April 1st, 2008


My people need Prozac

 Labradors can be so embarrassing!  We'll get to that in a minute, though. 

This morning started with yet more excitement at Robin Hill.  I woke up to see the silhouette of a man at my window.  The weather (ha ha!) has become so hot I'd left it open during the night.  I lay for a moment planning what to do.  If I were back in Oregon I'd wait for him to actually climb through the window then I'd challenge and shoot him.  Here, the only weapon to hand was the toilet plunger I'd confiscated from Dad earlier.  (That's another story!)

Finally I just decided to scare him.  Getting out of bed and pulling on a t-shirt, I poked my head through the vertical blinds and out the open window.   "Morning!" I greeted him.

"Oh, Jesus, ye scared the shite out of me!" he gasped, hand over heart.

"Yes," I agreed, "you scared the shite out of me, too."

It turned out he was the window cleaner.  For some reason only known to himself he'd come very early in the morning.  Although he does Dad's windows regularly and must know the front bedroom I'm using is always empty, the fact that the drapes were drawn and a window open did not stop him from doing his chosen calling.  He seemed most annoyed with me, particularly when I pointed out that I'd have pulled my revolver on him if I'd been back home.  These people just have no sense of humor! <grin>

However he did lighten up considerably when I said, "That's a lovely day, today."  He agreed with relieved enthusiasm and we discussed it for a few minutes before I retreated to get washed and dressed.

I'm beginning to relax at last.  The walks on Murlough are much more enjoyable and I'm more aware of my surroundings.  Murlough is a nature reserve owned by the National Trust.  It couldn't be in a better situation at Dundrum Bay and at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.  As in the song, they really do slope down to the sea, like the curve of a breast.  I've heard a cuckoo for the last few days, although I didn't
immediately recognize it.  It makes more of a 'eee-eee' noise, but I do understand how the cuckoo clock bird came to be.  Instead of my mind plodding from subject to subject and worry to worry, I find it now wanders pleasantly without form or station as I walk.  The days are long; it gets light at 0500 and stays so until about 2200.  Just about every day the sun shines warmly, and a breeze just cool enough to
temper it makes walking enjoyable.

My favorite place in Murlough is a hidden, foresty part tucked into the cove.  This used to be WWII American Air Force barracks, where the living quarters were situated.  Now all that's left are the cement floors, and even they're being swallowed up by the little forest.  If ghosts walked the earth, I'm sure they'd walk here.  As soon as you step off the beach you're swallowed up by the leafy splendor.  Suddenly all is quiet and watchful.  It's enough to make you believe in the Little Folk, for surely they'd live here too, so magical is the place!

Ah, but one walks with labradors - the spell is quickly broken...  Emerging from my little glen, we met a huge chocolate brown labrador who belongs to the local hairdresser.  Her husband was walking him and he greeted me with:  "Them's Jim Blythe's dogs - with a strange woman!"

He then held one of those manic monologues peculiar to this country, and for the life of me I can't remember what he said.  Halfway through it I noticed Ben getting really friendly with Ollie, the brown lab.  He suddenly rose up and started humping Ollie's head.  Outraged snarling broke out and I had to haul Ben off poor Ollie's face.

Further along the trail I met the woman who owns the local grocery store.  She has a black lab and a Yorkshire terrier.  The latter has the sense to ignore the other dogs, but the labs all got together and Sam promptly starting humping the new black lab.  I saw Ben moving toward them and fearing the worst, hauled Sam away.  Next thing I know, Ben is chasing the Yorkie, who leapt up into the woman's arms for safety.

Madness and calumny!  We made it home at last, and I have decided never to get a dog.  Cats are far less trouble. ;-)

I'll tell you all about the toilet plunger next time...