Lunch at the Lake

Filed under On the Town ~ by Throsby on  27 Dec 2013

Guinevere decreed a picnic.

It’s traditional after a month’s rain that we visit one of a short list of tolerable picnic venues. Tolerable to drag cranky husbands to, as in. Crowded Bay is one such, but care is needed choosing a day and time of.

Always, we imagine no-one else thinks of it. Always, wrong.

Weekdays one must squeeze in for lunch beside the fleet of utilities vehicles who discover an urgent need to inspect some ailing miscellany of infrastructure, preferably beneath a shady tree within metres of the shore in summer, or a sunny spot between trees in winter, and preferably – as it so often fortuitously happens to be – an hour either side of noon.

Good luck to them, I say. Perks of the job (being able to drive that 2-tonner pretty-well anywhere). And what good are those gate padlocks if the locks seize up from lack of use?

Weekends provide equal perils: being run down by fleets of little pink bicycles with training wheels while crossing the yellow brick road; the gauntlet of a dozen footy games sharing the same goals; plotting an equidistant amid hordes of dog owners being taken for a walk (if not a ride, for the duration of such pampered creatures’ lifetimes).

Picnic day was Sunday 7 July 2013 – for once predicted accurately by BOM’s arrays of Cray supercomputers, supplemented by a bevvy of unemployed Big Blue (or Deep Blue, or something) chess computers – to be sunny, clear, and almost perfectly-devoid-of-wind sort of day. Indeed it was.

Unfortunately for cranky selfish people like Throsby, others understand weather reports.. so they came, too.

As SWMBO and I trotted from car park to shoreline we did not fail to notice legions of large dogs tethered to human pets. Lucky for these sad humans the dogs tire after a few laps of the precincts peppered with wild excursions into cold salty water. While humans recover, dogs congregate in, naturally, panting packs to exchange threats and bodily smells.

The dogs, reciprocally, didn’t fail to notice an aroma of roast chicken whose molecules seeped through many permeable layers of plastic baggery to scatter, as gaseous substance does, inexorably towards them.. from the Throsby pack.

Where the pathway swerves in pilgrimage by the lake

Throsbys laid a feast and bogged in, didn’t wait.

The mistake was, of course, the hot chook.

Worsened by leaving the bag open whilst partaking. As one does, when access to hot roast poultry is prerequisite to the eating of it.

Flashing above our tiny banquet scrolled a virtual marquee declaring in Caninish that here on the veldt lay a weakened elk.

We repulsed several rear sneak attacks from a variety of four-legged friends from the path beyond the glen. A small Dalmatian, a black Scotsman, assorted medium-size obedient breeds, each easily foiled with outward friendly gestures (to fool owners) that cloaked gutturals subliminal and posturing discreet, properly perceived by the peckish pooches.

Then the inevitable.

Leader of Pack Central, a large black devil, thought it time to show how it’s done.

Ordering the human to relinquish the leash, it trotted boldly roast-chicken-ward, effortlessly breached the outer defence of stern eye contact, deftly defied the flicking of rolled tea-towel ramparts, and superbly overwhelmed a rubber-souled number 10 pressing on its chest.

Anything more effective is deemed animal cruelty – there being consensus disapproval of electric cattle prods in this thicket of legality, hence none were handy in the picnic basket. Throsby suspects saying anything harsher than “who’s a cute little fellow” to a rabid wolf tearing one’s arm off can land you in court nowadays.

All the doggies in the pack seemed just big doggies, a mix of high-bred bitza’s or cute little puppies of choice, Labradors. Sorry, Labrador Retrievers. Our foe, however, was large, black, and Labradorish, but there was no friendly love-you-to-death deference typical of that breed, only a pig dog determination. Were Throsbys and their hot dinner under assault by a cloaked Pit Bull Terror, err, Terrier?

It was dark, shiny, strong, might have born a white crest on the chest but the only white seen was that of it’s eyes as it moved inexorably faster and lower until that great head disappeared into the hot steamy container to greet a recently departed and artfully basted relative of Foghorn Leghorn.

All while the human pet danced nearby singing “No, Fido, no, don’t, Fido” followed by “sorry, sorry” and “Oh, Sorry.”

That was the end of dinner. Before it began. A long way to take hot chook for a mutt to sniff.

But something is deeply puzzling, you know. That cute lil’ ole puppy, barely the size of a small horse, despite a brilliant attack and claiming the flag, didn’t grab or bite the chicken, just slobbered, removed its giant head, then moved on, nothing to see here, don’t try this at home, I’m a professional.

We must surmise that suspicious sodden snout was repulsed by a soupçon of doubt, as a Greenie senses universal discord upon assaying a vegetable that Monsanto is suspected in the genesis of.

But we know what stopped our cabot coquin in its tracks, even were the critter but dimly aware. In that greasy hot bag simmered an organically grown roast chook, Throsby’s prey of choice.

What some humans will eat.

Annotation: Of course, Throsby loves dogs. Yes, Crowded Bay is a doggy-off-the-leash zone. Yes, it was stupid to goad a pack of starved canines with freshly slaughtered fowl.

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