Then again, placebos work don’t they?

The wind is something else in St Andrews today, so no cycling, I am still ploughing my way through Mark Beaumont – the man who cycled the world, Like mark I have been doing it in legs rather than in one go.

Now, anyone who rides a bicycle will know that dogs, especially in the country are very keen to protect their property from passers-by – cyclists in particular. Mostly they will be safely behind a garden fence so all bark and no bite. However, any dog that is on the loose may well run out and attack your wheels. It is believed that the noise of the air passing over the spokes of the bicycle wheel, is what causes them to get their dander up, this to a dogs is would seem is akin to chalk scratching across a blackboard is to a child.

Don’t tell the RSPCA but when your we had an 18″ bicycle pumps lived down the down-tube of our bicycle, a wee tap on the nose with said bicycle pump did the business, but don’t, whatever you do, stick out your leg to kick the dog, that is an open invitation for the dog to have a go at your leg.

Something far worse than a dog attacking your wheel is a goose, when I lived in the borders I would have to pass a particular farm going over the Dreiva Road, that was protected by a rather aggressive goose. This goose hatted cyclists with a passion,

boy did you have to move fast to get out of its way. But I diverse.

It was interesting to read that when Mark reached Istanbul he received in the collection of goods sent to him from his mother in Scotland. Something he never expected, it was an electronic gismo that sent out a signal, unheard by humans, but audible to dogs, and the noise that dogs heard would send them to flight. Mark thought he would try it out on the local stray dog population, of which there seems to be many wandering around the streets of Istanbul. It did not work, the dogs simply stared back at him, (then maybe there was a language problem, the Turkish dogs did not understand what they were supposed to do.)

The reason it amused me was my next-door neighbour, only a day or so after moving in, high jacked me in the corridor to ask if I was having trouble with mice?

“I have been awake half the night thinking about mice, I’m sure I hear them running around in the roof” she said.

It was autumn so I said possibly she heard a field mouse they will come indoors when the weather starts turning colder. They will not be in the house but in the soffits or roof space, I assure her. Field mice are tinny they will not do any harm and will be gone by the spring.

The other day Agnus had me in to hang a really large picture and a curtain rail, I needed a plug socket for my drill. The one nearest had some sort of device inserted into it with the obligatory LED light glowing, not sure what it was, so asked

“Is it OK if I remove this from the socket?”

“Yes” came the answer “It’s there to scare away any mice that may be in the house, it sends out a signal that scares them off”.

I could not help but wonder if – like Mark’s dog scarer the marketing bumf was greater than its usefulness. Then again placebos work don’t they?

The wind that had plagued us this morning had abated by late afternoon and because it is light until after nine in the evening it was possible for me to put in a few miles – just out to Strathkinness and home, but I felt better having put in the effort.

I was coming through the library when I was called back, it was a couple from upstairs, they don’t look old, still, in their 60s I would have thought, but clearly, he is not well, they were coming from the laundry and her husband had to stop and sit down to catch his breath, he looked wan and pale. They had been heading for the lift. When I went over to where he was sitting, he immediately started singing our praises for the work we were doing in the garden. I told them, yes, the girls are putting in a lot of time and effort and how I’m only the labourer. Still, it is good to know that they are appreciating the work that has been done. I am looking forward to when it all starts to blossom, although it may be a year or two before the hardy perennials, such as the Delphiniums and Lupins look their best since they were grown from seed and have not long been planted out in their permanent flowering position. Another good day.  

Stay safe.

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