Monday, 14 October 2013

My Afternoon: Ducks, Dogs, and Knickers

Busy day after a busy evening. Tomorrow is the deadline for material for the next issue of ‘Red All Over The Land’, the Liverpool FC fanzine to which I’ve been contributing cartoons this season. I normally don’t allow myself to get close to a deadline but this time I’ve been busy with too much work. The cartoon strip I’ve sent is the first I’ve drawn entirely on the Samsung Note, though the text and colour came afterwards in Photoshop. It’s a bit of a milestone finding that I can actually work entirely in digital and know that the results look almost indistinguishable from the work I would have done in ink.

However, that’s not the point of this blog post. I’m blogging today because I wanted to talk about dog owners.

In case it passed your notice, today was Monday and in The Spine household, Monday usually means that the shopping needed doing. As is usual, this fell to me so I jumped on my bike and headed off on my usual route which takes me down around the canal. And it’s there that I saw an odd sight.

Two women, possibly in their fifties, were out walking their dogs in the biting cold. Nothing unusual so far except one of the dogs had jumped into the canal, no doubt attempting to get to one of the many ducks the local council bus-in to make the place look reasonably rural. I don’t know much about dogs but I do know they’re prone to jump into rivers. Then they usually climb out, give themselves a shake (in slow motion), and Joanna Lumley starts blathering on about healthy gums. However, it being a canal and not a river, the banks are manmade. It’s a vertical three foot stone wall from the footpath to the water and there’s no way that a dog, having jumped in the canal, could ever hope to get out and give itself a shake. As for Joanna Lumley, the old girl wouldn’t come within twenty miles of our borders.

Which is what these two women had discovered by the time I arrived.

‘Grab the stick! Grab the stick!’ they screamed as they waved a short twig in the direction of the paddling pooch. Then they spotted me. ‘Oh help! Can you save our dog from the canal?’ they plead.

I didn’t know how to tell them they must has mistaken me for one of those suckers you hear are born every sixty seconds. My inner monologue had already kicked in and it had a BBC newsreader’s plummy voice: ‘A passer-by drowned today when attempting to rescue a dog that had jumped into a canal chasing ducks. The dog eventually made its own way out while the passer-by, thought to be a cyclist and notoriously unsuccessful blogger, rapidly sank twelve feet to the bottom of the canal due to the weighty Samsung Note 10.1 tablet in his backpack. Police believe that had Samsung UK’s Marketing Director Ms. Ines van Gennip sent him a Samsung Note 10.1 (2014 edition) to review in exchange for his now priceless cartoon, the lighter tablet would have allowed him to swim to safety. Frogmen recovered his body and a fragment of duck-based humour which it’s thought the blogger was writing at the time of his drowning because he thought it might make for a semi-amusing anecdote.’

It took a fraction of second for all that to cross my cerebellum before I knew there wasn’t time to explain the silence of Ines van Gennip. Instead, I began to wave to a point further down the canal where the path was lower.

Only my wise council wasn’t needed. As one of the women stripped off (I kid you not), the other crawled on her belly and reach down to the water. After a few efforts, she snagged the dog’s collar and with a snap of her powerful arm, she lifted the dog clean out of the water. Queue her shouting at the dog as she began to explain the dangers of canals and the other woman pulled her knickers back on.

I shrugged my shoulders and rode off. Dog owners defy logic and, had one of them jumped in, I can’t say that I would have done anything braver than waving a branch in her direction whilst tutting disapprovingly. The people I feel sorry for are the firemen who have to start arsing around on thin ice after somebody high on Pedigree Chum has jumped into a frozen pond in the middle of winter. It’s usually the humans that drown and rarely the dogs. I mean, it stands to sense that dogs usually find a way out of canals without human intervention, otherwise our waterways would be clogged with the bloated carcasses of family pets and bloggers with unnecessarily heavy Samsung tablets in the backpacks.

Thankfully, humans, dogs, and ducks emerged from this story relatively unscathed. But I think it’s a story that has an important message about water safety, dog ownership, and the reluctance of Samsung UK to help UK bloggers. Thanks to them, this blogger will remains negatively buoyant for the foreseeable future and what does that say about the Anglo-Korean relationship?

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