Monday, November 5, 2018

So Many Rules

For a long time I've been meaning to take Olga to Queen's Park, southwest of where we live, just to try something new. I didn't necessarily have it in mind when we set out on our walk yesterday, but when we found ourselves headed in that direction I decided to make it our goal.

Turns out, Queen's Park -- though perfectly nice as parks go -- isn't a great place for Olga. For one thing, there are a lot of rules. A placard by the gate lists them all. Dogs have to be on a lead, for example. Also, you can't quarrel, use profanity, play cards, or land a helicopter. So don't even think about it.

The dogs-on-leads rule means there are billions of incredibly fat, lazy squirrels lolling around, which of course drove Olga into a frenzy. In her mind's eye, they were spread-eagled on giant Ritz crackers, green olives in their mouths, a tray of hors d'oeuvres. She nearly pulled my arms off trying to get to them, and did her "insane dog" impression, in which she pants and groans and wheezes and slavers and becomes a general embarrassment.

Because of the insane dog, I only took a few pictures in the park, including the one of the bandstand, above. (Oh, and that's another park rule -- you can't "importune any person for the purpose of taking any photograph." I decided to risk importuning the bandstand.)

I asked another dog owner, walking a very properly behaved small furry thing, where I could let Olga run off-leash, and he directed us to nearby Tiverton Green.

That was a much, much better solution. She chased her tennis ball, fended off an incursion by a German Shepherd who wanted to take her ball, and also found an abandoned orange football to play with.

Afterwards we walked the high street through the Queen's Park neighborhood, where I got a coffee and a pastry at Starbucks. I thought I had a free coffee through my health insurance, but when I got to the counter I couldn't find the payment code on my insurance app -- the app recently updated and now nothing looks the same. So rather than annoy everyone by holding up the line, I paid for everything, and of course the moment I sat down I found the payment code with no problem.

(Oh, you can't be annoying in Queen's Park, either. It's expressly forbidden, according to the posted rules, to "behave to the annoyance of any person." That only applies in the park itself, though, not in Starbucks.)

Finally, as we began the long walk home, Olga dragged me into the Queens Park farmer's market, which was being held in a car park beside the high street. She smelled the oysters, I think, but we steered clear of those. I did buy a pot of beautiful chrysanthemums for the porch, and I felt very autumnal carrying them home.

In the afternoon I cleaned up the garden, pruning back the dead inulas, thistles and cardoon and raking up the fallen leaves. And I watched the Marx Brothers in "A Night at the Opera," which I checked out from the library, mainly because I wanted to see Kitty Carlisle in what might be her most famous acting role. Those Marx Brothers movies are still funny, even after 80 years.


  1. Ha-ha! I enjoyed your reference to "fat, lazy squirrels lolling around" and Olga's consequent frustration. By the way, do supermarkets sell squirrel-flavoured dog food? I have got a feeling it would sell extremely well.

  2. We have several parks near to us but none have rules like that, how odd.
    Do they allow dogs into Starbucks? we are always looking for coffee places where we can take Bo.

  3. I'm glad George isn't the only one that behaves outrageously when he sees a small animal...for him, it's the neighborhood cats. He does exactly what you describe Olga doing! Pants and groans and barks and pulls until I'm ready to strangle him! Haha. The cats around here are fat and lazy and indolent, too.

  4. Ooo, I'm with Olga. I too love to snack on a Ritz topped with a fat, lazy squirrel. the ones here on the north shore of Long Island are very tasty.

  5. Yeeesh. I just had to fill in forty forms (slight exaggeration...I had to fill in three for Google to get a new password, one form for blogger, and then click on seven different grids of traffic lights, fire hydrants, cars, and buses to prove that I was not a robot). I had the same trouble yesterday when I tried to wish you a very Happy birthday with, I say with all humility, a very witty Felicitations about the year 1966, only to have it vanish because Google and Blogger decided that I was not the real V. Swift. So I am sorry to be two days late with my Best wishes, and I hope you and Dave and Olga celebrated with many squirrel-flavored Ritz crackers.

  6. can't play cards? what have they got against playing cards? doesn't sound like a fun place to be if all you can do is sit quietly without making eye contact with anyone or even looking their way apparently!

  7. No card-playing? No helicopter landing? Well, what kind of a park is THAT?
    What a great post!

  8. What an amusing "rules" sign that must have been. Who uses words like "importune" or phrases like "behave to the annoyance of any person." And, at least you know not to fly your helicopter up there next time.
    I haven't thought about the Marx Brothers in many, many years and I think the last time I ever heard of Kitty Carlisle was when she was a panelist on the game show To Tell The Truth which is another thing I haven't thought of in a very long time.

    By the way, I think I'm having the same problem as Vivian. Every thing works perfectly when I'm on my work computer (a PC) but at home with all my Apple computers and gadgets, Google doesn't want to recognize me but only on some sites. I have not problem with your site but others just don't recognize my Google ID and when I click "sign in", it simply takes me to my dashboard as if I'm already signed in. I have to say the Vivian's description of what you have to go through was hilarious. I can so relate to those traffic lights, fire hydrants, cars and buses.

  9. Don't you just like nicky picky little rules? This come from an old teacher who started teaching in 1958 when rules were in.

  10. No profanity? No way Roger and I could walk there. Every other word out of our mouths... I swear! Glad you found a place for Olga to run. We watched Roger's daughter's dog this past weekend and took her for our neighborhood walk in the morning on Sunda. I thought of you and Olga.

  11. Interesting that Olga faced off with that German Shepherd over HER ball and won!

  12. Those park rules almost sound like they're tongue in cheek - but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't take them that way. I'm very intrigued by the helicopter one - maybe they had a very annoyingly entitled rich person who lived in the area.

  13. If the Queen's Park "no annoyance" sign actually works, I can think of a use for a UUUGE one . . .

    I'm glad you found another park where Olga could work off her energy!

  14. finally, a park for squirrels. Although my squirrels swear madly! Maybe because they are American. Glad you found a better place for Olga to run off steam. Hilarious post!