Hello, Hello, Who’s Your Lady Friend?

Last week we had planned to do a major shop in San Jose, and the cleaner, a lady in her thirties who looks mid twenties, had asked to go with us to stock up on stuff for Christmas before prices rose alarmingly for the festive and exploitative season. We would keep the meat and poultry in our freezer for her until she needed it. This being a visit to the big city she was well dressed and made up…unlike Danilo who shows his contempt for the capital by wearing his oldest working shirt and wellies.

Fine, except at the last minute I was not well enough to undertake the car journey, so off went Leo, the cleaner and Danilo while I returned to bed.

On return, Danilo was bubbling with something, but could not tell me until the following day when Leo was at the local hospital.

First, the context.

It is not unknown that Costa Rican women, seeing foreign men as rich, will try to attach themselves to them, in the hope of supporting themselves, their children and their families. Fine….there are others who just wish to enrich themselves…..and do so at an exponential rate. The laws, made with the view of protecting women and chldren in situations of domestic abuse, assist these predatory women.

Back to Danilo….

The first call was to Maria, a Nicaraguan lady, who has been a friend since we first moved to Costa Rica. She has looked after Leo many times over the years while I was visiting my mother and is a genuinely caring person.

This time she had bought in a load of dog food for us at a low price from her butcher and Leo was going to pick it up….but not without going in to have coffee, catch up with the family and swap the news.

Except that Maria took one look at the cleaner and asked ‘Who is this?’

Apparently Leo, now to be known as Lothario or Bluebeard, convinced that he is a thing of beauty and a boy forever, and full of bravado, said that this was his girlfriend.

At which point Maria said that he had a wife, and that, should he want a girlfriend, she was the first in line…all this accompanied with stroking him, cuddling him and darting evil looks at the cleaner.

Danilo was apparently in stitches. Maria protecting her ewe lamb from the ravages of a Salome…

Off they went to the Mercado Borbon to take breakfast at he caff we frequent.

Fine…the ladies took the order, and the cleaner asked for the same meal as Leo..chicken in sauce. His plate was laden, hers boasted a chicken piece so small that it must have been taken from a sparrow. The ladies asked Danilo why I was not there, but his explanations did not spare the cleaner dirty looks.

She wanted to buy chicken thighs, and, as the bulk price was better than the kilo price Leo bought her order with ours…. the chap selling them made a point of asking if Leo wanted separate bills…and looked very disapproving of the response.

Not the only reactions….we are well known at the Mercado Borbon – about the only foreigners who shop there – and I feel for the cleaner, whose treatment was humiliating .

However, should I pop my clogs before Leo I have no doubt that she would be under starter’s orders in the ‘catch an elderly Gringo’ stakes. But she would have to be wary of bumping, boring and obstruction on the part of Maria!

So now, before Leo is sent to Coventry at the Mercado Borbon, I shall have to make sure that I go with him on the next trip. Without the cleaner.

The Dog and Bone

The rhyming slang for the telephone has taken on a new guise.

According to ‘The Guardian’ a device has been invented which allows a dog to call its owner. Its current form is a soft ball which when moved sends a signal to your laptop and starts off a video link. The idea is to give ‘choice’ and ‘agency’ to the dog, which will aid its ‘wellbeing’.

As if we are not under the paw enough as it is!

Research has been, to say the least, interesting, and probably suffered for being carried out on a black labrador. Nice though they are, labradors are not the Einsteins of the canine world, so perhaps a collie might have not activated the thing when rooting round in its bed, or while rubbing its backside on it. The optimistic researcher says, however, that while from a human perspective it might be seen as accidental it is possible that from a canine perspective it was determined. The dog has not yet given the answer.

Just think……

You are out shopping and your mobile rings. You have a video of the dog with its paw on a pack of its favourite biscuits….no excuses for forgetting…..with a background view of the damage it did opening the cupboard door to get at said biscuits.

Or, for the machiavellian dog who feels it has been left to its own devices too long, a carefully staged sceene with one of its friends lying doggo, appearing to be at its last gasp, while the dog manipulating the device stands over it in the manner of a Great White Hunter. That’s guaranteed to get you home breaking the speed limit only to find both at the door wagging their tails.

Or you are the British Prime Minister in a face to face meeting with Monsewer Macron. At a vital moment your dog rings, holding up a placard reading ‘stuff the French poodle!’ That should stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood! You will be hanging the burghers of Calais before you can say Jack Robinson.

This is only the start….there is talk of technological inovation which will allow dogs to contact each other….

But is this not otiose?

Dogs seem to communicate with each other without any hi tech aids.

They have noses.

A bitch on heat will attract suitors from all the country round……a rotting carcass offers rolling opportunities to an infinite number of doggies…..meat cooking will bring an eager audience with noses lifted in the best tradiions of the Bisto kids..

They have ears.

They may not choose to use them, as when ignoring commands, yea pleas even, to do something contrary to their current interests, but they can hear another dog howling far off in the night and join in from a sense of solidarity, thus depriving a whole human community of its sleep, and if you want a re enactment of the charge of the Light Brigade just try opening a packet of crisps when you think they are snoozing at the other end of the garden.

They have eyes.

Like Autolycus they are snappers up of unconsidered trifles….i.e. things you left on the table while doing something else. They see intruders and rush to repel them, encouraging each other with that other capacity…….

The voice.

From a bark to a whine, from a snort to a growl, they can make their views clearly known to their cohorts.

So, time wasted on inter dog communication then, but they would, I feel, be all in favour of furthering means to assert their domination of humans.

The first step is to encourage the dog to take ownership of its ‘phone…….so can we have a hi tech solution to making it waterproof as its proud owner asserts possession by peeing on it.

And just to finish…or to finish you off

Hugo sings Hallelujah

Remembrance

I could not dig; I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

A Dead Statesman

Rudyard Kipling

It relates directly to the man standing behind the current Prime Minister, but they are all capable of similar conduct and we need to open our eyes to what is done in our name but without our consent.