Today was Easter Monday Bank Holiday, Carol's last day of the Easter Holiday. We had considered going for a swim at the gym this morning, but in the end we decided that the dogs would appreciate being taken for a walk. We haven't taken them out for quite a while, due mainly because of the weather. It was foggy when I looked out of the window and actually quite nippy. If we were going to take the dogs anywhere in the car we would need to take the cage for Alfie which was in the house and it was necessary to get it out without him seeing as he gets particularly overwrought (to say the least. He becomes like the Tasmanian Devil when he knows we're planning a walk.) I got the dogs in the bedroom and closed the door on them and managed to get out to the car with the cage and inside the back without Alfie knowing. But as soon as the dogs were eventually let out of the bedroom Alfie seemed to have some idea of what we were planning and started charging around the house, barking noisily. We wanted to take the digital camera and had purchased new batteries to put it it, but, during the recent cleaning, which we did prior to the house inspection, these batteries got mislaid. After some searching we found them and I managed to put them into the camera. It is absolutely no use having a digital camera with flat batteries. We have had rechargeable batteries for our three cameras, but they are not virtually useless and don't seem to hold a charge. I suppose they do have a limited life and being at least six years old I imagine they are at the end of their lives. I'm not sure how many times they have been recharged but that's not bad if that is how old they are, so buying a set of batteries that aren't rechargeable seemed rather a waste of money but we just wanted a set to allow us to use the Fuji camera. Carol suggested I keep Alfie while she got Poppy into her harness in the kitchen and it took me some effort to keep hold of him and he managed to scratch me with his claws as he was getting more and more excited, barking and making a lot of noise. Poppy is generally no problem to sort out with her harness, but Alfie . . .
We got him into the car and had next to get some change as the carpark at Salcey Forest isn't free and you need change to feed the meter there, as we discovered some while ago and this seems to be the norm at several of the places we take the dogs for walks, particularly Rushmere and the nearby Park near Leighton Buzzard. We drove towards the A5 and went to get a coffee at the new drive-in Starbucks which meant we would have sufficient change for parking once we got to Salcey.
The sun was struggling to make an appearance and as it was now around 9 a.m. we thought that the fog would soon clear.
When we got to Salcey Forest the carpark was virtually empty. It seemed that our early start to the day had paid off. Being a Bank Holiday we had taken into consideration that everyone else would be out and about, particularly as it was a warm and sunny day.
Then we found that it was going to cost £3 to park the car for more than three hours. I went into the cafe which is near the carpark. Generally very good as we've been there in the winter months when it it open and have very nice soup on cold and frosty days. I had a £5-note and bought a packet of Polo mints and took it to the till to pay. The girl who was on the till said 'do you have anything less?' to which I replied that I hadn't and the change was for the carpark. Then another woman who worked in the cafe said 'we don't give change for the carpark.' Which seemed a rather stupid thing to say, because if they wanted customers, then they would need people to come in a car and if they couldn't provide change for parking, then people would drive off and not park and take their money elsewhere. I'm not bothered about paying for parking provided the money is used to keep the facilities maintained. The toilets at the site were closed for maintenance, and were replaced by temporary toilets, so I imagine money made from car parking went towards the cost of that, also, keeping the surface of the roads within the forest and the actual carpark in top condition. They can be very bad, and during one occasion when we went we got the car stuck in a very muddy puddle.
Anyway, we went for a very enjoyable walk with the dogs, and by the time we got back with them to the car the place had filled up with more cars and people, and lots of other dogs which our two made friends with.