Lyra is, of course, our son’ s dog. However, we find ourselves in loco parentis for the time being so dog walking is a new addition to the daily agenda. I like wandering around the countryside, but it is definitely better with a dog. For a start you have an alibi (wandering around on your own somehow seems a little odd) and moreover you can talk to yourself out loud with impunity so long as you drop the dog’s name in from time to time. Also, in stark contrast to human companions, a dog does not mind if you want to stop to take photos and does not roll its eyes if you want to lie on the ground for a good angle. It may take the opportunity to rifle your pocket for tripe sticks, but that is another matter.
This morning we startled a red deer in the wood. Lyra took off in hot pursuit. In the elegant slow motion of something moving really quickly, the deer wafted away across the field and into the opposite spinney before Lyra had even made it half way across. We both stood stock still and watched it disappear.
It’s been screamingly hot in the garden. I’m developing the classic weeder’s tan (back of neck and back of legs) and I have but one home made ice lolly left…. (It seemed unfair to leave Lyra out so she has been enjoying her own iced drinks.) The heat has baked our clay soil hard – weeding in the hot garden quite literally requires a pickaxe. I have by and large retreated to the shade at the back where there are still some dandelions capable of extraction.