"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Windy Days


Someone once said that everyone needs a hobby.

That someone was not a dog.

It’s the kind of thing that you would expect a human to say.

I don’t give hobbies very much thought. Personally I’m way too busy. Life is full and there’s always something new happening.

But, if we must talk about hobbies, I will tell you about Gabby and her mistress.

Gabby’s mistress had a part-time job working at the local bookstore. She didn’t need to work full-time because she had saved up her money, paid off her cottage, and lived frugally. At least that’s what Gabby called it. Personally, I thought that frugally was some kind of fruit salad, but apparently it means that she didn’t spend a lot of money, so she didn’t need a lot of money. She loved books so a bookstore makes sense. But it’s not her occupation that I’m here to talk about.

She had the strangest hobby.

Every day she read the five-day forecast in the newspaper and watched the TV news just to doublecheck. If strong winds were forecast she would make preparations.

As hard as it is to believe, her hobby was leaning into the wind.

Conditions had to be just right. Anything less than 10 miles an hour and it just didn’t work. Anything over 50 miles an hour and there was a risk that they might both get blown away.

They had several favourite spots where they would stand and lean into the wind.

The correct clothing was also important. Gabby didn’t need clothes but her mistress always wore a big yellow dress buttoned up at the neck. Button up boots were optional, but preferred.

Naturally, summer winds were best, but winter gave the maximum number of opportunities.

Gabby’s mistress preferred the town Square, but standing on the pier or the foreshore meant that people did not ask her what they were doing. People often stand and look out at the water, so no one thought she was strange.

I asked Gabby what she thought of their hobby and she gave the kind of answer that I expect from a dog. She said that she just likes being wherever her mistress is and she doesn’t care what she’s doing as long as she can be there. The bonus for Gabby is that the strong winds bring in interesting aromas from far away. Admittedly, most of those aromas concern fish and seaweed, but dogs don’t care. A good aroma is a good aroma, no matter where it comes from.

Gabby once said that she picked up the aroma of a roast dinner. The smell must have been coming from a fishing trawler just offshore. The captain was eating well that night.

Gabby has considered asking for a pair goggles that she has seen dogs wearing on motorcycles. The bugs really hurt when they get in your eyes, especially at that speed. In the short-term Gabby simply closes her eyes and lets her nose do all the work.

After a long day of leaning into the wind, Gabby and her mistress sit in front of the fire and drink tea with scones and jam and cream. Gabby isn’t really a big fan of tea, but she does like scones.

I have some very weird friends; Gabby isn’t one of them.

She’s quite sane, but I’m not too sure about her mistress.


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