Monday started well. I had the day booked out more or less to myself, it was warm and bright when I stepped out – so warm in fact that after walking the distance from the back door round the front of the house I took the radical step of abandoning my jumper. Passing through the orchard I spotted several clumps of species tulip which had been planted in the lawn there before we converted it to a meadow. (They hadn’t thrived and I thought we’d seen the last of them when the turf was stripped and the meadow seeded. It seems they are happier hanging out with the wild boys.) It was going to be a good day.
By the time we reached the back road there was a fine film of moisture in the air, but it was still warm and really rather refreshing. I thought of Lima. Lyra and I strolled on with a devil may care swagger. The hedgerow was an intricate tapestry of greens, gentle yellow and silver with silverweed peeping through the long grass and clouds of crossword weaving through the early leaves of hogwort and fireweed. In the little wood by Trasnagh I found a gooseberry bush in fruit (one to note as two of mine have inexplicably pegged out). By the corner past the wood the mist was mizzle. A car passed and gave us a funny look. Perhaps the driver was unimpressed by my Bananarama meets Monty Don look of luxury Finisterre gardening dungarees (my new favourite clothing item), only slightly muddy, and elderly T Shirt. At the bottom of the hill before Butterlaw circles had begun to appear in the puddles. On the other side of the hill great gouts of water had started jumping out of the said circles. Lyra gave me a funny look and shook her fur. I accepted defeat and we sheltered in Sue’s kitchen, enjoying a brief natter (me) and a digestive biscuit (Lyra) until the shower had passed. It was looming a bit, but the wind seemed to be moving the worst of the clouds over to Berwick, so we declined the offer of a raincoat and pressed on.
Lyra had been such a good dog all the way that when we hit on the home straight I let her off the lead for a sniff in the hedgerow. She was pooling along nicely by my side when a young dear leaped over the fence behind us. Chase commenced. Lyra held up well but couldn’t close the gap and when the deer leaped the drainage ditch into the field behind Lyra shrugged her shoulders and stopped on the path to wait for me to catch up. “What a sweetie” thought I. The path took a slight curve at that point and for a few steps Lyra disappeared from view. Rounding the curve, with a sinking heart, I observed the Lyra shaped space on the path. Shortly after that a flustered pheasant shot out of the trees. Aha! thought I. Madam will be back in a jiffy. Nope. I roamed up and down bellowing. Nothing. I whistled. Nothing. I reminded myself of Lyra’s policy of waiting until I was frantic before reappearing and gritted my teeth. Nothing. I then remembered that Lyra has, despite dog DNA, seemingly inherited the Craig/Hill sense of direction and if she loses sight of her destination can get quite lost. I swung myself over the drainage ditch using a handy branch for leverage (sort of a knee high dwarfish Tarzan manoeuvre) and found myself facing another, deeper, treeless ditch. I made it over, just and roamed along the margin bellowing and whistling. Nothing. Then I thought what if she’s back and can’t find me and performed a reverse Beecher’s Brook. Nothing. Time for phone a friend. Lachlan was enlisted to come over and man the path whilst I went further up the hill.
Onward and upward I went. Two fields, then three. The rain began to pelt down. Still no sign of the fluffy white dot. A hare peeped curiously at me out of a small wood to the north. Hmm. I started making for the wood, whistling in a rather hopeless way. On the threshold of the wood I turned around to survey the scene below, and there, looking quizzically up at me through the hedge, was the bloody dog, all smiles. “Hi Aunty Karen!” Totally unrepentant.
Lachlan was stood down and returned to his biology class. I firmly attached the lead and we headed west in search of a ditches route home (I did not fancy the double ditch with a dog attached). The sun was up again and we steamed (literally) along the margin of a field at the crest of the hill. Two young hare started up ahead of us (the eagle eyed may spot one on the path in the photo below) and shot off at a right angle up the eastern margin (the odd thing about hares is that they tend to run in straight lines relying on their speed to out pace, rather than darting to and fro). It was a hungry, wet and muddy pair that finally turned in at the drive. Stopping only for a second to admire the tulips which were sparkling in the sun we made for the kitchen and the siren song of turkey leftovers and Ishbel’s birthday cake. Thank goodness for Christmas 2.0!
Lyra spent the rest of the day completely spark out. Lacking a dog basket of my own, I did a little pricking out in the greenhouse had a quiet hour or so performing surgery on Lyra’s monkey twins. (Squeakless Monkey had several lesions on his legs and required a new ear. Squeaky Monkey needed maxi facial surgery to the jawbone and two new ears).
Some days don’t go to plan. They are invariably Mondays.