Brief Encounter

I’d only been walking the dog for a few minutes when I saw, beneath the spring-blossoming tree by the grass verge, a man walking towards us. It was, as my wife affectionately refers to him, the Happy Drunk.

Living alone and often under the influence (but no harm to anyone), sometimes you’d hear him singing aloud on his way home in the evening. Other times he’d be ruminating to himself, completely unaware of your presence. This was early morning though, and he took us in as our individual journeys brought us together.

“That’s a beautiful dog. Is it a spaniel?” he asked.

“Yeah, he’s a Welsh Springer Spaniel.”

“A Welsh Springer? I didn’t know that, I just know a spaniel when I see one. There are different ones, aren’t there?”

“Yes, the English ones are more popular but I think these are better looking dogs. The English Springers are a little bigger, with flat heads instead of these domed ones, and Welshies are always this red and white colour whereas the English ones can be different.”

“Ah, I’ll never remember that,” he replied dismissively. “I just love spaniels. What’s his name?”

I was going to mention that we’d wanted a Welsh name for a Welsh dog and so I’d (half-jokingly) proposed Tom (Jones) and (Katherine) Jenkins, but decided to play it safe and keep it simple. “He’s called Bryn.”

Mishearing, he ruffled the dogs head delightedly. “Fire and brimstone, eh? Fire and brimstone.”

Then we went our separate ways, Bryn throwing a brief, curious glance over his shoulder, the Happy Drunk’s musings turning Biblical.

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