No, that isn’t a typo: I am well aware that the traditional game of racing sticks under bridges is named after Winnie-the-Pooh, but I have discovered a local variant which I am calling Poosticks. Here’s how to play: first take two dogs (you can play this game with any number of dogs but two is the optimum number). Saddle up the dogs and then find a sturdy stick to use as a walking-cum-poo-stick. Begin walking, choosing country lanes rather than streets which would bring into play the ‘plastic bag’ penalty. Allow the dogs to stop now and again to sniff and urinate. Sooner or later one of them will need to poo: allow the dog to finish, then when the poo is lying on the path, address it with your stick in the same way as you would address a golf-ball. Then whack the assembled turds at a point near the ground but not on it: too near the ground as you will incur penalty points for kicking up the mud, not too near the top as you will achieve the undesirable result of spreading the poo over a wider area. Experienced players can whack assembled turds into the rough (a desirable end in this game) with a single stroke, pausing only to twist the end of the stick into the long grass to clean it before moving on to the next hole (as it were). A single afternoon with two or three dogs can yield up to seven or eight ‘holes’. Much more fun, less expensive and far more socially useful than golf…
I have explored many of the paths in the immediate vicinity of the village here. There are some good walks, though most of the paths go through or round agricultural land and many of the short-cuts are made impassable by fields of sheep or cattle. I haven’t been able to go too far afield because of the hypothyroidism: about three miles is my limit, and that’s on a good day. But as my fractal colouring book teaches me, everything is a matter of scale; and getting to know a small area in detail is just as good as travelling over a wider region:
Yesterday I went to Llangattock, where there is a stunning white church and an unexpected friar who led the service in matching hooded white habit. Offa’s Dyke runs past the church and I experienced a longing for serious walking. So after taking the dogs for their constitutional, I fired up the Aga and made bread in the oven and vegetable chilli on top.