The city I live in goes by many names and nick names. One of the more notable is 'the (invincible) Dragon of the Marshes', as of old it was surrounded by marsh lands which made the city very hard to conquer in medieval times. I guess I don't need to mention the name is borne with great pride. Today however I met the real dragon of the marshes. And let me tell you - it wasn't pretty.
As today was supposed to be one of the last truly glorious days we'll be having this autumn, I decided to make the most of the fine weather and go out on a nice stroll. It was a bit nippy but the sun was shining and the skies were clear, and the Duke's Forest was looking its most gorgeous. I actually had me one of those 'I'm so glad I get to live here' moments.
As I was enjoying my stroll so much I thought I might actually chance venturing on to the marsh lands again, the so-called 'Bossche Broek' - this time wearing the appropriate footwear.
It was lovely at first. There were a few more people about than usual, mainly walking a dog or two. I was getting friendly with some lovely pooches and their owners before long, patting heads and calling them a good boy (the dogs, not the owners, although admittedly one of them was quite a dish - and he looked as if he wouldn't have minded a pat or two).
Now everyone who knows me, knows I'm from a loooong line of cat lovers. That doesn't mean I hate dogs though. I like dogs (not all dogs). But I adore cats (pretty much all cats). Spot the difference right there? Today however, I came close to adopting a dog. Here's what happened.
Towards the end of my stroll I saw another dog and owner coming towards me. The dog was HUGE. Size of a small bear (don't ask me the breed please - I can distinguish a poodle from a chihuaha but that's pretty much it). In spite of its size though it was acting like a playful puppy. It ran circles around the woman who walked him, leapt in the air, wagged its tail, and kept running off and running back. Very high on the cute scale!
The dog's owner however kept barking commands at him and sounded genuinely angry. Maybe that's why when he spotted me he came bounding towards me - in search of friendlier company perhaps? I didn't stop walking but I do admit I slowed down a bit - hey, about 80 kilos of dog coming towards you at full speed - wouldn't you have been just a teensy bit apprehensive?
At one point it became clear to me that the dog did not. intend. to.slow.down. I stopped and held a hand out to him but before I knew it, I had two huge paws against my chest, lost my balance and fell backwards on my (in this case fortunately ample) bum. The dog was bouncing up and down beside me, wagging its tail.
It's was such a ridiculous situation that I was about to start laughing (in spite of being quite sore) but by that time the dog's owner was standing in front of me. And without any provocation she started off on the most vile and vicious rant. She was screaming at me for having been so 'incredibly stupid' to stop and hold a hand out to the dog, because 'any person with a fraction of common sense' would have just kept walking on and ignored him, etc. etc. And from there on she went quite graphic and abusive - I'd best leave those bits out.
I was flabbergasted. Just stunned. I couldn't believe she was actually saying those things to me. SHE had no cause to be angry with ME at all!
I won't go into detail about what she had to say to me when I protested. Suffice it to say that it involved more very vile abuse. Not all directed at me though. The dog got his fair share - and she lashed out at him physically as well. The poor thing was looking absolutely miserable - probably not understanding what he had done wrong. I just wanted to send her flying off the dyke and take the dog home with me. Tell him everything would be OK and he would never ever have to see Cruella de Vil again.
It didn't get to that though. An elderly couple walking their (exceedingly ugly yet cute) dog that I passed some time before caught up with us and started protesting at her tirade as well. They had witnessed the whole thing happening. Instead of having a go at more swearing she turned abruptly, and walked away at a brisk pace. The dog gave us one last pathetic look and followed suit.
I would have wondered if the whole episode had been real if it wasn't for my sore back side. But what a weird character that was! I would have laughed at the whole 'dog runs woman over' thing if it hadn't been for her throwing the mother of all tantrums. She must have forgotten to take her pills this morning!
So for the second time in a short period I found myself limping off the marsh lands, again feeling very sorry for myself. Once home I discovered that even though I had not had the sensation of having fallen on to something sharp, there was not only a small tear in my (new) jeans but in my undies as well - plus quite a big bloody scratch. And I think I'm going to be black and blue tomorrow. Yes, sympathy IS in order!
Note to self: never wear new clothing when on a country stroll. If at all possible, avoid sociopaths.
All pictures taken by me with iPhone - but country stroll pictures taken on an earlier occasion.