Desperately seeking . . .
Yesterday I was desperately seeking inspiration. I tried two different prompts and wrote some very indifferent verse, even more indifferent than usual, that is. I gave up in the end, fed up. I was beginning to wonder if my brain was shrinking but actually I was tired and today is a better day so I turned to the photographs Barry took recently in Simons Wood.
I have been going to Simons Wood regularly in recent months because the ponds in Crowthorne Forest have been polluted by a heating oil spillage from Broadmoor Hospital. This is not the first time this has happened but on the last occasion, several years ago, we had Dalmatians who enjoyed the water but could be dissuaded from going in the ponds. This is not possible with the Labradors we now have. They make a bee-line for any body of water and will swim just for the sheer pleasure of the experience. I really wanted to have some photos of Roxy in the water when she first started swimming but I can’t cope with four/five dogs, the ball flinger, four (!) balls and a camera. She swam vertically! As Bethan said, ‘She looks as though she doesn’t want to get her hair wet.’
Jenna, one of the four balls in her mouth.
Left to right: Jenna, Lolly, Gus, Bertie, Roxy playing at being a hearth rug. The human is me.
My Master Photographer does not yet trust his new knee sufficiently to walk as far as the lake and his old knee, soon to be replaced, will not allow him to stand for extended periods. That makes him sound a poor old crock but he isn’t; it’s just that his knees got knackered through too many sports injuries. His left leg is now straight and soon his right leg will be too. The odd thing is that he lists to the right because that leg is shorter for the moment.
Simons Wood is lovely – a mix of evergreens and broad-leaved trees with decades of leaf mould underfoot combine to produce a beautiful, calming environment. There are many different paths to take but the one the dogs like most is the one leading to the lake.
Lolly is staying with us at the moment as Bethan and Robert and Charlie are in Puglia in Italy. She is very good but I’m sure she misses her family. She heard Bethan’s voice yesterday when she called to see if Lolly was behaving herself and her ears pricked up excitedly. The compensation for her is having the company of our dogs, particularly Roxy. She and Roxy play together constantly and are exhausted by evening. When Lolly goes home next week she will probably sleep flat out for a couple of days.
Isambard, the dog whisperer
Lolly has not yet learnt that the cats have not been provided for her entertainment. She watches them closely and leaps on them when they move suddenly. Our Ocicats are tolerant – Isambard, the dog whisperer, makes every attempt to befriend Lolly and is gradually persuading her to accept his advances but Susannah’s Somalis take a very different attitude. They’re small and feisty with sharp claws and teeth. Lolly will learn eventually, hopefully not the hard way. J
This is how the cats expect dogs to behave (Jellicoe, back, Isambard fore.) Bertie is their favourite dog.
Bertie and Herschel
Herschel (fore) and Solomon.