The winter weather has been unseasonably warm here in Pas de Calais in the north of France. We’ve had a lot of rain and there has been bad flooding in many places but – it’s not cold.
This has inspired me to get out more than I usually would and the OH (Other Half) and I have taken to walking the dogs last thing at night. You might not think that is worthy of comment but, where I live there are no pavements and no street lights except in the short piece of road that runs through the centre of the village and past the town hall. There was a lot of back slapping when the five street lamps were erected a couple of years ago.
The dogs absolutely love walking in the dark. The first night Bruno the Labrador fell into the ditch – which has become a fast moving stream with all the rain – at the side of the road and Ella the Spaniel puppy who turned into a German Shepherd was a bit worried and kept by my side. Now though they run off into the darkness without a care in the world – and it is dark believe me. The last few nights have been cloudy so no light from the moon to help me find my way round the hills and country lanes. I can hardly see my hands in front of my face but the OH says it’s much more “exciting” to go without a torch…
The rue principal from the village at the top of the hill into our little hamlet has been closed as the excessive rain has actually washed part of the road away. We don’t usually walk the dogs on this road as the occasional car is seen. With the road closed the dogs are safe to wander and they run in and out of gardens and fields having a good old nose. Last night Churchill the German Pinscher (whom the OH chose thinking he was a Doberman pinscher) went into a barn belonging to one of the farmers in a lit courtyard. He came out like a cork out of a bottle with a huge dog running behind him and I could swear he had a big grin on his face.
There’s a steep hilly road that runs the length of our village and you can look down on the houses which give off an orange glow from the windows that don’t have closed shutters. Whisps of smoke come from the chimneys on almost every house and the air is filled with the scent of wood fires. You can hear animal squeaks, owls hooting and rustlings in the fields. Every now and again the dogs disturb a creature and they charge off across the fields… I’m told they don’t have great eyesight in the dark like cats and I have no idea how they manage to avoid tree branches and other obstacles, but they do. Me, I fall over every twig I encounter, walk into bushes, twist my ankles in holes and generally move around like some sort of ailing hobbit.
I shall miss these night time walks when the snow comes as I’m sure it will at some point…