I had to go to Broadstairs and back at 10pm last night and aside from nearly mowing down a young 'hoodie', cycling without lights towards me on the wrong side of the road in Westbrook, offering me a cheery "F** off" and a single finger greeting in passing, I did notice something else unusual.
Between Cliftonville and Westbrook, in pockets, such as near Harold Avenue, the Winter Gardens, the harbour and the Nayland Rock there was an unusually high number of young people out with bull terrier breeds. What struck me was that these weren't owners out taking their dogs for an evening walk in the way that you or I might understand it but young men from their late teens to late twenties, seemingly 'hanging about' with their friends, some with two of these big dogs with the obligatory harnesses.
The RSPCA in Kent reported last week that they were being overwhelmed by the numbers of dogs of this type of breed now being abandoned and what struck me in passing was that the dog owners were young, quite possibly unemployed and likely to feel the full force of the budget cuts yet to come.
On Friday, I noticed an unusual variation on the guide dog training theme, when I walked with my own small dog to the bank in Margate. On the promenade at Westbrook by the crazy golf, there were two of our more colourful 'recovering' alcoholics out for a stroll, one drinking a can of Stella and the other from a bottle of Whiskey. They were being guided along the seafront by a magnificent American bull-terrier, straining at its harness and of the three, the only one that was even faintly sober!