Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Park Life

I have taken to going for a daily walk in the park. Rising early and setting off before the mindless, shirtless, loud-mouthed litter louts appear and spoil the view with their sheer vulgarity. The park has undergone major works this year, and many proper paths have been laid across the grassland, and new bridges built across the stream and lake. It all makes for a very pleasant walking experience. And do I miss the frisson of excitement that used to come with doing battle with nettley, brambly overgrowth, dog poop and rabbit holes lurking in the long grass, and the slipping and sliding over treacherously muddy water banks? No, I do not!

So I walk in the mornings, at a brisk pace, for 47 minutes, because that is how long it takes to get to the park, walk around the lake and get back home. And then I jog on the spot for three minutes to make it up to 50 minutes, because 47 minutes on one's pedometer is an irritating number, especially when one is has mild OCD. This is my own diagnosis. Annoyingly, when I did an on-line 'Are you Obsessive Compulsive?' quiz, the results said I wasn't, even when I tried to wangle them in my favour. Seems I just like a tidy house, all the pencils in a colour-coordinated row and for the world to be punctual.

Yesterday, I thought I saw an albatross. Half-way round the lakeside walk, there is a bridge that crosses the lake and if you look to the left, there is a little island in the lake on which is growing a gothic-looking tree i.e no leaves, looks like it's been struck by lightning but isn't going to let that beat it in teh battle for survival. This island I have named 'Rook Island' because the tree, in keeping with its gothic appearance, usually has a few rooks perched in it. But yesterday there was a much bigger bird sitting on the top branch looking very pleased with itself. Certainly not a rook. Possibly an eagle?? No. Turned out to be a cormorant. Not an albatross. Disappointing. Unless you are keen on cormorants.

Most of the dogs that run in the park fall into five catergories - spaniels, labradors, staffordshire bull terriers, jack russells and shi-tsus (is that how you spell shi-tsu? I don't want to try any other combinations in case I cause offence). I was savaged by a shi-tsu puppy this morning, if one can be savaged by something no bigger than the palm of one's hand. It came galloping towards me, full of the joie de vivre that puppies have, and I put down my hand to let it sniff, which it did, and then it gave me a little play bite and raced off with the little pirate scarf it was wearing blowing in the wind and probably causing such a teeny creature a lot of wind drag.

And there is the man who is dragged along by two cocker spaniels. The look on his face suggests here is a man under dog-walking duress; the partner of a woman who pestered him to get two cocker spaniel puppies because 'they look so CUTE with their big floppy ears and big fluffy paws', who walked them herself for all of two weeks, then discovered that walking on a regular basis chipped her expensive pedicure and getting up early was such a drag and 'you'll walk Chardonnay and Beckham for me, won't you darling?' He is a man who looks like he wants to be walking a bull dog to the pub.

And since the revamp, everything has become 'historic.' Little signs have popped up next to the rotunda, the waterfall, the mansion house, the woodland, declaring them all to be 'historic.' I'm just waiting for one to be erected next to the cafe - 'Historic eating place. Purveyors of ice cream and dodgy burgers since 1972.'  Ha!

But the ducks are the same, and the swans and the geese. And the squirrels, you can tell, are wholly unimpressed with the whole facelift because their main concern is, and always will be, nuts. Not so many rats, which I suppose is a good thing. And the foxes still do their best to empty the bins every night in search of scraps of KFC and picnic. And come the Autumn the trees will deposit their leaves on the newly gravelled paths, no doubt creating a new Health and Safety hazard. And the mindless louts will retreat indoors to sit shirtless and mindless in front of their football computer games.

Park life.


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