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Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Walk In The Forest

It's been quite a pleasant morning. It was about time we took Alfie out for a walk. It was a toss-up between Salcey Forest or Rushmere Country Park. We decided on Salcey. Both about the same sort of distance from Milton Keynes. It's up the A5 towards Stony Stratford and out into the  Northamptonshire countryside. It was actually quite nice to get away from Milton Keynes for a couple of hours. Apart from anything, Alfie needed an outing, since Poppy died two weeks ago. He's an energetic little dog and really enjoys going out with us. I had to put the cage in the back of the car because he's a bit of a handful if he sits on your lap. He won't and as we've attempted this, it's better for us and better for him. He'll only get his lead tied up with the gear stick and it's frankly a safety issue. I had to sneak the cage out to the car without him noticing, as he soon picks up somehow or other that we're intending to go out and take him with us. I don't remember when we last visited this favourite dog-walking site, but it's probably a couple of years ago. Last time we went they were in the process of building new facilities such as toilets and the area around the café. Also, it seems they've managed to resurface a lot of the roads in and out and some of the paths have better surfaces, tarmac, which is probably better for wheeled things such as bicycles, baby buggies, prams and wheelchairs. The new toilet block is a vast improvement. We took Alfie for quite a long walk through the forest, meeting a lot of people with dogs. To be let off his lead and to run free was what Alfie enjoys most of all. We walk along at our own pace but he insists on running ahead and discovering all manner of nice smells and weeing up against virtually every tree and tuft of grass he encounters. Then he runs back to us and trots along at our heels and then shoots off again. It was quite muddy, which is to be expected, considering the time of year. If we'd had Poppy with us she'd have found the most smelly, gooey and thick mud to wade through. Alfie isn't so keen on water, thankfully. Poppy had a propensity for diving in to the nearest piece of water, be it lake, pond, river, canal or whatever. if it was smelly mud it meant we had to contend with not only cleaning her after an outing but it would lead to a muddy house, carpets, furniture, beds and so on. We walked into the forest, having parked the car, avoiding the most muddy places. Carol found a place in the carpark, but I saw that there was a large muddy puddle her side of the car, as it would mean, when she got out of the car, she'd have to walk in this mud. We'd come here a couple of years ago and parked the other side of the carpark and when we'd returned to the car to go home we found we couldn't move the car because we'd got stuck in the mud. It was quite some time before we could drive away. Funny looking back, but not so funny at the time.

Further into the forest we came to the tree-top walk. I'm not good with heights. Never have been, unfortunately. We have walked right to the top of this structure, but I wasn't too keen today. It's quite a height at it's furthest extent. I'm not sure how high, but around the same height as some of the trees. We heard a rather off-putting creaking sound, coming I think from one of the trees nearby. They were swaying in the breeze. There wasn't the wind we had during the week, thankfully. I think the treetop walk would have been closed for health and safety concerns. We walked back to the car and I used the newly built toilets, a vast improvement on the somewhat primitive facilities that used to be here. We had hot chocolate, cream and marshmallows which was an ideal end to our walk and then returned home in the car. We had been covered very generously in mud, thanks to Alfie insisting on sitting on both our laps when we sat on a bench by the path in the forest. But it really didn't matter because everything can go in the washing machine.
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