is good to linger for a while to get psyched up for the climb (it's not the South Col exactly, but the last 500 yards make me think). The sun was shining and there were some tables on the pavement where I sat with a double espresso and a toasted tea-cake chatting with the owner who had come out for a cigarette; he has very little English, but he managed to tell me that he had to smoke because of the stress of having a wife and three children; I re-assured him that I once had a comparable family, but after puffing away for half a century was eventually able to give it up (smoking, that is).

Where was I? Oh yes, dogs and their owners. A few yards away there was a man giving water to his dog, using an interesting device consisting of a plastic container with a bottle of water inside; he opened it up and the lid formed a little trough from which the dog was happily lapping. The thing was obviously invented in America; I remember that when my wife and I visited some of her relatives there we found that they were obsessed with carrying water with them at all times. This was in Arizona where it is easy to die of thirst in the desert, so I suppose they were taking no risks even when shopping in downtown Phoenix.

I am digressing again. The point I set out to make was that the dog looked very young, handsome, intelligent and friendly, while his owner appeared to be none of these things. I do not want to traduce the man: he may well have been a kindly, good-natured fellow, fond of flowers and with a gentle, whimsical humour, but his brutish appearance gave the impression that if you annoyed him he would gie yer the heid without compunction.

I think that was what I intended this post to be about, but I can't be sure; it's been a long day. The above is rambling and muddled, without a trace of OMF's usual brisk precision, a feature of omfstyle much admired by omflovers around the world. I shall have to pull myself together, lest two or three of them chuck it in, leaving me with barely enough to make up a synchronised swimming team should the need arise.


Grumio said...

By a remarkable coincidence, the need has arisen. Bad rash of hay fever suffering at Reginald's leaves the team severely depleted for the inter club synchronised swimming, the so-called 'Smashed and Splashed'. Can you and yours make up numbers? Usual garb, Union Flag trunks for the fellas, come as you are for the distaff side. Serpentine, 6am Monday? Would be super if you could hold up our end, so to speak.

Tony said...

Right, I'll try to make it but wife is running in a 10K trot today so she won't feel like getting up at crack of.
I hear that dear old 'Bogeyes' Wilmslow is in London so I'll see if he can join us at the club in the evening for the usual after-competition mug of Horlicks.

Grumio said...

We were sorry to miss you this morning. The ambulance carrying Bogeyes has just left and the crowds are starting to disperse. The general feeling is that we'll skip it for a year or two. The indecency charges, no matter how trumped up, do shine a light on Reginald's which, on the whole, is better not shone, largely on account of their unarguable basis in truth.