Winter clears out the fair-weather walkers


Leighton Buzzard Writers’ weekly LBO column... This week by Sara Harris

Finally, and not before time, it seems, it is winter at last. That felt like the longest autumn on record. At last it’s time to break out the woolly socks, thick padded coats and amusing Peruvian hats that make my daughter refuse to walk on the same side of the street as me.

The best thing though, is that winter clears out all the fair-weather dog walkers. I don’t know what those people do with their dogs in the winter, but they certainly don’t seem to take them to the park.

The Harris Dog and I have a lovely time on our own as a result, trundling along the canal path or round Tiddenfoot Lake, or even better, up through the woods at Rushmere. Once you get off the accessible path and away from the cafe and Christmas tree seller, Rushmere is beautiful and virtually empty for the most part. A quick Google tells me that the park is about 400 acres. All I know is that I have been walking there for nearly two years and have never walked exactly the same way twice.

Even the cold doesn’t matter so much; once you get going at a good pace, and with the Harris Dog in the lead, it is hard to go slowly. The Harris Dog is a Springer Spaniel, with two speeds – snooze and 100mph! Power-walking around the lovely green spaces in and around town is the best way to keep warm, so get your boots on and get out there!

Meanwhile back indoors, I have become aware of a horrible phenomenon called The Elf On The Shelf (EOTS). Apparently this loathsome toy is supposed to ‘magically’ move around the house at night (i.e mum and dad have to move it) and it reports back to Father Christmas on the children’s behaviour.

I honestly can’t tell you how horrible and wried I think this is. My favourite response to the whole EOTS nonsense was the photo online of two defiantly unguilty dogs, both wearing signs.

One dog’s sign read ‘I ate The Elf On The Shelf’, while the other dog’s sign read ‘I helped because he is creepy’. Bravo pups!

My next column will be in the New Year, so thank you so much for reading my thoughts and opinions this year, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to one and all, and see you in 2015!