I’m a great believer in variety. As luck would have it, so is my Dad. When it comes to walks, Dad always felt that the more he introduced me to different sights, senses and smells, the more rounded an individual I would turn out to be. So right from when I was a pup, Dad would take me on different walks every day so that no two days would ever be the same.
To make life simpler for both of us, Dad gives them names, sometimes based on their location, sometimes based on something that happened the first time we found them, and other times based on the circumstances under which we found them. Here are some of my favourites!
The first time we found this walk, we were actually on our way to town. I remember it so clearly. It was a Tuesday. Or was it a Friday? No, actually, it might have been a Monday. Whatever, I remember it clearly!
Anyway, we were definitely on our way to town via a traffic diversion because, just for a change, they were digging up the roads in our area that week. Dad thought he knew a better way and, true to form, we got lost. Again!
After about ten minutes, we ended up back where we started, by which time the build up of traffic was even worse, so Dad turned around right by a Public Footpath sign which conveniently had a lay-by next to it and which he’d never even noticed before. And that was it. It was because of a bottleneck that we found the walk and so that’s what we called it – Bottleneck.
Remember Oddjob from the James Bond film, Goldfinger? Well the first time we found this walk, we met another dog walker who was the spitting image of Harold Sakata, the actor who played Oddjob in the film. It wasn’t him of course because poor old Toshiyuki – that was his real name by the way – died long before I was born. But nonetheless, the name just stuck. So now when Dad says, “Would you like to go to Oddjob today?” I know exactly where he means.
Back in the day – when Dad were a lad and long, long before even my Dog Mom was born – there was a famous and dangerous corner on the Circuit de la Sarthe where the Le Mans 24 Hours motor race was and is held. Known as White House (Maison Blanche) Corner, it was, as the name implies, a corner with, would you believe, a big white house on it.
Anyway, being something of a motor racing historian, Dad knew of this, and when we found this particular walk, which has both a bend and a white house on it, Dad named it, appropriately enough, our ‘White House’ walk. He’s clever like that, my Dad!
Not so much a Llama Farm as a field with a few Llamas in it, this is a walk we use quite frequently during the late summer because there are lots of blackberry bushes nearby and Dad is rather partial to blackberries on his breakfast cereal.
So why ‘Llama Farm’? Because saying ‘Would you like to go to the Llama Farm today’ is considerably more succinct and punchy than saying ‘Would you like to go to the field with a few Llamas in it today’. Simples!
In case you’re wondering, our Water Works walk has absolutely nothing to do with Dad’s weak bladder. If it was, all our walks would likely be named Waters Works because Dad’s, well, old, and like everything else about him, his bladder’s not what it used to be if you take my meaning!
No, this walk is called Water Works because, appropriately enough, we pass a water works on it.
While all the other walks can take place on any day of the week, this one is always our Sunday walk, and has been since I was little.
As much as I enjoy this walk, it is by far the most demanding because I have to walk to heel on a short lead as opposed to all the others where I walk on a long line and have much more freedom.
I like it though because I get to say hello to lots of peoples, most especially the really nice man who lets me jump onto his bus whenever we see him. He is a very tall man and I think his bus takes people who have been naughty out to work in the community for the day. I think it’s a bit like a naughty step with wheels. I’m not really supposed to know about such things, but I think that’s what it’s all about. Anyway, he’s a really nice man, and all his passengers are nice to me which is important for a young dog like me.
So, there you go. These are just some of my walks with Dad. Perhaps another day I’ll tell you about some of the others.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the photo is of me and Dad when I was little. If Mum took such a photo today, Dad would be the one in the dog sling because I’m bigger than he is now and far too big and heavy for him to carry me, especially what with his lumbago and all!