dear diary :: back home again

Have you ever felt like you are constantly on the move from place to place and don’t have time to settle. Last Wednesday our younger daughter came to stay for a few days with Little L and Sweetie then we took them back home to North Yorkshire on Saturday staying on at her house so that we could take my mum out on Sunday and Bank holiday Monday and then travelled back down home yesterday after taking the girls out for the day to their local park.

Both DH and I are shattered. Having a mix of two lively children, an infirm mum and the blazing heat consolidated into a few days is not a recipe for relaxation – everyone seems to be needing our services at the moment in one way or another and we are dividing out our time amongst them. So my stress level is a bit high and I am trying hard to remember what I was doing at home before all this. It is not quite the retirement I had imagined.

I know I have paper work to attend to – bank statements to check, meals to plan and a shopping list to write and then I think a little bit of gentle housewifery will be in order – some mindful tidying and dusting. When we have had a few days recovery and the car has been to the garage and fixed of the engine fault which turned out to be one of the filters being blocked then we will be off to the cottage again but at the moment I am quite content to be at home in the peace and quiet.

Recent events in our life have left us quite worn out and our coping skills rather weakened so just when you think ‘things’ in life cannot get any worse it seems that inevitably they do.

We had a bad day last Friday when my daughter and grandaughters were here. It was the first of the warm sunny days after the rain and we decided we would all go on a picnic to our local park and my elder daughter and little Freddie joined us too. So there was both our daughters and 3 grandchildren; seven of us in all, a cool bag full of goodies and a tin of buns Little L had carefully decorated for the occassion.

We found a picnic table in the shade by the duck pond and got our spread out. We were all enjoying ourselves when a man came along with five assorted dogs and sat himself down on one of the empty tables near to us and let all the dogs off the lead for a good run around and toileting whilst he browsed his mobile. Unfortunately they made a bee line towards us and our food.

Although I do like dogs I am nervous around them since an attack by two Alsatian guard dogs kept by a neighbour when I was six – I was taking some tomatoes next door from my dad just as they had been let out of their cage. They rushed towards me before the neighbour could grab them and he shouted to me to stand still – I did but they bit me anyway!

More recently when our own children were only toddlers we were sitting on Scarborough beach and a large dog came bounding up to us and unexpectedly cocked his leg up against me and wee’d on us all soaking me and the babies. I can tell you dog wee in your face is not very pleasant!

So you could say I like dogs at a distance but if one comes towards me I freeze and inwardly panic and I am very watchful when we have the children with us.

I felt quite frightened as the five dogs, all shapes and sizes were suddenly surrounding us and the smallest of them were then under the table snapping at our feet. One in particular kept advancing towards Little L’s mini scotch egg – you can see here in the picture his eyes are fixed on it – DH tried to shoo them away but the man objected and said if we did this they would certainly bite us which caused me to panick more not knowing what to do to protect ourselves.

We asked him politely but firmly to call his dogs back as the children by this time were becomming quite upset and starting to cry especially Little L as she has been bitten before. He just laughed and said this was a ‘dog friendly park’ and the dogs had every right to be off the lead and we shouldn’t come to the park if we didn’t want to be near dogs.

I know he has a point but there is nowhere dog free to go with the children anymore as more and more places even cafes, supermarkets and hotels become pet friendly – so we try to fit in with this best we can but feel we are always on dog watch when we are out. Normally most people do not let their dogs pester you like he did so it is not a huge problem.

He then became very obnoxious and although he called their names a couple of times the dogs just ignored him and continued to pester us as we tried to eat our picnic but by this time I was shaking and felt very threatened by the dogs not leaving us alone. The owner was taking great pleasure in being obstinate and when I said I was fearful because of previously being bitten and that I was visibly shaking he said he hoped I had a heart attack.

Although two of the smaller dogs eventually disappered off into the rest of the park the whole situation had become impossible so in the end we had to pack up our food and retreat to a bench within the tiny fenced play area which is dog free but with no picnic tables or grass. The whole incident was quite distressing.

Later in the day we happened upon the park caretaker – he knew the man we had encountered and the dogs and said they had had trouble with him taking his dogs into the library too and other dog owners in the park. He sympathised and said he should have kept them away from our food but said there was nothing he could do as dogs are allowed in the park and it is only advisory they are kept on the lead and cannot be enforced – he then made a quick retreat.

What a shame that some dog lovers can’t appreciate that not everyone feels the same about dogs and are frightened by them no matter how lovable and cute they seem to them and we are certainly not keen on them hovering around us while we are eating our food. So in contrast it was so lovely to go to Masham park yesterday where they have a much larger dog free fenced play area with picnic tables and grass within it and all the children could play happily and free of stepping in dog poo.

To further compound our stress after the park incident we arrived home to find the washer had gone into fault mode and it took DH an hour to retrieve the dripping wet towels inside. We are now waiting on the engineer and no doubt more expense.

Ah well life continues. What else can go wrong?

Hope you all had a wonderful Bank holiday and enjoyed the weather – bit hot at times for me.

