Sometimes, when out for a walk, Dog takes it into his head that coming back to us is not a good idea. Recall in Salukis is known to be poor but generally Dog does quite well. As long as Mr Mason is armed with a treat of some kind, Dog will succumb and allow himself to be put on the lead. There have been occasions when he has refused to come back and Mr Mason has had to resort to every trick in the book to get him back. The most memorable (and my favourite) was when Mr Mason lay on the ground, whimpering and pretending to be hurt so that Dog came close enough to be grabbed. How that didn’t make it onto YouTube is a mystery to me.
This weekend we are seeing friends and on Sunday it is our day to say farewell to our lovely Wave Walkers dragon boating team. We decide to take Dog with us as it might be a long day and he likes lounging in the boot on his 2 enormous cushions wearing the coat that makes him look like a lower league football manager. The day is very cold and, despite the wind whipping across the dock, Mr Mason accepts the invitation to get in the boat and paddle. Dog and I sit in the car keeping warm and I spend time speaking to our friend Ms Frumin about the costs of moving. She has found a lovely Polish man who seems very efficient and has given her a very good quote for her forthcoming move. She sends me the details. (He is coming tomorrow so watch this space) One the training session is finished, we walk to a floating Chinese restaurant in Docklands. It’s really good to spend time with people we have paddled with for the last 2 years, who were with me when I had my first signs of secondary cancer in Venice and who have been so bloody supportive and brilliant, I can’t begin to tell you. Mr and Mrs Lee, the coach and helm, run Wave Walkers because they love the sport and want to offer it to people who may not have thought of it. They do it without payment and with huge love and enthusiasm and I am blown away by their commitment. They are ace.
So, we have a brilliant lunch. One of the great things about going to a Chinese restaurant with Chinese friends is that they choose fabulous food, things we may not have heard of or thought of ordering. They always ask politely if there is anything we particularly like or whether we want to order for ourselves but really, when you have experts in the house it’s best to let them get on with the job. In discussing our move to the country, we were told that having pampas grass in your front garden means that swingers live within. Is there a whole floral code, we wonder? We make a mental note to remove any pampas grass and to monitor closely those in the village who grow it, just to test the theory. Whilst waiting for the food, Ms Turnbull tells us of the time she accepted a dare to put a whole Mars Bar in her mouth. You have to realise that in those days, Mars Bars were about twice the size they are now so putting a whole one in your mouth was actually quite dangerous. She couldn’t bite down, she couldn’t close her mouth so she just had to try not to panic and allow it to melt. Very kindly she demonstrated this for me.
After lunch, we reluctantly wend our way back to the car and decide that on the way home, we will let Dog have a good run in the park. This is when he decides to be naughty. After half an hour, I am called by Mr Mason who asks me to join him. We try all sorts of tricks for him. We try the “I’ve got a stick and you can’t have it” trick, we cuddle (Dog likes to get in the middle of a cuddle), I pretend I have found a treat in my handbag, we walk away from him repeatedly and I also pretend to cry. None of it works and it’s getting dark as well as it being very cold. Finally I resort to being English and polite and approach Dog with my hand out saying “How do you do?” Dog has been trained to shake hands and it is this that finally grabs his attention. He approaches, preparing to sit and shake hands and I can finally grab his collar. He doesn’t seem to mind as I suspect he’s also been getting bored and cold. As we leave the park, I spy a house opposite with pampas grass in the front garden…