Dog Attack

Today I was attacked by a dog.

It was a random, unprovoked attack, by a black and tan beast that stands 60 cm (2ft) at the shoulder.

My office is downstairs but as there is work being carried outside its window, which would be a major distraction, I’m working in the living room. I’m researching the Piemonte region of Italy and looking for some less obvious places for visitors to see. So I’m hunched over the laptop typing random things about Italy’s second largest region into Google and reading everything that comes up. My goodness, there’s a lot of rubbish out there in internet land, so I opt for reference books I have in my office, I fetch them and settle down on the sofa to read.

As I discover that the Po is Italy’s biggest river, the iPod shuffles and, Tom Jones starts to sing, Sex Bomb, suddenly there’s a thunder of paws on the wooden-floor and I look up as Alf launches himself in my direction, his massive jaws wide open. He lands on the sofa knocking the wind out of me and rolls over, his tongue lolling out of his mouth like a roll of pink carpet. His tail is doing its unique form of wagging: helicopter wagging we call it as it goes around in a circle. His brown eyes plead with me to stop work and play with him.

I push him away but it’s no use, he’s back on top of me, grabbing me with his mouth and pulling me off the sofa. It’s no use, I have to put down my book and play, Find Meaky with him. After twenty-minutes of running around he’s ready for a drink of water and I’m ready for a glass of wine. As Sign of the Times, a blast from the past from, the Belle Stars plays, I carry on reading and Alf clambers up onto the sofa beside me, belches and falls asleep.

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BTW: Meaky is a squeaky blue monkey that Alf has adopted as his favourite toy, second only to the pink tumble-dryer ball.

The Missing Dwarf

How do you dispose of an unwanted dwarf?

Now there’s a question most of you will never have been asked before, although I do suspect it’s a particularly common one for some members of the Renegade Writers.

I like living in the countryside. A rural setting really suits me. I guess you could call it semi-rural really, as although we’re on a hill over looking a valley and surrounded by olive groves and fields, we not too far from a town, shopping centre and other amenities. I like the quiet that comes with living in the countryside. I go to sleep with the window open and all I hear is the click of cicadas, the hoot of a distant owl and the occasional  barking dog. When I wake It’s to birdsong and the rustle of grasses in the breeze. Today at 06.45, Alfie decided to let me know he wanted to go out; clever for a five-month old; his cold nose on the sole of my foot did the trick of waking me. The morning was misty following yesterday’s welcome thunderstorms and there was very little birdsong. I put the kettle on and switched on the iPod, adding my noise to the day and the Squeeze classic, Cool for Cats played as I dropped instant coffee into mugs.

One of the benefits of being semi-rural, is that there’s always somewhere to walk the dogs away from traffic. Not far away is a dried up riverbed next to vines of ripening grapes and little pockets of olive trees. The road through the area is safe to let the dogs walk off their leads as there’s very few people that drive along it. I love taking the dogs there, it’s great for them to nose around and discover new smells, they chase each other and hide from their humans behind the bamboo; No doubt sniggering like naughty school-children as they hear their names being called.

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Alfie Mac managed to get his head into the shot top left

The only thing that ruins these moments of pleasure is fly-tipping. The selfish act of fly-tipping is not a problem just for Italy, it’s  a problem for rural areas all over. I grew up in a semi-rural part of Staffordshire and the lanes around our house would sometimes overnight grow a pile of rubbish or miraculously a beaten up of sofa would appear in a field. Even down our lane here in Italy, someone has bothered to drive up at night and deposit an old mattress down a slope that leads to some redundant olive grove. There’s always a mattress or a fridge. I think these items must be the most difficult for people to dispose of, either that or they just don’t know how to get rid of them.

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If getting rid of household items poses a problem for some people, what about disposing of unwanted dwarfs? As I took a diversion from the main track down a little pathway, worn away by passing feet, I came across another example of fly-tipping: this tipping was of the Disney persuasion. In the rough grass lay a set of concrete garden ornaments, these were shaped into the guise of Disney’s version of Snow White and her dwarf friends. However there’s only six of her vertically-challenged mates with her; one of the dwarfs is missing.

As I stand looking down at these concrete cadavers I ponder the name of the missing dwarf, could it be, Happy or Grumpy, possibly Bashful or Doc, maybe it’s Sneezy. Could it be Dopey, it may even be Sleepy.  At my side Alfie nudges me, bored with standing still and my attention is taken away from the Disney death, and as we wander back up to the main track I debate the plural of dwarf, is it dwarves or dwarfs. No doubt the answer will be found with a Google search. The Plural of Dwarf explanation

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