We must go down to the sea again

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Weekends. Don’t you just love them? To be honest, because I don’t do proper work and we have livestock (animals and kids), one day is much like another.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like Maggie Smith’s dowager in Downton Abbey, who said, when one of The Little People discussed their weekend plans: “What is a weekend?”

Even though I don’t work per se, I still look forward to weekends. With chickens, turkeys, quail, European eagle owls (so you are paying attention ... yes, that’s right, we don’t have any quail) already cleaned out on a Saturday, that leaves us free to ‘do something’ on Sundays.

Well, the dogs are needing a nice long walk. They are doing that thing that dog owners the world over are familiar with when dogs decide they need a nice, long walk - they haunt you, looking for signs of you picking up a lead or putting on the jacket you usually wear to walk them in.

You open a kitchen cupboard and they appear at the door, peering round at you. Was that the creak of the cupboard where you usually keep the dog treats opening?

Your hand is on the front door handle – are you going for your wellies in the porch? Or just out to the freezer? Dog detectives.

And once you actually stand in that porch – dog coat on, treats in pocket, leads in hand – they become an excited, swirling mass of dog, whipping at your legs with their wagging tails.

But I am tired of walking dogs in mud, tired of dropping leads in gloop, tired of climbing over wet, slippery gates. And I am bone weary of almost having my wellies sucked off my feet in the deep muddy potholes left by stock at every gateway.

So today it is decided we will go to the beach. At the end of January. As the owners of three dogs, we have probably been to the beach many more times in autumn, winter and spring than we ever have in summer.

Having a Big Brown Dog bounding about barking his head off in the surf doesn’t always go down well with other beach users.

The BBD tends to occupy the same bit of the beach/sea as nervous paddlers, kids on body boards and toddlers taking a dip with mum. So we are better off out of season – and so are the paddlers/body board kids/toddlers.

We were even on the beach at Hogmanay.

Wet, without the mud. Love it.

After a lovely wind/rain/sea spray facial, we head for home, tired dugs and kids.

We are wet and sandy – but not muddy ... bliss.

As we head home, a wrong turning takes us past the largest number of free-range pigs I have ever seen in the Borders.

So, that sentence constitutes the entire smallholding element of this column.

And, yes, you were right. We do have quail, it’s the eagle owls we’re lacking.