Monday, 5 January 2009

Great Dane


In the farmhouse where we were staying in Yorkshire, lived two Great Danes: Pippy and Barney. This Barney could have swallowed our cat Barney whole, had he felt so inclined! Sadly, Barney the Great Dane is getting old and his back legs are weak and as a result he is not able to go out on walks with his sister any more. So when Kate took my children and Pippy for a walk, I suggested that I could take Barney for a little stroll up the path and back, just so he didn't feel left out.
As they left, he whined and whimpered, running from one window to another to see them go. I got out his collar and lead and he was very excited. I was pleased with myself for bringing him so much pleasure and we set off to enjoy the crisp, fresh air. We walked a little way and, mindful of his infirmity, I decided that was enough and it was time to come home. I had not reckoned with Barney's opinion! On relfection, he was clearly believed that we were going to find Pippy and, as we had not found her, we were not going home. He became an immovable object and nothing I could do would persuade him to start going again.
We could hear the voices of a family out for a walk. I wondered if the voices belonged to my husband and daughter, perhaps they were coming back before the others. Barney, too, thought they might belong to someone we knew. So we waited. Eventually a man and his three young sons came around the corner. I explained that I was stuck. However Barney, although these were not his people, was content to head back towards home with them. So for a few minutes we all walked along together until we reached their holiday home and they went in. Barney stopped again. Even with my full weight leaning on his lead I could not shift him. I shouted, ordered, cajoled, threatened and persuaded, all to no effect. Nothing I could do would make him move. I had visions of remaining on this cold Yorkshire hill until the others returned from their walk and I could be rescued. Eventually something shifted in Barney's brain and he set off at a sedate pace. We were a matter of minutes away from the front door!

Although it is not a metaphor I would want to stretch too far, the experience made me think of my Home Education 'walk'. The children do not always understand my motivation, and I do not always understand theirs. It is ineffective to try to force anyone to do anything against their will. Company can make it all so much more pleasurable. When we all want the same thing, how easy it is!

1 comment:

Jane D said...

Fab story Gaynor - I'm sure I could ponder some more on it, feeling rather Great Danish myself!