Hanging out the sheets this morning, I looked down to see a very dangerous area left by Porridge. One false move and those sheets would have to go right back into the machine…or even be soaked in bleach…I am fastidious about what I lie in.
This is not Porridge’s fault (of course, how could it be, she is my dog).
She is the victim of bad example. And of irresistible odours.
The washing line is next to a hedge which is at the end of a convenient stone pathway. And this hedge has been used as a pissoir by the men of the family, who don’t want to get their feet too muddy.
The urge to have fresh air circulating about one’s privates seems to be a very French male preoccupation. It doesn’t seem to be enough to have the toilet window open. It is impossible to drive along a road after lunchtime without passing the characteristic stance and back (if you are lucky) of a pissing Frenchman. And my family have been culturally contaminated.
What is worse, they have perverted the rules. A French musician informed me that a well mannered man will never piss in a dry garden, but will only do so if it has been already moistened by rain. This is presumably to avoid the build up of unpleasant odours. My washing has been suffering from this rule breaking. After all, I can only hang it up when it is dry…
I think there is something territorial going on. This was confirmed when I took Porridge to our usual Sunday morning cliff top sporting activity, where she smells out little wooden objects and retrieves them when she feels like it, and I get shouted at by a dog trainer who thinks I am his whippet. (Those of you who are as old as I am may remember a football manager called Brian Clough. Well he has been reborn as a Breton dog trainer.)
We were standing by a hedge, watching a collie dog zigzag across an enormous field, effortlessly following the track to the object. We were about 5 people, men and women, and I was slipping off into the mildly meditative state that I enjoy when watching someone else’s dog work.
A lone jogger suddenly appeared out of the forest 100 yards away. He jogged towards us along the path and when he was level with us he turned to a tree and started to urinate. He was perhaps 2 yards away and in full view. He reached behind the tree, picked up a bottle of water that he must have left there earlier and jogged off without a word. Even my French companions were a little taken aback…except Henri, the retired sailor. “It must be his special place”, he said.
I would be very interested to know more about this urge to mark territory. Are men from other countries and cultures all harbouring a secret wish to knock down the toilet door? Are you only held back from this by little things like the law of indecent exposure which restrains the English open air enthusiast? Do tell…You’d all do it if you could get away with it, wouldn’t you?
4 days ago