First steps

The other day I parked up to take my dogs over the viaduct a few miles up the road. I’ve walked it a few times, as I put my handbrake and looked across I noted there wasn’t anyone else on there. A few canal boats bobbed quietly along the left hand side but there was no sign of any humans which was unusual for this normally popular beauty spot. The dogs excitedly barked as I park up and jump over the drivers side as I open the door on to the green verge beside the canal. It’s a bright sunny day, a picture postcard type of day where the green of the canal boat gleams against the sparkle of the blue sky reflecting in the water. We cross over the small lock to the other side, unfortunately the canal boat that sells coffee isn’t open today so we head on towards the viaduct crossing. The dogs spot some innocent ducks and make a pathetic run towards them knowing that they won’t get anywhere near them and the ducks are unperturbed, confident in their safe surroundings.

I look at the viaduct outstretched ahead. The 126ft high viaduct. First I walk past the four canal boats while trying not to peer in, I am so intrigued by the long wooden vessel that house wood burners, flat screen TVs, flowers and kitsch curtains. It’s eerily quiet and I wonder for a moment if I have actually come out earlier than I thought due to the recent change in clocks, but I haven’t. I get closer to the viaduct and as I approach I began to feel a little uneasy, nervous.

 

I’m a bit perplexed by this, although I know many many people who won’t walk over it due to the height, I haven’t ever been one of those people. I have been the encourager. I have been the one saying… oo look at the other side where there’s no barrier. I’ve been the one happy to step to the narrow edge for a pram to get past. I’ve been the one to bravely let my dogs run over off the lead, trusting them.

 

Now as I take my first steps where it still feels relatively safe, I start to feel, yes, it definitely is nerves. I ponder this as I look over the metal railings towards the stunning golden and green view and I realise why I am feeling nervous.   I have never walked over here on my own. What’s the difference in walking here on my own and walking over here with someone else? Turns out, quite a lot.

 

Not one to give up I tell myself to look ahead and remind myself how long this viaduct has stood the test of time, there are no boats going across the water and no people walking on the path, I begin the narrow walk telling myself I am simply walking on a path!!! I’m a quarter the way over and I look to my right, the view is absolutely breathtaking particularly on such a lovely day, I spot sheep that look like small cushions of snow and hedges that appear unreal, like lego.

 

I’m beginning to get so far that there’s little point now in considering not to walk the whole thing so I carry on. Slightly disconcerting is the fact that every twenty steps or so there’s a grid and every time the dogs get to the grid they stop and consider what to do, they then decide to jump over every grid and I can’t help but wonder that they know something I don’t – so I of course also avoid contact with the grid.

 

As I get to the half way point I notice that my legs feel different, my legs have become jelly-like and I am now in no doubt that I have become scared and on top of that a slight bit of vertigo has set in. I am half way over so I can’t go back and at this point I don’t much feel like going forward, I do know though if I carry on going forward I am also going to have to come back across unless I want to walk fives miles out of my way. I’m totally bewildered that I have found walking across (did I say it is 126FT up in the air!!!) the aqueduct such a different experience because I’ve done it on my own. Continuing to look forward and avoiding the aforementioned grids I breathe a sigh of relief as I’m two thirds over and the distance between myself and the ground becomes shorter and my breathing begins to normalise.  As I feel the safety of land without the threat of imminent death… I ponder this strange change that happened inside my mind and the physical changes that took place in my body – simply because I did something alone.

 

The fact we can get such strength and confidence just from being with someone else was quite a revelation to my independent mind however I also gave myself a virtual round of applause that I did not shy away from it, despite feeling scared and worried and wanting to run back, I didn’t. Through the week it made me consider how we normally do things with others and how ‘brave’ it can feel to go it alone. It’s great to be in a couple, be with friends and family but it’s also really important that we can face and manage challenges by ourself too – to live the life we want.

 

Happy Sunday XX

grid

 

 

 

Be more.

I’ll firstly apologise to all the humans in my life for leaving them out of this blog, mostly!

On Wednesday this week I felt pretty blue, crap actually. I got home after 14hrs had passed already into the day, I’d been up since 5am. I was tired. I was battered and a bit bruised (psychologically). All I wanted to do was get in, do what I had to do and get to bed.

 

When I drive home, before I get to where I park I have to pass the porch on my house, I always look in and there they lie, waiting. My two dogs. I am immediately lifted, I grab the keys to the house, I occasionally remember to put the car in gear (how it hasn’t ended up in the road I have no idea!) and grab my unicorn flask, my love island water bottle and my blue rucksack covered with birds, I throw this over my shoulder and walk to the house.

