W is for… Walkies, Woodland, Water, Waiting, Wandering
If you have a dog and live in a city like me, you will find that you go for a walk at least once a day. It is a question of finding places to go that suit you and the dog and being a little brave and exploring the neighbourhood, asking other people where they go and it can be glorious fun.
I am lucky in that I have several wonderful places nearby where we can go. The dog can go off the lead in parts providing he behaves, there are often poo bins to take his waste and gates and fences to keep him safe and off the roads.
Dry days are easy, very hot weather is tricky and we resort then to early morning and late evening walks, or go to Leigh Woods where you are always under the tree canopy in the heat of the summer months. There are cows there as well as the more usual squirrels and rabbits, I’ve seen slow worms and birds, inspected mushrooms, picked blackberries, and on occasion got lost on the steep slopes running down the sides of the Gorge to the river Avon.
On wet days we stay out of the boggier woods and the huge puddles and walk on the skylarks meadow at the top of Ashton Court.
We often end up at the Golf Club Cafe where the twins who run it allow nice dogs to come and sit inside and we are ever so grateful on wet days for this kindness and the sausage sarnies and tea.
Sometimes we go down the bottom of this estate, where one finds the Rose Garden, the Wall of Urns and the lime trees blossom in the spring. It’s a big place, with old trees in the Deer Park and a huge quarry with buzzards soaring overhead at the far end. Orchids flourish in the long grass in the meadows in the Spring; the Estate offers mountain bike tracks and kite festivals as well. All these places breathe and give us grace; the green lungs of the City.
If we want to see the sunset, we go to Kingsweston House from where you look west towards Wales over Avonmouth or stride down Dog Alley on Clifton Downs.
For amazing views over the city and swathes of blackberries in August we go to Purdown, marred only by the constant rumble of the Motorway below, wending its way into the heart of the city.
Walkies can be stressful, full of unpredictable moments and events, but once you are in a routine and the dog settles down, it is also a time to put one foot in front of another and just stroll, to stop and wonder at plants and fruits, to reach up and take a handful of berries or rosehips, to notice the direction of the wind, the planes overhead, the crows down by the stream holding court; far away from the desks and the computers and the kitchen. I take an old mobile phone with me but that is usually it.
My deal with the dog is that he gives me unconditional devotion and I give him food, a warm place to sleep and a visit to the outside world each day. We do OK.
Old Chinese proverb (Mandarin characters for Sally)
“It’s better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period”
If I was a dog, I’d want to be yours. :)
Old English proverb
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun ;)
You can come walkies with me any time x
what a lovely post joanna..how lovely to be able to walk to such green untamed places..that’s so special..
I have to confess I sometimes have to drive a bit to get to them, otherwise we are pounding the streets for fortyfive minutes each way. I’m only a pale shade of green being a city dweller sadly.
What a lovely place for a ramble- Zeb and you are very fortunate to have each other to wander about in such beauty!
X,Y, and Z left- I am looking forward to your illumination of these letters!
We have a good time, sniffing and chasing and paddling in streams :)
Shining light on the end of the alphabet, I hadn’t realised how long it was….
Hi Joanna, what a lovely walk and wander you just took me on. When I get home I will look at the links you have added in the post and get out a map and see if I can see the places you talk about. your photos are beautiful . How nice to be Zeb on the end of the leash (or off leash too) wandering along with you too. Ta ta! Emily
Thanks Emily! Strangely there are often more dog friendly places to walk around a city than in the heart of the English countryside with its big private estates and intensively farmed fields. We have a good time here :)
I loved that hollow tree.. you must have had a great day.. walking with a dog is always good.. c
Hi Cecilia! There are some superb ancient oaks in the Deer Park too which I have tried to photograph. I will post some more tree pics one day. Hard to take with a little camera though. I love walking with a dog :D
Joanna, I could easily swap Zeb’s name for The Monkeys and it would be a similar story :-)
Walks with Monkeys! Splashing in puddles and picking up interesting things to carry home… :D
Zeb’s a lucky dog!
I think he suspects he might be too :D
Dog people are a special breed. Fab post.
Thanks Misk! Met some lovely spaniels like Molly yesterday, all very interested in the liver cake I was carrying. They became my new best friends ;)
Lucky Zeb having you to take him for lovley walks, but I’m sure you enjoy it just as much. I know I would.