Sunday, January 8, 2017
Be not deceived.
A cold, bright Sunday morning. Not a hint of wind. Bob and master head out of the front gate. We turn sharp left to the village green then left again down the old medieval ox track. For centuries cattle and humans have taken this route from the ridge to the stream. With time hooves and feet have carved a deep path into the soil. You can walk down here and be quite invisible to anyone in the fields on either side.
The first part of our walk ( where the trees cast their long shadows ) is frosty underfoot. Bob does forward rolls on the ice covered ground. Satisfied with his gymnastic prowess he turns to scooting his muzzle through the frozen grass. Finished, he stands and shakes the ice off his muzzle with, if his tail is any guide, great satisfaction. We watch a family of Jays with their blue, brown, white and black plumage. A combination of colours much loved by Scandinavian boutique hotels. Feathered, natural chic.
Further down the hill the tree line is thinner and the ground softer. Sometimes we walk in silence at other times I laugh at my companions uninhibited antics and call him 'daft'. We discuss British politicians. Last month they blamed their failings on the judges. This month its ambassadors. A bad workman always blames his tools. Bob is taught the old dictum ' Be not deceived. You shall reap what you sow '. This riposte would cheer me up were it not for the fact that it's not the politicians who will reap what's been sown. Bob of course has no idea what a lie is. Feigned innocence along the lines of '' Surely you don't think I ate the pork chops ?' yes; but lies, no.
We have to be careful as we leave the fields and enter the wood. The wild walnuts have shed their fruits which lie thick and black on the ground. Last year the vet saw eight dogs die from walnut poisoning. He had never seen the symptoms before but a specialist in Toulouse says that the warm weather and climate change is causing a fungus to develop inside the soft covering of the nut. This is toxic to dogs.
Then its the final leg of our journey before we hit the old Roman road and turn home. Bob paddles in the stream. He'd be leaping over the small waterfall in search of minnows if I'd let him but today he's on his lead. There are too many deer about and Sunday is a day when the hunters come out in force. Tomorrows papers will be full of stories of injuries or deaths from walkers being mistaken for deer and peppered with lead by distracted octogenarians.
So passes an hour with a loyal and determined family fellow. Not the stuff of high drama but in the greater scheme of things a walk with a dog is a gift of innocent happiness.