I went for a walk along the river today and was almost mauled to death by a very jolly-looking golden retriever.
‘It’s your hat,’ said his human. ‘He once had a bad experience with some people wearing hats and so hats upset him.’
‘I see,’ I replied, fending the dog off my throat. ‘Could you maybe get him off me?’
‘Just take your hat off,’ said the man.
I did. And the jolly retriever wagged his tail and ran off in a jolly fashion as if nothing had happened and I hadn’t almost just been killed.
I bought a small bag of compost today in a local shop. I also bought a small pouch of cat food.
‘I’d better not confuse the two,’ I quipped.
Silence. And then …
‘Does your cat eat compost then? How unusual.’
I’m used to such literalism in the USA, but not here.
‘No,’ I replied. ‘But she does like broccoli, asparagus and spring greens.’ I then scuttled out as quickly as possible before it got any more confusing.
I’ve done some spectacularly loud sneezes today thanks to the hayfever. But the Boll hasn’t flinched or run off once. If I shouted that loudly, she’d be upstairs like a shot and under the bed within seconds. Clearly, cats know what a sneeze is and recognise it as something totally non-threatening. This is one of the many good things about cats.
As you may know, I’m very excited by my first ever rhododendron, which has finally flowered. It was visited by lots of bees yesterday. But they’d better be careful, because rhododendrons contain toxins which allegedly produce hallucinogenic ‘mad honey’. The maenads used it to induce their ravings. Xenophon’s army went loopy after eating it. And the amazonian Queen Olga of medieval Kiev gave mad honey to invading Russians, then killed them once they’d gone into a hallucinatory stupor.
a bee on my rhododendron