As the weather looked like it was on the turn again (curse you, September), I decided to haul the dogs around the woods on a six mile hike. I am in training you see, but there is a slight chance that I may have left this a little too late.
Next week, the husband is taking me and the dogs on a holiday by the coast. Last year, I clocked up about sixty miles over the week, most of them uphill if I remember rightly. Having walked no further than the end of my road for almost nine months, I am worrying that my lack of fitness might hold the husband back. He takes no prisoners when on a walk, and I vaguely remember having to carry Percy for the last two hundred yards when coming back to the shed (It's actually a posh beach hut, but has been rechristened the shed). I may have to resort to this next week, throwing myself onto the beach, and pleading with my baby blues for a fireman's lift. It's either that or I strap Percy and Reg to a skateboard and get taken back by them, resembling a middle aged, female Ben Hur.
So back to the walk yesterday. It was all going rather well, until we chanced upon an elderly couple stripping the hedgerows of blackberries. Percy took a sideways glance at them and carried on walking. I shouldn't have stopped to speak to them, I know that, but I just couldn't help it. All I said was 'Lovely afternoon. isn't it?' and that was it.
It was the start of a two minute chat about what breed my dogs were, how far I had walked, how old Reg was and blackberry jelly. While all this was going on, Reg had moseyed over to where several plastic bowls were neatly lined up, full to the brim with blackberries. And this is where it all started going horribly wrong.
You see, Reg loves blackberries. Let's face it, that dog will eat anything that stands still long enough, and while Mr and Mrs Forager were chatting to me about their love of blackberry jelly, Reg had started sniffing around the bowls. As the subject then turned to the changing weather, Reg had plucked up the courage to stick his snout into the proverbial trough, and started ploughing through the blackberries. I knew that if they looked to their right, they would see the literal fruits of their labours disappearing down his gullet, so pointing to a heavily laden branch, I leant down, grabbed Reg by the collar and dragged him away from the now half empty bowl.
Throwing a frantic 'goodbye' over my shoulder, Reg and I trotted round the corner, where Perfect Percy was waiting patiently. So we carried on with our walk, with Percy meandering in his usual way, while Reg flitted around, his blackberry juice stained beard making him look like one of the Ant Hill Mob.
I was more than sure that the blackberries would be making a reappearance sometime, but it would appear that Reg's constitution is stronger than I thought.
I just hope that Mrs Forager had enough left to do her jelly justice...