The other morning I took the dog for a walk along a path I hadn’t been along before even though it is only round the corner. We have to enjoy these paths while we can before they dump a load of houses on them – as if we weren’t crowded enough already. Population density in the South East at 400 people/square kilometre is already highest in the UK and nearly four times the density of France (and 40 times the USA)! But back to my walk.
There is a narrow footpath just under the railway bridge on the Longwick Road which leads onto a field which I sometimes walk round. Last year it grew wheat, not sure yet what it is growing this year. It is criss-crossed by footpaths and I walk across it past a stables and then back through town. It has clayey soil so it is a pleasant walk in dry weather but if it is wet your boots end up twice the size and the dog spends hours afterwards cleaning her paws – all over the carpet.
This morning however I didn’t cross the field but carried on along the edge across a brook and into a small wood. The path then goes across a couple of fields which sometimes have sheep in but are empty at the moment. It is very peaceful and I pause to listen to the larks somewhere above me. There is a blackthorn hedge across the path with a dark shape in front of it. As I get closer I realise that it is a hole in the hedge which the path goes through as it finds its way down to a bridge across the stream. This is the same stream as the one I have seen a couple of egrets on during the winter. Across the bridge the ground is quite boggy and we are nearly at Longwick so we turn for home, back the way we came.
As we reach the possibly wheat field I see a border collie coming towards us and as we get closer I recognise the owner. We stop to chat, the dogs announce themselves to each other and then sit down. I discover that a dozen or so years ago he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had been given a course of radiotherapy which had been quite exhausting, going over to Oxford every day for a couple of weeks but since then his PSA levels had been stable. It seems that we may be in the realms of “You won’t die of this, you will die with it” as another friend was told by his doctor. Then we head our separate ways, the dogs announcing their departure as well.
Back along the narrow footpath and we have returned to the hustle and bustle of everyday life after a peaceful sojourn in the countryside. Well I say hustle and bustle because it reads well but a main road with not much traffic at this time of day doesn’t really qualify and it is not as if I have to dash off to a load of meetings or send a hatful of e-mails. In fact later on I did the electronic equivalent of tidying out my sock drawer – I emptied my e-mail inbox. It had thousands of e-mails in it most of which could be deleted although a few could be filed elsewhere. Now the challenge is to keep it empty.
See the links below for the previous post – and the next one.