I turned to see him on his back, writhing in ecstacy . . .

Field It was a beautifully sunny yet cool morning today, just how I like them.  Decided to revisit an old haunt that brought so much pleasure last year.  I'd thought about going a couple of weeks ago but didn't quite have the zest.

Delivered Daughter to school (she's not well by the way, so may be called away to collect her before I've finished our chat), then pulled up in the 'make do' lay-by next to the field.  Already I'd spotted a change but, undaunted, I released the Mutleys from the boot (please don't be alarmed, it's a hatchback!) and their exploding delight enveloped me in a rush of happiness.

I moved nearer to a new obstacle, knowing I was strong and capable, but was this a wish too far . . .

Since my last visit the farmer (who bitterly resents having a public right of way across his land) had added not one, but TWO extra planks to the stile.  Huh, was I phased?  Felt like a champion puissance thoroughbred at Hickstead as I scaled the planks, leading leg only trembling slightly as my ankle curled over the top.  (Suffered a post traumatic moment at that point as I remembered breaking it falling off a doormat a couple of years ago – yes, really!) 

Was it my imagination or were motorists rubber necking as they drove past.  Still unsure whether their mirth slowed them or they considered I represented a serious traffic hazard.  But, as Bob the Builder says, "Yes, I can" and before I knew it, I was disembarking on the other side.  Mutleys sat looking at me – was it pity or amazement?

Anyway, I set off up the field to visit my 'thinking tree'.  All was right with the world.  I even engaged in a little power walking until I began to 'glow' slightly and decided enough was enough.  I don't do sweating.  Alf was running with gay abandon, Sue searching for sticks and I was communing with Nature as I inhaled lungs full of oxygen.  Steady, girl, you could go giddy!  This beat rushing to an office at 9am, having queued for an hour in traffic.

I felt an emulsion of sheer joy and excitement radiate through me.  I was happy.  In that moment the Mutleys represented freedom in mind, body and soul.  Alfie's coat caught the sun and gleamed a beautiful auburn gold and his ears flew along behind, trying their best to keep up.  My gaze turned to the hills in the distance and the pattern of the clouds travelling along them.

The smile on my face dropped as I turned around and saw Alf, flat on his back, writing around in a Fox poostate of total bliss.  My voice was probably heard as far away at the M4.  I knew what he was doing.  I know it's a 'dog thing' but the moment was shattered.  (The pic is not of Alf but obviously fox poop is someone else's favourite perfume too!)

Hearing the alarm/disgust/disbelief in my voice, Alf sprang to his feet wearing the fox poop proudly like a row of medals.  His white chest was now wet and grey (hell, it must have been a massive fox), his right ear and shoulder were similarly adorned.  He looked perplexed, seemingly unable to understand why I didn't share his delight. 

We continued around the field and I had no need to call to locate him, his whereabouts now carried on the breeze.  Returned to the stile.  Now then, logistics.  Have to repeat puissance exercise but this time with two dogs on leads who go under the obstacle.  Praying for traffic-free few minutes.  Wish granted.

Feed dogs underneath, stinking one last.  Slightly extend leads.  Issue command, "wait".  Reach over stile for leads currently held in other hand.  Two stages required because of new height of stile.  Right, all well so far.  This time leading with other leg which doesn't wish to rise to almost shoulder height.  Could be tricky as can't assist because one hand holding leads and other top plank.  Massive effort and I'm hooked over at the knee.  Still no traffic, great.  Roll over top and land safely, thankfully nowhere near the fox poop.  (Well, if I had, it would have killed Alf, for sure but I was more afraid of the resultant soiling of jeans!)

Open rear of car and Mutleys jump in.  Unhook leads avoiding gloop-like poop on clip of collar of stinking canine.  I'm going to whisper the next bit for fear of reprisals.  Reached into foot well compartment in rear of car and retrieved the Ajax lemon scented wet wipes and made some gloves from a couple of nappy sacks.  Unfortunately, wasn't carrying forensic suit and mask.  Set to work on startled hound.  Twelve wipes later, we journeyed home.

There was nothing for it but to run a bath – for Alf.  Out with the fragranced dog shampoo and towels.  Cleared the bathroom floor of slumbering Persian cats (they love the warm pipes which run underneath) and see cold fear in Alf's eyes.  I don't know whether the fear is because he's about to have a bath or because I've stripped off as much as I decently could and donned a green plastic apron advertising gin!

Lift him in.  Poor lad looks troubled so I speak soothingly to him while creating enough foam to surf in.  Rinse.  Admittedly, the ears are a bit tricky.  Enlist help of detachable shower head and hose the mutt down.  Sense he's about to spin dry.  BEG him to hang on as I reach for a towel.  Too late.  Rover's revenge!  Looks like a ceiling sprinkler has activated.  Wrap him in towels and lift him out.  Remove towels to do a more thorough job and he shakes again.  Resigned to major clean up job now so find the action fascinating.  Have you ever watched a dog shaking off water?  The movement starts at the neck end and travels all the way down to the tail.  Ingenious.  Further towel dry and release.  Apply dog biscuit to front end, which is gratefully received.  Return to deal with fall out.

Load washing machine.  Later transfer to tumble dryer.

Been working all day and yet done absolutely nothing to enhance my business activities.  Pets, eh, who'd have 'em!DSC00130  

PS – The lad brushes up well, don't you think?   

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