Bowral is really rocking. Tulip Time. Bus loads from Sydney. All rather senior looking and retirement at its best. Lives still being lived without fanfare or trumpets, like us and them and senior discounts. They file out with names such as Brian and Shirly stuck on their shirts and blouses, hunt out tulips and eat sausage rolls. Some have Dim Sims with chili sauce getting soaked up in the paper tissue as they walk and chew from the corners of their mouths. The men are wearing stout corduroy with women in casual slacks and pastel coloured blouses or cardigans just in case a chill might roll down from the The Gib. It pays to be careful. The Gib is short for Mount Gibraltar which is a hill overlooking Bowral. Mind you, the real Mount Gibraltar could easily have people named Brians and Shirleys walking around as well. They now walk worldwide.
We, feeling quite smug must look like locals because a group of tourists asks us for a nice place to have some nice lunch. “Somewhere ‘nice’ they all say”. Do we also now look as if knowing ‘nice’ is something we have finally arrived at?
“What a lovely dog you have”, Milo looks up, expecting a pat. He knows the score by now. It’s not like the farm anymore, but is has its compensations. We gave the group two choices and continued on with Milo on a leash which is clicked on a kind of brace that dogs now seem to wear. As we pass a throng of people and just in front of a kitchen shop, Milo to my horror squats down and does an impromptu shit while still walking. An amazingly large one for such a little dog. Actually, one large and two little ones, all in a row with people doing an impromptu tango around them. I heard someone say ‘ohh nooo’.
I hope this isn’t what I think he has just done flashed through my mind. Where is Helvi? Helvi briskly walked on. I had no plastic bag and not much dignity either.
We now entered the crux of this matter. With no plastic bag but with full posession of two hands; what would anyone have done? No way could I risk exposing any failure in good standing amongst the Bowral citizenry nor the good name of Milo, carefully nurtured by so many walks. Within a split second I stooped down and with one majestic scoop collected the lot with my nude hand, while Milo looked on rather quizzically, the look that the Jack Russell is so known for.
I caught up with Helvi and explained I hand a handful of still warm shit. “Put it there,” she sternly pointed at a metal bin. I shook it off into the bin but also realizing that Helvi knew what had transpired. ‘Don’t put your arm on me’, and wash your hands at Woolies upstairs. It was a long walk zig zagging along a ramp up to Woolies. One man looked strangely at me while I washed my brown hand inside the Men’s.
Now, I know it wouldn’t have been very gallant to have a woman pick up shit, but sometimes I feel, blokes are expected to do a little too much. At least she could have stayed with me and given me some encouragement. A kind of moral support or an urging on.
Milo is fine.