These afternoon thunderstorms are playing havoc with my walkies as I normally, until the hot weather, ( when oh when will that arrive ) walk in the late afternoon. However as the rain starts at about 2 p.m. each day I’ve had to move it forward to lunchtime.
Who was that lady on BBC TV in the early 80’s that used to say “walkies” ? Better have a Google or two. Ah, it was Barbara Woodhouse the dog trainer.
She was one of the first of what became a new breed of TV personalities wasn’t she. Ones that were experts in their field first and TV personalities because of their ways but also because of their knowledge. She was a well known dog trainer starting in the 1930’s who believed that there were no such thing as bad dogs just bad owners and spent more time training the owner than training the dog. I must say as a non dog owner ( ever) it always seems to be true. Some owners seem positively scared of their pooch. Others treat them like appallingly behaved children that we are supposed to “love” as much as they do. The joy of walking into an house and when the dog starts to leap up or worse start to sniff your crotch a clear command to sit is obeyed is a rare thing these days.
When I ran Abercrombie and Kent the tour operator in the 90’s one of the add- ons that we offered ( for a price) to the actual holiday was to give your dog a holiday too. We had a guy down in Gloucestershire who both trained dogs and ran a kind of dog holiday camp. He would take your animal for long walks through the beautiful countryside, and give it all manner of doggy type treats but the popular one was training the dog if it needed it so when you returned from your safari and collected the little darling it would obey basic commands and walk to heel etc. At lunch with him when we did the deal he expounded the ideals of Barbara Woodhouse that the owners were to blame. The dogs just were confused as no one seemed to be in charge. It just wanted to know who was the alpha leader and that most dogs aren’t cut out for the role. They need to look up to a leader. He showed me a video that afternoon of dogs arriving at his place dragging the owner into the house etc and then the dogs leaving with the surprised but delighted owners. Such training however he said was short lived because the owners not the dogs slipped back into their old ways.
But I digress again. Walkies at lunchtime in Southern Italy is not such a good idea. The Italian male always goes home for lunch ( less than 40% of women work down here and most are expected to do the shopping as well as work and to get home and have it ready for the majestic arrival). The male is therefore heading home just after 1 p.m. . Some are heading home to Mamma who has a strict rule that lunch is on the table at 1.15 p.m. The rest are heading home to their wife and are keen to get there to make sure she has cooked it, as he explained on the phone that morning, the way his mother always does or did.
This means driving at breakneck speed from work to home. Speed limits ignored, driving conditions disregarded, other motorists paid no heed and people out on walkies tuned out completely. It is best as one hears the racing car approach to get into the nearest hedgerow and wait for them to speed past.
I believe the cry ” a Tavola” ( to the table) is the biggest turn on many Italian males ever experience except maybe looking in the mirror or sending a selfie over the phone.
I have no statistics but I reckon it is probably the most dangerous time to be on the roads in Southern Italy as there is also the women to be considered. The working ones are trying to accomplish the impossible of leaving at almost the same time and do the shopping and get home before the male arrives and preferably to have the food cooking as well. The homemakers are also out as “fresh” is the order of the day. So the food going on the table needs to have been bought just minutes before it goes in the pan. The fact that the butcher had the cut of meat there for days before or the packet of pasta was delivered to the shop weeks before is irrelevant. The food must have been bought that day and brought into the house minutes before the family arrive home, So the women are racing too and I am in many more hedgerows as a result.
I have often wondered how many never make it home during this frantic rush at 1 p.m. ending up in Hospital emergency rooms or worse.
Oh for the rain to stop and I can go back to a safer time to get out and about.