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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Shaggy dog tale


I think I inadvertently managed to disrupt some dogging this evening.  I don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed.
We had a fairly clear run down the M4 from London with Thomas asleep for pretty much the entire journey, and Ben kicking his feet and making happy noises for once.  I stopped for petrol at the last services as I interpreted the media’s exhortations to avoid panic buying of fuel as “Panic!  All fuel will soon disappear!” and I felt I should indulge in a spot of running around and waving my arms. 

There were, disappointingly, no hordes of frantic motorists trying to loot Leigh Delamare Services.  There wasn’t even a queue.  Well, there wasn’t a queue when I arrived.  There was a queue when I left but that might have had something to do with the fact that I accidentally paid for someone else’s petrol and the cashier had to give chase across the forecourt before trying to undue the transaction with the aid of a calculator and a pencil.  In my defence, his car looked very like mine. 
Okay, so it didn’t look like mine.  It was a different make, model and colour and considerably cleaner, but it had four wheels, a bumper and some windows so it was an easy mistake to make.

Unfortunately the delay at the services gave Ben just the extra time he needed to copiously fill his pants and start complaining about it.  Within five minutes he had worked himself into the kind of crescendo of fury that Ghengis Khan would have thought a little over-dramatic and we had to find somewhere to stop urgently. 
The only place I could think of was a picnic site on the road into Bath.  It has nice views and I thought that I could change him and feed him while admiring the sunset.  Yes, there are rumours about the use to which this picnic site is put after dark but I figured there really couldn’t be that much dubious activity going on at quarter to seven on a weekday evening. 

That being the case, there seemed to be an awful lot of middle-aged men sitting on their own in cars, not, as far as I could tell, admiring the view.  We parked and I retrieved the screaming, flailing baby and got out of the car to change him on the back seat.  Cars kept pulling up alongside us and then reversing rapidly to the other side of the car park.  When I got back into the driver’s seat to feed Ben this pattern continued.  A car would pull up, the driver would look at us before disappearing backwards across the car park.

It would seem that dogging starts early on nice evenings. 
Or it would, if it wasn’t being scuppered by the presence of the random woman and the two small children.  I did consider letting Thomas out to wander round, asking “What you doooing, that man?”

In fairness, I wasn’t the only party pooper there.  The elderly gentleman taking photographs of the pretty sunset might also have been putting a bit of a dampener on things. 
Eventually we got ourselves sorted and headed off.  I resisted the urge to give the patiently waiting would-be doggers a cheery wave and left them to whatever it is that they do.

For obvious reasons there are no photos for this blog-post....

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