Sunday, 6 March 2016

A Bit of a Tumble - or Two!

New Territory
As today is Mother's Day and Sundays are always busy, we decided that yesterday was the best day to go and see my Mum and Dad in Stourbridge. Daniel has been decorating our house and wanted to do some more this weekend so, to save him the stress of Hugo and Pip helping him by texturing the paint work, we arranged to take them with us. We set off early, first stopping off at Minchinhampton Common so they were comfortable for the journey. The weather did not look very promising with the car temperature telling us there was an 'ice alert' but the further we drove up the motorway the clearer the skies became and the sun shone through. By the time we got to Granny and Granddads it was reading 6 degrees C.

Granny was ready and waiting for Hugo and Pip when we got there with big chewy treats so they quickly settled down on the carpet munching away while the grown ups had tea. As soon as the chocolate biscuits arrived though, all interest in their treats was gone when they could see something much more interesting on offer! After some persuasion they left the biscuits alone although I did
Lots of exciting new smells
see Granny sneaking them one each when she was clearing the cups away - she assures me they were only plain ones with no chocolate on.

After a very pleasant lunch Granny and I decided to take Hugo and Pip for a walk so we donned sturdy shoes, coats and hats and off we set. I have been hankering to do the couple of mile walk that we used to do most days when we lived at home which goes straight up the road from Mum and Dad's cottage, past the wood and then onto farm tracks around fields going round in a big square - locally referred to as 'the Birches' after the name of a big house which adjoins the fields. It has been many years since I have walked this route and I should at this point mention that my Mum has not walked very much at all of late as she has various back, hip and knee problems which make it painful but she was determined to come with me.

Hugo and Pip were thrilled to be exploring new territory, first the edges of the wood that join Granny and Granddad's garden where there were all sorts of
Miss Pip smiling
interesting smells and noises going on - the crows were particularly loud. Pip amused her Granny by showing great skill at cocking her leg very nicely when she wee'd and I did explain this seems to be an 'Akita thing'.

Once on the first farm track there were some really exciting runs caused by foxes and rabbits so Hugo and Pip had to explain each one, rushing up and down the banks where they led. The track then opens out and we come to the 'Twenty Acre' field which had recently been ploughed. There is a well defined pathway along the side of the field which has been used by countless generations of walkers but Miss Pip far preferred the nice soft earth of the lose soil and kept darting back and forth as far as her lead would allow. We met a few other walkers out with their dogs so we kept dodging into the gateways of other fields to let them go by. At the top of this field we turned right and started back down another field which was our half way point.

Again there were lots of new and thrilling smells and sounds and Miss Pip suddenly took off on one of her mad five minutes.
Pip kept going in to the field.
Unfortunately the ground in that particular spot was very muddy and was starting to slope down the field and although I am quite used to her tearing around on the end of the lead, this time she totally unbalanced me and I went flying! Down I went in the muddiest part of the field but, apart from being a bit shaken and covered in mud, I was unhurt - I think I landed on a poo bag which softened the fall! 
My main concern when I fell was to hang on to the leads otherwise Hugo and Pip would have been off on their own adventures. Mum
We love it here, Mum!
came hobbling over trying to help and picking up my hat which had flown off when I sprawled on the ground and plonking it back on my head, the wrong way round. Poor Hugo couldn't move as Madam had managed to loop the lead all round and between his legs so he was hobbled like a horse and I had to go and rescue him.

With somewhat battered dignity we set off again, Miss Pip totally unrepentant even though I told her off. As the field levelled out we decided to cut the corner and walk across the stubble. Obviously thinking this was some sort of game Miss Pip was off again, only this time circling us as she so often does with Hugo - I am fairly certain she knows exactly what she is doing - with her long lead trailing behind her. Well, of course, the inevitable happened and she managed to  go completely round Mum and I in a big loop. I could see it coming and although I did grab Mum to protect her the lead tightened round her legs and she crumpled up in a heap on the floor. All I could think of was broken hips or wrists but, very fortunately, the fall was a little bit like a controlled parachute landing and she rolled
Just before Miss Pip pulled me over!
down rather than fell hard and she was unhurt. Still, not a very nice thing for an 81 year old to experience. Needless to say, Miss Pip was not in the slightest bit worried and seemed very surprised when I shouted at her. Hugo just stood and remained calm so at least he was behaving himself.

The rest of the walk was fairly uneventful, apart from meeting more dogs that were off-lead but Hugo and Pip must have been getting tired by now and stood very nicely while they passed. As the weather was
What mischief can we do next?
rather unpredictable when we started out in the morning I had put some spare clothes in the car in case I got wet when we walked Hugo and Pip so at least I had something clean to change into when we got back to the cottage.

Hugo and Pip then settled down while the grown ups chatted until Granddad went and got a pot of pickled anchovies to show me - Hugo was very interested and although Granddad told him he would not like them he began to drool so Granddad broke him a piece off which he took - his nose wrinkled a little bit but he made short work of it and Pip also ate her offering. Hugo got his wish and a piece of pork pie was also forthcoming and they then both lay down for a snooze - Hugo on Granny's feet so she couldn't move and Pip making friends with Granddad.

More smells!
We had to laugh at Hugo on the journey home in the car. Pip was lying down asleep but he insisted on sitting up all the way back. Every time I looked in the mirror he was in exactly the same position but in different place in the car - he kept moving closer, like in that old children's game we used to call Creep, and then back but we never saw him do it.

Happy Mother's Day Mum (Granny to Hugo and Pip) - we had a lovely day albeit a bit of an adventure.

Mum still managing to walk after her
fall. Sorry about the photo Mum!