It's not been the best start to the month.
You don't go out for a peaceful Sunday afternoon stroll with your dogs in a sleepy semi-rural area and expect to become the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack.
Yet that's what happened to me three days ago.
The day started out well. It was my stepdaughter's 19th birthday. She'd had ten friends staying over in the living room in sleeping bags. As chaotic as this sounds, and given that a fair bit of alcohol was involved, responsible Hannah ensured that no one got too incapacitated by also providing copious amounts of pizza. We heard more noise coming from our seven-year-old's DVD in the next room. Everyone left or was picked up by 10.30am and Hannah tidied up. Great.
Then just after 2pm I took two of our four dogs out. One of our pups had had his operation to get his boys' bits removed and so I left another of the pack behind to keep him company.
This is a nice walk along a road past fields and a few houses. After about 45 minutes it reaches a junction with a slightly more major road. I usually turn either left or right, walk up a little bit and then head back. This day I headed right. There's a row of eight houses here, only on one side of the road. I walked up the right hand side past open land (so I would be facing oncoming traffic), then crossed and headed back down past the houses.
As I walked past one property I noticed a man staring out of the window at me. He didn't look particularly happy but I thought nothing of it and carried on.
I walked past a piece of dog waste on the pavement and the next thing I knew I heard shouting from behind me. I turned to see it was the man who had been looking out the window, pointing out the poo and shouting at me to pick it up. From the outset, he was highly aggressive. In spite of this, I walked back towards the spot and tried to explain that neither of my dogs had left it. Of course they hadn't. I'm a responsible dog owner and an upstanding citizen. I told him that I always picked up poos and pulled poop bags out of my pocket to show him.
He didn't listen to a single bit of this and just kept screaming at me to pick it up, using some choice language. He also raised his fist in a threatening gesture.
At this point, a second, younger and heavier man ran out of the house and after a few seconds, punched me in the face. He was acting even more aggressive than the first man, but this still came as a shock. I then picked up the waste for fear of what else would happen to me.
The older man then told me that if I'd just picked it up, that wouldn't have happened to me. He then rolled up his trouser leg to show that one of my dogs had bitten him, as if he was the victim in the situation. I didn't notice, I was too busy getting assaulted. And what exactly do you expect?
I don't have a phone (it needs a new charger) so I walked almost an hour home with my nose dripping blood the whole way. My wife phoned the police as soon as I walked in and after speaking to them and going to point out the offenders' house we went to the local A&E. I knew I had a black eye, but it turned out I'd been punched hard enough to fracture my eye socket and break my nose. I've got appointments at two separate clinics for these.
I won't go into the ins and outs of the police investigation but we hope there can be a decent result despite the fact the culprits, who we suspect are related, have concocted a story to protect the assailant.
In terms of feeling insecure about it, well, I definitely am. My face feels sore and tight, I get recurring headaches and tire easily, and I haven't felt like working since the incident. Forgive me if I'm not online so much over the next little while, but I'll try my best to return all comments.
In the long run, though, I'm not going to let it affect how I live my life. Why should it? No, I won't walk the dogs on my own again, and no, I won't walk that way again. But I'm not going to be put off stepping out of my front door by the fact that people like this exist in the world, and two of them live in the same small town as myself. If I become afraid, then they'll truly have won. I'm hoping to get back to writing shortly. I don't want my schedule to be interrupted for too long.
Has anything like this happened to you? How did you deal with it?
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