Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Big Bella Goes to Town

No good me writing blogs. I am still hurting, cranky, and not very thoughtful. And my hit-counter tells me my crabby new attitude is not popular with readers, either. (Or maybe you all are on holiday?)
Maybe it is time for a gut-check, time to review my methods, renew my spirits, examine what´s working and what is not. 


What the heck. There´s a perfectly good writer sitting across the patio from me, with a much better attitude, at least this week. Name is Patrick O´Gara, another retired hack, who in his own words is doing "f--- all in technicolor." So today he will do a "Guest Blog." 

A "slice of life." About a dog. Who´d have guessed? 

Bella, our newest dog is still a puppy. She´s a year old. Still a baby.
A big baby. I tried to pick her up to weigh her on the bathroom scales, and just couldn't. So I will guess.
Bella is a Leonese Mastiff. She weighs at least 60 pounds, and maybe 80. She is big, beautiful, clever and potentially - if not properly trained - dangerous. Not because she's vicious -- she's not. Just big.
I decided we must do a little work on her social attitude. So the two of us walked together, to Sahagun. Just us, with no others to distract us.
Sahagún, the "big city" of 5,000 inhabitants, is about six miles away. The day was hot and cloudless. I donned my stylish straw hat and carried a bottle of water. We got out of Moratinos with no trouble, despite a gang of men digging a ditch and making a bit of a din. We arrived in the next village  half an hour later walking nicely, side by side in reasonable and peaceful harmony. 
This is news. When I go out each morning with all five dogs, I'm heading up a wolf pack. Any little dog or cat that dares show its face meets five potential murderers. But on her own, without the ravening pack around her, Bella is a different kind of dog. 
In San Nicolas del Real Camino, an amiable local Spaniel lounged contentedly against a sunny wall, and
not a growl was heard from either dog. A brief mutual tail-wag of greeting, (between them, I did not participate) and on we went. A stop at the Rio Seco for a good slurp by Bella and a swig of the bottle for me - then off alongside the N120, headed for the border with the Province of Leon, about a mile on. A  long stretch with no shade and nowhere to sit down.
All went well. lla responded to my suggestions about walking alongside me instead of pullead, bribed by a string of treats ankind words. 
Suddenly, silently, a Brazilian cyclist (he had a big, dopey flag) appeared alongside and out of nowhere,  spooking the pair of us. Bella tried to jump into the ditch alongside. I spoke sharply to the buffoon, first in Spanish and then more harshly in English for good measure and added fluency. I admonished him to give notice in future by ringing his bell, or else I would wring his neck. 
He cycled off  at great speed, without saying a word in any language.
Next stop was Virgen de la Puente - a site made famous by Reb's novel -- a scant couple of miles outside Sahagun. There an old Roman bridge crosses River Valderaduey, a handy watering spot for Bella.
Refreshed, we hiked together along a broiling cinder track, under a road bridge, onto the odorous alley behind the shuttered "Hotel Posh." Alongside the railway station, over the rail bridge, and into Sahagun. A small dog came from a car repair shop to inspect us. We were duly approved, and sent  on with a woof and a wag. Not so much as a gurr from Bella. 
But as we wove down the sidewalk of Calle Constitución into the town centre, the noise and traffic and people increased. Bella was decidedly skittish. When children veered near to pet her, she ducked and dived away. 
I realised myself, listening through her ears, how incredibly noisy and frantic even a sleepy little town like Sahagún can be. Doors slid and banged, cars and trucks shrieked and beeped,  machinery whined and throbbed. The tumult of people talking, shouting, coming and going - it's unnerving. We humans are inured to it all, and hardly register it. But young Bella lives in a quiet town, indeed in a very Peaceable Kingdom. The community howl, a morning wake-up ritual for  most of Moratinos´ canine population, is all the hubbub she knows.
I had to hold her on a very tight lead and soothe her into the Plaza Mayor, where we both gratefully slumped down at a shady table outside a bar and ordered refreshments. I won't say the first sip of my gin and tonic made it all worthwhile. 
But it did. 
The walk was good for us both. 
We will do it again.

9 comments: said...

My apologies for the formatting of this post. Blogger went completely neurotic with it, and what you see is the best I could do, seeing as I do not speak fluent HTML and I cannot afford to take a hammer to my computer. It´s been that kind of week.


Ingrid said...

so where is the rest of the story? I thought they are going to Sahagun. did she get waaiid by a mere Spaniel? lol

Ingrid said...

waylaid... i hope this is a word

Laura said...

Nice. Sounds like Bella thrives on the individual attention. This provided some very sweet images. And Reb, sorry you aren't doing well - grump away, you are justified.

Anonymous said...

I remember last year when Bella showed up. You were so kind to her, getting her treatment for the nasty eye problem she had- a hay seed had lodged in her cornea, if I recall correctly. Glad to she she's growing into a fine companion!

Deirdre said...

Beautiful Bella! I'm so glad you kept her (I know you were reticent, Reb!) But she is such a sweetheart! Hope the cranks are gone soon - keep hydrated in the heat! Miss you all this summer...

EileenHamer said...

Hmm. Time to change your name. No longer The Peaceable Kingdom; it's obviously become a veritable House of Dog.

Anonymous said...


ksam said...

Breathe deeply and have another Gin and Tonic!! Hope all is well soon, but it seems to be that kind of summer all around. I'm sitting perfectly still at 10:27am...and the sweat is trickling down my back today. It's already well past 90degrees here and the humidity is somwhere like 80% or more. Yuck.