Sunday, 17 January 2010

Caution: morons in the area

We're not long back from walking the d-o-g in the park. It's been a lovely bright morning here, though some clouds are coming in now. A refreshing change from freezing temperatures and damp, raw days. Doggy enjoyed herself hugely, and with her having such low ground clearance, she covered herself in mud. But it washes off.

So a most pleasant stroll in the park. Well, no. It would have been, had it not been for our encounter (albeit from a distance) with a moron and his family and their very unfortunate dog. The poor animal was being shouted at and given inconsistent and unclear commands that it clearly didn't understand. In a panic and desperate to comply with its master's "instructions", all it seemed to be able to do was make things worse (from the owner's point of view). And was rewarded by being repeatedly struck with its lead. Hubby, who is a big chap and can be quite imposing, soon became fed up watching this incompetent and cruel individual abusing this poor, confused and frightened dog, fed up hearing the terrified creature crying in pain. He shouted out across the field "Oi, knobhead! Stop battering that poor dog at once, otherwise I'll be over there and battering you!" The moron ceased with his assault. "Sign up for some dog training classes instead of punishing your dog for your inadequacies, you cretin," adds Hubby, for good measure.

The moron and his moron family slink off, and it seems (from a distance) that they are mildly embarrassed. Other walkers have noticed the scene, and are looking over to see what/who Hubby is shouting at. I don't suppose they will sign up for dog training classes, or stop battering their poor dog, but maybe we managed to spare the animal a couple of lashes of the lead?

As we walked on, Hubby still seething and I feeling saddened and helpless, I found myself coming to the conclusion that similar scenes of dog abuse are not such unfamiliar sights round these parts. It is not unusual to see a dog owner yanking their pet around like a rag doll on a lead instead of giving it clear commands, or some unfortunate hound cowering beneath its master's raised hand. A sizeable minority of dog owners seem to think that dog training is all about making sure your dog is jolly well scared of you, then it will do as it's told. Whereas dog training is in fact about showing your dog want you want when you give a certain command, and rewarding it generously for compliance. Reinforcing the positives.

And I also reached another conclusion. A somewhat facile conclusion, I admit. The moron was out with his (I presume) wife and two children. And not one of them appeared to say "hey, dad, go easy on the dog". Perhaps one can presume that, in their family, it is accepted practice to lash out violently in response to not achieving what one wants. Dog doesn't understand your commands? Ah, just belt it with its lead. Wife overcooked your steak? Just give her a slap. Kids' school grades not very good? Just smack 'em about a bit.

Rather like the bright blue sky becoming increasingly peppered with clouds, my shiny mood turned a bit dull.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Time to get this party started

Right! The fellow who will be assessing my career/choices/skills/strengths/entire life with me just called and my first appointment is on Wednesday. Are you excited too?

In other news:

Back at work today. Let's not talk about that.

Baltic in Scotland, Baltic here in France too. Still, no snow in our part of France which is a relief for 2 reasons: 1/ I can't be doing with any more snow; 2/ The French are quite crap at salting/ploughing/gritting and generally keeping the roads clear. I thought it was just me who held this view, having grown up in Scotland were car bodywork lifetime is severely compromised from all the salt the cooncils sling on the roads every winter, but French people would appear to agree that there is "un problème". As my father-in-law said yesterday, the weather forecasters foretell snow, the whole nation knows snow is coming, and the highways people awaken in the morning, open their curtains, and say "oh, it's been snowing!".

Tsk.

Friday, 1 January 2010

And so it begins all over again

I've been trying to snap a pic of this Fieldfare since the weekend. The cold snap has drawn them in from the surrounding countryside to my parents' garden. They live right on the edge of the urban sprawl, so less-oft seen creatures such as this are closer than you'd think.

Fieldfare

I finally got him this morning while he was enjoying some apple.

As you may have guessed, we've been in Scotland for the festive period. It's been good to be home but it's been a bit of a rush this time. We usually come for two weeks but this year our visit's been shorter and the snow (exceptionally early and somewhat persistent) has messed with our plans. Maybe I'll tell you all about it soon. Maybe I won't!

Plans this year include: roof insulation, perhaps a new gas boiler, a career assessment for me and maybe new and exciting things following on from that. And most certainly lots of other things but we'll just discover them as we go.

Hope you all have been safe and happy this Christmas time, and here's to achieving our goals all through life!