PS – this post has just reminded me that we saw a minature horse in Sainsbury’s in Northallerton a while ago. Apparently they are being trained as service animals in place of dogs. It did sound rather odd hearing the clip clop on the tiles down the aisles – usually with the service dogs you never hear them just see them.

17 thoughts on “dear diary :: back home again

  1. My daughter has two large greyhounds but keeps them on leads unless they are in fields away from people. They are very friendly and safe but we appreciate that not everybody wants dogs snuffling and dribbling on them. That man gives responsible dog owners a bad name. I’m so sorry your lovely picnic was spoiled.

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    1. There is always one – and he certainly is giving other dog owners a bad name around the village apparently with his attitude. There is an awful lot of people whose dogs have been attacked by dogs let loose – it seems to be an escalating problem. In Masham park yesterday there was another man walking 5 assorted dogs but we were all well protected inside the dog free childrens area this time so no problem at all for us.

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  2. Unfortunately those dogs probably would not have been a problem if they didn’t have such an imbecile for an owner. I’m so sorry you had such a worrying time at the park. It is totally understandable for you to be wary of dogs. Any responsible owner would have kept them away from a picnicing family or trained them properly to recall, if the smell of food was too much for the dogs to resist.
    I hope you can relax, if that’s the word, doing some ordinary home bits and pieces. By the way, Little L’s cakes are beautifully decorated:)

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    1. I think she may grow up to be a chef!
      it would be good if our council provided some picnic tables and some grass to play on within a dog free zone like in Masham then there would not have been a problem at all. When the children play ball games on the grass in our park we are frequently mindful of the dog poo as we have had it on our shoes and the pram wheels before now.

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  3. What a horrible obnoxious dog owner! Were they all his or was he a dog walker do you know? I hope you get some respite from a stream of unpleasant events Vivien. I have hated this summer as I really detest the hot weather! I am looking forward to some sense of normality with the cooler autumn days and a sense of routine in my life again. Take care and try to get some time for you to relax before the busyness of life takes over again. x

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    1. Hi Simone I think they were all his as he wasn’t really walking them just sitting browsing his mobile whilst they ran around the park out of sight and unattended. He seemed to have little control over them and did not pick up the dog poo as he wasn’t watching where they were doing it. Hope you enjoy the cooler weather.

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  4. We are having our share of things going wrong at the moment and my tip is to stop and look at all the good things in your life, it helps when things go wrong.
    It was such a shame about the picnic and sadly there are too many ignorant and brash people about like this man.
    Hugs
    Briony
    xx

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    1. Instead of feeling calmer when we meet a dog I am now far more nervous and jumpy than before. I feel even sorrier for the people I know who have allergies to dogs as the recent surge in dog ownership and pet friendly places has left them with nowhere safe to go.
      forgot to mention in my post that we saw a horse in Sainsbury’s in Northallerton!

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  5. I’m afraid some dog owners are very ignorant and stupid. They give the rest of us a very bad name, which is not always deserved. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience in the park and that he was so rude and unpleasant. In my experience more and more people are becoming so these days and it is quite unsettling.

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  6. It sounds as if things are topsy-turvy where you are. Here the dog areas are fenced off and in the rest of the park (where the picnic tables are) the dogs have to be on a leash.

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  7. Oh, Vivien. What a shame your lovely day was marred by such an ignorant man’s behaviour. It would have been upsetting for you all. Lily is terrified of dogs, so I understand how it must have been for you.
    I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing a troublesome time of late and I hope life settles down for you soon.
    Those cakes look delicious! X

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    1. Hi Jules lovely to hear from you and glad you have had a restful summer. The incident has made me feel even more frightened now and reluctant to go to the park and even the library in case the dogs are there again. The cakes were a big hit!

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  8. You have certainly been under the pump! And my anger and stress kept rising as I read about the horrid man and his dogs. I totally get fear of dogs. Dogs are made to bite. Owners who say they don’t are idiots. I would have bloody kicked the dogs and said, yes, dogs are allowed but so are humans. Surely dogs should only be allowed if they are not annoying humans?

    I found the treatment of dogs above humans in England strange. We do not allow dogs where food is, unless they are assistance dogs. And dogs can’t be off lead except in confined parks. Definitely not open parks where humans are enjoying the outdoors. I couldn’t believe I had to stumble and step over dogs asleep in the middle of one pub we ate in. Besides there being dogs where we were eating, it was like the dogs had higher priority to all the people trying to get to the loo or the bar

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    1. I was attacked when I was little by two Alsatian guard dogs and Little L has already been bitten and is only just five. When you are out walking you have no idea if someone has an OK dog or not – there is no way to tell until it is too late and all the owners say ‘he won’t hurt you’ but I can never quite believe that now.

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      1. My mother was also attacked by a German Shepherd when she was six. She has a huge scar on her cheek where it got her. Poor you and Little L. It is horrid.

        I haven’t been attacked but I share your fear. And I don’t trust owners anyway.

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