Tag Archives: walk

2109. A dog walk

(Iseult suggested I write a story about a certain topic. (Iseult is into Horror!) Here is my contribution).

It was a route I had travelled almost daily for eleven years; travelled on foot that is. You see every day for eleven years I had taken my dog, Vladimir, for a walk. He was the most loveable dog. Owners would say that their dog is loveable, but none are as loveable as mine!

The tricks he would get up to! Sometimes I think he even tried to talk. I once played a little game with him in the kitchen. I crawled on all fours around the kitchen island. He followed, and half way around, when I was out of sight, I changed direction. He thought that very funny! Half an hour later I looked through the window, and there he was playing the same trick on the neighbour’s dog. Round and around the maple tree they were going!

Anyway, that was Vladimir, my best friend. He was a Chow Chow-Collie Cross. Every day we went for a walk. Not once had we ever used a lead.

Suddenly, appearing out of the ditch at the side of the road was a zombie. I had never believed in zombies. I thought they were a silly literary invention. But I knew, from what I had read, exactly what it was. Vladimir looked but did not bark. Most strange. I was terrified. This was definitely a dead body reincarnated. It was long undead. It was rotting. It smelt like nothing on earth. And it was lunging towards me.

I’m normally quick witted in such an emergency. I didn’t really know much about zombies. Can they talk? Do they kill? Can they understand if I say something. After all, his face and ears were dripping putrid flesh. Could they still function?

 I said, “Good afternoon. Oh no, not another. My dog has already destroyed three zombies today, and the thought of having to sit and watch him destroy a fourth is starting to get depressing.”

It was a lie. The zombie knew it. It took no notice and continued to swing towards me. And then it happened…

Without warning Vladimir stood up on his hind legs. His fur fell off like he was discarding a jacket. His face was transformed. He turned into Vlad! Vlad the Impaler, known by some as Count Dracula. He swooped on the zombie and with his teeth gnawed off its head and stomped out its brains.

Next, as if nothing had happened, Vlad became Vladimir once more. You can tell when a dog smiles.

That night, Vladimir jumped on my bed to sleep at my feet as he had done for eleven years. As I turned out the light I heard him whisper, Don’t you ever tell a soul.

1869. Water tank winter walk

A little while back (in fact last week!) I took the dog and headed for a winter walk to the water tank on the nearby highest hill. The water tank gravity feeds all the troughs on the farm. The farmer had told me that the best view around was from the water tank. He also said to take the tractor. But the dog needed a run so walking it was!

I set out from my house. In the photo you can hardly see the tank on top of the hill.

The path starts almost on the flat. We pass the old, disused woolshed, the corner of which you can see in the picture above. The farm used to be a sheep farm, but now it’s all cattle. Hence the disused shed for shearing sheep.

The last flat bit before the hill!

The upward track begins.

We pass a gladed valley!

There’s a herd of grazing cows, and a pile of baleage. For those who don’t know:
Hay = cut grass dried in the sun and baled.
Silage = cut grass compacted and stored in a silo (like a pit in the ground) without being dried.
Baleage = cut grass of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then sealed in plastic to keep oxygen out.

The native trees stay green all year; the introduced trees are bare – except for the pines.

There are a number of small dams. Someone likes them!

Suddenly a corner is turned and the volcano, Mount Taranaki, comes into full view. My photo simply doesn’t do the scene justice! Let’s hope it won’t erupt! Click on the photo for a full picture.

The climb goes higher. Another volcano, Mount Ruapehu, appears in the distance. (Difficult to see in the photo but the mountain seems much “closer” in real life!)

The climb continues. Almost there!

Arrival! But… I didn’t come to see the tank!

I came to see the view! My house is shown by the arrow! Click on the photo for a full picture without the arrow! Isn’t it amazing how the Vikings must have come here and buried so many of their ships? Hence all the hillocks!

It’s easier going down! (Note the Corona no-haircut lockdown look! The most difficult part of the walk wasn’t having to walk uphill – it was the difficulty of having to maintain social distancing in such a people-riddled environment.)

Thank you for walking with me and the dog. May your day erupt into joy!

(Note: During the coming week I’m going to post two or three “stories” that involve myself. It gives a bit of padding to the blog, and anyway, when you’ve got fame and fortune hanging out your ears, you can do what you like…!)

1725. Perambulators

Bronwyn and Myra belongs to the New Mothers Support Group. One of the things the Group facilitated was for young mothers to go for interesting walks together, chat away, share mutual baby problems, and push their babies in the perambulators.

Bronwyn and Myra lived in quite a small town, so it was logical that most days they joined for a stroll. Mainly they would window shop. Sometimes they would go to see things inside a shop but the bulkiness of the perambulators precluded many cramped shopping spaces. They had walked up and down the town’s shopping centre a hundred times. There was only one shop window they had never paused before: the Undertaker’s.

It’s hard to believe that anyone would put coffins in their shop window, said Bronwyn to Myra.

Go on! Be a devil! said Myra. Which one would you like?

How they laughed and um-ed and ah-ed! Bronwyn chose an expensive oak casket with elaborate handles. Nothing like going out in style, said Bronwyn.

Myra liked the pure white one. I can see a bunch of deep red roses sitting on top of that white coffin, she said. And within forty-eight hours…

That’ll be the bell, said the teacher. Put your laptops away, and I’ll see you all in creative-writing class tomorrow.

