Same way, different faces

Today’s walk brought meetings with three new people. Firstly, while waiting for a train to cross, two young boys caught up with me and started chatting. Within seconds, I’d learned that they were new to the area, one was grade 5, the other grade 3 and they used to have a Cavvie of their own. As the train moved on, we walked the same way to school. They’d had a cat and the cat and the dog were great mates. The dog was named for a boxer and was very big – 40 kg at least!!! Emmi greeted them enthusiastically and then was happy to walk with us.

The openness of the boys was surprising, but dogs seem to help break barriers and infer (rightly or wrongly) trustworthiness. And they were delightful.

The third new face was the new school crossing lady. I’m only surmising she’s new, but her hesitance with the routine was marked. She wanted to talk to Emmi too, so we stopped for a bit. But the combination of whistle, big hat, big glasses and iridescent orange shirt was a little daunting for Emmi and she stayed reasonably close to me. I think the lady would have liked to talk more, but she had work to do and we had walking to do.

The only disappointing thing was that the man who has the orchard in his front yard wasn’t there, because his last peaches look delicious!

The long way round

I walk most weekday mornings with Emmi, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Cavvie for short). The route takes me roughly an hour, but this morning it took almost twice that. I’ve been doing the same route for a couple of years now and know just when the apricots are ripe, and when the man with an orchard might just be out the front. I also know where all the dogs live, friendly and not so.
Often I’ll say hello to at least one familiar face (human or canine) on our walk.

Not this morning. First I saw a woman whose son went to primary school with my son. We caught up on many of the people we both knew but seldom see. Emmi is accustomed to these stops and apart from an occasional, ahem I’m still here, is content to sit and wait. Second stop was an elderly man whose wife recently had foot surgery. I asked after her and he fetched her out from the house. She was doing really well and the pair of them will be back dancing any day now. Third stop the park. Emmi has a few favourite dogs and Phoebe the Tibetan Spaniel is one of them. Her owner is also in her 80’s and still walking her daily. Fantastic.

I know exercise is the main purpose of the outing, and I do up the pace after we’ve been stopped, but I do love the stories I hear. From the Great Depression to community art projects; from surgery to the politics of the dance hall; from teenage confidence to dog trimming disasters; it’s fantastic. And well worth the extra time on the walk.