Tuesday 22 July 2008

The red mist fails to rise

I’m leaving the scales to the cat; I got through 7.0 units of alcohol yesterday evening, despite my self-denying ordinance on the pub; there are 1,293 days left; and, if it’s Tuesday, it must be the M62.

Before I set off for home I took the dog for his favourite walk along the Dee and into the Meadows. We got safely past the point where he had been savaged by a couple of large mongrels on Sunday, and I greatly admired his sangfroid; trotting along with his tail erect taking a cheerful interest in his surroundings, not skulking and quaking as I would do if someone led me past a spot where I had been mugged. As we entered the Meadows we had to pass a bloke who was throwing sticks for a large, black dog (probably some sort of Labrador cross). It came bounding up to us and memories of his previous encounter clearly came back to my dog, as one of them (and I genuinely could not work out which) began snarling. With violence clearly about to break out, I asked the bloke ever so politely whether he would mind calling his dog off, expecting instant assent. He was, after all, not some tracksuited chav but another old bloke in a sports jacket and flannels. Instead he proceeded to take offence in a rather major way. I explained, with continuing and equal politeness, that my dog had recently been attacked while walking nearby and was therefore a bit on the nervous side, only to be interrupted by him uttering in tortured posh tones, “My dog’s not going to attack anyone, he’s just playing. You miserable bugger!” I was then moved to asked what was wrong with Chester, since I did not recall visiting anywhere else where polite requests to people to keep their dogs in check just led to one being sworn at. To which he replied, “Don’t come to bloody Chester, then! Stay in your own ghastly part of the country!”

I wondered how he could tell I was from Northumberland, given that I have no discernible regional accent. Then I wished that I were black, so that I could have had him done for racism. Finally, as I walked away, I wished that the red mist had risen and that I had kicked him hard and repeatedly in the bollocks. If he had any. Which I doubt.

I am certainly not feeling very positive about Chester as a potential place to live after the past few days. I wonder whether these encounters could be part of an innovative viral marketing campaign by Northumberland Tourism, along with the spate of London knife attacks?

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