The Dogginator and I went walkies in the south Cotswolds yesterday. It’s our pleasant routine to visit on a Sunday and naturally the Dogginator’s exuberance requires that she gets the same amount of exercise as usual.
There are many options, from a visit to the local High Street to more rural adventures. This week’s choice was country lanes and the Dogginator showed her approval with the kind of enthusiasm only a spaniel can muster. Two years’ of puppy training haven’t been wasted. Well, not entirely! Maybe it was the stormy conditions, with the wind blowing a houlie, as my Scots cousins say, but the casual observer might have thought we were participating in some new kind of dog-sled racing, sans sled.
My intentions included photographing and recording the natural environment, the better to entertain my loyal reader. Which would have worked much better if I had remembered my camera. With pockets full of dog treats, bags, training whistle, gloves and more, I’m afraid it was overlooked. So my observations will be painted for your delectation by means of words alone.
My first observation was the snowdrops blooming in several gardens along the route. The snowdrop is a delicate bloom, botanical name Galanthus, from the Greek meaning milk flower. Winter flowering heathers and jasmine add cream, purple and yellow to the mix. Our path took us along the route of a stream, gushing wildly towards the distant river Severn with an ambition that was to be admired. Above our heads, trees thrust bare branches accusingly skyward, as if fearful for their very existence in the stormy conditions. We thrust our hands into our pockets (well I did), headed into the wind and made for the countryside.
Heading out of town, the lanes were muddy after recent rains and it wasn’t hard to track down evidence of the local population of 4x4s, tractors and horses. The latter are a particular favourite of the Dogginator but I won’t say why, out of consideration for your delicate sensibilities, dear reader. The people of the south Cotswolds are hardy types and there were plenty of greetings and much wagging as we encountered other Sunday strollers out enjoying the greenery and the fresh air. No ‘vegetables for sale’ or ‘pick your own’ signs at this time of year. The only activity was a man proving the theory that trees warm you twice if you chop the wood yourself. Thinking of our wood burner, I cast an envious eye at the pile of branches he was reducing to firewood.
It was a bracing outing and the Dogginator and I retired to the warmth indoors by the wood burner, satisfied. Well, one of us did!