Tuesday

Barking Mad

For breakfast that morning our quiet espresso moment was rather rudely interrupted by the busy-bodies from further down the hill. They meandered as far as the gates would allow before they discovered the intercom and took it in turns to press the tiny melodic buzzer. Back home in Glasgow it is considered bad form to disturb folk early on a Sunday unless by prior arrangement. I saw no reason to break with that tradition at our carefully chosen holiday citadel in the sun. I'm not a bad neighbour, I am not a bad man, I am however a man that has many acute angles and likes to keep his distance from those living around him. Nodding occasionally at the market or perhaps a fleeting wave as you pass by in the car is acceptable, but I do not welcome neighbourly interaction on a regular thrice daily basis. Surely that is what a holiday get away is all about? I do not have what you might class as a particularly friendly face. I'm too old to pass off the ragged scar tissue on my face as 'possible war collateral'. Wounds gained while defending ones country, keeping the Huns at bay while waving the national flag? No, that's not me. I fought a very different kind of Hun. I fought against bigotry and sectarianism, but am long since retired from retaliation. My broken glass accent betrays which city I am fae and probably answers a lot of unspoken questions as to why and how I look the way in which I do. People outside of my circle tend not to question me about my past. The people closest to me just accept me for the man they know rather than the beast that others often see me as.

As the years have gone by I have grown accustomed to people not ingratiating themselves when it comes to me personally. I am not known for my fondness of strangers. It took three years for me to accept the new postman. I am rarely comfortable with people unfamiliar to me, let alone life's oddities such as the Anglo (you will note I declined to specify the word English out of respect to my southern friends) couple dressed strangely identical and standing at the gates to my wee Shangri-La in the Spanish hills. I prefer peace and solitude to tend my gardens, prepare my own version of recipes gathered, and to be left to ponder not only my navel, but also the delicious blue skies about me. Besides, it had not gone well at the original meet and greet with the new neighbours. To be told that I resembled a 'bank robber' at our first meeting did not sit comfortably with my wife Siobhan for a start. The crinkling up of the noses when I declared which city I was from set back the Scottish-Anglo relationship from our side of the border by at least another century. All in all the chances of us being good friends is as likely as snow in July. We avoided them when we could. So it was with weary steps that I descended the rockery path to greet the matching anoraks now encamped, with arms impatiently folded, by my freshly white-washed entry way. I put on my best not-quite-a-smile-possibly-just-this-side-of-a-I-am-tolerating-you-but-only-just! look about my face as I opened the wooden gates. I was very conscious of the fact that my wife would not approve of me being outwardly rude to our new neighbours. Perhaps she was right, perhaps I should make an effort to actually be nice and polite to the execrable couple who stood so churlish before me.

"Hello hen" was my standard opening line.

"Rita" came back the reply. "Hens are something that lay eggs and festoon a wicker basket during a bar lunch, surely?"

"Right... what can I do for you this early on a Sunday, Rita?"

"Can you keep your dog from barking during the night?"

"I don't have a dog here Rita"

"You must have, it kept us awake every night this week!"

"No hen, we do not have any animals here, certainly no a dog."

"Not hen...Rita! You must have, it barks all night long"

(Deep breath) "No doll, just the two of us here, no dogs, just us"

"Nonsense!"

"Nonsense? Excuse me here doll, but..."

"Please, my wife's name is Rita, not doll not hen, Rita. Be advised, we are going to stop by the other new people who live up the hill and get a petition to stop you barking"

"Away you go then pal, but see me? I never bark, but you be advised, I do bite on the odd occasion, especially when provoked by a couple of wee dafties trumpeting at me on a Sunday morning."

 Silence.... A stone cold lingering silence.

"Right hen, is that you two done then? I'll be away back to my coffee. Thanks for stopping by. You two be sure and keep an eye out for that wee dog, eh?"

"My name is..."

