Monday, 19 February 2018

This and That


As I’ve said before, I now accept more or less every invitation extended, in fact I appreciate it when people include me. We always went to every social occasion as a couple, so being invited on my own is flattering and heart warming. I assumed that Beloved was the attraction, and that I simply came as the lesser part of the package.
Not so? Maybe.

However, I tend to gravitate towards widows more than couples in my own invitations. In the olden days I never saw widows as ‘widows’, just as women on their own. There is always a slight feeling of unease when it comes to couples; even the most friendly ones. Is it perhaps that the new widow reminds them that it could happen to them too and they’d rather not face up to the possibility? Is it that we’d rather push the thought away as far as possible? After all, as my son said “it really doesn’t bear thinking about.” Beloved and I thought about it a lot during the last couple of years but it still didn’t feel ‘real’; not until it happened.

Being with other widows is easy. Of course, we talk mainly about the person we lost, and how we lost them. Perhaps we repeat ourselves at each meeting, that doesn’t seem to matter. We go into detail about the final illness, what the doctors said, what the children did or said, how shattered we felt, how grief is all pervading and how hard it is to pick up the threads of life afterwards. We all share that knowledge and understand. Spending time with other widows is easy and healing.


The other day I came home after a lovely long and chatty lunch with one of these widows. I was feeling relaxed and, after chewing the fat for several hours, I was ready to sit quietly and put my feet up back home. Before I reached the front door I was stopped in my tracks by a tremendous din outside the gate into the castle grounds. Those of you who pay attention to such matters know that my hedged boundary marches with an open expanse of greensward which is used by dog walkers and tourists visiting the castle. I rushed to the gate, the row really was fearful, with screaming and shouting and high pitched dog yelping. Lorna’s greyhound was attacking a smaller dog as well as Robert, its owner, both of them howling in pain and anger. Lorna was some distance away, but a friend walking with her was nearer my gate; looking down on the fracas I saw the greyhound turn away from Robert and his dog and run back to Lorna. Everybody was shouting by now, me included. As the greyhound reached Lorna she began to beat him with the doubled lead, viciously, with all her strength. Now the greyhound howled too. Seeing the carnage I screeched for Lorna to stop, which was the signal for her friend to screech at me. I couldn’t make out much of what she said but “you don’t know what happened, mind your own business” came across loud and clear. Lorna was still beating her greyhound and I was frantic to make her stop but Lorna’s friend screeched all the louder the more I tried to bring Lorna to her senses. Nobody paid any attention to anybody, all was uproar and noise. Perhaps it’s a good thing that there’s a steep bank between my gate and the path below where all this was happening otherwise I’d have rushed down and beaten Lorna with her own dog lead. And might have been had up for assault and battery myself.

By now Robert had picked himself up, gathered his badly bleeding dog, examined his own thigh which showed a deep bite and, cursing Lorna and swearing to involve the police he went off.  Apparently, this was the second time the greyhound had attacked Robert’s dog. This story was quickly all over Valley’s End, with everybody taking Robert’s side.

Lorna is a mad woman, everybody says so. In the evening she came ringing my doorbell, ostensibly “to apologise for her friend screeching obscenities at me” but really to convince me that she ‘has never beaten a dog before’  - not true acc. to consensus around the village - and that Robert only got bitten because he came between his dog and the greyhound. Some excuse! The greyhound is out of order and needs muzzling and training, not beating. According to Lorna he ‘fully understands that he has done wrong and equally understands that’s why I beat him” .  Did I say she is generally considered to be mad? When I remonstrated with her, pointing out that animals do not reason, she calmly said 'we must agree to disagree’.

The greyhound is still roaming unmuzzled, Robert’s and his dog’s wounds are healing, incurring hefty vet’s bills and some painful treatment for Robert, and the police have indeed been involved. Robert is grateful ‘for all the support he has received in Valley’s End’ and Lorna is licking her wounds, still promising to all who want to listen that she will do everything to keep her dog under control. So far nothing has happened. The next fracas is only just around the corner with everybody saying “what if it's a child being attacked next time?”.


