You might think that as semi-rural dwellers, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding places to take Boris-the-dog for a walk. It's not that simple. Our village is surrounded by farmland, much of which is populated by sheep, and as we all know, sheep and dogs are not a good combination. Boris is a country dog.
Once, when he was an adolescent pup, we decided he should go on an adventure to the bright lights of Edinburgh as part of his growing-up-to-be-a-proper-dog plan. He was taken on the train from the village to the city, and then went for a walk up to Morningside and back down to Waverley station, before coming home to his garden and chickens. That is the extent of his big smoke experience.
Most of his walks are gentle now, he's getting on a bit at fourteen and although he still has the oomph to pull me off my feet, his burst of speed are less prolonged than they used to be. Many of our walks are simple meanderings around the village to the park, or into the non-sheep field at the back of the house. This morning we went a little further away along the A70 road towards Lanark to a Forestry Commission wood called Camilty. Over the years we have seen this place change from plantation to dense forest and more recently to harvested timber. It is rather sad to see the trees cut down but there is beauty in the corridor of logged timber, laid out in neat four metre high heaps ready for seasoning and the sawmill.
It was chilly this morning. After all the mild and wet weather this was a bit of a shock to the system, and I was glad of my hat and gloves and warm down jacket. Boris, of course, stepped out quite happily in bare feet!
The puddles looked as though they had frozen in stages with the ice forming distinct strata.
Now we are home again in a warm house with mugs of tea and the old dog can lie in front of the fire for the rest of the afternoon.
Happy New Year.