I’ve been emulating Burt Lancaster of late.
No, I haven’t won an Oscar for an evangelistic drama. Neither have I been cavorting in the surf with Deborah Kerr nor have I joined a circus (well, not since I tried when I was 7).
I’ve been following in his – wet – footsteps in The Swimmer but with stubble fields instead of swimming pools.
In this movie Burt Lancaster sets off on a journey across affluent suburban Connecticut swimming from backyard pool to backyard pool.
One of my greatest pleasures at this time of year when all the fields have just been harvested is to attempt my entire dog walk eliminating all roads and walking from field to field and wood to wood clambering over dykes, fences, burns and ditches. I don’t know if it’s the Girl Guide (Queen’s Guide I might add) in me or just my love of the countryside but it gives me an immense feeling of freedom. It kinda brings out the little kid in me too and makes me feel like an explorer charting new territory. Silly, I know but it feeds my overactive imagination.
Of course, the dogs love it which is the main reason for this self-imposed ‘no road rule’.
Field and forest smells are a lot of more interesting than road smells. Speaking from personal experience I have never seen a dog get excited over carbon monoxide fumes. In fact, it makes them sneeze. I can always tell a vehicle that won’t pass its next emissions test. Those chassis dynamometer platforms are expensive pieces of kit. Testing centres could save a fortune by just driving the car around until they pass someone out walking a dog and waiting for a reaction. If the dog sneezes – it fails. Simple. As long as it’s always a different dog. All those nasty hydrocarbons are bad for doggies.
Our entire 2 hour walk was made up of stubble and grass fields and the odd bit of farm track which is allowed under the stringent rules. It also means that the dogs are off the lead the entire time and there isn’t even the odd tractor with which to contend as they’re all off making perlilously high and precarious bale towers or playing musical cattle.
We’ll have to make the most of this wonderful season while it lasts as all the fields will be ploughed soon and that makes for aching hamstrings and dirty dogs.
Fortunately, my walk ends at my happy home with a cup of tea in a garden chair for me and a power nap for the dogs on the lawn.
Sadly, Burt’s expedition ends at a loveless, empty house and despair and defeat in his heart.
You can keep Hollywood . Give me rural Deeside any time.