Inspired by a newspaper article about an old lady spotted in delicato in her own garden.
I heard an anguished yelp alongside a footpath. The wooded area surrounding the ancient but seemingly occupied old house was pretty dense, so I couldn’t see anything immediately. Initially not knowing the area, I had been surprised to see a brand new white, Smart car up against a building through some once ornate closed gates. I had carried on following the way marked signs indicating my log distance hike and now was very furtively peeping through a gap, a branch had broken, in the privet overgrown hedge that must have been planted as a curtain. Again there was a little cry and a sob, then a dog barked and I heard words as if to shush it. I carried on aiming to stroll on the public footpath where judging by what I was wading through, no one had come by here in recent years. Stout briers, nettles and ferns obstructed me and I made a mental note to report it to the county council responsible in this part of Sussex.
There was a hardly trodden walkway alongside the well wooded garden and through another gap, I could see a small brown dog wagging its tail, although its head was away from me in the undergrowth. As I peered in, the dog yelped, tail still in motion and I heard a weak voice telling it to be quiet, followed by a moan which seemed to be expressing pleasure. I neared another gap, the dog saw or heard my breaking twigs and turned, checking my approach alternately with burying its head back in the bushes.
Then it turned and ran towards me in a friendly fashion, then dashed back and again returned to me. Was it doing a Lassie on me? I decided to investigate as a further squeak emanated from the soft bushes it seemed to be focusing on. I pushed through the shrubs, there was a small patch of once mown lawn, then I pulled some branches aside and was stunned with what I saw. A little old lady was nearly spreadeagled amongst the ferns, her specs half on, her beeny hat askew showing stray lank grey hairs poking out at various angles. Her high necked, lace edged blouse was buttoned but torn, and her floral cotton skirt was wrapped tightly round one leg, but stretched across her hips, exposing a bare bony leg up to her knee, the lower part encased in a dark brown pop sock. On her feet were sensible, but incongruous brown brogues.
On top of her was a large shaggy white dog with brown ears and rump. It wasn’t a breed known to me. It was furiously rutting at her in full mating mode. I gasped loudly and she grimaced weakly as I leaned further, fascinated by what was clearly a bestial act. I’d read about such things but never seen it, until now. I just stood there gobsmacked until she spat words at me. “Get out of here you scruffy imposter. Don’t tell anyone. This is private property. You haven’t seen this.” Her canine lover was going at her like a jack hammer. I was amazed and stepped back, noting her posh accent and chosen vocabulary. “Are you sure it’s OK love, I mean ... I can get him off...” “No you can not and do not call me love, I am not your love, get away from here. I wish Yelstin was here, he would see you off smartly,” she snarled, the venom from her pinched mouth extremely disquieting. “Shall I go and get Yeltsin then, where is he?” I ventured, thinking of a partner, a gardener, someone in the dilapidate building. “Stupid man,” she spat, her head nodding not in agreement, but with the massive dog’s now frantic action. “He’s in doggy heaven, somewhere you’ll never get to - even the human version? Go away.”
Shit! This was some nasty old bitch with a weird idea for dogs names. I looked scruffy I suppose, although the hiking boots, shorts, back pack and tee-shirt I wore were quality gear. She looked sort of helpless, but in her eyes there was an element of pain but satisfied pain. Then the rampant thrusting ceased, the little brown dog constantly sniffing around her bare, scratched rump and the big hound lay on her, panting, his long pink tongue lolling, as if smiling.
“Look - go away please. This is private property, you are trespassing and this is private...” she was interrupted by the big hound swinging it’s legs and suddenly they were rump to rump and I realised they were tied. The old lady stayed put not attempting to pull away, with good reason, I’d read about. It could damage both her and her dog – I assumed it was hers. The little brown dog fussed around her, licking her face and actually trying to mount her arms, which was comical, but I felt it was wise not to grin. actually standing. I decided to leave, it was private after all and she seemed to be in control, however weird and taboo her actions seemed. I turned and started to walk away, through the shrubs, across the small section of untended lawn and into the laurel hedge. I fiddled my way through, cursing myself in not taking off my back pack which was managing to snag everything I passed.
