Another Birthday and a New Pet!
Posted on November 18, 2015
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who took the effort to wish me happy birthday yesterday, the powers of social media made it possible to feel at least a little bit special on another day towards an inexorable decline into nylon elasticated slacks.
However, if there is one good thing about the ageing process, it is the ability to lose track of advancing years, and for some reason, during the last year, I have assumed I have been 48 rather than 47. As a consequence, I have gained a year, which is nice.
Mentally, I don’t really feel like I am 48, although I guess I have shed at least some of the irresponsibility of youth. For example, I really couldn’t find anything more repellent than going into young peoples bars and clubs, so instead I choose to discover country pubs full of closet racists with rosy cheeks and nostalgic tales of yesteryear.
There are loads in Hampshire.
Physically, the years are taking their toll and although the immortal conditioning of my brain is telling me I am still 20 when I play cricket, there are a plethora of injuries that are not getting better or if they do, they are riddled with painfully slow recovery periods.
If I stuck a webcam to my stairs for a year, I could make a mega-viral Youtube video called ‘inexplicable staircase fails’ where my knee, without, warning, loses contact with my lower leg and I simply collapse resulting in various degrees of comedic value that would have a Stannah Stair-lift representative salivating at the prospect of future business.
I also find that when I have a wee, the shaking off period now outlasts the wee itself and if I am not careful, there is the constant potential of ending up with an unattractive circle in an embarrassing place. This can be further enhanced by light grey or brown cotton trousers that in effect, act as blotting paper.
I did have a doctors index finger placed up my anus about a year ago and all seemed well, so for now, I will just crack on with this minor inconvenience and live with the fact that the words “I am just going for a quick pee” are becoming less relevant with every passing year.
So anyway, during this passing of another year, I have bought a dog, a working cocker spaniel that with some irony, will never work in its life; I just need something to walk with because when you reach a certain age, a solitary stroll in the woods makes appear like you are either on route to hanging yourself, or you are a potential sex offender.
I first got this feeling a few years back when I abstained from some sort of Jubilee or Royal Wedding nonsense, choosing instead, to walk in solitude along the banks of the Kennet and Avon canal in Berkshire.
Such is the popularity of these events in the UK, the canal tow-path was at peace from narrow boats, anglers and walkers…all except me and a woman a couple of hundred yards ahead, who also it would seem, was not particularly enamoured with British pomp and ceremony.
It all became a bit of a farce because I was torn between backing off and upping the pace, both manoeuvres that looked at the very best, sinister. Every time she looked around, I pretended to be looking at the canal or admiring a tree, so I wasn’t helping matters.
Eventually, I took the bold decision of upping the pace and marching past and saying “good morning” loud enough to be confident but not so loud so to make her panic. It worked but it was such an ordeal, it actually became the pivotal moment when realised I needed a dog.
I got one too, but it was only temporary thing as it came with the most ill-conceived relationship I could have possibly embarked on, so I was soon back to square one. I suffered no lingering regrets about the termination of the relationship but I suddenly had a big hole in my life that had been filled by being the voluntary allocated dog walker.
If you have not got a dog or never had one, I don’t blame you really, as they are a bit of a burden. However, I will tell you now, they are just incredible creatures for relieving tension, making you think more creatively and positively and of course, getting you fit and enjoying the British countryside and all the different weather these isles can chuck at you.
It took me six months to get over not having a dog to walk, in fact, I didn’t really get over it at all, so I have bitten the bullet and bought one that will soon be crashing through the woods as I meander for miles on end without looking like a bloke who is on a journey to do something unsavoury.
I have not had a puppy before, so it is all a bit of a learning curve training the little bugger but he is already filling me with pleasure and is loving the attention he gets from everyone, despite it all being a bit tiring.
I have found an excellent mobile vet who gave Jennifer and I plenty of tips, one being to join a puppy training group. However puppy classes are something that are about as appealing to me as a weekend horse riding in the Cotswolds with Rebekah Brooks.
I am a sociable person in general but I hate groups, especially ones where I have to introduce myself, let alone myself and a dog. I can’t really be bothered with dog chat, as I don’t want to be one of those types and I don’t want to be bothering with exchanging contact details with fellow walkers.
I will go if I really have to but the thought of it makes me shudder with dread at being discovered for my lack of dog knowledge.
“Hello, what’s your name?”
“Not you, the dog.”
“Oh, it’s Marley.”
“And what made you decide you want a puppy?”
“Because I like walking but without a dog I feel like sex offender…especially when I haven’t had a thorough shake.”
I’ll give it a miss I think.