What a beautiful weekend it has been.
There has, however, been a definite autumnal nip in the air. So much so that I feel it may be time to hang up my swimming towel for the season, for fear of the trauma that a sudden plunge into the icy-cold river may cause to my own dear, tender Little Jasper.
Friday afternoon saw Candy and I sitting on the riverbank, discussing this very issue. We had both dipped tentative paws into the water and decided against our swim. As we chatted happily, we became aware of a strange sound, growing in volume as it approached ever nearer. We both turned and looked up the gradient of the lower park field, which sloped gently down and ended at the riverbank. We saw a tan-coloured speck hurtling towards us.
"CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA..." said the speck. The speck became a tan-coloured blob. The blob became Harvey. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!" he hollered, running with all the speed of a healthy young Staffordshire. I quickly stood up and nudged Candy to one side, for fear she would be knocked over by the speeding youth. He barrelled past us, running so fast he was barely visibly.
Have you ever seen the Road Runner cartoons? In particular, the bit where Wil E. Coyote runs over the edge of a cliff - when his little legs continue to run for a few seconds while he hangs in mid-air, before he plummets downwards. This was the effect displayed in Harvey as he shot off the edge of the riverbank and proceeded to plunge into the deep icy water. Candy snickered a bit at the sight but I winced slightly, imagining the shock and despair that Harvey's 'Little Harvey' would be experiencing any second now. Sure enough, when the head of Harvey broke the bubbling water's surface, it was accompanied by shrill yelping and squealing. As quickly as he had entered the water, he was out of it again. He positively flew past us again, still yipping shrilly and proceeded to run around the lower park field twice, squealing all the way.
This completed, he returned sedately to the riverbank and sat down beside us.
"Good afternoon." he said, trying not to shiver.
"Harvey." I said.
"Good afternoon, Harvey." said Candy.
"Bit fresh, that water." said Harvey, after a pause. "I'd give it a miss, if I were you, Jasper."
"Thanks Harvey, I'll bear that in mind." I said, nodding. There was another awkward pause.
"See you later then." said the young Staffie, trying to disguise the chattering of his teeth. In fairness to him, Candy and I waited until he was well away and in the arms of his partner, before we collapsed into laughter. Poor Harvey.
Yesterday (Saturday), I was part of a really quite madcap scheme. It was my partner's father's idea. He had noticed that I was miserable through being tormented by the hedgehog, and knew that my partner had not been feeling well, so suggested that we should all take a day-trip together - to Dartmoor! Yipppieeee! I had not been since 2006, so was more than happy to accede to this suggestion.
Thus it was that my partner, her parents and I all piled into their car (not my Little Green Corsa, but their swanky new wagon - lovely), and made the four-hour journey to Dartmoor. It was a truly delightful day, the pleasure of its unexpectedness only enhancing the enjoyment that the scenery and the weather occasioned.
Straight away, my partner managed to hit paydirt. She and I were still in the car park when she was smiled upon and spoken to by a blonde, tousle-haired young gentleman. I questioned her as to whether she only spoke to him because he looked like a blonde version of BC (a bit), but she would not meet my eye, so I dragged her away and onto the moor. And here are the pictures to prove that I was indeed on beautiful Dartmoor only yesterday:
Me, beside my partner's rucksack, in front of the appropriately-named Hound Tor. Blonde BC-alike can be seen in the distance (white t-shirt). Don't look at him.
Getting a "Dartmoor Massage"
Happy to find myself there on such a lovely day.
We had a fantastic walk and did a spot of letterboxing (our favourite hobby, and one we can enjoy together). I am not going to go into what Letterboxing is here, but instead, for those who may be interested, shall direct you to http://www.dartmoorletterboxing.org/, where you can find all the information you need, some very nice people, and some rather charming pictures of a certain Mr. J. Stafford. My partner has been Letterboxing whenever she can since 1988 and I have proved myself quite an accomplished sidekick. This is our 'personal stamp':
And after our walk, it was another four-hour drive back home, for fish and chips. What Saturday could be more perfect? A wonderful way to bid farewell to the summer and herald the approach of autumn.
Maisie is going away for a few days, so I will be accompanying my partner to work tomorrow. I hope to be able to bring you more tales of the hapless Ewan from my time in the office - although I shall take care to avert my eyes from any pigeon couples this time.