Wear your wellies, she said. Well….. I don’t do wellies! I have two pairs of walking boots, sturdy walking boots for my rambles, and some very comfortable, very expensive flat shoes good enough to walk around town with, that I now walk my dogs in, as we don’t do mud.
So I didn’t wear my wellies. They are stuck in my garage somewhere, probably full of spiders. I didn’t even wear either of my walking boots. It had been a warm sunny morning, and it wasn’t going to rain, was it? I wore my dog walking shoes. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I remembered the walk around the lakes we used to do in the summer last year. The terrain was either grassy, or gravelled, wasn’t it? I would be okay in my dog walking shoes.
You may wonder why I don’t need to walk my dogs in walking boots. Well for one reason, there is a hosepipe ban at the moment, even though it has been tipping down for weeks, well since they announced the ban, anyway. If you could see the state of a German Shepherd when it runs around anywhere wet and muddy, you would realise that it would need to be hosed down and dried off, before being allowed indoors again. Even if there wasn’t a hosepipe ban, I wouldn’t want to hose down my two aging and arthritic dogs unless it was a heatwave. They can’t walk very far these days, so my comfortable shoes suffice to walk my dogs locally where it is nice clean grass with tarmac pathways, and we all stay nice and clean.
So here I was, in my dog walking shoes, walking across the grassland around the lakes near my friend’s house last Sunday, in my not quite Sunday best, chatting away merrily to my friend, as I hadn’t seen her for ages…….well, not since Saturday night. It all went according to plan at first. We weren’t going far, in case the heavens opened. There were plenty of different pathways that we could use round the nearby lakes, doing figures of eight, thereby covering a lot of ground in close proximity to my friend’s house, so we could make a run for it if it started to rain. It wouldn’t matter if the scenery was the same, at least we were out in the fresh air. Well, that was the plan.
I should have realised what would happen when I saw the brown labrador. Not really a brown labrador – it was actually a golden labrador caked in mud. I tried to give it a wide berth, but dogs always seem to make a bee-line for me. They must be able to smell my dogs on me, I suppose. I wondered where his owner was. Too late. The dog greeted me warmly, jumping up at my nice clean beige trousers, wagging his tail excitedly. Oh why hadn’t I worn my jeans? Then he had a good shake. My friend had sensibly moved away from us, so I got the lot. One apologetic owner came into sight from the bushes round the bend.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “He’s been in the lake and it’s very muddy near the edge.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” said I, “I’ve got dogs myself. It’s no problem, it will wash off.” I never used to be this magnanimous, did I?
He put his dog on a lead. “A bit late for that,” I thought.
We continued on our way. As we rounded the bend, I could see where the dog had got his mud from. The grassy area gave way to solid mud and sludge for about ten yards. I must have forgotten this bit when we walked it last year. Or did we actually go this way last year? There was a slightly sloping grassy bit to the side of the solid mud and sludge patch, just wide enough to walk on and miss walking through the mud. Why hadn’t I worn my boots? Even better to have worn wellies, then I could have squelched right on through it, like my friend did. Her wellies would wash off easily under the garden tap. They haven’t banned us using garden taps yet.
I was three or four strides along the grassy bit. Leather shoes don’t have very good grip, do they?
It’s not very pleasant being covered from head to foot in mud. I thought of the labrador and wished I could have a good shake too. Labradors don’t feel embarrassed though, do they? I thought of all the posh houses I was going to have to walk past on the way back to my friend’s house. Would they all have finished doing their front gardens by now, and gone inside?
Thanks goodness they haven’t banned showers!
Submitted to Helium.com 10.05.12