"Aye, that'll be about right doll, cheerio"

Strangely enough, our matching North Face friends fae down the way have no troubled us since the enquiry about the dog that we do not have. Our espresso moments continued unabated long into those precious Sunday mornings and the intercom never rang again before the back of ten. The other new-comers further up the hill do have a dog, a lovely wee thing by the name of Baxter. His owners, a smashing retired couple fae Oxford, called around one lunchtime with flowers and a bottle of wine to apologise about wee Baxter settling in. Not necessary, very nice people who are often to be found at our table enjoying a meal, a glass of wine and our company. Not once have they asked about my face or passed comment on my banking arrangements back home in Glasgow. They aren't to keen on the people further down the hill it seems, something to do with their dog and an early morning intrusion I believe. Och well, sometimes it's just nice to be nice, eh?

Barking Dog Cocktail

3 oz Tequila 
2/3 oz Crème de Bananes (banana liqueur)
Lime Juice
1 oz Vodka 
Garnish: Lime Slice

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the tequila and banana liqueur. Fill with sweetened lime juice. If it is too sour, add some lemon-lime soda. Add the vodka, garnish with a slice of lime. Serve with friends, throw a wee ball and clap the dog.


44 comments:

  1. Not a friendly face? I'll bet you're just being hard on yourself. I'm sure you face is just fine. Why don't you post it so we can all reassure you?

    You should've sent your attack ants after them. Do you know what'd be great fun? If you went out and bought a dog. A yappy one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why? I thought I already had... Reassurance is for politicians and playwrights, I'm fine with the anonymity and a selected few seeing my fizz. I still haven't forgotten the last interested blogger who was keen enough to pop into my local and start asking for me.

      No yappy dogs, I'm just happy with them staying away fae my door.

      Delete
  2. 'Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours
    With a little understanding......'

    See? You'se have started me singing again!

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    Replies
    1. Singing eh? I was looking for a goat with his heid stuck in barbed wire.

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    2. And you me biggest fan eh??

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    3. Purely in height son.

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  3. That has just set our fellow Glaswegians back by at least 2 minutes Chef. No love between the 2 countries has existed since Murdo threw the pig back over Hadrians wall.

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    Replies
    1. Aye, didn't they keep it and teach it to play fitba for Newcastle Utd?

      Delete
  4. I'm the same way with my neighbours... a smile and a wave and that's about it.

    My next door neighbours (two portly middle aged women) have a little yappy Pomeranian who (thankfully) is not outside by himself. Otherwise I would have to send Pips over to take care of the little bugger. She's twice his weight (and she's only just over 9 lbs).

    On the other hand, I will very soon (in about 12 days) be getting a Doberman. My best friend is moving half way across the country (about 3000 kms) to live with her dying mum and the gated community there does not allow large dogs. I've know this dog since she was a 2 month old pup (she's now 6 years old) and she's very well behaved and trained, so I am sure she'll be a pleasure to have around. And she only barks as an alert to something uncertain going on, much like your good neighbours' Baxter.

    I'm looking forward to having a dog again. It's been almost 2 years since I had to rehome Zoë.

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    1. It's great to hear you making plans again Pony-doll, the Doberman should keep you going through the winter if you carve it carefully. Tell me, because if I don't ask then the little singing fella will, the two portly middle aged ladies, are they lemon and lime or silk and tweed?

      Delete
  5. Porky Gascoigne they named it, the richest Hun in Glasgow who couldn't pay his 30p on the Erskine bridge.

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    Replies
    1. You have a good memory Tony, that incident really did happen, Gazza pulled up to the booth and said "I'm Gazza, can I pay you the 30 pence next time?"

      Needless to say that the lassie in the booth on the day was green and white and said no.

      Delete
  6. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not turn good people away from his house.

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  7. Probably because The Lord Jaysus Christ doesn't own a yappy dog.

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  8. Chef, they are lemon and lime... and related to pewfodder, I do believe. Hence the very limited contact.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks hen, Map, you owe me a fiver!

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    2. Now, let's not have money come between us, besides, I owe you a lot more than money my friend.

      Delete
  9. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

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    Replies
    1. Every time i love my neighbors their husbands get pissed?

      Delete
  10. Jesus allegedly said, "Love thy neighbour."

