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.