22 February 2020 (Saturday) - Coming Home

After the excitement of the first night and the shouts of the deer and fox fight on the second night the dogs were all-in last night. I don’t think Pogo and Treacle moved all night, and Charlotte assured me that Fudge had been similarly exhausted.
We had our last full English of the holiday. Oh – it was good. Fudge was so funny. Usually he loves toast crusts. Today he totally refused them; he knew there was sausages and bacon on the plates.

We paid our bills (*very* reasonable!), we packed our bags, and after just the teensiest diversion we were in Hauxton. Rather than having a long drive home we thought we might break up the journey and have a little dog-walk. And if we found one or two film pots stashed under rocks on that walk, then that would be something of a result.
We found thirty-seven.

I didn’t like to say anything before we started, but my back had been twinging a bit. Yesterday I’d nearly snapped my ankle in a rabbit hole, and in trying to avoid falling flat on my face I’d twisted something in my back. And so I had a choice… I could walk with backache or I could play the “sick note”. But either way my back would ache, and I’d rather go for a walk than sulk. My back held up for pretty much most of the walk. It only started giving my serious gyp toward the end of the walk.
And we had a good walk.

Over the last two days we’d walked through some of the thickest mud ever. Today we could have walked in trainers; there was so little mud. It was still rather windy, but we managed.
The Hauxton Hip-Hop was a very good walk of six miles. Some followed main roads, much of it was cross country. We did chuckle (!) when we found a road sign clearly saying “Access to the Footpath”. It lied. Someone had paid good money to have a road sign made that was deliberately misleading. The footpath was a further hundred yards up the road.
I took a few photos of the day (as I do)
The plan had been to finish walking at three o’clock, and we weren’t far off. We finished just as the rain started. We said our goodbyes, and we Munzee-d all the way home.

Bearing in mind the seriously high winds of the last few days I had been fully expecting to come home to garden disaster. The first thing I did when we got home was to have a look in the back garden. All the fences were still standing. The bodge I’d applied on Tuesday had held. I was rather pleased about that.

We unpacked and made a start on the laundry. First of all we needed to re-waterproof the coats that had let trough rather more rain than we would have liked.
"er indoors TM" boiled up a rather good bit of curry which we scoffed whilst watching yesterday’s episode of “Star Trek: Picard”. As a life-long trekkie I’m sorry to say that I’m fast going off this show. When I was eight years old I used to love watching Star Trek. This most recent episode would give an eight-year-old nightmares.

It was a shame that we missed the Cheriton Festival of Lights which was on this evening. If we’d been told that it was actually the Festival of Lights which was taking place rather than some dull fairy tales thing in the library, what with the dogs being absolutely all-in, we would probably have made the effort to go.
Oh well… maybe next time…

21 February 2020 (Friday) - Happy Birthday to Me !!

The idea was that the dogs would need a good night’s sleep. They slept until about half past one when some Cambridgeshire creature started squawking. Cat, fox, chicken or yeti; whatever it was it upset Treacle and Pogo who started barking, and within seconds we could hear Fudge joining in from across the courtyard.
After half an hour the anonymous animal shut up. But then the pub’s landlord called his dog in, which provoked more barking. In fact we found things to bark at every half-hour of the night.

As we went in for brekkie we got chatting with the landlord. The strange overnight squawking had been a deer being attacked by a fox outside the pub where we were staying. The landlord had been in in the thick of it. He’d gone out to see what was happening, and was unable to chase the fox away; it was that brave. Eventually he and his wife dragged it off of the deer, but the fox kept trying to get at the deer. It even tried to nudge the humans out of its way. The landlord had the idea to put the deer in his downstairs bathroom until the RSPCA arrived, but the fox just prowled about shouting until the nice man from the RSPCA took the deer away.

With a very good full English breakfast scoffed we drove out to Alconbury. We then set off on a double geo-stroll following two sets of geocaches. Half of the “WestUpton Circambular”, all of the “Coppingford Crackerjack”, and then the second half of the “WestUpton Circambular”. A round trip of eight miles. Eight miles in Kent is a respectable distance. In Cambridgeshire it is easier because it is a lot flatter, but the strong winds and thick mud more than made up for the lack of any hills.
The mud was impressive. The dogs were absolutely filthy. However as we came to the end of our walk we found a ford. Usually open for traffic to pass, today it was closed. It was too deep and the water was flowing too fast. To the dogs’ absolute disgust I used this opportunity to scrub the worst of the mud off of them.
When we got back to base we got out the dry shampoo and had a little dog scrubbing session. Bearing in mind how mired the dogs had been, they ended up remarkably clean.

We went into the pub where we had a pint; we played triangular Blokus. I do like triangular Blokus even if I was ganged up on and lost with a score of forty-seven. (For those of my loyal readers who have never played Blokus, a score of forty-seven is akin to Liverpool FC losing fifty-nil at home).
We had another game of Blokus in which I did better; I had another beer or two. Then we had dinner. I fancied the steak and chips. Oh – it was good. And my ice cream came out with a birthday candle and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to Me
We then withdrew to Karl and Tracey’s chalet. After what looked like half a pint of port I staggered off in the direction of bed.
I took a few photos of the day. As birthdays go, it was rather good.

20 February 2020 (Thurdsay) - Rain Stopped Play

The first night away with the dogs is always something like the first night of cub camp. Over-excitement and not sleeping. Fudge was having a sleepover with Charlotte so in theory a third of our problems were gone. In practice being across the courtyard just increased the range over which all three dogs could shout. The last time we were in Molesworth there was a crowing cockerel which wound up the dogs. There was no noisy chicken last night, so I have no idea what kept setting them off. But "er indoors TM" was telling them to be quiet every ten minutes.
I managed some sleep. I might have slept better had I not forgotten to bring my CPAP machine along, but I did get some shut-eye.

Eventually Treacle and Pogo got up and worried at the door. I thought they wanted to “do their business”. They didn’t; they just ran across the courtyard to worry at the door of number five where Fudge had had his sleepover with Charlotte. They wanted to go make nuisances of themselves.

It wasn’t long before we were all up, and with dogs breakfasted we went in for our own brekkie. I had the full English. It was rather good,
We then got into our wet weather gear and set off to the nearby village of Glatton. There was a couple of series of geocaches there which we thought might make a good walk for us for today. We set off on the first series, and within minutes "er indoors TM" had gone arse over tit in the mud.
We waddled on; the weather forecast had led us to believe that the weather would be good until mid-afternoon. It had lied. As we walked so the rain got heavier and heavier. Just at the point where the rain had soaked through to my pants I realised that the rain had washed he mud from the dogs, so the morning wasn’t a complete wash-out (to coin a phrase).
The route we were walking was a figure-of-eight; the plan had been to walk one look in the morning and the other loop in the afternoon but when you are wet through to your pants you know it is time to quit.

We drove back to base (where the courtyard was flooded) and changed into dry clothes. With the dogs towelled off and dried we spent a rather good afternoon in the bar by the fire. Playing triangular Blokus, playing pool…
The country pub became *incredibly* busy as the afternoon wore on. Who would have thought so many people would be going for a beer at four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon?

After a rather good bit of dinner we watched an inter-pub skittles competition. This was a Northamptonshire version of skittles in which the wooden skittles are lined up on a table and three lumps of wood are lobbed at them. It’s not as easy as it seemed…
I took a few photos of the day. As I do…