I’ve been away on retreat (which is why I got special dispensation to delay blogging Janathon, honest!). Retreat – the idea is to take time out, rest, pray, and do what ever refreshes you. I’ll blog about it elsewhere, but on Day 9 I had a free afternoon and access to a Black Labrador. I had boots, a map, instructions for a four mile round trip across fields, a dog lead and a canine companion to go on the lead. Bliss.
Gracie and I set off ( I can’t find a photo of her, and I didn’t take one myself, but she is gorgeous). As a novice dog walker, I forgot to start Runkeeper, so can’t give you proper stats. She pulled me down the steep muddy track, and then once we were in the fields, I let her off the lead, and we played fetch with the limestones all over the top soil. She waited politely while I negotiated a stile, and when we got the gate, came back when called. I’d spotted a lady in the distance who turned out to be the owner of Enzo the German Shepherd. Enzo was huge, mostly black, looked as though he’d like to rip your kidneys out, and turned out to be as soft as butter. He came over to me and Gracie (safely back in the lead) and said hello very politely before we went our separate ways. Soft as butter…bit like the ankle deep mud all around both ends of the footbridge over the stream. Gracie ran off, I squelched and schlepped and slurped up the hill after her.
We had a difference of opinion over the correct direction at the top of the hill, and after going my way, we found Gracie was right. We walked up through the fields, and by this time the wind was getting up nicely and slashing the rain into our faces. We reached the furthest point from home, I put Gracie on the lead, and prepared to climb the stile out of fields on to the farm track. “Blimey O’Reilly” I said. “Blow THAT for a lark” I added.*
The farm track looked like a portion of cratered moon. Never mind ankle deep, we were looking at serious quantities of knee deep mud. So we turned round and went back the way we came, which had the advantages of pour backed being to the rain and wind, mostly downhill, and a known route so I didn’t keep having to check the map.
Gracie found an excellent piece of branch, which occupied us with fetch all the way back to the edge of the village. When I got back to the beautiful farmhouse where I was staying, I’m surprised they let us in. The wonderful housekeeper never turned a hair as she hosed down Gracie, and I let my boots in my car, walked in my socks to the door, and then barefoot to my room, where I too hosed myself down. Mud everywhere. My boots looked like this after two days drying out…
Distance: About 3.5 miles (Gracie probably did about 8 miles!)
Time: about an hour and a half
Time Gracie spent asleep after she got home: 2.5 hours
Time I spent in the shower warming up: ages!
*No of course I didn’t. I used to be an engineer. I used proper swear words, not wussy blog language.