Sunday 31 March 2013
If you go down to the woods today
We're staying with family down South. It being Easter Sunday, they've gone toddling off to Church. Leaving me to walk the dog. As someone who has two cats I've never really got dogs. They're dumb creatures, everyone knows that. Cats are intelligent. Everyone knows that too. So it's on with the lead (mutt), on with the wellies (me) and off to the woods we go. The dog, it would appear, has to stop at every tree, every puddle and sniffs at every gate. And this is before we're out of sight of the house. But we soon get into our stride and the dog has adopted the role of pacemaker.
After a run-in with an old boy struggling to keep two hounds in check (I wind in the tape measure style lead) and the dog and I are flying. So much so that I decide to go off piste: 'We're going this way', I tell the dog, with not a clue to where this way leads to. Thirty minutes later and I get the distinct impression we're walking 'round in circles. We reach a clearing and we can go one of two ways. I go with my instinct but know, deep down, we're going the wrong way. An hour later and we're lost; how can that be? We're within earshot of the M25 and under Heathrow's flight path. I knew I should've joined the fair weather flock and gone for a bit of a pray. 'Which way now?' I ask the dog in desperation. And then, picking up on the fact that I'm not familiar with these parts, he takes the reins (literally) and, within minutes, has dragged me clear of the woods and on the return path to his owners' gaff. Dumb animals? Not this one.
Back at base the family return with their souls cleansed. 'Good walk?' they inquire. 'Great' I say, winking at the dog.