Last year was a manic year for The Young’uns. We did about 200 gigs and performed all over Britain, Canada, America and Europe. When we weren’t gigging we were doing songwriting projects in primary schools. Obviously these are massively rewarding days. We don’t get paid very much but we do get a free school meal and half an hour in the sandpit, and you can’t say fairer than that can you? Oh, and I suppose it’s also quite rewarding working with the children, but that’s very much an ancillary element; the sand pit is the highlight obviously.
Between April up until Christmas eve, we had just three weekends off. This year is going to be pretty crazy too. In March we’ll be in Australia, April we embark on our UK tour, then come May we’re into the festival season. We also have trips to Canada planned, and some more European dates.
It will be interesting to see how I manage to keep up the Daily Digital Dollop challenge once things get really busy. There’s a certain irony in the fact that at the moment my life is relatively dull and uneventful, yet I have the most time that I’m going to have this year in which to writing blogs. Then come March everything will become eventful and crazy and I’ll actually start living a life again, but I will barely have the time to actually write about it all.
Given that nothing has happened in my life today, this Dollop is a story about my friend. I don’t really know whether she’d want to be named in this story, so I shall simply refer to her as my friend, which is not her actual name but a clever pseudonym.
Last Friday my friend was walking her husky dog in the park. Along the way she met a lady who was walking a couple of husky dogs. My friend is in her mid twenties, this woman is in her sixties. The lady mentioned that she was new to the area and asked about good places to take the dogs. They got chatting about parks and fields, and my friend offered to show her the lay of the land. The woman gladly accepted this invitation and they exchanged phone numbers. All pretty normal and not really blog worthy thus-far; but things were about to get weird.
A couple of days later, my friend text the lady to see if she fancied coming with her on a dog walk. The woman immediately responded saying that this was an excellent idea. “Give me an hour, I just need to pick something up for us,” the lady replied.
An hour later the five of them met: my friend and her dog, and the lady with her two dogs. But that wasn’t all she had with her. She was carrying a bag, which bore a picture of two dogs kissing. And out of that bag she drew the “something” that she had referenced in her text. In fact, there were two somethings. She handed one to my friend. A wide smile spread across the lady’s face. My friend opened the bag, and inside she found something that immediately set alarm bells ringing, and caused her to re-evaluate whether meeting up with this woman had really been such a good idea.
Inside the bag was a hoody. A hoody with a large three dimensional protruding furry husky dog attached. A husky hoody. The woman began to put her hoody on. My friend was just standing there, confused and more than a bit embarrassed.
“Put it on then,” the lady said. And my friend, just like me in that pub with the violent landlord, was far too polite and felt far too socially awkward to refuse, even though technically there is very little chance of feeling anything but socially awkward once you’ve donned won of these ridiculous monstrosities. And so, embarrassed and self-conscious, she put on her husky hoody.
“It suits you,” the woman gleefully remarked. The words didn’t offer much in the way of consolation or reassurance. There was a pause. Maybe this was her cue to return the “compliment.”
“And … er … same to you … yours suits you too.”
The woman was delighted. .
“I saw these in town and thought, why not?” Surely, that question should have immediately brought up at least several answers, yet in spite of this she had still concluded that buying a couple of husky hoodies for her and someone she’d just met for ten minutes a couple of days ago was a smashingly grand idea.
“I thought we could wear these on our little outings,” the mad woman said, before adding the disconcerting line, “and, our bigger outings!” The woman giggled to herself, and pulled something else out of her kissing doggy bag. She handed it to my friend, the smile broadening on her face. What on earth could this possibly be now?
She unwrapped this second gift and stared in wonder at what she saw. A pair of tickets for something called Huskyfest, which is a Holiday specifically for husky dogs and their owners. This lady, forty years older than my friend, had bought a pair of tickets for the two of them to spend the weekend in Tewksbury in Gloucestershire with a load of dogs and dog-obsessed dog owners. As she read on, her horror grew. She would be sharing a chalets with this crazy sixty-something-year-old dog-obsessed woman. There would be lots of activities for the dogs to do and for the owners to “enjoy” such as pulling competitions, and a husky beauty pageant in order to find the prettiest husky dog. Perhaps the lady saw a flicker of horror on my friend’s face, that even being terribly British and over-polite couldn’t fully mask.
“Don’t worry, it’s all paid for. My treat.”
Obviously the mad lady had completely misunderstood the cause of my friend’s horrified expression. There was no way out, she was heading off to the other side of the country in March to spend a weekend with a woman she had only known for all of fifteen minutes, and a load of husky dogs and husky dog obsessives.
Just as she thought things couldn’t get any worse, a man who she’d had a date with just the day before rounded the corner. The date had gone well, and she was keen to see him again, but preferably not when she was wearing a husky hoody whilst standing next to another woman wearing the same husky hoody and carrying a kissing doggy bag. She bowed her head, hoping that she wouldn’t be recognised, but it was too late.
She could tell he looked confused and perturbed by what he was seeing. But he was about to see even more. The three husky dogs had been playing together nicely for the last five minutes, but had decided that now was the perfect moment to start trying to mount each other and vigorously hump. Ironically, the three dogs had pulled, while her own romantic prospects were dwindling at the speed of the winner of the fastest husky competition, which was just one of the many events she had to look forward to in march.
She started to wonder whether this woman was actually trying to be friendly or merely wishing to curse her to live the same spinsterish life that she was living. Maybe this mad lady was once the same as my friend, a young, attractive girl with a love interest and hopes and dreams, until one day she met a mad old dog obsessed spinster who wheedled her way into her life and turned her into a mad dog obsessed spinster just like her. And maybe one day, when my friend was older, she would also pass this curse on to another unsuspecting young girl. And this curse is held purely on the basis of over-politeness and social awkwardness.
Dear my friend’s love interest. Please accept this Dollop as an explanation of the strange things you saw in the park. My friend does not normally wear husky hoodies, nor does she usually hang around with mad dog-obsessed ladies. Please ask her to marry you immediately and arrange the wedding for the same date as Huskyfest. You can be her knight in shining armer. Only you can save her from a life of weird dog-obsessed spinsterdom, and in the process you might also save future generations from this terrible fate. Her life and the life of many other young female dog walkers rests solely in your hands. So, do the right thing, before it’s too late!