In Bowral there is a nice cul-de-sac which is closed to traffic and open to pedestrians. It features a number of cafes, decorator’s shops and a travel agent. One of those shops even sells the very fashionable Marimekko dresses together with a kind of what years ago could be called ‘haute couture’ items, keenly sought after by those on the cusp of advancing years and with comfortable wallets…
Its main feature because of the banning of cars is that it is one of those rare flukes of a successful bit of public space that works extremely well. The council had the foresight of having planted some deciduous plane trees ensuring shady retreats in summer and lovely sun in winter. It also has comfortable seating and even has a sculpture donated by our own artist Bert Flugelman, who lives in Bowral. He is the one who gave us the sculpture in Martin Place Sydney. Apropos, This sculpture, ’The Silver Shish Kebab,’ was heavily criticized by Frank Sartor and has since been moved to Spring Street.
The cafes have been given approval to have seating arrangements at the open space as well as in the actual cafes. Waiters are routinely seen to walk across to serve the many locals and tourists with their chosen fare. There are those fold up umbrellas to supplement shade and in winter gas heaters ensure outside al fresco dining all year round.
The place just works perfectly and with a bit of imagination one could be in a square at Bolzano or even Paris. Musicians and a flower stall on most Saturdays give it quite a buzz and finish the picture perfect.
We had just arrived with Milo on a lead when I needed to go to the CBA’s ATM also located there, handily enabling tourists to withdraw cash and hand it over to the shops or cafes. I am always surprised at the magic when the money comes out, unbelievable really, so modern and electronic with receipts and balances print out. I handed Milo to Helvi while pinning in details. She decided to just walk on, possibly to see if Marimekko dresses were visible in the shop. You just never know!
Suddenly, a large and brown dog shot out from somewhere and got stuck into Milo. A terrible killing was just about to happen. I rushed over but remembering my brother’s micro surgery on his hand when stopping a fight between his bull terrier and a German Sheppard, decided not to get my hands anywhere near those ferocious looking jaws of this large brown dog. The fight might not have lasted much more than a few seconds but it seemed much longer. The two dogs were rolling against a pram with a baby. The mother screamed and onlookers were aghast. By this time the large brown dog owner had got up from her table. A young man from one of the shops came out and without further ado picked up Milo, just like that, still on lead and put it in my arms. Almost a gift at the foot of the temple of Zeus, I thought. He had curly hair.
The mother of the baby and the woman with the brown Rottweiler-Labrador were by now facing each other like something out of Quo Vadis. “How dare you have this dog not on a lead the mother shouted? “”With my baby nearly being tipped over” she added furiously. The owner of the dog with deeply rouged lips shouted back with a somewhat fish and chips voice, “My dog never does anything”, “he just wanted to play”. “Play?” “You’re as rough as guts” the mother retorted. I could see some logic to that as the dog-owner had not only those thickly shaped and deeply rouged lips as if in the past she might have practised as an experienced Fellatrice, she also spoke as one. It could well be that the ferocious dog was a remnant of those days, offering protection in case of an unsatisfied and cranky limp customer. Who knows? Perhaps she was a directrice instead, perchance in a very respectable retirement village, maybe called ‘Braeside,’ for retired pilots, of which Bowral seems to house so many. I might just be unnecessarily cruel and prejudiced. Even so…Poor Milo.
We then walked on to post a Christmas card to Finland but glancing back, the fight was still going on between the baby’s mother and the owner with the large brown dog and deeply rouged lips. I knew the mother had the backing of the bystanders. It is amazing that dog owners always seem to take the side of ‘their’ dog and that ‘their’ dog could never ever do anything like biting other dogs, let alone capable of killing, even babies. Shit does happen.
Milo walked on as if nothing had happened. Nose to the ground and the lead taut as always.