This morning it was my turn to walk the dog. (I say 'turn', which suggests that we alternate in an equal sharing of responsibility. In practice it usually works in a weekly ratio of about 1:6, so more often than not, it is my 'turn'. Never mind, I like it.)
Since we are 'not far from the madding crowd', I feel a quotation from Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd is apt to illustrate this story. It describes Fanny Robin trying to fling a lump of snow at the correct window of the barracks to catch the attention of her lover, Sergeant Troy:
'...a morsel of snow flew across the river towards the fifth window. It smacked against the wall at a point several yards from its mark. The throw was the idea of a man conjoined with the execution of a woman. No man who had ever seen bird, rabbit, or squirrel in his childhood, could possibly have thrown with such utter imbecility as was shown here.'
Far from accusing dear Thomas Hardy of blatant sexism, I am, on this occasion, forced to agree with him in relation to the quality of my own throwing ability. A fact which has not gone unnoticed (or indeed uncommented on) by my cricket-playing husband. So, for Christmas last year, said husband bought me a strange apparatus known as a 'ballflinger' which, with the aid of a flexible plastic arm enables the user to perform a throw, the resulting arc and distance of which James Anderson would be proud. This is very useful for tiring out a big dog on short walks.
This morning I employed the ball-flinger and several retrievals of the ball were made by our retriever. She is always very good at finding the ball, but occasionally reluctant to relinquish it. I have to coax it from her, or drag it forcibly from her mouth. But it was about the fourth go that I got a little more than I bargained for. She took a little while longer than usual to locate the ball, but then came bounding back with her usual enthusiasm. The tail wag and playful pounce alerted me to the fact that she was unlikely to let the ball go easily, so I reached down ready for slimy tennis ball....and got a handful of...dead bird. Definitely not worth two in the bush, I can tell you.