In the space of 3 minutes, I saw two examples of why Britain is such a lovely place...
I walked down to the shops to find out why we hadn't received the paper and as I got to the end I saw two slack jawed yokels with two shaggy German Shepherds. One of the yokels as half-heartedly apologising to Fatmir, the owner of the shop. "I didn't know she was going to take a shit. I haven't got any doggy bags." I reached the men and saw at least four dollops of sticky dog crap; one of them had been stepped in and smeared across the pavement. The spokesperson of the two men then went off into a rant to his cohort about how could he be so stupid as to let the dog take a shit there, he should have taken it round the corner and then proceeded to shout at the dog.
Fatmir had reappeared and I was walking past. He had a couple of carrier bags and some kitchen towel and he was handing it to lummox #1 who was reacting like he had a big snake thrust at him. "Give it to him," he said pointing at his even more dimwitted friend. Lummox #1 then continues to shout at the dog, but Fatmir stops him and says that it is not the dog's fault, so lummox #1 starts shouting at his mate, who by this time was on his hands and knees scraping up dogshit from the path.
I turned and head to my destination.
In front of me were two young mothers, probably in their mid 20s. They had the obligatory tracksuits and bling and were both wielding pushchairs. Behind them was a child about 5; he had a face like thunder and had obviously been told off. Outside of my newsagent is one of those metal National Lottery standees; the kind with the heavy concrete bases. These things are difficult to move, but the kid tries to walk up the face of the advert, bending in further and further. Both women look at the boy, say nothing and continue to walk towards the dimwits and their dogshit. The boy succeeds in almost crumpling the sign and the owner of the shop comes out and says something. Suddenly both women have swivelled on their heals and are shouting at the newsagent; calling him a 'Paki bastard' and what's he complaining about, as the sign stood there at at 45 degree angle.
My newsagent pointed at the sign, but receives nothing back but blank looks, both women then burst into a fit of giggles and the little brat pretends he's superman in front of the newsagent and runs off. He looks at me and I shook my head. What do you do? What can you do?
I got my paper and walks back home. As I got to the shit-stained shop front, I saw Fatmir deep in discussion with lummox #1, but there was no sign of his dimwit accomplice. I rounded the corner and there he was, strapping the female dog with the handle of the lead. Now, I'm essentially a coward, but I do not accept anyone being cruel to a dog and I suddenly get more courage than is worth. I said very calmly, "Oi mate. Stop hitting the dog, okay?" He turned and looked at me and was about to say something, but I smiled, not a pleasant smile. "She was a bad dog. She should-un shit there." I looked at him, bent down and stroked the two dogs who both looked scared stiff. Stood up and said, "They shit where you let them. Remember that. Don't hit the dogs again." And I walked off and I didn't even get that adrenaline rush you get from confrontations.