Posts Tagged ‘Walks’

None The Wiser


Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

SV: Good afternoon! How are you today?

Little Old Italian Lady:Well, you know how it is. Bad back, bad legs, bad eyes. Very tired. Can’t sleep. Weather’s a bit too hot and a bit too cold. Fell downstairs last year. Doctors say I’m too old to fix.

SV: Ummmmm. Oh dear.

Little Old Italian Lady: There was a woman here looking for you yesterday.

SV: Really?

Little Old Italian Lady: Yup. Asked me if I’d seen the lady who’s always walking her dog.

SV: Well, not always, I sometimes do other things as well…

Little Old Italian Lady: So I told her I hadn’t seen you.

SV: Are you sure she was looking for me?

Little Old Italian Lady: Definitely. Lady who’s always walking her dog, she said.

SV: Hmmmm. What was she like?

Little Old Italian…

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Pooch’s Pool


Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Pooch is wilting.

This despite the fact that for the first two years of his life he lived in a country where the summer temperatures overshot 40ºc on a regular basis.

Throughout the day he flops like a moribund fish from the sofa to the cool tiled floor under my bed and back again, with his tongue hanging limply round his ankles and a look of mournful dejection on his face.

I would feel more sorry for him if it wasn’t for the fact that he also periodically throws himself into his outside bed to roast his remaining brain cell in full sunlight.

The high point of both our days are our walks down to the river, where Pooch swims around in hot pursuit of water skaters and stones whilst  I sit on a rock watching the dragonflies…

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To Old Friends


Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays.

Status Viatoris

One of the most uplifting sights that greets me on my way home from work, rain or shine, is that of the local village ladies out for their afternoon leg stretch.

Even the springiest of these particular chickens is probably pushing eighty, and I am not even going to guess how many seasons some of the others have seen come and go.

Cardies or shawls over blouses, skirts just below the knee, woollen socks over legs bandied by age, and sensible shoes (sometimes even Wellington boots) are the order of the day; the perfect get-up for a leisurely promenade with lifelong friends.

I pass them, sometimes miles from the village, gazing out over the valley. One or other of them will be gesticulating, the others nodding as they stare towards a faraway point.

I wonder what they’re actually seeing. The countryside as it is now, or is their minds’ eye…

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Mental trotty-wags


Memories for Mondays – originally posted on 26/04/2010

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I fall a little more in love with this village every time I walk around it.

During the first few weeks I was obsessed with getting out; fixated by the idea that Pooch couldn’t possibly be happy unless he was off the lead, and galumphing merrily round the countryside. But due to the fact that it isn’t an easy village to leave – most of the promising footpaths turn out to be someone’s driveway – and during the week I simply don’t have time to trek for half an hour before even sniffing freedom, Pooch and I have been spending a lot of time exploring the innards of our new metropolis.

Frankly, when viewed from the outside, the place looks like a bit of a mess. Not half as asthetically pleasing as my French village.

Close your eyes and picture, if you will, a sort of Daliesque symbiosis between the innermost workings of Heath Robinson’s mind and the balcony scene from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. Then picture the whole unwieldy caboodle clinging with palpable desperation to the steep side of a valley.

Now add the very busy little river that runs along the valley bottom, and the myriad of tiny tributaries that course underneath and around its walls as they made their own busy way to the aforementioned busy river.

Every so often, just for the hell of it, pop an ancient and cobbled humpback bridge dating as far back as medieval times over one of the many waterways. Don’t venerate them, or announce their presence with a fanfare,  just use them same way they have been used for many hundreds of years.

Interspersed with the bridges, you might try adding an abandoned watermill or two; the pitted mill stones still waiting patiently for a consignment of olives to squeeze the life out of.

And as you are mentally wheezing your way up and down its steep streets, don’t forget to keep peering either side of you. You don’t want to miss the narrow and endlessly winding steps tempting you up and tempting you down; luring you deeper into its honeycomb centre.

Now imagine a huddle of churches, oratories and towers all cozied up together on the site of a Apollonian temple built by the Romans. The oldest part of the construction dating back to the 11th century, the newest, a mere 250-year-old stripling. Together providing the perfect play area for a noisy family of kestrels that are enjoying what the faithful have long since abandoned in favour of the more modern edifice up the road.

To the whole image, add the deafening cacophony of mating frogs (it’s that time of year, the lucky lucky bastards😉 ) an occasional Mexican wave of howling from the village dogs, the flatulent squeals of scooters and three-wheeled ‘bees’, and the soothing ever-present vocals of the locals.

