I adore city life and hate it in equal measure. In Portsmouth I love the fact that everything I need is in walking distance, the variety of places you can visit and the fact that you have decent internet connections. At the same time I hate the claustrophobic atmosphere, the lack of natural open spaces and the urban-ness of it all. I guess that’s thanks to growing up in a village by the sea.
Since having had Monty though, I have begun to love the all the things the city has to offer – even the things I once deemed annoying or depressing. Due to walking the Monster I have really started to get a feel for the every day lives of people. You see the most random things and end up in place you never would have seen if it wasn’t for the need of interesting dog walks. Hilsea Lines, Eastney Beach, Milton Common are all utterly beautiful spots. I take detours round random streets I would never normally walk down and discover beautiful house and quirky little streets I never knew existed.
Best of all having a giant puppy attracts a lot of attention from people on the street. Even those few people that ignore Monty swiftly get blocked by him sitting in front of them and smiling; desperate for a bit of eye contact and a rub on his head (whether anyone likes it or not). Generally you’ll find a grumpy looking commuter will stop in their tracks and smile due to the random cheerful encounter.
The other day I saw a full spectrum of people and situations while walking. There was the uni student who was walking towards me and Monty who gave me the loveliest smile when she saw how happy Monty looked; total stranger – huge smile – cheered me right up. Then there was the kid who almost ran round a corner into me before pegging it back to his dad and brother – most likely scared by a 34kg puppy bearing down on him. As the dad got closer with both kids in tow I kept Monty sat down on their far side. The dad thanked me and both kids, though a little nervous looking still couldn’t hide their intrigue. They stopped to say high while Monty just waited there.
And then there was crazy Amy. You may know Amy by her real name (I don’t know sadly), she is the crazy lady with brown hair that is often on Fawcett Road singing. She is always drunk but normally very friendly as she begs for cash. Sadly on this occasion she wasn’t even in as good a state as that. As I ended up on my home stretch I thought I saw someone fixing a bike. As I got closer, I realised that there was a bike but also two people on the floor. One was Amy, slumped on the floor mumbling drunkenly in a pretty horrific looking state. There was a beer can on the floor and a separate liquid that appeared to be coming from underneath her, across the pavement and into the gutter. Next to her was a man crouched down trying to help her. Monty will always stop in these situations. The more awkward the better. Amy tried to say high to Monty as she normally does but she could barely even move. She just sat their – half moaning half mumbling reaching out to Monty. I asked the guy if he needed help but he said he was OK. I made my apologies and left them but I had to drag Monty away from them in the end – he just wanted to sit and say hi I guess. Either that or he wanted the beer.