 

They’ve started to recognise my car, the sound of it I guess, the routine of it stopping and then my footsteps. They are now on four legs and I say through the glass – HELLO! Now I have verified my presence they dance around crazily, on two legs mostly and I can’t quite get in because they are jumping on me, they are squealing, they are besides themselves that I am home. In five seconds I am made to feel like the most special person in the whole wide world.

 

I sit down and I let them mouth their little teeth on my wrists, for some reason they like to do this then they’ll get a toy and show it to me. Their bums waggle 100mph, this goes on for a few minutes before I get ready to take them out which gets them even more excited of course. We go out for an hour every morning, the most beautiful part of the day where there’s almost nobody else around. In the evening due to the long day I often take them over to the field for their favourite thing ever to do. Ball catching, ball chasing, ball chewing.

 

I fear the neighbours probably think I have lost it a bit as I get a bit over excited during this half hour of the day. Inevitably my work will have been stressful – productive, rewarding, even fun – but inevitably stressful. So this is where I wind down, with my dogs, in a field, red ball thrower in hand.

 

Towards the end when they get tired we play ‘catch’ and every time they catch the ball I put my hands up in the air and shout ‘wooooooooo well done’ and laugh out loud as they proudly bring the ball back to me, wagging their tail feverishly and dropping the ball at my feet to do it all again.

 

This is the time of day when I often feel my best and it sets me up for the evening. The stress has almost vanished, replaced with – well a whole lot of love!

 

I got my first dog just a few weeks after Tesni died. I felt guilty about it (of course). You can’t replace anyone. You certainly can’t replace your child. But having my new furry tiny pooch made me get up in the morning, it made me walk, it made me care, it gave me focus, she needed me, she wouldn’t hurt me, she loved me. So much.

 

As I watch them jump to catch the ball and as I catch myself giggling out loud in the field, it made me think about love. I love them so very much and I realise that is hard for some people to understand, but I do. It got me thinking, what is love?

 

I made a list in my head of why I love the dogs and as I got through them I realised it isn’t dissimilar to love in relationships, the reason the dogs are so happy is not by chance, the reason I love them doesn’t just happen when you get your furry friend, the two-way healthy love bond is only there because of a whole lot of work.

 

The ingredients needed for love whether animal or human are the same.

 

Love them truly and they will love you back. Want the very best for them and they will protect you. Be kind to them and they will never hurt you. Look after them while letting them be free and they will respect you. Provide them with safety and they will do everything they can to keep you safe. Be loyal to them and they will never distrust you.

Communicate softly and they will reward you with eyes full of love. Have patience and they will grow. Be fun and they will smile (with their tail!) back at you.

 

Because they know I love them so much I can also get away with the odd time of being too tired for that second or third walk and they’ll forgive me because on the whole they know I love them and every day I do my best for them to be happy.

 

Love more, love honestly, love with kindness, love without selfishness, want the best for your loved one, be kind, look after them, let them be free, provide safety, be loyal, have patience and most importantly have fun, ‘whoop’ out loud in a field, dance in the kitchen, take long walks by the sea, respect, talk, listen, smile.

 

Let’s all ‘be more dog’!

 

Happy Sunday xx

How do you see it?

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I got home from work. In fact I drove home with the roof down on the car. I hung the washing out. All three dogs pace around following me as I peg each sock out in the sunshine. I admire the rose bush that is almost in flower and some seedlings are coming through. I remind myself how bad I am at watering the plants and the miracle that they’re looking ok.

The dogs keep staring. I get their leads and we walk up the narrow lane heading out the village. As I pass three strangers who politely say hello a few drops of rain land.  I love the rain. Especially on a warm day. Still I was surprised at the quick turn in weather.

I get to the field where I’m hoping the dogs can run but the fine drops dramatically turn into tennis ball sized fat rain. My tiny dog does not look amused. The other two are more robust but I head back.

The tennis ball fat rain changes to rugby sized dense chunks. I catch up with the three strangers. An older woman with her two sons I assume. As I approach she doesn’t see me. She’s giggling and laughing and dancing and singing.  Because of the rain. I smiled as I caught up. You love the rain,  I say. I don’t want her to feel  embarassed. She isn’t. 

All four of us take solace under two huge trees. We chat about the dogs,  my washing and the fact they’re on holiday.  The rain eases.  We say our  goodbyes and I walk on.

My little dogs view of the rain is not good. She’s wet. She’s annoyed.

For me the rain brought opportunity. The strangers made me smile and inside I felt happy in that moment.

How do you see it?