Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Mighty have Fallen

The damage at Barshaw Park was both impressive and depressing. The combination of rain-sodden ground and gale force winds had taken its toll. Huge, thick, ancient trees lay toppled. The route along one of my walks was now completely blocked by a sea of branches which speared out at us. At night, in torchlight, it was creepy to encounter it, so many shadows being cast by so many branches and moving as we approached. In daylight it was just as odd, the top of the tree, normally reserved for the birds, pressed against the muddy path like some primitive deterrent against invaders. 

"Thou shalt not pass!"

It wasn't just trees falling that gave me a fright. My master took a tumble too. We were on the Brandy Burn side of the Glennifer Braes, walking at the far end. The ground was wet and many trees had blown over. As we headed down a grassy incline, above the entrance to the spooky wood, he slipped. Usually it's funny to see him wobble when he slips, his arms waving wildly in the air in an attempt to correct himself, normally succeeding, but today his boots headed horizontally and he flipped to the ground like he'd been chopped by a professional wrestler.

His back hit the ground first, then his head. He lay there dazed. I wasn't expecting it so barked my annoyance at the sudden fright. When he didn't get up I barked my concern. Why wasn't he rising? How was I going to get help so far from civilisation? We'd not seen another dog walker during the entire walk. What if no one came? What if everyone had gone home for their tea? Heavens! Stuck up here I was going to miss my dinner. This was serious. I barked louder and more desperately, darting in and poking him with my nose.

He stirred and moaned quietly to me that he was okay, not exactly sure where I was as he stared at the sky. I barked repeatedly till he lifted his head and looked at me, then danced around him till he got up. He was in a little discomfort and became annoyed at my reluctance to be quiet. His carelessness nearly cost me a meal. I wasn't going to let him off the hook so easily.

He rubbed his head, which was sore from the fall, and checked his jacket and hat. There was no blood or mud. He was lucky. No evidence of the fall and nothing broken. Just dented pride. When he was sure he didn't have concussion he attempted to shush me but I wasn't finished telling him off for scaring me. It was going to take more than the tease of a tennis ball or wave of a gravy bone to buy my silence.

Eventually I let him attach my lead after he pointed out it was me that was delaying us from returning home for dinner. We walked carefully back to the car and home without mentioning it again. We've not been back since.

Maybe he should try walking on all-fours like me. There's less chance of slipping and not so far to fall if he did. Of course he'll have to wait until his whiplash eases. At the moment he can't lift his head so he wouldn't be able to see where he was going. I'll wait till he's better before suggesting it. With the angle he needs to keep his head at, he wouldn't see the funny side.