Home » Musings » Dog-walking adventures (Part 1 of millions)

dog walkDog walking is a pretty adventurous past-time, trust me non-dog-people it is. A whole multitude of things can occur whilst out walking our furry friends, especially if you go walking, no wait, hiking, yes hiking sounds more apt, walking? Ha anyoneeeee can walk, hiking, that’s serious, I’ve got my hiking gloves, my hiking hat, my hiking boots, hiking hikers, hiking hiking hikery dikery dock the mouse ran up the clock, the clock struck hikinggggg, sorry, what? HIKING I am the KING OF THE HIKERS, in fact if you say it enough times it starts to rain as it did today. I didn’t say hiking aloud of course, that would be hiking mental, no, wait, did I? Nay. I said it in my head, that is, I thought it, in err my head, I mean I can’t prove this of course, of course I can’t, and stop asking me, I had read the other day that up until the 19th century it was common to think that you thought your thoughts in my chest, and not at all in your noggin where you and I are firmly enlightened to think or believe (in our heads) that we do indeed think in our heads, where else would we think I mean in our arms? In our thighs? No, our thoughts are definitely housed in the head department FACTTTTT, otherwise if it wasn’t maybe we’d get headaches elsewhere. Anyway hiking, it’s hair-raising stuff round my way, in the woods, no wait, forest, woodlands? So there I was hiking in the woodlands today, I was thinking (in my head, definitely the thoughts happened in the head vicinity) that the word hiking clearly matched the dramatic exertion I was exerting and let my thoughts wonder whilst I wandered, and I was led down a very peculiar path indeed (both wondering and wandering)…

A long time ago (in a café not that far away, Paddington, London to be precise, although I could be wayyy more precise if pushed) my work colleagues and I used to go to lunch round the corner from well, where we worked. It was a strange café, strange in the way that apart from us there were very few people that frequented, we always got a table, and always got served by the same lady that charm had passed by. We liked this café as we knew we could sit there for hours (if we were allowed) and not be disturbed by anyone (not by the staff, by anyone else from work, or by anyone even mentioning or referring to the video rental section at the back of the shop that absolutely no-one at all ever went into, spoke about, looked at, or even noticed, if there would’ve been a fire in that part of the shop we imagined the staff would look upon it equally bemused and say ‘where did that come from? Side note… during the emergence of the DVD this was totally passed by by the café cum video rental shop, we will come back to this point, or maybe we won’t, either way this has got to be the end of the brackets here, IT’S GOT TO BE BY GEORGE, even sider note, Boy George just faded in on my Spotify playlist, it went from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata into ‘Victims’ a brilliant mix even if it was totally orchestrated by the simply fade in/out functionality of a robotic music app, I also found whilst showering this morning Darren Hayes’s ‘Instatiable’ segues amazingly into Sinnaed’s ‘Nothing compares 2 u’ ha, if only they knew, maybe they do, maybe that’s why they do it, or maybe this is why people become DJs, this subtle mixing obviously disappeared in recent year what with everything being digital (except Christmas, no-ones’ found a way to digitise Christmas yet, maybe next year) I used to mix in choons on my mix-tapes with the best of ‘em (the best of Em was a best of album by Em but was shoved out of the market with the NOW and HITS compilations) yes, that was a bracket within the brackets and that is totally allowed ok. Yes a full stop too. That still doesn’t free us from the bracketage, the bracketage being after the postmodern age. I think I am going to make a list of best songs to mix the endings and beginnings too, wait, this IS DJing right? Wow, I never made this connection, and talking of missed connections I know what you are thinking, close the bracket Skatey, close it up, closeeeee the bracket). I did it. Now let us continue. In the café of plenty we typically ordered jacket potatoes, my colleagues were my favourite of people in the whole of favourite people ever. Let me set the scene, I worked in an office (I know, I am so precise about these kind of details, am just protecting the innocent here ok, and mannnnnn was I an innocent flower back then), and these two ladies I was lunching with, they were pretty much the most exciting thing that ever happened in my office… These ladies were consultants and only consulted with us on Thursdays, thus Thursdays was ‘special café day’ not that the café was the special thing you understand, the ladies, the consultants they were special, the café couldn’t wouldn’t and never would be considered special, if anything, there was absolutely nothing special about it, unless of course you considered the video-hire section a speciality which even if you did you wouldn’t because no-one could even see it, it was hidden behind one of this peripheral vision sensory devices whereby you can see it but you can’t really see it because your mind has blocked it out of your psyche, it is there but you can’t see it, thus not special (in respect of the café having any speciality, anyway I feel we are definitely straying from the point here, the café was the antithesis of dull ok, just go with me on this). We (exciting consultants & I) had our theories about the more business side of the café, we were very detailed and non-stereotyping about the café, it was clearly a front for money-laundering, it was obviousssssssss, here are the facts…

  1. The lady that served us never smiled
  2. She always worked there, night, day, dight, afternoon, she never left, not even to go to the loo, or wash hands, nothing, which led us to believe she was not only a robot but clearly was hired by the money-laundering mob to work at their other operations in the evening, we debated several nocturnal activities, you know, the usual, prostitution, gambling, trafficking, chess master, backgammon, dentist, chess dentist, cheese chess dentist, she could’ve been into any one or all of these things, her lip sores said so much.
  3. Her assistant (that make sandwich and potato) was different every week.
  4. She couldn’t do simple maths and would always give the wrong change.
  5. Portion control was a stranger to this part of Paddington.

Like I said the facts were all there.

