Monday, 29 November 2010

Monday 29th November

Greetings to anyone who is still out there, from this small village.
While I haven’t completely forgiven Verity for being rather blunt with me last week, I suppose I have come round to the idea that people don’t want to read about me ranting about parking charges in the nearby towns.  Mind you, if they started charging for parking here, there’d be a bit of a riot!
It’s been quite a busy week since I last wrote, quite a lot of it not taking place in the village, so I won’t bore you with the details.  However, one entertaining item has occurred, and whilst I recognise that it *could* take place in a town with a pond, it happened here.
We have a couple of areas of woodland.  One, round the back of our house, has been there for ages, probably before the Enclosures Acts.  The other is known as Millennium Wood as it was planted to celebrate the millennium i.e. it’s been there since 2000.  It was previously a field, without being the sort you might encounter in Kansas, so the wood’s not massive, although the trees have now grown sufficiently that you could get lost with a little effort.  It does take a little effort as the wood has become a popular destination for dog walkers, in part doubtless because of the dog-poo bin just by the entrance, and so the path is relatively well trodden.  Or pawed.  Either way.  There is also a pond, with a small island in the sort-of middle where the ducks can nest (and do), and a bench where you can sit to admire the view across the pond to the island and try and spot the ducks.  In the correct season, there is fishing there as well, but you need a licence.  You can probably tell that I’m not a fishing aficionado but there are definitely signs up that warn of dire consequences for those fishing without licences.
Anyway, on with the item.  Not having a dog, but wanting a breath of fresh air and a brisk walk to counteract the effects of the biscuit-tasting sessions, I went for a walk this weekend around the wood.  It was relatively early, I suppose, with frost still crisping the leaves that were clinging onto their branches for another few days at most.  Some of the muddy ruts were a little hard to navigate, frozen solid as they were, but on the whole, it was pleasant.  I had taken the route that finishes by the pond, my ‘brisk’ constituting an amble for those who had to walk the dog more than once and would quite like to get back indoors, thank you very much, and I had nearly reached the end when I was overtaken first by a speeding spaniel, quite a remarkable sight in itself, and shortly afterwards by a less-speeding owner.  He looked vaguely familiar from the pub, I think, but on this occasion he was calling out, “Gertie – puff – Gertie – puff – wait – puff” (etc.) as he made his vain attempt to catch up with the excited dog.
Just as I rounded the bend, the pond, the dog and the owner all came into view.  Gertie had clearly stopped to check out an interesting smell in a clump of grass right at the edge of the pond, her owner had bent down to clip the lead back onto Gertie’s collar, and the pond was just being the pond.  And coldly so.   At that moment, something else – possibly a bird, possibly me – startled Gertie and head aloft, she shot off in the opposite direction from the pond.  Her owner, who it should already be clear was not up to the same level of fitness as Gertie, fell over.  Backwards.  Into the pond.
I smirked.  Sorry, but it’s true.  I may not be allowed to be entirely truthful about everyone else in the village, but I don’t see the point in glossing over myself.  Fortunately for the owner, the pond is not deep.  He sat up almost immediately, dripping wet and slightly muddy, and glared at me. 
“Sorry,” I muttered, and tried to slink past so that I could laugh in peace.
“You could at least try and catch the bloody dog for me!” he called after me as I broke into a gentle trot en route to home and hilarity.
I know, it was cold, it was wet, it was muddy, it was possibly slightly painful and it was certainly injurious to self-esteem, so I shouldn’t laugh.  But most importantly, it wasn’t me!  Tee hee!

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