My dog’s a babe magnet. That is, if you call yummy mummies, divorced mummies and retired mummies babes. When you get to my age, trust me, they’re all babes. My dog’s a springer spaniel called Gertrude. She’d be a babe magnet even if she wasn’t blind but when I share her visual impairment with the mummies, there’s an outpouring of sympathy that I love to wallow in.
Gertrude and I go to Carysfort Park most mornings after I drop eleven year old Luke to school in Booterstown. Carysfort Park is beautifully contained so that even a blind dog has limited ability to get lost. Between 8.45am and about 11am, there is a constant stream of dogs and their owners through the Park. I tend to do a few constitutional laps of the Park and Gertrude plays with some of the dogs she meets. It hasn’t take me long to discover that Carysfort Park dog walkers comprise an independent not too secret society. There’s about twenty women who show up regularly and Robert, Conor, Ultan and me. There are other men who walk their dogs but they don’t seem to need to get in touch with their feminine side or repressed gayness or whatever it is that has caused me to inveigle myself in with the girls.
If you don’t own a dog, I apologise for banging on about mine. If you do, you will understand that dogs are more effective than pretty much any drug or drink available to take the edge of a dull day or a shitty experience. My father in law used to have an expression “the more I see of man, the more I love my dog” and when some red-faced commuter blasts me out of it as I dreamily don’t respond instantaneously to the changing of the lights, I kind of understand what he meant. Such incidents are a cue for Luke to observe “They won’t get any greener Dad….”
This morning we met Kathryn (amongst others). Kathryn is arguably the queen of the Carysfort dogwalkers although there’s another Catherine who could challenge for that title. Kathryn has two lurchers, Dexter and Daisy. God bless Daisy, she is the least Daisy-like dog I have ever seen but she is gorgeous-my missus wants to nick her. Like a lot of the dogs, Dexter and Daisy are both rescue dogs. They have long long legs and big trunks. They have the combined weight of the Irish front row (well the under-20 front row anyway) and it’s prudent to keep an eye on them as an inadvertent collision will only have one winner.
Kathryn plays in a band called Perfect Day. They mostly do weddings and play Journey and Creedence and other standard wedding requirements. Kathryn’s very matter of fact about the music she plays. She’d like to do Ron Sexsmith and Leonard Cohen-it’s just that newly weds don’t want any “depressing” music on the first day of a life manacled together. Kathryn, Dexter and Daisy have a routine which involves a trek around the Smurfit Business School next door but there’s invariably time on the way there and the way back to stop and shoot the breeze with any of the rest of us girls who happen to be around. Kathryn has picked up plenty of business through Carysfort-it’s not because people like her dogs (though they do)-it’s because Perfect Day are good!
Catherine doesn’t like to paint naked men. Dara (who has a dog called Luna) confessed to that this morning but I’ll tell you more about Dara another time……
- if you read one book this week make it HHhH by Laurent Binet
- if you listen to one album, I suggest American Band by Drive-by Truckers