Spring walk

Today was just one of those perfect days.  I had a list of jobs a mile long but looking after the dog meant that I had first to go for a walk.  The land is greening from day to day practically as I watch.  Although the oaks are still bare there is green on the willows and a quiver of buds on the hawthorn.

Dog and I set off down to the river.  She knows she needs a stick but maybe misjudged it with this one.

With every day there are more wood anenomes by the track down to the river.  How do they grow clinging to the edge of the track, in the scant earth between tree roots?

The dog bounds ahead, stopping every now and then to look back and wait for me, as if tethered by an invisible lead.  The trees above my head are full of birdsong, the long liquid call of a blackbird seems to follow me down the track, moving from tree to tree as I go.  Half way down a buzzard glides above the open field to my right, low enough for me to see the pattern on the undersides of its wings.

In the bottom of the valley the river is fast and clear.  It is not a big river, the Wheeler, but  here and there are pools deep enough to make the dog swim, which she loves.  She emerges black and shining like a seal.
We head upwards from the river along the lane which runs at the bottom of our valley.  The fields are full of lambs and sheep.  Higher up we find the body of a fox by the path.  It can't be long dead, curled as if sleeping.

They are beautiful animals but these days my sympathies are firmly with the chickens.  Our own are scratching about under the quince tree when we get home.  The dog is learning to ignore the chickens, particularly when the chickens ignore the dog.

Two hours have gone away in the sunshine, working on dog time, cockerel time, blackbird time - time without measure.  I sit on the bench with a cup of tea and the dog flopped on the grass beside me and feel happy right down to the soles of my feet.


  1. Hi
    what sort of dog is that you have there? It's not a well-trimmed cocker spaniel by any chance, is it? Only the habit of turning to check on your progress is suggestive of it.
    Lovely to read your experiences... Tramp

  2. She is my son and daughter in law's dog, a black labrador, a great lover of water and food and very keen to please.

  3. Just the thing to end the day nicely Elizabeth. The dog's behaviour brought back fond memories of my Belgian sheepdog, who used to do the same thing - always checking to see where I was.
    Poor lovely fox...but don't blame you for siding with chickens. What would it have died of, any idea?

  4. Aside from finding the fox, I can tell it was a beautiful day for walk!! THANKS for taking us along! :-)

  5. A walk with a dog is really quite different from a walk on your own, isn't it - even if you take the same route. There's something about a dog's intense interest in all around it that sharpens our own awareness.

    But how typical of a labrador to take on a challenge like that enormous stick!

  6. It is interesting isn't it how a list of jobs can just melt away once you are outside with the dog/dogs and suddenly everything falls into perspective and walking out in the sun becomes the most important thing to do.

    Sad about the fox - but then everything dies and having seen a fox grab one of my poor frightened chickens my sympathies also lie with the chickens although I would never actually harm a fox.

    Lovely walk and so pleased that you got that feeling of well being.

  7. What a wonderful way to start the day. Lucky you and the dog to be in such a pretty place. Enjoy, enjoy. This is pure bliss. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Thank you for another lovely blog, Elizabeth. Enjoyed the virtual walk. It's like they say - 'Don't miss the Spring for the Spring Cleaning'. I don't intend to!

  9. "happy to the souls of my feet"......Love that

  10. We lost a whole run-full of hens to a fox one night. But even so, I don't think they deserve being poisoned like this. Maybe the old ways were better; so much quicker.

  11. What a lovely way to spend a couple of hours Elizabeth.

    I love the look of foxes (not their characteristics!!) they have such beguiling faces.
    Love hearing them call on wintery evenings.
    Nice to have time to notice the changes as the season takes hold.

  12. Thank you Elizabeth, for this pleasant walk with the dog! I could feel the sunshine and the smells and the noises of your beautiful countryside. I do also live now so often that experience of being happy inside that it nearly hurts. I love your blog notes.

  13. First of all, that header images is AMAZING. Beautiful.

    Secondly, this was a great post. Thanks for the walk, because I was right there. It reminded me of an old poem I like, called 'I meant to do my work today' but Richard LeGallienne.

