08 February 2009


Well we’re so pleased we braved the slush because that was a top weekend getaway. Obviously as every sane person had stayed at home, we more or less had the campsite to ourselves, which lent a certain tranquility to the whole proceedings. Having been bolstered by my steamed broccoli (with a pork and apple steak on the side, I should add), the next morning I duly roused the kraken and left him getting the van into day mode while I trundled around the adjacent forest with the dogs. Now have you seen a maypole after 20 maidens have done their stuff? That was my legs after two minutes amidst all the woodland smells and snuffles. I was trussed up good and proper and every time I untangled myself from my leather lead bindings, the boys wanted to get frisky in the ferns again…and so it went on, with me more rotating than walking along the paths, with the occasional tottering hiatus for poop picking.

We’d already decided that we would head off with Susie and Monty for a spot of geo-caching, encouraged by the glorious chilled sunshine and excellent conditions underfoot. So I deposited three dogs in the van, collected A, picked up about six different devices and gizmos for the GPS/mapping side of things (don’t ask why so many, we’re not like normal people) and off we marched to find Pingo-it. There are two things that I absolutely love about geocaching – it gives a walk purpose and a sense of anticipation, and it also takes you to parts of the countryside you might never otherwise see. Saturday’s jaunt was a case in point. We ended up walking along the Crab and Winkle Line that once ran from Thetford to Swaffham – long disused but unmistakably an old branch railway that fascinatingly dived across acres of primeval landscape, pockmarked with pingos – small ponds leftover from the depredations of the Ice Age. I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen anything like it before and I’m glad it was bright and sunny otherwise it would have been verging on the sinister, with its eerie silence and heavy stillness. If you’ve seen ‘Deliverance’ with Burt Reynolds, you’ll know where I’m coming from… The dogs didn’t seem to mind though, with Monty weeing up the surrounding flora with gay abandon and Susie getting excited at the occasional muntjack bobbing and weaving in the trees, shaking its tush in that ‘come and get me if you’re hard enough’ sort of way. Susie is hard enough which is why I kept her on her lead.

Success was ours at the end of the trek, with A having a good old ferret up a tree for the cache and bringing out his booty triumphantly. We signed the book, swapped geocoins and then turned for home and an urgent date with the coffee machine and a comfy chair. The trip back was notable only for Monty barking at some Highland cattle (rather him than me – did he see the size of their horns?) and the rest of the afternoon was spent tutting at the papers and listening to Five Live.

The Sony Reader came out in the evening and I really am very impressed with it, mainly because I can hold it and turn the page with one hand, leaving my other hand free to drink – very important. Dinner, a stupid film, more reading, made up the rest of the day, so all in all a very relaxing, hassle-free Saturday – and Thetford really is a perfect location for these veg out mini-trips. It’s an attractive, well-laid out site, with friendly managers, modern amenities and loads and loads of forest walks on your doorstep – no need to move the van once you’ve parked up, which is just the way we like it. And in winter it’s a godsend because the ground is always so firm – a refreshing change from all the mud we’ve had to trudge through lately.

Another good thing, judging from this trip, is that the dogs have finally understood that at night, it’s dogs on bed by request only. Now I’m happy for Susie and Ranger to sleep with me and they seem to have sussed that they’re allowed, while the others also seem to have twigged that they’d be better off staying the other side of the curtain - if they don’t want to get short shrift and a slipper up their bum. The only trouble is that while Susie tends to go straight through to her sleeping quarters/my bed, Ranger drags a little and will often come in (barge through curtain) a little, and sometimes a lot, later. Of course, to get to his desired sleeping position (usually stretched out behind me with his paws in my back – nice), he has to leap on the bed first. Now this led to a bit of a contretemps on Friday night, so I’ve explained to him the one rule of the house: even though it’s dark, even though he can’t see over the bed, even though she’s half-hiding under a duvet, he really mustn’t use Susie as a trampoline. Not if he wants to see ten.

1 comment:

Lesley K Nb Caxton said...

A Cracking read Greygal - as ever...