Childish excitement…

IMAG3288Hands up those of you who can honestly say you don’t sneak the occasional conker into your pocket at this time of year. I’m sure I’m not the only adult who still gets a little thrill finding a new glossy brown conker on the ground – a split-second regression to playgrounds and autumns past…

My dog-walking coat is currently playing host to a small collection – I start off intending to bring them into the house for a seasonal arrangement, but somehow the coat stays in the car for days on end and finally when I pull them out, they’ve started to shrivel.  (There ought to be a message there I feel sure – choose your own).

But although I get very excited finding conkers, I really prefer acorns. There’s something about all that pent-up energy, sitting in its own, beautifully crafted cup, that delights me every year.

Annoyingly, acorns also appear to be the current weapon of choice of our bushy-tailed tree-dwelling terrorist friends (AKA squirrels). Once again the delinquent dog and I are having to sprint through the worst of the danger zones, checking overhead for any signs that the little devils are preparing to attack.

Who said walking the dog was boring…





Squirrel Attack…

My advice is this – if you go down to the woods today – wear a hard hat.

They're up there, watching...
They’re up there, watching…

I’m used to trying to squirrel-spot before the Delinquent Dog does, because experience has taught me that if I don’t, I risk having my arm detached from the shoulder as he races towards them on the end of the lead. This has rewarded me with several good laughs, as I’ve watched Mr Nutkin and friends deliberately cross the paths in front of us, taunting the boy with their agility. Sometimes I’ve noticed that a pair will go in one direction and another will whizz round behind him.

Fortunately the poor boy misses most of them as he’s too busy sniffing the doggy Facebook notifications (trees), but we do get the odd attempt to climb trees – I keep telling him not to bother – it only encourages the squirrels to do it more, and let’s face it, even if he wasn’t on a lead, he’s hardly built for climbing, but he takes no notice.

What the Delinquent Dog thinks of squirrels...
What the Delinquent Dog thinks of squirrels…

But lately the squirrels have definitely upped the ante, not content with driving him wild and taunting him from the branches, they’ve now started bombarding us with missiles (bits of tree). At first I thought it must just be the wind, but now it’s happening on calm mornings, and with far too great a frequency to be a coincidence. And the force with which some of these cones hit the ground makes me grateful they haven’t yet quite managed a direct hit.

I listened out his morning after another incident and I could almost swear I heard a snigger from up above.

Of course you can’t see the little devils up there in the tree canopy, you’d have more luck trying to find Edward Snowdon in a Russian airport, but I know they’re there, plotting their next evil deed.

So be warned – wear something protective, but on no account wear anything that could resemble a target from above – we don’t want to help improve their aim.

Happy walking in the woods…



Blue haze…


Earlier in the week, before the downpour set in, I’d noticed the bluebells were out in the wood where I walk the delinquent dog most mornings.

Taking photographs whilst simultaneously holding a schizophrenic dog on his lead and keeping a 360 degree watch for the approach of other dogs, squirrels or similarly tempting small furry animals, is quite a skill.

So it wasn’t until this morning that I finally managed to snap a few pictures.



Corny perhaps, but I still get a thrill when I see patches of bluebells through the trees.


But the most memorable part of the walk today wasn’t something I could photograph – it was the smell. After 36 hours of heavy rain, followed by a couple of bursts of bright warm sunshine, the smells through the wood and in the fields seemed intensified, more eau de parfum than eau de toilette – almost heady.


I love spring when it’s behaving itself.





Walking Meditations & Whiplash

Ever since the girls got too big to want me to walk to school with them, I’ve found myself spending more and more time indoors, when what I really need, is to get out into the fresh air and go for a walk.

The canal banks are bursting into life

Now I know it really isn’t difficult to put your shoes on and head off into the country, especially as we live on the edge of the Grand Union Canal, but I’ve struggled with doing it regularly. Until now, because as of last week, we have a dog!

I have now been out for at least four miles a day, every day for a week and I love it.

I’m not sure that I’m much fitter yet, and if he decides to jerk the lead as hard as he did this morning (well he had just spotted his new best friend across the field), I might need a neck brace – talk about whiplash, if I’d been in the car, I could probably have made a mint.

But the very act of getting into the fresh air is doing wonders.

Knowing that he needs a good walk, I’m scheduling my time to fit everything in – that helps me feel purposeful.

Every day, I’m meeting new people, and it’s true that more people speak to you when you have a dog with you.

And perhaps, for me, best of all, is that I can now tune back in to the rhythms of nature. I’ve understood for ages, that I respond closely to the changing seasons, but walking outdoors every day, even for such a short time, is already reminding me, how much happens in nature while we get on with out daily lives.

This morning’s highlights were the moorhen with her chicks, and the yellow irises, beginning to bloom at the edge of the canal.

ALmost everything I’ve read over recent years about meditation, mentions walking meditation. Well, this might not be a true walking meditation, but it is certainly spiritually uplifting and I’m delighted to embrace the effect.