Yesterday was such a lovely day we simply had to make the most of it. Every last Sunday in the month, from the end of April to the end of September, our little town holds an Arts and Crafts Fair on our promenade. Gazebos are set up along a quarter mile stretch of the Promenade by artists, jewellery makers, woodworkers, ceramicists, clock makers, photographers, tote bag makers, knitters – you name a craft and it will probably be represented. It lasts all day and, generally, the weather seems to hold fair for them.
As you can imagine, the event generates a lot of interest and the promenade is always full of people walking along, stopping to look at the vast array of items, moving on, stopping again. Lots of chatter and lots of ice cream is sold (there’s a little café on the promenade selling tea, coffee, cold drinks, light snacks and … ICE CREAM. This is not just any ice cream, it’s fabulous ice cream – the blackcurrant and cream variety being my top favourite.
The event is also an ideal opportunity to people watch. So – we bought our ice-creams, sat on a seat, and people watched. Well, we people watched, Mischa – our dog – dog watched. We ended up watching Mischa watching other dogs.
The first dogs she took notice of were a couple of collies. They weren’t together, though the two couples with them were trying very hard to get them to be friends. Neither of the dogs were having any of it and blatantly ignored each other. For some reason their owners were quite embarrassed about it. I overheard the following comment: ‘It’s such a shame they won’t be friends. It would be so much better if they’d just play together.’
It’s amusing the way dog owners attribute human emotions and feelings to their dogs – and I’m just as guilty of it. Our dog, delightful though she is, cannot be trusted to behave around small dogs. She doesn’t react well if a dog yaps or barks at her and, consequently, she’s kept on lead when we’re round other dogs, unless we’re throwing her a ball on the field. She loves her ball above anything and will ignore everything else.
Walking on we passed crowds of people, many of them with dogs on leads. We watched Mischa very carefully but she excelled. Not one growl, not one lunge, just a perfectly behaved pooch. At the end of the line of gazebos is an entry onto the bay. The bay is covered in marsh grass where sheep are allowed to graze when the tide is out. However, the marsh stretches along the front for miles and the sheep were nowhere to be seen, so we let Mischa off onto the marsh and I went with her. Lots of families were out there – something which couldn’t be done when I was a child as, in those days, there was no marsh grass, just sinking sand. The grasses have made a thick mat on the top of the sands, making it totally safe to walk on in the summer months – the sun baking everything dry when the tide is out.
There were other dogs out there, of course, but the area is vast and we weren’t going in their direction. We were headed for a special place, a deep circular hole in the marsh which is permanently full of water. Teenagers have also found it and, later in the day, they’d be swimming in their too. But this morning there’s no-one there. It’s Mischa’s to swim in for as long as she wants.
Here she is having finished her swim and climbing out. You can probably tell by the surrounding ledges that it’s quite a deep hole. It can’t be seen from the promenade.
Later we stopped off at a local hotel where they were holding a ‘cider fest’. We love cider, so refreshing on a hot sunny day. The hotel welcomes dogs too and they have a lovely patio which is perfect in the sunshine. Here we could people watch, there being a number of families, couples, and young men. I imagine the latter, if not most of the people there, had been visiting because of a race meet held in the next village to us over the weekend. We tied Mischa to a table leg, ordered our cider and a snack and sat back to watch.
The inevitable mobile phones were there in abundance. One couple had one each and spent most of their time watching their screens, making calls, playing games. Sometimes they talked to each other. Another group ordered a jug of Pimms, the perfect drink on a summer’s day.The jug was filled with the declicious beverage and topped up with fruits. They were a chatty group, all of them in their late fifties, early sixties, enjoying each other’s company and revelling in the beautiful sunshine. The young men were happily chatting away, they obviously knew each other and had travelled together. The bar staff were constantly re-appearing with drinks orders for them.
We were joined by our neighbours after an hour or so. This resulted in our own table becoming rather noisy as we caught up with each other. We’re a talkative group and I guess others were listening in and watching us!
All in all we had a welcome restful day, chilling out in the sunshine with our dog, catching up on some local gossip and people watching. Nothing remarkable but totally enjoyable.