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River Valley walk

Yesterday, I decided to walk down past Gunnislake, along the river valley.   This is one of the walks that I'm rediscovering with the lurchers - for years with Mollydog, I had to be very careful about walks that involved tarmac and not walk too far, because of her knackered legs and feet, and then after she died Az was really too old for longer walks.   But Brythen and Rosie really should be able to walk for a few miles - although it must be said that after a couple of miles they stop looking for squirrels and trot along quite sedately, which is more than Mollydog did in her youth.  I remember one Dartmoor walk when we walked for four hours, and somehow she still found the oomph to do mad zoomies around the car when we got back to it...

Anyway,  the bluebells were looking good, although they were only around in patches.This is beech woodland, so a lot of the ground beneath the trees is clear, due to the savage habit of beeches of shedding herbicide onto the ground all around them.  Such pretty trees when the new leaves come in too.

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I took a deep breath and decided to let Rosie Roo have some offlead time in the woods.  She was mostly pretty good - kept coming back and checking in with me, and most of the time did not run too far away.   I wish she (well, both of them really) would agree to actually come when called though.

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 I find myself standing there whistling, and they look at me from the midst of the green with a vague expression on their faces, and then trot off in the other direction.  Then a few minutes later when I am thinking 'oh, bugger. They are really not coming back this time.  I shall have to try to go after them...' and start scrambling down steep mossy slopes -  they come charging up with happy 'You called?' looks on their faces.

 I was carrying several sorts of treats, but neither of them are naturally greedy dogs.  Brythen will politely take treats in a 'thanks for the gesture' kind of way, and if she's in the mood, Rosie Roo will take treats as a sort of competitive point-scoring thing: I won a biscuit!!   But there is no food more interesting than squirrels.  Rosie's going to be a nightmare when she's old and frail.  She's still showing more ribs than I'd like, although she has now hit 21Kg, which is  I dunno, maybe a kilo under her ideal weight...

Anyway, here are some old limekilns.  Somewhere in front of them is a brimstone butterfly. It had just flown heroically across the river!

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Further down the river.  That house in the middle is the house that people have had to be winched out of by helicopter, when the Tamar arose and became angry and started flooding everywhere.

I do feel that the Tamar is a river with a personality.  When I was writing The White Hare,  I had a whole backstory about the idea of the Voice of the River and the river-goddess that in the end mostly was irrelevant to the story so I left it out.  But I was so won over by the idea of a sentient river, that I started a River Tamar twitter account.   I suppose in a way it is an exercise in very-short-form fiction: if an ancient river-spirit got her hands on a mobile phone and decided to tweet, what would she tweet?  That sort of thing.

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Rosie Roo on lead, Brythen off lead among the ramsons.  A lot of the time, Brythen was just walking side by side with Rosie, although I'm pretty sure that if they had both been offlead the whole time they would have vanished enthusiastically.   Brythen is quite good at staying close now, but is easily Led Astray by Bad Companions.
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In the garden of the pub where Pp came and picked us up.  We had only walked about three miles, but Brythen clearly felt that was enough.
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... and now I think I have recovered from the gardening, so I should go and walk them... again!

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