  1. Wow! Unleashed dogs are generally not allowed and owners are fined around here, but this is not 'open country'. However, I would definitely be concerned that another person (or child) might be the next victim.

    But I am glad to hear that you are getting out and about.

  2. in this little town, widows are considered 'husband stealers' and aren't generally included.

    as for the fracas, why hasn't the dog been impounded? was Lorna fined or in any way punished? I agree about her treatment of her dog. if she was beating on it trying to get it to stop attacking, that's one thing. but after the fact? the dog only knows that it's owner is beating it. if the dog isn't muzzled, it should be on a leash at all times. there is a dog at the end of my street that it's owners don't restrain. it has charged at me and my little dog hackles raised, snarling, teeth bared numerous times. I have to hoist my little dog up and start yelling at it. it gets about 6' away and then turns around and goes back to it's yard. it has also charged the owner's near neighbors numerous times as well as one neighbor's little grandgirls. and if the owners are in the yard, they will just stand there and watch and make no effort to stop the dog. I've been carrying a big stick lately. and another neighbor has threatened to shoot it if they don't restrain it. it hasn't bitten anyone so far as I know but it is aggressive and threatening. I'm in the county and there are no leash laws and no animal control.

  3. In the U.S., the dog would have to be put down and Lorna would be responsible for medical/vet bills and/or emotional damage done to Robert and his dog. The dog should have been impounded. People who don't know how to manage their dogs shouldn't be allowed to keep them. She said, harshly. The beating doesn't help... Lorna sounds like a piece of work. Poor Robert. I'm glad he had friends (and witnesses) and I hope he does take some aggressive action. I'm just glad Millie wasn't in that fray.

    I am, however, delighted that you are out on the town and having the town in, too. I can see why the widows are "easier" but don't sell the couples short! Maybe we're weird but Rick and I are always eager to spend time with our widowed friends.

  4. That woman would be subject to violation of leash laws, animal cruelty and other related laws here. I'm glad the police are involved. That dog should be trained and the owner responsible for medical costs and damages. Glad you are getting about, and why would you ever feel the lesser part of a couple? You're bright and educated and well read. It would be a pleasure to sit and talk with you.

  5. Very glad that you are out and about. I suppose that the greyhound will end up being put down when it would be better to euthanize the owner.

  6. So love your writings, friend Friko ... now and then and prolly forever ... Love, cat.

  7. I like your attitude to invitations and going out. It's the right one.
    As for the dog - A girl in my region has recently been attacked by a dog and is in critical condition. Action is being taken against both the dog and the dog owner.That should be eye opening for everyone.

  8. Glad your accepting invitations. That dog story is horror every which way and definitely the animal needs to be removed from her unless trained and leashed and muzzled. Good gawd.


  9. I should think it must feel good to be in community with others. Good for you.

    As for dogs, we've dog owners here who feel that their dog is a 'furry child' and can do no wrong. The no. of off-lead dogs running around here has become a bit much for me.

  10. Hi Friko - gosh that sounds like village England ... all so true, almost unbelievable ... yet totally believable and real. Horrid. People are incredibly selfish and stooopid. Oh dear I do hope it doesn't happen again ... as you say small child could, heaven forbit, be next ...

    ... and Robert - gosh that's so dangerous for his health, let alone his heart or his beloved little animal.

    Lorna deserves more than a good talking to - but is obviously one of those ... who believe she's always right ... I have one here.

    I am glad you're being invited out and making sure you do get out and about ... always helpful to the psyche - essential too. Just enjoy all outings ... and I cannot ever believe they thought less of you than Beloved - I'm certain it was 50/50 ... might even have been 100/100!!!! Now that's some thought!

    Have peaceful days and weeks ahead as this all settles down ... take care and enjoy the Spring springing along - cheers Hilary

  11. I admire your common-sensical mental fortitude in accepting every invitation. As for the dog incident, it’s worrying, to say the least, and you were right to speak up.