You’ve arrived! Welcome to my life!

This is Status Viatoris, waxing lyrical on the subject of her new Italian village.

Entertaining The Three Musketeers


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage


Much to Pooch’s disgust – a disgust he takes little pains to hide, I might add – our previously sedate morning walks have recently taken on a whole new element of excitement and adventure.


That in itself probably wouldn’t pose a problem for him, if it wasn’t for the fact that the reason for such change has come in the form of two dogs. And not just dogs, but the sort of dogs that Pooch abhors most of all – puppies.



Toy, an 11-month old Brittany spaniel and Diablo, a 5-month old something white and fluffy, belong to two good friends of mine who live in the same carruggio and whose work commitments do not allow for extensive canine trotty-wags during the week.

And as scooping the poop of three incontinent hounds as opposed to just the one really appealed to me, I offered to haul them along with us on our morning perambulation.

Solitary boy doing solitary boy stuff.

Once the initial daily chaos of trying to get them all into their respective harnesses and attached to their leads whilst the tiddlers make repeated attempts to kiss Pooch (who retaliates by trying to bite chunks from their fluffy little noses) and Diablo pees his happiness over everyone’s feet; we cross the road to the safety of the lane on the other side and the three sort-of amigos are then unleashed on an unprepared world.

More sociable boys hanging out.

An utterly hair-raising helter skelter down to the river – punctuated by the production, collection and subsequent disposal of steaming mounds – ensues, with The Musketeers occasionally sparing a millisecond to look behind them and check I’m still puffing along obediently in their mission-driven wake.

Thanks lads.

Slightly more convivial group sniffing.

On arrival at the wet stuff, Diablo jumps straight in for a swim whilst Pooch selects the ideal rock to lavish his un-dividable attention on and Toy nervously cases the joint for scary stuff (which I would then be required to protect him from if he were ever to run it to ground).

Yup! I’m stuck, again.

Having three such very different dogs in tow comes with its own problems as I learnt to my cost a couple of weeks ago on leaving the river, when him of the old cronky legs stumbled over a stone forcing him of the agile legs to soar clean over his head, thus knocking him of the stubby legs off a wall and down a 1.5 metre drop into some brambles.

A rather long silence followed as Pooch, Toy and I peered down at Diablo in his uncomfortable nest; with at least one of us wondering how on earth we were going to retrieve him.

Half dog, half springy mountain goat.

By lying on my stomach on the ledge and reaching down I couldn’t even touch the top of his head, much less haul him up by his harness which had been my plan.

But eventually he started bouncing up against the wall, and timing a lunge to coincide with a bounce, I finally managed to get him by the scruff and yank him to safety.

The boys heading off in search of adventure…

Diablo’s gratitude has since known no bounds, but has also had the unfortunate side-effect of increasing his confidence in my abilities to get him out of sticky situations. So it is that sliding down wet rocks, scrambling down muddy inclines and reaching into prickly undergrowth in order that accident-prone wee pup may continue on his waggy way have become an integral part of my morning escapades.

…and back they come!

Seeing the dogs enjoying themselves so much has definitely made it that bit harder to drag myself home from all the delights the Italian countryside has to offer. What used to be a perfectly respectable 45 minute to an hour’s start to my morning routine, has now morphed into two hours and probably about 6 or 7 kilometres of japes so jolly that all those things I should really be hurrying home to get on with are quite forgotten.


Hopefully not dry-clean only!

But having always subscribed to the theory that over and above cuddles and treats, regularly walking your dog is the way to ensure its contentment and obedience (a dirty wet dog is almost always the happiest sort and a well-exercised dog is quite simply putty in one’s hands), it becomes surprisingly easy to put less pleasurable obligations clean out of my mind.

(Now that little confession is bound to go down a storm with the ever-responsible Mothership 😉 )

But even springy mountain goats sometimes lose their nerve and need a helping hand.

Nevertheless, little stubby legs of not-quite half a year and achy delicate legs of nearly twelve, cannot stomp on indefinitely; so eventually I turn my troops around to make their tired, damp but exceedingly cheerful way back towards the village.

On the home straight.

After a relaxing cappuccino at the bar, the knackered trio are more than happy to be reunited with their beds; leaving me to get on with the more onerous obligations of the day whilst basking in the glow of satisfaction resulting  from a job well done.

Exhaustion reigns.

This is Status Viatoris, who cannot actually think of a better start to her day than herding the Tre unruly Moschetierri round the surrounding countryside, in Italy.

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