The things that become important to you when you are retired. I’m pretty sure that our retirement routine, as I’ve told you, means that the pups get two walks a day. From an exercise point of view this sounds pretty good for me as well, of course, for them. Given I’ve got two diabetes and one eye review coming up shortly, no bad thing you might think except, that when I proudly told the nurse about this exercise at my last review, she deflated my balloon with a pop when she asked, do you stroll? I had to admit that I did from time to time mosey along. That said, the first walk in the morning between 7.30 and 8 usually gets the day off to a virtuous start and sets us up for breakfast (a meal we never really had when we were working) and because we’ve walked we feel it’s OK to have a more substantial one. About half way round the first walk Mrs Summerhouse usually says, so what do you fancy for breakfast? One of these days I’m going to think of the question first and ask her so she has to think about such momentous things. On this particular morning the question never got asked and there was a reason for this.
I mentioned in a previous blog about setting up a poetry section, optimistically I know. Bear with me while I explain. I said I had asked two people to contribute and that one of them had provided me with a poem. Those of you who are quick mathematically will realise that this means that one of the people I asked hasn’t contributed. This person I see sometimes when walking the dogs – his and ours in our local park. Of late he has taken to avoiding me and would have done so this morning had Mrs Summerhouse not said, isn’t that Dave over there – hiding behind that tree? I would not have noticed him (although he is tall) because he has changed his dog, not the actual animal just the look of the same one. The poor thing has had his coat severely trimmed. No more second prizes at dog shows for him. Stan had changed from a fluffy bundle to something half his original size. Apparently the poor thing was completely traumatised not least by the fact that, whereas previously his fluffy coat provided immunity when he went into the bushes, now he comes out scratched and twitchy. Dave assures me he’s fine now, in fact he prefers it, he (Dave that is) told us.
That took us so far conversationally but then I felt compelled, being the ruthless blogger I have become, to ask him how his poem was coming along. His change of topic was so seamless that I did not realise he had changed the subject until we were well into his diversionary alternative. The topic was the etiquette of dog poo collecting, a subject close to all our hearts. I used to get angry when people didn’t pick up their dog’s poo before we had dogs, now I get even more upset. If we can do it then so can they, we moralise. Except it’s not quite that simple. Our pups prefer to go to the toilet in private so will always go into the long grass to do their poos. We do not go there and probably couldn’t find the items in question if we did. In fact since we’ve had the new lawn put down they are quite happy to poo in the back garden. After less than a fortnight of peeing and pooing the new lawn pretty much resembles the old one, not quite but it’s getting there. They used to save their poos until we went out where we would of course pick it up in a small black poo bag, assuming it wasn’t in the long grass. Anyway poo collecting. We all agreed that pooper scoopers were not the answer. Black bags are the preferred strategy. Never go anywhere without them. If I were ever held up at gun point and told to empty my pockets the only items that would come out would be black poo bags. Take them, damn you, I would say, but don’t blame me if you step in any poo. And while we are on this subject apparently they make transparent poo bags, am I mad or is that very wrong?
Anyway back to the topic in the park, I nearly said the topic in hand. Dave was worried about trying to scoop up the poo into a bag when, as is sometimes the case, the poo is a bit liquid. He was anxious that a certain amount would be left behind and that a child would somehow become infected by whatever germs the small remainder might contain. We suggested, in this eventuality, a soil covering – molehill soil is particularly effective in this regard it being friable (is that a word?) and easily transferred from one place to another (where the poo is), even using the, empty of course, ball thrower to move the soil. Or leaves will also work, although, at this time of year, there aren’t many leaves around but, I suppose, a seasonal solution is OK. Generally, out of sight, out of conscience, we thought, so covering is OK.
Then the topic really took off, in fact became quite surreal, when Dave shared the concept of pre-emptive poo disposal. As far as I could understand it, his idea was to have some kind of device that caught the poo before it hit the ground. By so doing you negated the ‘any left behind’ concern. We said we couldn’t quite see how that would work but Dave was not to be persuaded of his ‘invention’s’ impracticability and said he was going to continue to think about it and the role the device would play in assuaging his social conscience. Then the final master stroke, or at least I thought so as it was my idea. I suggested we should carry strapped to our backs a couple of high-pressure water tanks akin to those the Ghostbusters carried, with which we would blast the poo into harmless atoms. All nastiness obliterated, conscience salved. The perfect solution I felt. We agreed to meet again and further discuss the tricky subject of poo removal. Oh, and by the way, Dave, how’s the poem coming along. Dave looked earnestly at his watch and said, good Lord, is that the time, got to go.
Don’t know whether this link will work but it should connect to a possible solution for the above. True you’d look a dick carrying it round the park (I couldn’t get an image from their website) but needs must when the devil drives, as they say.
So there we have it, retirement. How to fill those long lonely hours when life seems without purpose. Find an important topic for conversation, and meet in the park to push at the intellectual envelope. Be creative, problem-solve and hence think your way to the perfect retirement.
PS throughout this conversation in the park, our pups sat at the side of us listening in what seemed like amazed disbelief, the new Stan raced around like a lunatic revelling in his summer coat. Retirement should always be this much fun.