I usually walk my dogs around 7ish in the morning, this is because we have no garden of our own and they need to relieve themselves , they have trained me well to run along behind them with small black bags. For the past 8 months I have been passing a jogger about my age, who runs with his beautiful little dog, and we have nodded. At that time in the morning ,my family ignore me and I them. We are not “morning” people. We grunt at each other, until we get into gear to start our respective days. The said Jogger has recently been stopping for a chat. I don’t think it will last long, when he thinks about the nonsense with which I reply to his questions. He is bright and perky having jogged along in a t shirt and what I consider rather skimpy shorts for this time of year. I have just crawled out of bed while the “Today Programme” bombarded my brain with news of senseless violence around the world and the breakdown of moral society, and have pulled on a few layers over my night attire, tried to make my hair stick down and removed last nights mascara from under my eyes.
My brain is still half asleep and I wander along on automatic pilot. Last week, he pointed to my dog who wears a slip lead of very bright colour because it was the cheapest,and asked “Is the dog on the yellow lead nervous?”, I hear “yellow lead” and my brain computes “Gun dog web site, leads for high visibility.” and I reply “No, it’s so that I don’t lose it.” meaning the lead. Jogger looks confused and says “I mean the dog” , “Oh ” ,I say , “No it just stops him towing me down the path.” There is a way of putting on a slip lead to stop a dog pulling by slipping it over his muzzle. This makes it look as if he is aggressive. Jogger obviously thinks this woman is odd, and jogs off.
This week he tried again, we chat about the weather and how our meetings are now in daylight.It is significantly warmer, but I am still way overdressed because I am covering my PJ’s and he is wearing his sporty stuff. I mention that it is very muddy, my wellies being splashed and dirty , and that the dogs are filthy when they go in doors. “Oh” he says ,”My dog washes in the sea after our run.” I am not able to plan my walk in the morning ,I just stumble along the path until the canines have performed, deposit my bags in the bin and stagger back home. The thought of going to the beach is far beyond my waking abilities. I try to explain that my largest dog loves the sea but refuses to come out of the water once in. I have stood for over half an hour shouting abuse at him or trying to coax him with treats to get him out ,but every time I get near , he smiles a lop sided grin and backs further into the water, knowing I can’t climb over the slippery rocks to get him. The thought of doing this at dawn fills me with horror. I’d rather get in the warm and risk a few muddy marks on the carpet. Jogger doesn’t seem to understand this, apparently his dog is far better behaved.I have never been “sporty”, I cannot get my head around running about in the early morning, in the dark and often dreadful weather, let alone taking my dog for a twilight bathe. We part, and it gets me thinking,the weather is improving and it is daylight, should I now consider what to wear over my jammies this summer and whether, perhaps, I should brush my hair and wash my face before I go out. Mind you, the conversation still won’t be much .