Dave: A day off! Wake up late. Well, wake up at the usual time because it’s become a habit. Then doze and have strange dreams about being lost in the car park of a fictional out of town shopping centre. Then get up late. Breakfast. Grab a camera and head off to call for Rufus so we can explore the river before the rain comes. The weather forecast said we had until about 12.30.
Rufus: I am told Dave is coming over this morning. I’m trying to remain cool but it’s hard to concentrate on things like breakfast when I know I will have the responsibility of making sure he doesn’t fall in the water or make a fool of himself some other way.
Dave: The traffic isn’t as bad as I expected until I hit the lane, when it becomes like a London street. Nevertheless, I make it on time to avoid disappointing Rufus.
Rufus: Dave is all excited when he arrives, and to make him feel at home, I make a fuss of him. Then he starts gossiping with my house mate, and fussing over the cat. I start to push him towards the door. He’s quite heavy since he’s stopped taking me for long walks, so it’s hard work. Eventually, I get him to the door. We leave. He’s parked the car miles from the house and it’s raining, so we get wet. I don’t care, I plan to get soaked before the morning is out.
Dave: The rain is quite heavy as we drive to the river, although the forecast says it will stop soon. In the distance, I can see the clouds getting brighter, which means they are thinning. There is hope. We park up by the side of the road and, with Rufus’ sighs reminding me I’m too slow in getting out of the car, I unleash him on the river.
Rufus: As Dave gets older, he gets slower. It’s sad but a fact of life. We were wasting precious paddling time while he tried to remember where he was and what he was doing. I tried politely to remind him.
Dave: Rufus was in the water before I could close the door. As I walked along the riverbank, he waded along the middle of the river. After a few minutes the rain stopped and the sun came out. There was even a bit of blue sky peeping through the cloud cover. Although I wasn’t there to take photos, I couldn’t help but snap a few shots. I crossed the river and made my way up the other side to the stone circle. Rufus had a sniff around and made sure he featured in a few of my snaps.
Rufus: I had to stifle a laugh as I watched Dave try to cross the river. He tip-toed, wobbled, slipped and finally scrambled across. But he kept throwing stones for me so I did make an effort not to tease him. On the hill there were a lot of little stones arranged in a circle and they all needed investigating but Dave seemed to a little frustrated and didn’t want to take my portrait.
Dave: We made our way up the hill a little before joining a sheep trail and walking above the river. Sheep parted as we progressed and Rufus was well behaved; they didn’t distract him from his mission to find more water. It may have been because they were sprayed various bright colours. I’d seen this before on the mountain. Red (although it faded to pink) green and blue sheep all mixed up and spread across the slopes. Today we only saw pink sheep.
Rufus: The sheep were all different psychedelic colours, man. I wonder what was in the treats Dave gave me? I tried to ignore them but they were everywhere. In the end I pretended I hadn’t seen them and concentrated on finding the river.
Dave: Rufus weaved and wandered as we made our way along the path., But then he spotted a dip in the ground, quite far ahead. He immediately recognised it as the course of the river. although no water was visible. Without hesitating, he ran off towards it. It took me five minutes to walk to the river, during which time he’d popped his head up to make sure I was following.
Rufus: I’ve been studying geography recently and can now spot the signs of rivers and streams quite easily. I led the way so Dave knew where we needed to go to find stones, but as usual he was slow so I checked up on him to see that he wasn’t lost.
Dave: We walked on a little, following the river up to a couple of pools where I knew Rufus would be able to swim. Sure enough, with a little encouragement, he paddled, bobbed and was swimming around.
Rufus: The river was a welcome sight as I needed to cool my paws. And then I got to have a dip and a swim. Nothing beats wild swimming on a warm Autumn afternoon.
Dave: We made our way back to the car by following the river all the way. Rufus only left the water to deposit stones on the riverbank before immediately heading back into the river. I threw some little stones for Rufus to catch, which he is getting good at now. But the ones he liked best were the ones he could find and bring back out of the water. We found another long stretch of deep water and he spent a few minutes swimming lengths for the sheer joy – no stones were involved.
Rufus: I like the challenge of finding a route through water. I like to give Dave something to occupy him so I make a big fuss of catching stones he throws, even if some of them go a little off target. But then we found a big pool and I had a swim back and forth to get the cobwebs out of the muscles. And t was a nice way to wash off the dirt of the walk.
Dave: In the car, Rufus cleaned himself then settled back for a snooze.
Rufus: You never know who you’re going to meet so I think it pays to look good at all times. When Dave drives, it’s boring unless he has to stop suddenly, so I tend to doze.
Dave: Rufus is staying over this evening so when we got home, we had brunch and settled down to dry off and watch a movie on the TV.
Rufus: Dave’s lap is an efficient means to dry my fur.
Dave: I think there’ll be another early morning tomorrow.
Rufus: You think? I know!