  12. It is interesting that you have found widow to share with. My social world is extremely limited now. Occasionally I meet up with a parent who also cares for a develop delayed adult. It is very rare now.
    And as for the mad lady how awfyl that she opted for such violence and maintains status quo with her dog caring.
    It would be shocking if the greyhoung went after anyone really.
    This and that was most captivating reading.

  13. I wonder why some kind of restrictions have not (or can not?) been put in place on the owner of a "dangerous" dog, such as compulsory training for the dog, which he would greatly benefit from, no doubt.
    I feel sorry for all involved except Lorna.

    Yes, it does make a difference when talking to someone who has lost a beloved person. One of the things that makes me and O.K. understanding each other so well is that my husband died completely out of the blue when he was only 41 years old, and his sister died of cancer three years ago when she was about 50. Never mind we repeat details. As long as we want to repeat them, it shows they are clearly still very much on our minds and want talking about.

  14. I have read that the reason women live longer is that they have support among their friends and can share their deepest fears and feelings. I believe that to be true. I often see groups of older women out and about making the most of their lives. Other than sports related activities, I seldom see men bonding like women. I am happy to read that you have found a kinship with others that is helping you move forward.

    That dog incident is frightening in so many ways. I hope something can be done before another, possibly worse, situation happens.

  15. There is more and more research about the importance of social contact throughout life, and especially as we age. I'm glad you are accepting all of these invitations. I find myself a little too content with my own company and that of my husband's; we speak together about the need to widen our social contacts.

    Lorna sounds utterly mad, and completely foolish to disregard training her dog. I do hope something is put in place to avoid further incidents.

  16. I used to have a dog who was unpredictably aggressive with other hounds, and the only solution (after training failed) was to walk her late at night when we're weren't likely to run into anyone else. It took me a long time to understand and accept that I was part of the problem, or at least made it worse with my anxiety over her behaviour. Laura's awful response to her dog's attack only ensures that the animal will be worse in the future. It's astonishing that she believes the dog 'knows' and that she hasn't the slightest inkling of the damage she's doing, both in her irresponsibility and in her brutal management of her pet. Gah. I hope somebody does the right thing and makes it mandatory for this pooch to be muzzled. Better yet, Laura should be muzzled. Is it a rescue dog, by chance? If yes, then it required a knowledgable and compassionate owner in its second life. Very bad luck that it ended up with a idiot. Also, I'm glad you've found compatible, easy company. it does help to be on common ground.

  17. Oh my, sounds like a problem owner with a problem dog who has had no training. Sad when a dog doesn't have a good owner, now the police will have to sort it out :(

  18. I'm glad you're accepting those invitations. A solitary life isn't necessarily a lonely life, but a life in community, however small that community may be, always is richer.

    As for Lorna and her dog: there obviously are some issues there, and they don't all belong to the dog. I have to be careful when I'm out in the country with my camera, because there are a lot of people who keep dogs as security measures, and those dogs don't take kindly to someone entering what they consider their territory. But most of them are trained, and know their boundaries, and simply moving down the road a bit can put them back to sleep.

    On the other hand, attacks are serious business. I once was nipped on the ankle by a Chihuahua, for heaven's sake. My ankle was as high as he could get. But even so, it was a tetanus shot for me, and ten days' observation at the vet for him. Any dog that bites gets isolated, and any that threaten get a citation for its owner -- if the owner is known. People tend to forget that their dogs -- however loved -- are animals, not babies, and need to be trained and watched, and disciplined. Of course, discipline and punishment are two different things, and Lorna needs to learn the difference.

  19. That's what my brother-in-law told us when we moved to a new town and didn't know anyone: "Say 'yes' to everything," and then sort it out later. I'd guess it's the same when you're suddenly on your own. As for the dog, yeah, it sounds like a police matter to me.

  20. Dear Friko, my thought is that you do what your body and mind, heart and will want to do each day. I'm trying to do that--to listen to body and my inner self and be kinder to myself than I've been in the past.

    As to the greyhound, it needs obedience training and, as you suggest, a muzzle. The animal isn't the problem--the person with whom the animal lives is. I fear that something will happen and the greyhound will be euthanized when it's Lorna's fault for not having trained him. Peace.


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