Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Is this the definition of a placid dog?

Chilled dog is happy to share anything with the cats, including treats, her bed ...

This is the dog whom locals think is a "dangerous breed" ...

Came back from the store with a bag of snacks this afternoon: just puffed corn thingies that are really no more than fresh air with flavourings, but dog likes them and so we share a bag once a month. It's a game too, because I throw them at all different angles and she gets training that would hold her in good stead, should she ever make the selection for the soccer team, as goalkeeper!

Just recently, Balu has developed a taste for crisps and snacks too and he begs for them worse than the dog. He's incredibly brazen too, because he plonked himself on the corner of my chair, between the dog and the food, which, you can imagine, could be a very dangerous place to be. Especially, because when I say that I throw these things up at all angles, that is not entirely deliberately: I'm simply a rotten thrower and they just go all over the place. 

Ask Holly about the time I threw a stick and hit her on the head. She now runs behind me, out of range, if I even pick one up now! 

Anyway, back to the snacks. So, I threw one in the air for the dog and it landed short, on the cat. I expected the dog to get it and eat it - both the cat and the snack probably - because it was only inches from her snout. But no, the cat got it first and the dog just ignored it. Sat back down and waited patiently for the next one to be thrown. A dog NOT grabbing at food seems way beyond polite and incredibly placid for a supposedly "killer dog", don't you think?

Friday, 9 June 2006

Dangerous People

There Is Only One Dangerous Breed Humans
As several sources have reported today, a woman was killed in Tenerife on Wednesday night, when her son’s American Staffordshire Terrier attacked her (I wasn't aware that Staffordshire had been moved to America) and another report had called it a pit-bull. The son was arrested on charges of reckless homicide, because he had not registered the animal as potentially dangerous. (Though I fail to see how registration would stop the animal doing what it did in it's home.) I'm sure the story has also been doing the rounds of the press and the TV and, no doubt, with all the usual sensationalism about "dangerous breeds".

In 14 years on this island, I have yet to see anyone here, other than English or German expats or those with Canarian hunting dogs (then only when hunting), who ever take their dogs out for exercise. Most dogs are kept in small spaces, most often on short chains, eating sleeping and shitting in the same 4 foot radius, 24/7. Then the owners wonder why these animals go crazy! Duh! But, thanks to ignorance and helped by the media, people carry on thinking that there are dangerous dogs, where, in truth, there are only dangerous owners.

As I was out walking my dog this afternoon - no way is she dangerous and she was under control, on a lead which I pulled in close to me as I had to pass what I can only call a pair of "mal educados" (Rednecks). As I approached, they began talking loudly in disapproving tones, at the air in general, but with clear inference in my direction, about how someone was killed "dangerous dog". Honestly, they didn't have the balls to address me directly, but they had to get their 2 cents in.

Holly merely sniffed in the direction of the guy's wheelbarrow, while passing, not even within arm's reach of him, but he immediately made melodramatic hand waving actions to shoo her off. The stupid thing is, of course, that if he did that to an uncontrolled and untrained dog, then he would get their hand bitten. And it would be his own fault, not the dog's, but, of course, they just can't see it.

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Family Day Out

Three cats just chillin near the bottom of our lane

What, exactly, do you need to enjoy a happy family day out at The 22nd Palma Canaria Norte Rally that just happens to whiz past the end of your street?

Why, one dog, three cats and a camera, of course!

Yeah, I took the dog, but the other three invited themselves and I saw them, sitting there relaxed, watching, only 10 yards back from a crowd of unknown people, the road, all the screaming rally cars ... I could hardly believe it. 

Friday, 12 May 2006

Practical Joke Day

I'm not quite sure when today was designated as Practical Joke Day - nor why, because it is neither April 1st, nor December 28th - by the younger members of my family (that is the ones with fur and hair on), but they seem to be making a jolly fine job of it so far and, it's nearly impossible to get mad with them.

At some time during the night, Mico, who likes to sleep curled round my head, had obviously been bored and had indulged in one of his favorite hobbies - hairdressing. This time, he really went to town, with lots of back-combing. To the point that, today, I look like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West (which, I suppose, is not wholly inappropriate) and a bloody scarecrow. I'll get round to teasing out the dreadlocks he's given me, or not, later.

Mico decided he wasn't going to wait until the alarm went off for me to get up to get his breakfast today either, so when all 9 lbs. of him jumping all over me failed to get him the appropriate result, he jumped on the bedside table instead. When I opened my eyes, he was still sitting there, trying to look innocent.

