Saturday Morning

I park the car on the side of the path, as close to the dry stone wall as I can, so that if any farm vehicles use the rutted and muddy track they will be able to get past.

Even before I get out of the car I am aware of the wind.

It tugs at the car and rocks it gently with a sudden gust. I remember to turn off the radio and push the door open and step outside. The wind sweeps off the hillside, pushing the low cloud, mist and fog ahead of it.

I walk to the rear of the car and shouting the command wait, open the tailgate. The dogs shuffle excitedly and once I have grabbed their leads I say OK and they both leap down. The wind makes them smart a little, their fur ruffled and sweep back in turn.

We head up the track, past the sign warning off CCTV cameras in operation. The Gabster is on a short lead today. She has a habit of trying to get over the wall to get closer to the sheep. The longer lead increases the chance of her getting free and I am not taking chances with her. Or the sheep for that matter.

Today Lilly is on a mission. She forges ahead and her excitement increases as we reach the low wall with its iron bar stile. The dogs get over effortlessly. It takes me a little longer and they are both tugging at their leads which does not help me.

I let Lilly off the lead and after a struggle that involves lots of nipping and trying to get the treats in my coat pocket, I manage to get the Gabster onto a long line and she bounces off after the green plastic stick that I have thrown a few feet away from her.

The smoky fine grained low cloud and mist blows through the gaps in the wretched wind wracked trees that line the top of the slope. All around me to the East and South, quarries have broken into the landscape. The cream coloured spoil heaps contrasts with the white and grey of the limestone cliffs.

Here Peregrines and Ravens make nests, raise their young and watch the seasons pass from their lofty precarious citadel.

A clattering of jackdaws lifts up from the trees, disturbed by the wind and are pushed across the sky before they gain collective control of their flight and fly off to seek shelter.

A curlew calls from the moors across the valley, its plaintiff peewit cry a ghostly sound carried on the wind, a sound of spring, a signal of warm days and summer sun to come, that lifts the spirits on this wind-blown, blustery morning.

Despite having a green plastic stick each, identical in every way, the dogs both fall out over the others stick. Lilly wants both of them and the Gabster likes to steal Lilly’s having hidden or lost hers in the grass, and then taunt her with it.

They snarl and growl, and curl their lips at each other, and then the fur flies and they clash for a few seconds. I shout at them, they part, slinking up to me, sweet innocence and smiles seeking only to please their master.

And then it begins again.

It is raining steadily now and the cloud has closed in so that there is little to see. It is time to head back and gathering up green plastic sticks and dogs, we trudge back across the fields and back down the track, to the car and coffee from a flask for me and biscuits for the dogs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s