My favourite thing about the Stone Clearing podcast is when I encounter random dog walkers and have to try and hide what I am doing. I am pretty certain they know all about it, either having observed me or read this or talked to each other, but the fun is all in the crazy character of Richard Herring who wants to build a wall of stones (as opposed to the real me who wants to do that) believing he is somehow doing something secretly, yet still hoping that his name will become immortal and his wall last for 1000 years. He is an idiot. Not like me.
It feels a bit like a role playing computer game from the eighties where you might randomly meet a villager and have to chat and gives the podcast a lovely random element.
Today I wasn’t recording, though wished I had been. Most of the dog walkers are very friendly and keen for their dogs to interact, but today I encountered an older guy with a tiny dog who I don’t think I’ve seen before. I put Wolfie on the lead just to be polite. She can be exuberant, but she only ever wants to play. For some dogs this can be too much though. I said hello to the man and let Wolfie edge towards the new dog to see if they’d be friends. The man then started gruffly shouting. “Her hackles are up. Pull her in. Pull her in.” Wolfie was still a little way from the new dog and I knew she wouldn’t do anything to it, but I had her on the lead so could pull her away if needs be. But dogs like to play-stalk each other and I was confident we were OK. But the man was going crazy, “Pull her in.”
I said it was fine and had enough control to stop it if anything happened, but he was agitated and speaking a bit aggressively. I told him there was no need to be rude, as I moved onwards. “I’ve known dogs all my life,” he told me, “You need to get her away.”
He can’t have known dogs very well as pretty much all I have seen on dog walks is them approaching each other with caution or pretend aggression and then playing with each other. It’s nearly always an act, until they are sure that they are safe themselves. Sure once in a while they bark aggressively, but you can pull them away before anything happens. Also I’ve known my dog all her life and know she is playful and never shown any genuine aggression to anything.
It was a funny bit of unfriendliness that I’d like to have caught on audio. Also I was secretly holding two stones all the way through this, so the man was arguing with someone who was clearly mental.
The grumpy man skulked off and I told Wolfie to kill his dog. But she didn’t. Hopefully our paths will cross again.
I am enjoying stone clearing though. And it’s making me question what we value in life. Both in terms of material possessions and the petty achievements of human beings. I’d rather find a good big stone than a chunk of gold. Stone has more value to me now. In the long run a palace made of stone is better than a palace made of gold. The former should stand for eons, whilst the latter will be destroyed and looted as soon as it can’t be adequately guarded. The field shall be my palace and the walls shall be one hundred feet high. Though after what must be about four months of this the only really noticeable bit is a two foot segment of wall in one corner. I am reminded of David Essex building a new world “undergroooound” in War of the Worlds and Richard Burton sneakily remarking “I could have dug that much in a day.” I am David Essex and I am going to show Richard Burton he should not be so rude.