Dog walking and 'dancing cow' day.
Nearly every day I go for a wander with the dog. Often I hardly vary the route, because it’s easy to walk from the back door, and also you see a different view, every time; swallows and oyster catchers practising near death dives to warn us off; excitable copper coloured Limousin cattle tossing up their heels, joyous at being released into a tasty field, or as best selling author on the countryside, John Lewis-Stempel puts it more eloquently than myself… “the cows hooves’ throw up great divots, which blacken the sky like starlings”. Or ‘dancing-cow day’. Just as well that is not happening in such enthusiasm here as Nessie the Dog is nervous enough as it is.
She crawls along if she sees a cow. She turns her head the other way if it’s a sheep. She is ever surprised when a pheasant just tempting her on the ground suddenly – shock horror – spreads its wings, abruptly emerging as double in size, and takes off squawking. Very scary moment and time to run for the safety of my heels.
I often wonder who saw all these sights before, last year, last decade, last century. We stumble through smallish burns to reach one of my favourite areas, or there is a convenient bridge. Crossing the River Braan by bridge is fairly recent. The A82 our ‘main’ road was only built in 1832, and we might grumble about the potholes, but nothing compared with Beatrix Potter who drove her pony and carriage up here in the late 1880s. No tarmac then.
What did the road sound like then? We never hear horses clip clopping now. Only fishermen in their waders brave the river. It’s good to stop, stare and dream, as I say to the dog, puffing up the hill and pausing to ‘admire’ the view, but in truth to draw breath. I ponder far too much, with very few answers.
A few days ago I stumbled across a row of stones exposed before the grass really grows high to cover them. Why do some of these dry stone walls weave so erratically? To make it easier to avoid enormous stones? Some of the birch trees, a species not noted for a long life, have gnarled trunks. How I wish they could talk. On the other hand, I don’t want anyone chatting in my ear. It’s better to leave it all to the imagination, isn’t it?