Only ten or twelve strides on my intended route, round a corner, her voice rang out and on looking ahead rather than behind, there she was on the public footpath, her arms on her sides as if challenging me. I glanced around thinking I’d maybe strayed from the path. “No this is the way young man,” she told me firmly. “You’re not trespassing any more – again,” the last word spat with more venom. “I want to have a word with you, this way.” With that, her fingers crooked in the come gesture, she turned through a high wrought iron gate, telling me to follow her and close the gate behind me. I did. There was some power and authority in her commandment. Both dogs barked at me, the brown one darting round my legs, but the huge shaggy, yet handsome hound, just watched me and then fell in behind me after I managed to persuade the creaky gate into place
Following her lead, she walked upright almost graceful, carrying herself erect and proud, not withstanding her unkempt appearance and clothing, she approached the enormous pile of dwelling. I dwarfed her being well over six feet and solidly built, while she was tiny, maybe five feet and scrawny. “What the fu... ?” I gasped, swiftly stifling my on the road foul language, as we entered a gigantic kitchen. Her specs and beeny hat were put on top of an oven. There were brass pots and utensils hung round the walls, many cupboards, packets of foodstuffs laid about. Several large antique chairs were around a massive refectory table, garments on or in them and several items of outdoor clothing were hung on pegs beside another door opposite to where we’d entered. She went through this; I followed as did the dogs through a vast hall, with two sets of stairs leading off each side to an atrium landing.
In a richly appointed room, which was extremely messy and untidy, she twirled and faced me, her brogues nearly catching the edge of an Oriental patterned rug. “Drink?” “I I.I ... I.I.I I I?pardon,” I stammered. “Would you like a drink?” she almost said each word as if spelling it. “Come on man?” she ordered, walking to an ornate Chinese looking cabinet opening it and from the array of exotic bottles and decanters, she poured herself a stiff measure of whisky and downed it in one, then started pouring another, twisting to half face me, gesturing with her glass. The small brown terrier, sniffed at her legs and licked her knee, but she brutally kicked it away. Her canine partner lay in the bay window basking in the late afternoon sun.”I told you to get off me Posy, now get out of my sight,” she snarled down on the little dog, raising her puny gnarled old hand. It slunk away. The offer was repeated so I accepted what she was having. Damn! It was prime malt and good. She didn’t seem to realise that the side of her skirt was ripped to waist level and I could see the full length of her leg, the wrinkled pop sock and part of some white - well, off white baggy looking knickers as we stood facing each other in the large room, eyeing each other up.
“Must admit to being slightly alarmed and surprised with your attitude,” I ventured. “Alarmed ... surprised?” she barked. “Pull yourself together man. Why?” “Look madam. I stumbled on you in the garden...” “Peeping, bloody trespassing,” she interrupted. “Yes well OK, shouldn’t have I know, but I heard the dogs and I thought I heard a lady in distress, so I...” “You bloody barged in when I was just enjoying myself with Claudio here not her, stupid little dog,” she told me, with a dismissive glare at the terrier. “You got no manners? Anyway, distress there was none. Do I look in distress or damaged?” “But ... no madam ... it’s not the usual thing...” “The usual thing you see, yes? Spit it out, and don’t call me madam. It’s Caroline to you. Actually Line to friends and family, but I can hardly call you that – pah!”
Her fight, assurance and defiance in this building was something else, but was also odd having been found in such a taboo situation, she had no sense of covering it and denying my presence. Posy sidled up to me and whined, looking up imploring some sort of comfort having been nearly booted out of the room. I bent and stroked it’s cute face, but she stepped forward, brushed past me and ordered it out. It left and she firmly slammed the heavy door. “Bloody thing, my brother’s pet, fancy having a dog that small. He is away and I’m looking after it,” she told me. “She gets on well with Claudio – luckily.” The big dog raised it’s head sleepily.
.... There is more of this story ...