Busy busy day, into Barcelona to pick up the friends, but first get the little one ready for school. This initially began with a giant fit..."I won't go to school! I won't!! I WON'T!!!!" She did get ready, then part way through we realised that every single pair of pants that she owned were in the wash, wet. It has rained here for a couple of days, and as everything line dries....well, who would have thought that a child who had been sick for four days could have every stitch of clothing in the wash. Skipped school. As the elder was going to be staying home anyway....well they were here together. Stopped by the language school, two new classes, I think that's another 6 hours...lots more lovely lolly and it is in the day time too. YIPEE!
Anyway, once we all got back here and ate, the guests wanted to hit the beach. Fortunately the elder child was in good enough form for this, and it is downhill the entire way there, so off we went. Took Chuck the Suck with us too. Nice long walk, should be fun. Forgot about the car thing. To get from our town in the hills to the town down at the beach, there is only 1 road, and it goes under a highway, and there is not really a sidewalk, and it is four lanes of fast moving traffic. Not the most lovely of countrysides, and one designed to instill utter terror in the heart of every car-fearing canine. We got through that with only minor breakdowns. Then we had to walk around the round-about, and then a second. These are NOT pedestrian friendly, especially the second which was undergoing some construction and so also had no sidewalk. But we made it, the dog only trembling slightly. We got down to the beach, which has a four lane highway and a two lanes of train track, therefore an underpass. Like all good European underpasses, it smells like urine (men are disgusting) (sorry guys, but sometimes it's true). As we get up to the stairs for the underpass, a giant truck smokes by at the same moment that Chuck sees the stairs. Abrupt about face and retreat. I had forgotten about the stair thing, and that combined with the truck thing...well, lets say I wasn't sure that Chuck and I were going to be hitting the beach.
But we talked him into it. He was all happy on the other side....big beach, few people, occasional dogs, lots of space, no cars. Then he saw the sea. VERY SCARY! Sat down and looked at it, entire body trembling. Hmmm. We have a landlubber dog. Tremble tremble tremble. Turns his back and looks away still trembling. Stands up, tail clamped between his legs, and then lays down back to the sea leaning on the guest. Tremble tremble tremble. After about 45 minutes he was willing to look and not tremble, but was happy to go. Got a little sea glass, found a few shells, swung on some climbers, one child waded and discovered how cold it is, lovely if your not a dog.
Leaving the beach was fine, except a little complicated. We are not sure if the dog is allowed on the bus, and the last time he was in a vehicle he barfed from fear, so the dog on the bus is not a good option, but it is a long uphill climb home, and the eldest child has just emerged from her sick bed, so the guest and her child, and my two kids are going to take the bus back, and I'll walk the Chuckster. But the bus stop is about 20 minutes down a four lane highway - with sidewalks. Chuck is near heart-failure by the time we get to the stop, and I leave them there.
FINE and DANDY through town. No problemo. Then we get to the bridge. He remembers the bridge. He does not like the bridge. He keeps lying down and refusing to get up. Gradually we work our way, with many breaks for lying in the undergrowth, and encouraging patting until we are nearly at the bridge. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no way in heaven and earth that dog was going to walk under that bridge in the lane, while watching the traffic come towards him. Chuck of no pride had to be carried. Yup, wore him like a big old stole, head hanging down one shoulder and tail down the other, legs hanging down like a scarf. He seemed pretty content. I do have to say though that they must take the bones out of those stoles before those little old ladies drape them on 'cause that was a little heavy.
He was very cheery at the other side, tail up and waving, ears perked. Kept sitting down and looking at me helplessly as we climbed though. He was getting a little tired. Finally though we got into known territory and he perked up and we trotted home to a long doggy nap and a drink. The girls and guests ended up in a cab, and had passed us while I was bending in the long grass trying to convince his doggyness to keep on going and be a good brave doggie. Tonight the rest of us had dinner and chatted and made up beds and giggled and drew and generally enjoyed ourselves. A lovely time was had by all. Even Chuck the suck.