Today has been a dismal day indeed. Rain had started during the night, and by morning was being driven by strong, gusty winds.
As it got close to the time to take Ollie for his walk, I really wasn’t in the mood for dressing up in a long parka and rubber boots. But Ollie has to go out, so I just had to do it. I took my umbrella too, as the rain was coming down at an angle, straight into my face.
Ten minutes on Beetley Meadows saw me struggling to hold on to my umbrella, having to use both hands to stop it being blown from my grasp. So I folded it, and carried it instead.
Twelve hours of rain had refreshed the mud, which was slick and greasy underfoot. For a large part of the regular walk, it was all I could do to keep upright. There was nobody else around. No solo walkers, and no dog-walkers either. Those fair-weather locals had sensibly decided to stay inside, warm and dry.
After three difficult circuits, Ollie was looking decidedly fed up. I knew it was up to me to think of something to make his lonely walk more enjoyable, as he had no other dogs to greet and sniff. So I headed into the woodland area, deciding to invent a ‘hunt’ for him.
I attracted his attention with my usual whispered cry of “What’s that? What’s in there?” Indicating a thick area of almost impenetrable undergrowth. He looked round at me, excited, waiting for the word to go.
Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom that I could have suggested he go and hunt, the memory banks in my brain came up with “Find the Okapi”, and off he went.
That left me standing there wondering why I had thought of a strange animal related to the Giraffe, that lives in The Congo, and I had only ever seen in a zoo.
Luckily, Ollie doesn’t know what an Okapi is, or where it is usually found in the wild. So for a few minutes, it gave him the necessary distraction.
On the way back later, he spotted a saturated squirrel rummaging in some leaves, and chased it up a nearby tree.
In the absence of an Okapi, that was good enough.