I posted last week about how, over the last three weeks or so, I have been walking my way back to a level of fitness in readiness for getting back on my bike. On the whole these walks have been invigorating and I can already feel and see the difference they are making.
So it was that on Friday (30th January), after safely delivering the girls to school, I decided to walk to the shop in the next village, to pick up some much needed to supplies. There is a footpath which runs between our village and the next one and it only takes about 20 minutes at a brisk walk to get to the shop, so the distance fit the bill nicely. Obviously, with snow and ice on the ground, I was aware that I needed to be a bit more careful than usual but the sun was shining and the crispness of the air was kept at bay by the judicial use of a scarf, hat, gloves and multiple layers.
I set off and almost immediately encountered the one thing that is guaranteed to get my blood boiling …… a pile of dog mess on the path! In fact in the space of some 10m, there were no less than 3 piles to navigate around and as these were on the path directly outside the school, I seethed on behalf of every mum who had had to steer their children through this mini minefield that morning. There really is no excuse for it in our village because not only are the general waste bins designated as acceptable places to place carefully bagged up bags of dog waste but we also have specific dog waste bins!!! It really is a disgrace.
Finding such an unsightly mess in the village is bad enough but what really riles me is that some owners seem to think that once they have left the village proper and find themselves ‘in the countryside’ that all the rules relating to scooping the poop, can be forgotten and that it is acceptable to allow their dog to foul the verges and pathways along which they are walking. It would seem that the thought that other people, be they families with young children, a person on their own, or even other dog walkers may also use these routes has not even entered their heads and so they allow their pet to roam freely and leave deposits wherever they so choose.
So it was that Friday saw me trying to avoid several of these deposits, whilst trying to remain upright on the very icy pathway. The beauty of the country through which I was walking was tainted by such inconsideration.
Of course, living out in the country there are sights, sounds and smells which though initially unusual soon become the norm and you just become accustomed to them. The sound of shooting parties between August and February, for example, fox cubs playing on your lawn, combine harvesters in the fields all through the night etc and let’s not forget the bird scarers.
From the safe confines of our back garden, the bangs of the bird scarers soon become a sound which you tend not to notice, a necessary yet distant disturbance. But as you walk along a country lane, trying not to slip on the thick icy patches of yesterdays snow, avoiding the mess left behind by someones canine friend, the unfiltered noise of a bird scarer is a completely different kettle of fish.
As I walked along in unsuspecting contemplation of the path in front of me, what sounded like a cannon went off just yards away, causing me to jump so high, I was almost able to shake hands with the man in the moon and by the time another three bangs of equal decibel had sounded in quick succession, I was a quivering wreck.
With heart pumping and my blood surging for all the wrong reasons, I returned home for a much needed cup of neat caffeine and some unhealthy but shock reducing, high sugar content biscuits ……well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!