Friday was Lyra’s third birthday. It is hard to think we’ve had her for such a short time so embedded is she in our lives. Mornings without a sleepy snuffle when you come into the kitchen must have been a sorry thing indeed and what did I do for exercise before the daily field yomp?? In honour of the occasion I have sneaked in a few snaps of Lyra growing up and wheedling her way into our life (and our pockets and treat bags).
A birthday is a birthday, whatever the weather and so it only seemed fair to take the pooch on her favourite walk along by the river, where she can run most of the way off the lead. The wind was getting up as we headed out to the car so I reclaimed my best dog walking hat (which Keith purloined for gardening) and an old pair of holey gloves, just in case. By the time we got to the river it was blowing a howling hoolie. Much like Pooh and piglet, Madam likes a blustery day. It is simply perfect for blowing the hair back diva style, and Lyra was good enough to pose briefly for a windswept birthday portrait or three before tanking off to race up and down the riverbank like a loon. I tried to keep up, bent over and buffeted, in the teeth of a punishing westerly.
The swan convention in the rape field is still running. Scores of them have gathered to contemplate important “Swan Business”. There are also a number of side meetings at the edge of the field where representatives of the gull, corvid and goose delegations chip in their two pennorth in raucous squalks and screetches. Proceedings yesterday, however, were disrupted by the weather. A large gathering of younger swans, some still sporting cygnet fluff, had gathered in the lee of a bend in the bank, waiting to cross over the surging and swirling river to get to Convention Field for the Young Swan Parliament. They had lined up patiently as if waiting for the “green swan” to appear. We nodded and carried on, me clutching my hat and Lyra scouting for illicit fox poop. By the time the looping path brought us back to the bend in the river I was startled to see that the poor things were still there and by this time thoroughly frustrated. As we passed all at once they decided to jay walk and chance it. The air was full of flying swan, and I a less than glamorous Tippi Hedren substitute. A strong westerly blew them relentlessly back to England and the group fractured, half scudding downstream to try their luck under the bridge and the remainder lining up neatly again. I was minded of old photographs of debutantes awaiting presentation…
With the constant rushing of white noise from the wild westerly, it was not a walk for chatting. There was nothing to do but silently contemplate the scene unfolding as we passed. The sky was a luminous grey blue, the shade of a polished tankard resting on a blue cloth, and somehow this backdrop seemed to throw everything into pin point sharp relief. Every leaf on every tree, the gingered crisp of oak leaves and silver string of willow, were perfectly rendered and every blade of grass had its own shining white stripe of cloud reflection. We were, it seemed, in one of those fantastic Dutch old masters where, peering closely at the background, tiny fustian figures appear in distant glades, perfect to every button and bootstrap.
We tumbled home again, all conceivable crimps and annoyances blown into the blue yonder. Lyra snoozed away the hours til Lachlan came home whilst I took to the sewing machine for diverse experimental Christmas projects (of which more anon) and we declared the day a thorough success.