Tuesday, 11 May 2010

This should have been a beautiful walk!

This should have been a beautiful walk, and it started off being rather pleasant as the photographs show. However photos don't always show the whole picture........

Dexter was on his bike and I had Marvin & Carly on their leads as we moseyed along the road towards the park. The trees were really lovely and green, and the cherry blossom trees were in bloom, and although the sky looked as thought it was going to open, it didn't and instead only occasionally gave the odd trickle but not enough to even need an umbrella.

We got to the lane where I usually let the dogs off their leads, and I did after they have sat nicely! Marvin & Carly ran up and down the overgrown hill to the side of the path, and sniffed about the foliage as they usually do, trying to find something of interest. Dexter cycled along the path calling the puppies (as technically they still are as they are not yet 1 year) and they duly responded by going to him and giving him a gentle tap with their noses.

We now reached the opening of the park which has immediately on entering a lovely duck pond with lots of beautiful swans. Marvin & Carly always go to the pond as they love the smells especially Marvin who is rather partial to covering himself in eau de swanpoo - yes I know it is horrible, but there we have it! They go to this park often, and each time always interact with the swan poo and the swans who are never bothered by them. The swans either ignore them, or tell them off with a hiss or flap of their impressive wings, and to date that has been enough to tell the dogs to move on and they do. Bear in mid both the dogs and the swans have been interacting since the puppies were 12 weeks old, so the swans actually know the dogs and therefore know them, and the numerous other dogs that also do this walk!

Today however was just slightly different, this time they followed Dexter (because he was on his bike). Dexter, quick as a flash cycled round one side of the duck pond with the dogs in chase, actually very sweet but I was ok with it and wasn't going to shout like a lunatic for them as they were clearly within my eye distance. As I continued walking, I thought to myself, I will quickly take a photograph of a couple of swans which were in the pond cleaning themselves so that I could share this lovely walk with you, given the dogs were happy running along with Dexter.

Dexter continued on his circuit of the duck pond by crossing the over a lovely wooden bridge which crosses the pond, Dexter rode across with Carly & Marvin following. Once across, the main path was obstructed by a lamentation of swans who were on the path and grass preening themselves. They do this all the time and people feed them (both when they are in and out of the water), joggers run past them, sometimes making them move, similarly with people who walk along too with their dogs, and then of course there was Dexter with Marvin & Carly!

In my mind I was thinking, please don't try to sniff them too as they might just hurt Marvin or Carly with their beaks. Urban swans are really very hardy and are used to dealing with inquisitive dogs. That said, I would normally not have taken them fully round the pond in this way, but Dexter had and such is life.

As Dexter and the dogs started to come towards me, from across the duck pond I heard three people shouting at the top of their voices "you stupid woman, get your dogs on the leash". Well I was furious, this is an urban pond, there are no signs saying dogs are not allowed, the swans were not nesting, and there was no way that my dogs were going to end up hurting them, if anything it would have been the other way round.

Given I was so annoyed, I put the dogs on the leash and marched up to address them. They were standing on the platform area (has been built to allow ducks and swans to nest) and I was standing on the bridge which faces it and said "excuse me, but I have done nothing wrong, these are wild birds, more than able to stand up for themselves, and they do not own the public path" "additionally, there are no signs saying this is a no dog area, because it is not, but at least you had the sense to not shout at my son who equally made the swans move from the path in order for him to cycle past. You might not like dogs but that is your problem not mine and clearly not the swans!"

They then shouted "we would have said exactly the same about your son or any other child (that made me really mad), it is just that your dogs" I then stopped them mid flow and said "what, you believe that you have justification to harass children and anyone who you feel is not acting how you want but who are actually doing nothing wrong! Clearly, I see, in your mind the swans own this whole area!"

"You don't have to walk your dogs hear" they shrieked to which I said, "no I don't, however, my son chose to, and therefore how dare you think that you have no right to harass a woman, walking her dogs with her child when they have done nothing wrong, and have broken no rules! There are 3 of you how dare you you big bullies, it is well seeing that you feel comfortable taking this stance in a pack". At this point they continued shouting angry at the fact that someone dared to confront them on their actions with "this is a wildlife conservation area" (it isn't) to which I said, "no it is an urban duck pond which happens to have facilities for nesting birds", these facilities being quardened off and they were standing in observing area within it. I continued "you are correct, they are wild animals, but to follow your logic, the fact that these are wild swans, you should not be feeding them either and bear in mind this is the same pond which has motorised model boats that evict the swans and ducks on a Sunday, so your argument is moot. I hardly think that these swans are unhappy generally or with their visiting occasional domestic dogs, if they were they wouldn't stay! Clearly it is you that are unhappy and feel you have the right to vent what you think they want. Unless you can read the mind of a swan I suggest you just shut up and stop harassing people".

Anyway, the argument which went for a bit longer and generally was not a pleasant one especially with the younger of the 3 stupids (2 men and 1 woman). I have never been so angry (well I have but not in the park). Of course the park is lovely because of the duck pond and the swans/ducks that chose to live there; and of course everyone should be respectful (pick up their dog poos, be sensible etc). Whilst I appreciate that they didn't know that my dogs are not going to do something stupid, they equally shouldn't have felt that they had the automatic right to explode at me or any other person and read them the riot act from a rule book which is not actually written - especially when they were clearly not in a position to see what was actually happening!

To me it is like cyclists/joggers who think that they own paths that are actually walkways who think they have more of a right of way - they don't! Or people who hate kids who play on skateboards assuming they are all thugs - they are not! Or people who don't like babies or young kids making a noise in public places! Thankfully there are not many of these people, but when you meet them you just want to tell them where to get off and I did because I was so angry that they had felt they could do this to me in front of my child! Different if I had been encouraging them to annoy the swans, but I was not, and certainly didn't need them to tell me what to do, as I was going to put them straight on the leads anyway as I didn't want them rolling in the swan poo - but hey, Dexter took them that way, and Marvin loved him for it!

So, here are the photograph of the duck pond in the park which looks very peaceful! Who would have thought that this walk was going to be anything but peaceful!!!! Note, the 3 Numpties are at the far right in this photo, Marvin is a little dark blob on the far left running around the trees avoiding the birds; Carly is right in the middle of the path sniffing swan poo and not bothering the swans as can clearly be seen, and Dexter is in the middle of the path about to cycle through them with 2 strange pedestrians behind him also going to walk along the path. You can now see why I was so angry as the 3 Numpties were yelling a the top of their voices from way over on the far right and not within eye view of what ACTUALLY was happening! Numpties, god how I wish their platform had broken under their weight and verbal abuse to give them a good soaking!


  1. beautiful photos. too bad about the dumb people who don't know what they are talking about. I hope you still can enjoy the pond with your dogs and child.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, and yes we will but hopefully we won't see these people again unless they are being chased into the duck pond by the swans - now that would be a sight worth seeing and one in which I wouldn't need to say a word!