Church Minshull

SAD times are over?

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Well last time we forgot to wish you all a "Happy New Year" — sort of deliberately because as far as dogs are concerned the new year is only just starting. What do I mean — well hang on and I'll tell you!

I'm dictating this to himself at the end of January and we were both saying this morning how finally we are starting to see the mornings getting lighter when we are out for a walk, and the afternoon is beginning to get back to its normal shape rather than giving in to dark and drizzle by 4 o'clock. Himself said that I had had SAD — seasonal affective disorder — characterised in my case by being less active than normal, being sleepy during the day and having increased appetite. What a cheek! If you only have fur to keep you warm would you fancy being put out in the garden on a winter's day when you know that the fire is burning in the grate and if its not raining now it will be soon? Even the squirrels have been keeping a low profile, so nothing to chase and keep warm. I suggested that he was the sad one instead, wanting to get up in the dark, go outside in the cold and wet, and get some sort of pleasure in hosing me down after our walks. As for the increased appetite bit its important to build up a barrier between one's vital organs and the cold. Anyway after a sunny walk including pheasant and squirrel chasing, followed by rolling my black furry pals Baxter and Jack over in the mud, my humour has been definitely restored. So that's a long-winded way of me telling you that as far as I'm concerned the new year is really only starting about now.

The other day himself took me for a pre-lunch walk around Whitegate and Vale Royal Abbey, with some other men who aren't trained enough to have dogs. I'm not sure they have been trained at all to be honest as it took two to lead the walk and they still kept losing the way! One of them lives in Church Minshull and was getting a new car — as they normally share lifts for this annual winter walk I think himself was hoping for a ride in it. The "other man" (clue: who works with Grommit?) made some sort of poor excuse about having to leave early from the lunch to pick the new car up from the garage after the walk, and clearly didn't want me to be all muddy in the trade-in, so we had to go in our own motor. It was a good walk — after the "leaders" got their act together. I managed to find some good black slimy ponds before we went along the Golf course, where I saw a red-faced man trying to hit a poor white ball with a stick. I think he'd beaten it before because the ball had little dents in it. Well what's a dog to do — balls are for dogs, not for people, and if I'd had a few more minutes I could have sorted the stick out for him as well! Himself said the red-faced man was having a sense of humour failure and that's why he shouted at me. I think it had something to do with the checked clothing uniform he was wearing. Anyway the walk ended back at the Plough Inn where the men disappeared faster than squirrels in my garden, while I was left in charge of the motors. I noticed that "Grommit" was in no hurry to leave the pub — perhaps the new owners of his old car would appreciate the scent of stale beer and cottage pie?

That's enough for now — himself says we've written more than usual as we've been inside hiding from the snow and frost — as if!

Madai — your rovering reporter

PS — where was I in last month's picture? In the edge of the River Weaver at the start of the walk in Bluebell woods