But, not only had he managed to hit the right button on the remote to switch on the TV, he'd also managed to select Channel 2 (which is not the last channel I had been watching), which shows kiddies "dibujos animados" (cartoons to you) in the mornings. What was on? Rugrats, taking care of a CAT!

Later on, when I took Holly for a run up in the fields, she decided she was going to go off on one of her rambles. She does this from time to time; just disappears into the vast yonder undergrowth and comes back when she feels like it. (Obedience is an optional upgrade that I have never been able to afford.)

Actually, she does come, but not when you simply call her or whistle her (unlike the cats, who do). What I have to do is call out "Bye Holly" and start walking towards home. Usually, she's so afraid of missing something or of being "abandoned", that she catches me up, less than half way down the hill. Not today. She caught me up and overtook me, as I had got back to the bridge at the end of the driveway. I could hear her coming; thundering down the hill at the speed of an express train. She took the curve on two paws. By the time I got back up to the house, she was standing INSIDE the doorway, grinning from ear to ear. If she had been able to say "Beat you!", she damn well would have done.

So I give her a reward, for coming home, of course. Her favorite: a hunk of yesterday's stale bread. She took it, but didn't eat it, because, while we were out, one of the cats had brought a rabbit in (dead) and laid it out in the spare room. Holly wouldn't eat her bread, because she had to "guard" the rabbit. Don't ask me, she just guards them and doesn't touch them, dead or alive. It's the first they'd brought indoors for weeks. Normally, at least some of the cats come with us when I take Holly for walks, but none of them had this morning. 

I should have guessed, they were up to no good.

Once in a century

At the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the volcanic eruption in Garachico

Whilst it's true that I don't tend to get out much, I'm not trying to infer it is that infrequent, however, very few days are quite like the one I had on Friday. In the morning, I went down to Buenavista del Norte to do my once monthly round of business, but it is getting ever more difficult to distinguish a trip to the bank and some shopping from the old custom of paying visits. 

On the way down, I had called in to see, Ana, my next door neighbour - I've seen her twice to chat otherwise since the first of the year - because she now works full time, running the family bar. She was standing outside the bar in La Cuesta as I approached and I wanted to ask a favour anyway.

This makes it awkward when she insists on giving me coffee on the house, just because I have bothered to go and see her. "Er, not entirely without interest", I assured her as I asked if she would rent me her husband again to spray whatever it is (they aren't saying and I ain't asking), the only thing known to man and science that will get rid of the plagues of black centipedes that crawl all over the floors, walls and other surfaces. Half an hour or more, coffee, chats with Ana, with her daughter and meeting her sister for the first time, I made my way into town.

There I dropped off some British stamps for Manolo in the bank. 

A visit to the newsagent next is always a lengthy one to get caught up on news - not the sort that is printed in the press - and my friend there picked out very nice cards for me for my friend whose baby arrived on May 1st.

Called into the supermarket to get baked beans (it's the only place locally that sells "foreign food") and cat food. I was accosted with "We have Piccalilli and Branston Pickle". Well, you can't refuse, can you? And from there ensued an explanation of how Branston Pickle is nice with a bit of cheese. 

From there to the post office to get stamps for the cards. My friend Crissy works there. She used to do the delivery round in my area for several years, during which we had got to know each other quite well. "Gosh, is it a month since I last saw you?", she exclaimed and there started a long chat with her, the other man who works in the post office and any other customers who came in, one of whom was a lady selling lottery tickets for the charity lottery, ONCE. She had one ticket ending with 57 - the year of my birth - so I bought one of those. 

When I eventually got out of the post office, I went to the square to have a coffee at the kiosk, then  across to the corner to La Venta also the offices of El Cardón and introduced myself to Janiera, who I had spoken to on the phone. Another fifteen minutes, chatting, collecting information and leaflets.

Time was flying away from me, is it any wonder? But, I needed to get back up the village, pay my debts to the local supermarket and buy a few provisions, before they would close for the siesta. Then later in the afternoon, based on the idea that I was probably unlikely to be around for the next centenary, I decided to go to Garachico to see the events surrounding the celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the volcanic eruption on May 5, 1706, which had destroyed the town and its livelihood. Little did I think I would be rubbing shoulders with the President of the Canary Islands and other assorted dignitaries.

On the way back from Garachico, I picked up a young lad hitching from Buenavista to Teno Alto. I've had to do this myself many times, because the buses are so infrequent and finish so early in the day. To Teno Alto, they are non existent at any time, so I know it is the only way to get around these parts.

The good news: when I got home and checked the lottery numbers, number 7 had come up that day. WOW! That means I've won a whole 2.5 euros.