Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nice Bitch

I took Olga down to the Grand Union Canal yesterday, and as we walked along I spotted this boat with its elaborate Japanese-themed paint job. When I stopped to take a photo, a man (not even remotely Japanese, incidentally) opened the door of the boat and stared at me.

I told him I liked his boat, and asked if it was OK for me to take a photo.

He shrugged. "Yeah. I just wondered what you was doin', innit."

He spied Olga lying on the grass chewing (of course) a stick. "Nice bitch," he said. I laughed and said she was a good dog, but she liked sticks. "Bitches usually do," he said, and closed the door.

The British are very casual about using the word bitch to describe a female dog. People on the street call Olga a bitch all the time. I know it's a perfectly acceptable word, but it  always shocks me a little, as an American. I just hear a dirty word, an insult, a word I would never say -- not even about a dog. Funny.

Beyond that exchange, it was an average walk. I forgot to bring Olga's Kong toy, so she did pick up sticks and plastic bottles and other paraphernalia to use as chew toys, but I did my best to keep any of it from entering her body, and we seemed to emerge from the outing unscathed.

I spent the afternoon relaxing on the couch, reading and listening to the faint strains of Dean Martin singing "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore," about twenty times. There's a guy at the Portobello Road market who sells music CDs, and he blares that song every Saturday, over and over, along with Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" and a few others. If I never hear that Dean Martin song again as long as I live, it will be too soon. (And it's virtually guaranteed I'll continue hearing it every week for many weeks to come!)

If you're looking for an excellent novel, try J.K. Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy." I was so impressed with it -- a real page-turner, yet sophisticated and very adult. It's not Harry Potter!


  1. The Bitch story made me laugh out loud!

  2. What a great idea - the Rowling book. I have it on the iPad. I think I'll get deeply into it while I wait for the end of the shutdown.

    I would never call Olga that name either. And I hate Dean Martin's singing voice. May the force be with you.

  3. I enjoyed that book a great deal. The characters were very fully formed, the story a good one.
    Olga may be a bitch but I doubt she's bitchy.

  4. Steve, in the dog show world the word bitch is used pretty much exclusively for female dogs. If you picked up a catalog at a show you would see entries for Puppy Dogs/Puppy Bitches, Open Dog/Open Bitches. I am so used to the word it doesn't bother me at all. Once a female is spayed they typically don't refer to her as a bitch anymore.

    Funny that the Brits use it a lot. Outside of the show world you don't hear it here, that is true.

    Love the pic! I wondered about that book ... good to know it was a decent read. I'll have to look for it at the library.

  5. I don't like the word either even though I know it is supposed to be acceptable when applied to dogs. How did that get to be an insult? I wonder where the word came from in the first place.

  6. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm reading the cuckoo's calling, rowling's pseudonymous book, and enjoying it quite a bit. She's a good storyteller, and her pacing is sure.

  7. Yeah -- I was all prepared to love the houseboat and then biased against the owner when you described what he said. I have that American bias against the word, too - -

  8. Love the boat! Your encounter with the owner is really funny to me - I would be startled to hear him call Olga a bitch. Of course, not being a dog person the first thing I thought is how did he know! I know - you can tell pretty easily if you look, but I never look :)

  9. I found that the British are just as shocked by our use of the word fanny. Funny, innit.