Way. Too. Hot.
People think I’m kidding when I say if I have to choose, I’ll take cold and raining. I’m not kidding. I was thinking about it today as I examined the latest crop of mysterious evil toxic bug bites, scrapes, scratches, bruises and gouges, that I don’t actually like wearing shorts quite aside from the fact that wearing shorts means that it’s HOT: I frelling damage too easily. Also the bugs are getting worse. This is the second time I’ve had one of these red-haloed purple doohickeys and they last for weeks.* And the nettles, because of all the rain, are extremely fierce and juicy. They’ll burn you through heavy jeans denim—they’ll burn you at twenty paces in shorts.**
It was a particularly bad day for off lead dogs too. I knew walking by the river was going to be fraught but the idea of climbing into Wolfgang and driving somewhere in temperatures of 112°F (nearly) was pretty loathsome. And most of the river trail is shady. Today it was shady and covered with wet lolloping off lead dogs.*** Arrrrgh. Fortunately most of them were friendly but most of them were also gigantic, and ran in packs. Listen, you bloody human morons, being mobbed by five or six thugs individually twice your size counts as harassment, okay? Even if there isn’t any snarling.
Our best encounter, however, was the last, after we’d left the riverbank and were headed back toward town on one of the little one-and-a-half-lanes wide back roads that don’t have a speed limit which means you can do sixty and some people do. I do not plug into Pooka on these roads. There was body language on this particular dog that even I could read—from farther away than I could tell if it was on lead or not. We got a little closer and—relief—it was. I still cranked hellhounds in before I really needed to because this thing was making me nervous even on lead. And then the UNBELIEVABLE TWO LEGGED HALFWIT, no, QUARTERWIT on the other end of the lead as we drew abreast smiled vaguely and said hello AS THE FRELLING DOG BROKE FOR MINE AND HE DIDN’T MAKE ANY ATTEMPT TO STOP IT. I think the only reason we didn’t have serious blood on the pavement in this case is because Chaos, for a wonder, agreed with Darkness’ view of the situation and lunged forward with his brother—McKinley shoulder muscles here going AAAAAAAAH but holding—barking and snarling right back, and, like so many bullies, I don’t think their opponent† was expecting resistance—or quite up to taking on two of them at once. Nasty quick little beggars, sighthounds. Anyway in the melee, and somewhat conscious of my bare legs, although hellhounds were out in front of me clearly prepared to take on all comers, I was mainly interested in getting out, which in this case meant backing up into a morass. Those used to be pink All Stars. And there was this large, complex, affectionate bramble. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh.
At least the excitement seems to have given Chaos an appetite. He’d eaten two of six†† meals in the previous forty-eight hours, to his human’s despair.††† He ate lunch today! He ate dinner!
. . . I’ll let you know how supper goes.
* * *
* Last time I had one was . . . the last heat spasm we had. May? I might assume it was the same one hideously re-revealed but it’s on the other leg. I think.
** Too much information alert. And then there’s Darkness, who has a strange fetish for crapping in tall stands of nettles. If he restricted himself to indulging this curious behaviour when we’re out of town I wouldn’t mind. Fishing around by the side of the footpath with nothing but a plastic bag for protection. . . .^
^ Even more too much information alert. It’s perfectly true that there are way too many irresponsible slobs of dog owners who look the other way so they don’t have to pretend to pick anything up.+ It’s also true that town councils are chronically short of money, including for things like public green space upkeep. I don’t want your two-year-old falling down in dog crap either. But there’s not always a lot the anxious, trying-hard dog owner can do about picking up efficiently in long grass. And if I limited my poor hellhounds to freshly-mowed landscape there would be days when we never found anywhere they could use. And I’ll teach my hellhounds to employ a litterbox just as soon as the legislation is passed ordering people to keep their frelling cats in their own gardens.
+ I’ve got a great idea that I’m sure would make my fortune if I could figure out how to market it. Filled Dog Crap Bags. I’d need to find a source of some cheap, inert substance that can be broken up into globs of roughly the right size and weight . . . and then I start putting globs in dog crap bags and knotting them closed with the convenient plastic tie handles, and then I sell the frellers to the creeps out there who want to look like they pick up after their dogs without actually having to do it. There would need to be several sizes too: it would never do for a Rottweiler owner to be swinging a Yorkshire-terrier-sized bag . . . or vice versa. As I say, I’m sure these would go like copies of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY# if I knew how to find my buyers. I think the full page ads in USA TODAY, the SUN, and YOMIURI SHIMBUN## might not reach enough of the right people.### There must be a way. Discretion absolutely guaranteed. Orders sent out in plain envelopes and no database will be created.
# All other comparisons are, of course, iniquitous.
### I may be missing a trick. Perhaps it should be full page ads in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and the GUARDIAN.
*** I think I’ve told you my guys are not the least interested in getting into the river. They can be panting like bellows and draaaaaaagging on the ends of their leads and they still aren’t interested.^ I can stand in the river and call them and they will remain on the shore, waiting for me to come out before they trot up . . . and start licking my wet legs in a there-there-you-poor-soggy-thing sort of way. Feh.
^ Our native hell is a cold, raining one.
† Border collie crossed with something bigger. Alsatian, maybe.
†† Little and often is the rule for sighthounds anyway, because their extreme undercarriage design makes them prone to gut trouble. Times 1,000,000 in my hellhounds’ case. So they get three little meals a day. When they eat them.
††† Both of us went to bed in a bad mood last night.
Eat, you crummy rotten animal! You’ll have a stomachache tomorrow morning if you don’t!
I’m not going to eat, leave me alone! I won’t have a stomachache! I won’t!
Like all those other stomachaches you haven’t had when you don’t eat!
—Darkness, in another corner of the kitchen, having eaten his ration, whistling through his teeth and looking innocent.
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