West Cork

Canine manners have gone to the dogs

‘Do you want me to put my dog on the lead?’ shouted the woman on her phone, as she came towards me on the woodland path, her huge hound bounding ahead. It was not a polite question. It should have had ‘or what?’ on the end of it. Dave leapt into action and grabbed the lodger’s trouser leg. But the trouser pulling soon gave way to licking People not calling their dogs in and making them behave is normal. To be aggressively asked to state my dog etiquette preferences as an unruly, slobbering beast gains ground on me was a new one. I wanted to shout: ‘No! It’s fine! I

The wit and wisdom of the horse dentist

The horse dentist put down his medieval-looking implements and pinned me to the spot with a look. ‘Those guys,’ he said, reaching into the yawning jaws of the builder boyfriend’s black and white cob to check the back teeth he had just filed, ‘load horses and take them from England to Ireland and from Ireland to England all day, every day, so don’t make a fuss. I know you. You’ll worry about everything and drive them mad. Just let them do their job. They’re professionals. Right, that one’s done.’ And he handed me back Jimmy, who was licking his newly done gnashers. We stood by the field gate in the

If I told my new friend the truth, our friendship would be over

‘Achoo!’ was the first thing the girl sitting next to me on the plane said as I took my seat beside her. She groaned and blew her nose, coughed, spluttered, and apologised. ‘It’s hay fever, honestly,’ she said. She was in the window seat, I was in the middle. The older lady beside me in the aisle seat grimaced. ‘Please, don’t worry,’ I said to the sneezing girl. ‘I’m so over it. I couldn’t care less if it’s hay fever or if it’s Covid.’ She smiled, fumbled, and offered me a Strepsil, that well-known cure for the effects of pollen. I liked her immediately – something about her fidgety energy,