Consultant 1 and I typically had like a tuna jackpot or a chilli con carne jackpot, but consultant 2 she always went for the coleslaw mountain. Imagine a jacket potato, and then imagine not being able to see the jacket potato because the amount of coleslaw in it AND covering it was the equivalent to having a bubble bath with an entire bottle of Mister Matey (the Pirate version obviously, Captain Matey it was probably called, and if it wasn’t (or weren’t as some of my dearest Sheffieldians friends say) then it blimmin’ well should’ve (shurr’ve) been, and well we may as well invent time travel now for the very sole purpose of going back in time to correct this absolute travesty of a missed opportunity (if indeed it was a missed opportunity, am too wined-up (and wound-up by jove heave-ho) to check it on google, in fact that’s the way we’re going now isn’t it, things are moving so fast that you canne (cap’n) even be bothered to ‘google it’ now, it’s far more trendy, cool, and interesting not to google it, next year it would be great if one of those innocuous articles in the papers (the papers? Whose reading these?) I mean on buzzfeed, shuzzfeed, feedbuzz, or buzzingfeedshammolie, that in the dictionary the phrase ‘I can’t be arsed to google it’ was entered as that just about sums up our fast-food culture lethargy don’t (durran’t) it? Wait, they don’t have phrases in the dictionary, but if they did my bet is ‘don’t google it’ will be up there. We’ve gone past google already (you skim-read it here first) people, we get bored of everything quickly, and then there’s the backlash, it’s happened to Brucie (Forsythe obvs), it happened to Lenny (Henry obvs) and now it’s looking like it’s the end of the road for the Hoff too (impossible to imagine I know, but that’s the zeitgeist and I just work here ok, don’t shoot the messenger (even if just in fiction, because that would could cause global meltdowns as we’ve seen, omg I almost went political there, is this what they call growing up? Quick quick close the friggin brackets)))))))))))))).

Consultant 2 had what we called the coleslaw mountain (in case you didn’t get that), with grace and style Conso 2 ate it with bravado, good humour, and serious intention,  but there’s only so far you can go with your own body weight in a mayonnaise-festival-vegtables combo. We always joked that we should doggy-bag up the rest of the mountain for the old 4pm lethargy-energy-slidedom but one look at Magda (the lady, we called her Magda, though we fear her real name was something she didn’t even reveal even to her crime-lord bosses. Like Superman we imagined she sent home half her pay, ruefully (I imagine as my memory isn’t so good that I can recall actual thoughts of those specific days) I thought that she should’ve sent home the coleslaw instead, clearly no-one was missing the truckloads of coleslaw that was ordered, dispensed, and most definitely thrown away each week, if only they’d sent it to Magda’s mum she could have made a small fortune in feeding the community on continent-sized coleslaw torrents, shame, missed opportunity that (note to self, if we invent a time-machine we can open a market stall selling coleslaw to fund the Mister Matey rebranding trip (Pirate, Captain, Shmaptain, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Pirate Panties), ahhhaaaaaa miladdddyyy avast me hearties avassttttttt. Wait, am lost (not at sea) I’ve only recently realised (like in the last minute) that wine and shortbread is possibly the best combination of things ever, it’s the new bacon n’ eggs, which reminds me that I haven’t had bacon n’ eggs in years, maybe even a half decade, a cade or a dec, either way I am having eggs tomorrow (there’s no bacon in Alfred).


Anyyyyyyway. There I was out hiking this morning, it was getting to around the three-hour stage, I took out my water and (heroically) gave some to the dog too. We were in a narrow pathway of mostly leaves, bracken (whatever that is) trees, hedges, ledges, Heath ledgers, normal ledgers, and other ledges and hedges are available from all good retailers, when suddenly there was all manner of whistling and calling for ‘Betsy’ going on, ‘Heaven to Betsy’ I thought (definitely just in head, this wasn’t the time for japery), a couple were in the proper thick of it walking into branches, stepping in deep sludgery-type ditches, the chap actually lost his shoe in a particularly gunky part, that’s when taddaaaaaaaa I stepped in (but not into the same sludgy bit as Mister I’ve lost my dog guy stepped in, why that would be crazy wouldn’t it, fancy that. I helped aided and lent my voice to the Betsy search. John (for this was his name) introduced himself and introduced me to Mrs John who was clearly all a tither about things, as she turned to greet me and thank me for joining in on the Betsy search, well, you can call me Betsy (if you really want) if this Mrs John was none other than Magda. Yes. I am not making this up. Now look. I am not saying this was Magda, I am not saying I got that clarification, or that she recognised me (someone she met maybe a handful of times oh say 14 years ago), but seriously, this was her, she had the same not-smile, the same grubby look, the same eyes that were wide open as if she’d just had 50 coffees and would never sleep again, and she had cold sores, it had to be her, and if it wasn’t they were definitely related.  It became very clear very quickly we were never going to find Betsy in that instant, and I had serious hiking to do, I said my good lucks and I am sure you will find hers and hiked off.

As I hiked off I considered facebooking the consultants and telling them about my amazing discovery, but the heavens opened, I was desperate for a wee, the dog decided to poo, I scrambled for the poo-bags, and well, as you can imagine, the moment was lost (as is the way with many similar thoughts on doggy hikes). It was for the best, what would my post have said? ‘Hiya, we haven’t spoken in 10 years but do you remember the lady that used to serve us coleslaw mountains? Well she’s lost her dog in the London suburbs’ would’ve been a bit obscure maybe.

It’s a small doggy world is the conclusion here, if indeed that is a conclusion, something dramatic always happens on these walks, stayed tuned for more exciting hiking adventury.


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