When Zella Met Tommy

As I sit journaling insights into last weekend’s campervan adventure, a constant pinging emanates from the kitchen area. The distracting sound venturing through the office door ‘ole, joining Barnsley Road traffic noise as an accompanying audioscape to my penmanship.

I have narrowed down the source of this audible alert to receipt of a stream of text messages, or my microwave is currently suffering an epileptic fit. With the microwave being thorough with its epileptic medication regime, though, I’m edging towards the former.

Footnote – For the uninitiated, a door ‘ole is the expression my partner Sarah uses instead of doorway… A term which, when delivered in her broad West Yorkshire accent, is almost poetic in its oration.

Incidentally, I am not demeaning epileptic attacks in the above lukewarm gag. The joke was at the microwaves expense, not mocking affliction by the neurological disorder… Cue a bunch of complaints from individuals supporting microwave rights!!

Being a man who hates wasting food or drink, I am irked to have just thrown away four pints of milk. My lax checking of ‘use by’ dates resulting in the product turning sour, and thus unusable. 

It may seem a minor thing to many, however, watching the dairy product surging from the almost full bottle into the plug hole (or plug ‘ole as Sarah would say) really put my nose out of joint. My discontentment mixed with thoughts of hoping the sink was not lactose intolerant.

Anyhow, onto todays blog topic… Last weekend’s campervan sojourn to a site located on the boundary cusp of east and north Yorkshire. A venue situated in a particularly scenic village, Stamford Bridge, almost equidistant between my Wakefield flat and Bridlington, on the east coast.

My companions on this jaunt being Sarah and her adorable German Shepherd dog Zella. A creature beautiful inside and out; so divine I defy anyone not to fall in love with her upon making the girl’s acquaintance… Incidentally, that is Zella not Sarah.

Our two-night stay sadly cut short to one due to unforeseen circumstances, meaning we had to postpone our Friday night stopover. That being said, the thirty hours or so in these tranquil surroundings soon removed any angst borne from losing our first night of camping.

On Sunday morning, after taking Zella for a walk around the local weir, I sat on the well-kempt grass adjacent to the campervan with mug of coffee in hand soaking in the serenity. 

In bright sunlight, I concluded this tranquil back to nature was just about as good as it gets as an environment of calm. 

As I scanned the landscape, including the weir and distant molehills, I took the latter to be a metaphor for my soothing nature of the surroundings. By that I mean, the worst thing in my life at that instance were easily to overcome molehills. There was not a burdensome mountain in sight.

Zella loves these countryside venues. Her walks seeing her bombing off in zigzags as one scent after another catches the furry one’s attention. Although heartwarming to see her verve, this trait can be quite annoying for the leash holder. Who spends a good part of the wander unravelling legs from a lead which constricts their pins like a squeezing anaconda.

Our campervan trips also give Zells opportunity to see and hear other animals and birds in the countryside. Creatures she rarely (if ever) witnesses around her normal domain in the Ossett suburbs. Among them sights of sheep, cattle, and game, evoking looks of intrigue, but never leading to malicious or confrontational behaviour.

This weekend the enchanting canine came face to face with a creature she had never seen before. This new sight and smell coming in the shape of a tortoise. An eccentric, but quirky, pet of one of our fellow campers.

Zella’s reaction upon witnessing this little shelled fella as it shuffling along in her general vicinity was priceless. The loveable mutt looking as confused as a Donald Trump MAGA supporter being asked to count to ten.

As I am not fluent in German Shepherd, I have no idea what she made of the reptile. Maybe Zells thought “Blimey, that’s a big snail!” (Zells has seen numerous snails) … Or perhaps mused “Flipping heck, that is the slowest creature I have seen since watching Harry Maguire playing football for England!”

It must be said, though, the fearless little creature seemed unfazed to be in the company of an animal significantly larger and with sharper teeth… Which, as Tommy tortoise doesn’t possess tooshies, is not difficult

Incidentally, ‘Tommy Tortoise’s Tooshies’ sounds a great alliteration heading for a kid’s book; I’ll keep that potential future writing project in my back pocket … Although, as these wee reptiles don’t have teeth, perhaps it would be as ridiculous as penning a tome about a shark with a poor dental regime titled ‘Gary the Great White’s Gums’… However, as that genre of prose affords carte blanche when it comes to artistic licence, who knows.

Anyhow, Zells was mystifying about this little creature which headed towards her with the bravery of a lion and stature of a …. Errrr… Well, tortoise.

To be honest you cannot blame the delightful dog for its confusion as little legs wandered slowly towards her. I guess I would be the same upon witnessing an animal I had never seen before. I don’t know what that creature would be, but (off the top of my head) I am thinking a minotaur like being with the head of Richard Madeley and the body of a zebra… That would freak the hell out of me I can tell you… Especially if its conversation mirrored that of Madeley!

Sensing that Zella was a little unsure of what was playing out in front of her, the tortoises’ owner picked it up before it invaded her space any further. Not happy at this removal from terra firma, Timmy tortoise frantically wriggled all four legs as if to stroppily berate “Put me down, I see dog treats!”

Footnote – With him being a herbivore, I suspect in reality Timmy would not want a dog treat… Especially, the dentasticks we took for Zells at the weekend. A hard snack that would have surely been a challenge too far for the tenacious wee fella.

In baking hot weather, Sarah and I decided not to venture offsite; instead opting to park the campervan in a cool shaded tree area, where we remained for the break’s duration. Understandingly, we were keen to keep the furry German Shepherd out of direct sunlit; ensuring her water bowl was topped up from a nearby standpipe.

Absorbing the pleasant temperatures in the shade, we sat outside Archie (our new awning), quaffing various alcoholic beverages, listening to music Sarah wanted to listen to (selfish mare!) and putting the world to rights; and occasionally to lefts.

As usual, there was plenty of laughter throughout. Including during a mad ten minutes when Sazza decided to use her Snapchat picture app filters to take pictures of me and her. 

Among the shots, a photo of me and her with long bushy beards, looking like rabbis, which I enclosed on a social media feed… The pic seeming to create much mirth and resulting in receipt of a request for me to undertake a friends bar mitzvah. 

Mid evening a torrential rainstorm belted down, proving Archie was mercifully waterproof. Sadly, though, Zells was even more disturbed by the thunder and lightning than upon clocking eyes on the tortoise. Although, as it was only a short storm, thankfully her suffering was not overly enduring.

Anyhow, a good couple of days were had by all. Onwards and upwards to the next campervan trip to Knaresborough in October.

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