    Here's a link to it:

  14. I'm just catching up and enjoying your beautiful posts and that sense of fulfilment that always shines through in your prose. It's open season here at the moment so it's nice to take a quiet break reading your blog.

  15. Deborah - I suspect it was poisoned. The other thing they do round here is to shoot them but there wasn't a mark on him. There are lots of lambs in the fields right now so the farmers are ultra-protective of them.
    Kim - it was beautiful and I suppose the fox is as real as rest of it!
    Rachel - you are so right. I love walking, with or without the dog, but am finding that her huge enjoyment of just being out really rubs off!
    Westerwitch - I suspect you can't be a chicken keeper without coming down on their side! They are so busy and productive and the fox, when it kills, so often kills for pleasure. But like you I would not wish to harm a fox, I just want him to keep away.
    Nora - it was pure bliss. Glad you could come along.

  16. Molly - I suspect I am unlikely to be involved in spring cleaning! gardening now, that is a bit more likely.
    Linda - thank you! It is a rare feeling of total contentment, good to recognise it when you have it!
    LM - I agree with you. I would rather the fox were shot than poisoned but doubtless poison is easier.
    Claire - I agree, foxes look far more appealing than you might expect and the colour of a fox is beautiful.
    Bayou - thank you and I am so glad you have reached a happy stage in your life too!
    MOM - thank you for the link. That is a great poem. I shall add it to my own list of favourites.
    Chris - I always fear that my happiness with life up here might come over as smugness. I really don't want it to. I am powerfully aware of how lucky I am right now and of how different life could be.

  17. Another beautiful post and reminds me so much of what I also enjoy but unfortunately take for granted. The little river - is that its name 'The Wheeler?' or is it a nickname? reminds me of the river at the Mill and the walk along the bank looks similar. The spring flowers - anemones, wild garlic, celandines, bluebells, aconites are weepingly beautiful. And the land is, as you say, a-greening. We bought back several plants from the Mill, walnuts, medlars, a rose cutting and it is always a joy to watch the medlar unfolding its leaves with their layer of velvet on the underside each spring.

  18. What a lovely walk! Your descriptions are just beautiful! Your white flowers remind me of the bloodroot I spotted yesterday on our cycling trip.
    I love your conclusion to a wonderful day:
    "Two hours have gone away in the sunshine, working on dog time, cockerel time, blackbird time - time without measure. I sit on the bench with a cup of tea and the dog flopped on the grass beside me and feel happy right down to the soles of my feet."
    Thanks for sharing!
    P.S. Did you mean sping or spring walk? I don't know if that is a welsh expression or not:)

  19. A seriously wonderful walk - just the kind I like too...with a dog! Your cockerel looks wonderful such a proud chap.

  20. Thanks for sharing your walk with us, I really enjoyed it and almost felt I was there

  21. Fennie - ooh, a medlar, don't have one of those but would love one. May have to investigate.
    Joanne - whoops, thank you for the heads up, should have been spring! not sure how you have a sping walk, sounds a bit like something you do with a pogo stick.
    Tattie - the cockerel is lovely isn't he? He has taken the lead today in deciding that the visiting dog is no longer to be steered clear of. I do hope he is right!
    PG - so glad you enjoyed it. This is just the perfect time to be walking.

  22. Oooooh! Foxes! Badgers! What a subject for a Grouseonthemoor! There was a time when the meat-eating predators were balanced by a moor-shooting society. We cleared the moors to allow ground-nesting birds to proliferate, and we kept stoats, foxes and badgers down to protect them. It worked well. We now have a diminishing moorland bird population (on my farm I saw the devastaing effect of badgers plundering the moorland nests) and foxes and badgers so over-populated they are riddled with disease and having to move into towns to survive..not a happy situation for all concerned. I love badgers and foxes and never lost the thrill of the sight of either....but I fear for them in this unequal management of our wildlife. It cannot be sustained.

  23. I bet that cockerel was pleased about the fox!

    I miss walking with my dog; we have a tortoise now, which, though an interesting pet, is not quite the same

  24. You have a lovely place to enjoy a walk in the sun.

  25. I love day such as these when everything feels great.


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