12 July 2011

A dog walk of rhubarb and cat-astrophes

Most of the time I love village life.  Quiet(ish) roads. Fabulous scenery.  Lots of open space.  Pleasant dog walks and plenty of poo bins! Chatty neighbours and a sense of calm and chance to unwind at the end of a hectic day.

Our village playing field
On other days it can really irritate me.  People who don’t cut their hedges back – making it impossible for me and the hounds to walk on the pavement, without emerging with scratches.  Roaming village dogs – with a tendency to poop wherever they like.  The looney drivers who seem to think the 30 miles speed limit doesn’t apply to them.

Tonight though, I was reminded why village life is great.  At the moment, I’m walking the hounds in two shifts.  Since Mina’s had her toe amputated, and the dressing has only just come off, I’m building up the duration of her walks.  It doesn’t seem fair to take her to the playing field where Stevie and Jasper can run off lead and where she’d have to watch from the side lines.

Shift one of the dog walk duties (Stevie and Jasper) had been completed and Mina and I embarked on shift two.  I thought we’d have a quiet walk – just the two of us – with Mina stopping and sniffing all the pee-mails she’s missed over the last eight weeks…however, I was mistaken, as Tula, our cat, decided to join us!

We’d only just managed to cross the road when I heard the tinkling of Tula’s bell and saw her crossing the road to join us.  I picked her up and crossed the road again and put her in our front garden and then re-crossed the road to start our walk.

Tula takes root in the garden
Who was I kidding?  In a few seconds I heard the unmistakable sound of Tula’s bell coupled with the sound of oncoming traffic.  I tried to call her to me but she was having none of it and was sitting very serenely in the middle of the road, with no intention of moving.  Cue for me to step out into the oncoming traffic in the style of a demented Traffic Cop/Lollipop Lady and put my left hand out to stop the traffic.  My right hand was holding onto Mina’s lead very tightly and once the traffic had stopped, my left hand managed to scoop up Tula.  Heaven knows what it must have looked like to the approaching drivers – a greyhound and cat nose to nose, with a mad woman picking up the cat.

After this escapade Tula was put back in the house and the cat flap locked, so she could not follow us again.  Mina and I set off again to complete the walk, with Mina stopping every 10 steps or so to catch up on the important and aforementioned pee-mails.

Mid-way into our walk we passed Arthur’s house.  Arthur reminds me of my much loved and dearly departed Granddad - he’s in his 80s, lives by himself, grows his own veg and always has time for a chat when we pass by.

Tonight was no exception.  On our way back, Mina and I stopped and had a quick chat (well I chatted, Mina looked up adoringly for a fuss) and before I knew it my spare hand was carrying a bag full of home-grown rhubarb.  All in exchange for a chat and the promise of a small rhubarb crumble as way of thanks.

If only Mina was called Roobarb and Tula was known as Custard – it would have been a real life version of one of my favourite children’s cartoons.
Mina does her best Roobarb impression
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