It is really none of my business how people maintain there property and land, but one does not like to be invited into a place only to be set upon by a pack of angry animals. Such were the thoughts of Elinor and I, though perhaps in more frenzied phrasing, when we set of on a ramble with some other compadres on Saturday.
We had set up pitch in the Malverns outside a hansom pub for a spot of recreational walking, sitting, drinking and tea making, the latter being the more favoured options, but on this occasion decided to take off for a little of the former. We wandered past a sun tickled wheat filed, negotiated a seesaw stile, and strode on towards the distant sound of trickling water. Would it be a glittering stream running under an idyllic bridge, scented with the waft of wild rhubarb and thyme? Or would it be a murky sludge slithering under a plank of MDF, clogged with cheese and onion crisps and empty Lucozade bottles? We didn’t know, but our yearning for adventure drove us on.
Eventually we walked us into an open field and through a kissing gate. Elinor, who is wary of dogs, did not fail to notice to not so delightful little (bigish) woofers in the top field just behind us. The public foot path sign then invited us to walk into a large, comfortable looking, pig sty. And it was full, as pig sties have want, of pigs. I mean awash with the things, all porky and rounded and pottering about with their little piglets. Now, besides the fact that their seemed to be no secondary way out of the sty, and therefore no possible continuation of our ramble besides a small jaunt about these piggy’s home, we were disinclined to enter on account of the sometimes aggressive nature of a nurturing pig. Like most mothers, they are prone to engage full ramming speed at anyone who approaches their offspring with what they preserve as malicious intent. Moreover, we had had bacon for breakfast and any hint of that on the breath was sure to upset them.
So naturally we turned back. But stop. Horror of horrors! The two afore mentioned ghastly black hounds had escaped into our retreat, and where barking at us from the other side of the kissing gate with all the malice and ill temper of the Luftwaffe on a cloudy night. If Henry Baskerville had had double vision then he would have had some idea of how we felt, especially Elinor, who was at this point also in double, as she was entirely beside herself with fear. We tramped around the field lamely, looking in vein for another way out, while Elinor began to hyperventilate and envision the dogs making their way under the fence. Their where also sheep in the field with us, and afterwards when I asked her if she was frightened of them she said; “I was scared of everything at that point”.
It was a pair of local walkers who would be our salvation, I waved them down, and though I wasn’t aware of it at the time my friends tell me I approached them doing a sort of fairy skip. I don’t know how that happened. But they directed us to safety and I can say is thank you fellow walkers, and Malvern SORT OUT YOUR SIGN POSTS!