Onto something a bit more cheerful.
No matter how much you love your dog, and how much you enjoy walking, the prospect of daily walks is not always as pleasurable as might be supposed. In the winter, and for most of the subsequent months of this year, dog walking has not been a favourite pursuit of mine. Snow, rain, gales and ice have dogged (ha ha) my steps and with hood pulled over eyes and low cloud, the scenery is not a comfort.
Now that the sun has decided to show its face occasionally and the scenery has begun to reveal its soggy beauty, Milo is a particular pain. His thick black coat means that he gets hot running after the ball and needs to cool off his bits in landmark puddles around the chalk meadow or the woodland paths we are lucky enough to have surrounding us. I think I have mentioned before the state of his coat and the inside of the car after he has indulged in a cooling dip.
This quarry is under constant threat. It is owned by a large building company and leased, at present anyway, to a local farmer. In order to manage the flowers the farmer must mow the field annually at the right time of year to stop the strong weeds from taking over. This year he couldn’t do it because the gate had been welded up. We know why, to stop travellers taking up residence, but nobody will admit to having done it so the flowers are in danger. Travellers are the other threat to this small piece of paradise. Because we live at the junction of three counties, they take up residence quite often, it being easy for them to move to another county just up the road as required. The trouble is that the travellers have little respect for the values most of us have. When they arrive at the quarry field they plough through the flowers leaving tyre tracks right across the middle. Last time they went round again for good measure. They then set up camp, their dogs threatening ours, their children riding bikes and quad bikes through more flowers and their poor old horse tethered to a stake come rain or shine. Worse still they distribute their rubbish and excrement among the hedges and trees. This of course must be cleared away when they have been moved on. In my previous entry I talked about the tolerance our diverse society instills in us all. I have to admit, in my case, this doesn’t stretch to the travellers, sorry. Here are a couple more dog walk pictures, looking over to the hills across the Windmill Field.