Tuesday 12 February 2008

Target-rich Environment

Conyer Creek in the fog. We walk around the flat area which was presumably once buildings, roads and low walls - now it is finely rabbit-grazed turf and low shrubs, the surface liberally pitted with rabbit scrapes and every where you look, bunnies running for cover. What the US airmen chasing fleeing invaders back up the road to Baghdad liked to call a "target-rich environment".

We had tried to contact Hugo but he wasn't allowed out to play. Shame. Instead we met 2 superb dogs, a saturated black labrador called Pepper, and an even bigger, less wet, lurcher-looking thing called "Moose" (I kid you not).

The reason for Pepper's wetness soon becomes clear. He collects stones from under water. The dogs were with a lady in a red coat. She explained that she had had 5 labs and this was the worst "water baby". Always in and out fo the water and, if a suitable stone cannot be found above water, Pepper will wade out deep then effectively dive to the bottom to grab a stone, letting go great boiling surges of bubbles. Moose will chase in amazed at the sight, only to get Pepper surfacing like a whale beneath him, snorting and blowing.

"They are like kids" said the lady - "Anything one has the other wants..." so Moose will often steal Pepper's stone, so Pepper has to go back in and get another. "We often walk at Minster" she said "Where there are lots of loose single bricks. I am often walking home with each dog carrying a brick. I feel like everyone is going to ask me whether I'm building a house, snd we are carrying it home in kit form, one brick at a time!"

And they say we're mad!


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