Political machinations lead to depression, so let’s all just go outside and sniff other dogs instead.

I was grumpy as hell this morning, and I can’t even explain why. I woke up, bouldered up the stairs and licked my Dad’s face to wake him up – something of a morning ritual I can’t quiet explain – and then I read the news. I’m not really sure what matey-boy Trump across the pond is up to, but I know they certainly shouldn’t have given him the keys to the nuclear garage. At least his activities are tempered by his deputy, Bonzo the Border Collie. If it wasn’t for the updates I get daily from Bonzo, I wouldn’t understand the direction his administration is taking at all.

I decided to lift myself from the mud of foggy unhappiness and go for a run. I grabbed my collar, tied a lead to my Dad’s hand and took him on a park run. 5km, free, with plenty of people to run with and dozens of dogs to admire and sniff, not to mention the absolutely stunning calm of Rutland water with its gentle morning mist. What more can you ask for? Due to my Dad being rather slow we arrived late, but we still managed to catch up and get a reasonable time in. Thank christ I can run, because I had to really drag old fatty along by his lead.

A couple of eggs on toast later and we are all feeling a little better about ourselves, just a walk and a weekend beer to go to make it complete!

Disturbance of the Peace

I wasn’t impressed this weekend. I feel violated, invaded. My inner sanctum desecrated. ‘Why?!’ I hear you cry, with your thoughts of burglary and fears for my safety at the fore of your mind. I’m afraid it is really rather worse; my in laws came and stayed for the weekend.

Of course, they are my grandparents – but they are called in-laws so colloquially in my household that the term simply endears itself to me. I suppose I like it in some ways, deep down, but I don’t like my castle being disturbed. My bed gets moved, there are bedroom doors closed in my face and extra cups of tea to burn my tail with. Of course there are positives – I help myself to a little extra food from my grandmother and I jump on the guest bed to lick a few extra faces.

It wasn’t long after their arrival that I made the decision to take them all out, frankly they all get a little noisy trying to talk over each other and I find it frustratingly annoying, so I took them to my favourite place – the pub. I only really intended to take them out for a splash of food and a couple of pints, but as soon as the amber liquid hits the back of my throat I’m a sucker for staying out for more – so we did. Lots more, in fact, to the point that my grandmother practically had to be carried home by me! (No easy feat for a Labrador, I can assure you, I normally just tie a lead round her hand and drag her back).

It’s all ok now though, the house is quiet again – my Dad has gone back to work for the week (thank goodness he works away, I couldn’t deal with having to look after that moronic idiot all of the time), and I can concentrate on the important things again. Eating, sleeping, barking at anyone who comes to the door. (I know they don’t like that one, I just do it to scare the shit out of them).

A Walk out of the Whining Winter

I’m bored. I’m bored of my post-Christmas, pre spring routine. I’m bored of my normal walk.

I glanced at the news, incidentally a subscription service that I pay for but never fully exploit, saw some dribbling monster of a politician from the other side of the pond moaning about Mexican Chihuahua’s and how they were stealing jobs. He wanted to build a kennel to keep them out for goodness sake! Anyway, I’ve had enough of it. So I decided to take my Dad out on a long walk. He didn’t exactly know what to do, so I had a butchers at the ordinance survey map and picked out a nice local Rutland walk. Few footpaths, and a viaduct to look at.

Of course I had to get a railway theme in there.

The gusty hillside was joyous once we had ventured out together, with my enthusiasm pulling Dad along both physically (I had to keep pulling the lead to encourage him to continue) and emotionally. It was remarkably refreshing to explore somewhere completely new, and yet be so very close to home. We both enjoyed the relaxing of our hearts and bodies as we patrolled through the fields, particularly when I utilised the strength of my father to hoist me over stiles. I’m so glad I purchased the mountaineering harness for myself, because frankly I don’t know how else I would have got myself over the obstacles without caking my companion in mud. After a fashion we arrived at the viaduct, and what a sight it was. Countless arches aching off into the distance, stretching between two ripples in a wide valley. Not impressive at all when compared to engineering feats like the ribblehead viaduct, or the caledonian canal, but it is impressive because of the unexpected nature of its appearance and the disconnect it has from the local surroundings. This is only a loosely industrial area, not the industrial powerhouse of the north after all. I have to say though, my Dad’s lack of knowledge regarding the structure was, as usual, embarrassing. He didn’t even know that it was Britain’s longest valley crossing viaduct and I had to very carefully explain to him the expansionist nature of the Empire railways during the late 19th century. I mean, Jesus.

A short stroll found my Dad, as usual, supping on a pint of local while I sat on the concrete floor hoping for a non-existent crisp, before heading home through the sheep fields for another depressing night in the company of my family. I did, however, have the warm glow of a day well spent and the wind-ruffled appearance of a battered wood pigeon.