1600. Stream lines

Recently – like a month or so ago – I got a message of congratulations from WordPress on this blog’s 6th anniversary. It’s actually been going a couple of years longer because I suffered a bout of scruples, deleted the first few years, and started again. Be all that as it may, this is Story 1600. At first I intended to write 100 stories, then 365 (one a day), then 555 stories (the number of keyboard sonatas written by Dominico Scarlatti), then 1001 (in honour of the Arabian Nights), and then 1500, and now 1600… and what the heck…

Sticking to a time-dishonoured tradition on this blog, a significant story number calls for a celebration of some sort. So this is a walk with my camera (I don’t have a mobile phone as I’m so “tomorrow”) starting from the back of the property where I live. There a spring trickles out the side of a hill. I’ll follow the trickle of water for as far as possible before hitting neighbouring property and we’ll see what happens… (Note that photos of the crayfish and the pukeko are not my own, and nor are the last three photos).

The spring seeps out the bottom of the hill and creates quite a swamp.

It’s a complete soggy bog, almost impossible to walk over, although the dog (who seems to have joined me uninvited) has no trouble traversing the mud.

Little rivulets quickly appear and within maybe forty yards (36 metres or so) a small stream has formed.

Soon after, a little pool is shaped, gathers strength, and would crash down in white water torrents if things were multiplied by a 100!

Now the cat has joined me – uninvited. Oh well – what is a celebration without friends?

Almost immediately, the newly formed stream flows through a stream-cut channel and a natural fernery.

It enters a glade of willows – mainly fallen – where the water divides into stagnant pools. The thicket and swamp make it almost impenetrable.

Very soon the water re-emerges and flows down a gentle valley. By now it could be called a “stream” and over time it has carved out its path, exposing rocks and boulders.

Beneath the boulders many freshwater crayfish hide. They are a protected species – so no hors d’oeuvres tonight!

A skylark sings high in the sky. I can’t see it for the glare, but I’m joined by six fantails. These tiny birds dart and flutter around my head, twittering madly. They drive the dog crazy, but the cat remains nonchalant – knowing from experience that such zig-zagging creatures are uncatchable. Of course, it could be claimed that I’m a fantail whisperer and they twitter around my head because they love me. But my walk disturbs gnats in the grass, and this presents a feast for the fantails. Their fluttery flight is impossible to capture with my camera, but one bird sat long enough on a fence wire to allow a photograph!

There are literally thousands – if not millions – of Little Blue Butterflies and Common Copper Butterflies feeding on the winter-flowering daisies and dandelions. My steps create clouds of tiny butterfly wings!

A lone pukeko doesn’t mind being disturbed.

Soon the stream becomes wider and still. It’s as if it’s collecting itself, waiting to tumble to the next stage.

And here it’s on its way!

Immediately it forms a deep pool that has an eel lurking in it.

Someone thinks it’s his private swimming pool.

Thank goodness there’s a surf life-saver watching.

From here, the stream goes into shady undergrowth. It passes into a culvert, under a road, and out onto a neighbouring farmer’s farm.

I guess the walk has taken about 25 minutes. The stream cannot be followed anymore. But I know it later joins the Patea River.

It passes through Stratford, my local town. The volcano behind is Mt Taranaki.

From there, at a town called Patea, it flows out to sea!

Phew! What an exhausting walk!

1584. On a wet evening

Usually we quite enjoy taking the dog for its daily walk. Being creatures of habit, we seem to cover the same trail, but there’s always a new flower in someone’s garden, or a dead hedgehog on the road that the dog must stay away from, or a bird that wasn’t singing on that branch yesterday, or a car parked in a silly place…

“You’d think they wouldn’t park on the grass verge, dear. People like us walk here with our dogs. Some people have no sense.”

Of course, if it’s raining the walk with the dog is another matter altogether.

“Would you mind taking the dog for a walk on your own today, dear? I’m halfway through preparing dinner.”

And later…

“While you’re wet, dear, would you mind going out to the woodshed in the rain and getting the firewood for this evening? It’s going to be a cold night and I’m half way through peeling the potatoes.”

And still later…

“Goodness! Five o’clock already! Could you pour me a little wine, dear, when you’ve finished lighting the fire? I’m halfway through stuffing the chicken.”

And round about dinner time…

“What a miserable night, dear, so wet and cold. Would you mind popping out? I thought we could get take-away.”

1446. Just in case

The Second World War raged in Europe. Although she lived way away in New Zealand, she had three sons fighting in the war. One was in Turkey, she believed, and two in France.

Every Wednesday she would walk to town. It took about three quarters of an hour to walk there. While there she would get a few things for the coming week. She looked forward to the return of her sons. Besides, her knees were not too good, and she could do with a hand to carry the groceries!

Then she got a visit from a nice policeman who came to say that Sammy had died in Turkey. And a man in the army wrote a beautiful letter which made her cry even more. She continued of course to walk into town every Wednesday. How she longed for the war to be over.

Having the name of Catharyina Dodunski-Shultze meant she had to report to the Government office in town every Wednesday. They had to make sure. Just in case.

1017. River walk

1003footprints

Huck made his way to the nearby river to get his daughter. She’d gone there with other children for a swim. They did that nearly every day in summer. Today however, Huck went down to the river for a reason; his wife had collapsed and died suddenly while preparing lunch. Huck went to the river to tell his daughter the sad news and to bring her home.

Together, hand in hand, they walked back to their house. Mummy has died very suddenly. Everything is going to be fine. They crossed barefoot through the swamp that bordered the river. They crossed through the stretch of long grass. They passed through the plantation of trees. They reached home. Everything is going to be fine.

“These footprints preserved in rock,” said the palaeontologist 49,000 years later, “are the footprints of a primitive adult male and child. They were in a hurry. It’s possible to imagine these footprints being made by a father teaching his son how to ferociously hunt and kill.”