I’m lucky enough to live in the middle of the Army training areas on Salisbury Plain, which must be the best dog walking area in the country. On any given day (or night) you see little of the army, who are content for us to walk the open areas subject to observance of reasonable bylaws.
Here’s some reflections though;
When I’m in the middle of nowhere, I can - and do - weep loudly and shout. It does some good, but you never quite know if somebody is nearby, camouflaged or invisible in the dark. It happened once to Eileen, though she was only playfully chatting with her dog, and then saw a cammed-up Gurkha lying in a dip a few feet away. He smiled, she smiled back, it was a funny story. I think, though, that my behaviour may be thought to be that of a madman.
The dogs give me a reason to get up, go shopping, take exercise, and sometimes meet people. I can go to places where, at certain times, I know that I am likely to meet other walkers, but I will often choose to be alone (with the dogs). This isn’t always a good idea, as I find my mind churning with sad thoughts.
I was walking with friendly folk this morning, three humans and fourteen playful pooches.
We spotted a child, a little girl of about ten years, with two small dogs who understandably seemed a bit concerned at the approach of our galumping gang, and put her two on leads.
I called out to her, “What breed is your little white one ?” “Sealyham,” she replied. I then asked if it was boy or girl, got an answer, and I then asked for the dog’s name. “Bonnie” was the answer. “Oh, I have a granddaughter called Bonnie,” I said.
And that was it. Then my (female) human companion said to me, “You must be careful not to do that if you are on your own.”
Quite right, I suppose, and I was grateful for the advice, but it all left me feeling very glum. As an elderly, widowed man, am I at risk of being suspected of horrible things ?