“Team” gives the impression of a group with a common purpose. It doesn’t apply here. There are two of us: there’s Jazz and me, Kev 1 and we have very different views about what we want out of walking: for me it is escape; for Jazz it is food and play.
I am a software engineer who spends his week keeping the UK economy going by writing the world’s finest software. Naturally, at the end of the week you need to escape to the real world in order to keep your sanity. I prefer walking without other people because basically I am a selfish git. I like to choose where and when to go, when I need a stop, and don’t need to consider others if I want to make a detour to take a bunch of odd photos. I also like being outdoors and looking at all sorts of natural things: birds, butterflies, clouds, stars, plants, rocks, you name it. So if in a moment of misplaced sociability I end up going walking with others then I spend the day impressing them with my encyclopaedic knowledge of spaceflight or other erudite topics – that usually sees them off.
Most men when they reach middle age decide they need a pony-tail, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and a nubile female. However, as I had no wish to become an organ donor 2 and I am happy with the Missus 3 that wasn’t a route for me. So instead we got Jazz to keep me company on my wanders. According to her Kennel Club registration Jazz is an English Springer Spaniel: but something has gone a bit wrong and she’s on the big side. She’s just turned two and still at the mad puppy stage, i.e. unlikely to win Obedience Champion at Crufts. She doesn’t like running much, but she is a great walker and can be best described as a nose-stomach combination covered in black-and-white fur. She is very keen on game birds with Red and Black Grouse, Woodcock, Capercaillie, Common and Red-legged Partridge, Common and Jack Snipe on her list, but for a “working” breed she is useless on identification: several times I’ve had to point out that it was a Black Grouse, not Red. And she hates Meadow Pipits.
So at weekends Jazz and I head off for walks and high-quality conversation. If you encounter a chap with amazing dress sense (especially in hats) discussing the scientific merits of the International Space Station to a dog in some remote part then it is probably us. Say “hello”.
As with all teams we share responsibilities. I do the planning and make the sandwiches; Jazz does navigation and eats the sandwiches. Obviously we have our disagreements, e.g. over which route up a hill, but then I play the age card and over-rule. This results in a short period of unpleasantness but soon resolved when food is mentioned.
- Don’t worry, I’ve never been fond of the name myself, but it’ll do until I change it to “Throat-warbler Mangrove”. Look it up. ↩
- Actually, I do want to be an organ donor, just not yet! I would be grateful if you also signed up. ↩
- In this blog we’ll call her “Cathy”, mainly because that’s her name and so easy for me to remember. She wants to make it absolutely clear that this blog has absolutely nothing to do with her. Although none of the opinions expressed in this blog are necessarily shared by her, they should be. ↩