    I bet he didn't live on a rough protestant council scheme in Govan though, eh?

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  11. According to folklore she sent him into the council yard to turn around and sent him back towards the airport. True or false?

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  12. True. It was just after his infamous 'playing the sash' mime gaff when he played for the team that was expelled from the SPL last season (their name escapes me)

    He was also refused service in the Jet garage in Duntocher and the Co-op in Hardgate due to the sectarian insult on the pitch. The boy's a fool.

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  13. If i ever pop into your local i'll make sure i call ahead first, i won't be hard to spot, tall bloke who looks younger than his graying sideburns and beard might indicate, the blackest of pints will be set in front of me and one for you as well my good sir, i'll even try not to drink it if you're running late, out of respect and all.

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    1. I will be the quiet guy at the far end of the bar away fae the cauld of the door. Next to me will be a wee man with a heart the size of Glasgow itself. Together we will be putting the world right with our own form of logic.

      Make mine something old and gold, the little singing fella will have his usual dandelion and burdock in a straight glass, no ice. We will talk of Celtic and those that we miss and think of often.

      Delete
  14. You are much nicer than I.
    I have no patience with twats who dare to call me a liar.
    And at your place of residence no less!

    I would have ended up in jail.

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    Replies
    1. Ahh dear Scarlet, patience comes with age, it defies logic, but defuses situations that may lead to time spent away fae those we love. The red mist that once sullied my vision has cleared, I see only good things and good people whenever possible.

      Besides, sarcasm hits harder than a lump of iron pipe in the right hands.

      Delete
  15. Rita and Husband5:20 pm GMT+5

    Please sign our petition to keep Spanish homes for Spanish people. (without dogs)

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    1. Okay... I let this one through because it made me laugh.

      Map I presume?

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    2. Not one of mine pal! It is funny though. :)

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    3. Nice to see someone has a sense of humour.

      Delete
  16. On one side, my neighbours are fine--sociable (but not too much) and useful for borrowing a radiator key or a long spirit level (I'm not the most practical man and I abjure tools of all kinds).

    On the other, self-contained Muslims in niqabs. I annoy them by bidding them Good morning, despite their resolute lack of a response. Come on love, I'm not to trying to convert you to my rampant atheism, I'm just trying to be nice.

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    Replies
    1. Aye, I have someone who borrows tools, lawnmowers, garden shears, wheelbarrows, drills and chopsaws on a regular basis. When (if) he returns them they have the initials M.S written neatly on them.

      I bet you can't guess his name...

      Delete
  17. Ah, living in the country in the South. My closest neighbor is almost a mile away...in any direction. :)

    I've always been quiet and not a fan of crowds....which might be the lack of height thing. Having worked with Cops with a Wicked Sense of Humor, I never sit with my back to a door. I am polite and helpful but folks like your visitors would've sent me back behind closed doors after the first, "Sorry, we don't have a dog." I commend you for showing your neighbors love by turning the other cheek and walking away. ;)

    Of course we do have a dog, but ours only barks at intruders and idiots.

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    1. Funnily enough, after that morning they didn't speak to me in the market when we bumped in to each other. Mission accomplished.

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  18. Aah, M.S & J.B, the Ned & Homer of Glesga!

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  19. The devil is your master, do you really think he wastes his time hanging out at the Church of Satan? Of course not, it's already obvious to everyone that members of the Church of Satan are clearly the children of the devil. Do you know where Satan roams? The devil lurks within our churches, in the heart of heretics like Billy Graham (who has done more damage than anyone, trying to unequally yoke the Satanic Catholic religion with Christian churches). The Bible commands us NOT to be UNEQUALLY yoked with the heathen. No church should EVER participate in any type of event that is sponsored by a false religion or wayward "church." One healthy person plus one sick person equals two sick people.

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    1. For the love of all things unholy, what on earth are you blathering about?

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  20. you should perhaps screw with their pointy little heads. just a little bit? maybe rename the household wireless router to something festive - "Interpol Surveillance Van" comes to mind...

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    Replies
    1. Looking your way of thinking young lady and am on the case even as we speak!

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