By pandammonium

Terrifying cow incident

Lovely Luna

Have I told you about lovely Luna at parkrun before? She’s the most gentlerest dog I’ve ever come across, apart from Charlie Farley, my nana’s old English sheepdog from back in the day. Luna is a golden-retriever–doodle, I believe.

Luna is at parkrun nearly every week. Before it starts, she wanders up to everyone to say hello and enjoy a bit of a fuss, occasionally looking round, sometimes to make sure her daddy is still there, sometimes to see who she hasn’t said hello to yet.

She was there before me this morning; when she saw me coming up the path, she glanced at her daddy, then trotted over to greet me. Lovely Luna.

Luna’s daddy decreed it too hot for her to run today, despite the cool wind (because of her lovely fur), so I was given the honour of looking after her till he was done. The same happened a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t handle the finish tokens and Luna’s lead all at once, so I had to give the honour to a barcode scanner – they only need one hand. This time, I somehow managed to work out a system.

When the runners gather for the briefing, me and Luna go near the start. She picks out her daddy, but never seems to realise that he’s run off. She stares at the spot she last saw him in until he comes back, only looking away when I call her or give her a treat to distract her. (Mr Perkins could learn a thing or two about being fed sweeties from Luna.) When the parkrunners finish, some of them come back and give Luna a stroke, which helps take her mind off her missing daddy.

I might have mastered the dog-lead–finishing-tokens juggle, but I need to work on the handover. My fingers were in a knot, and Luna was desperate to see her daddy. After some kerfuffle, I managed to give him the lead and keep the tokens and my fingers.

I hope Luna will get used to being separated from her daddy at parkrun because it’s only June, and there’s a lot more summer to come.

Terrifying cow incident

After parkrun, I went home, had my hands sniffed at for quite some time by Mr Perkins, got changed, packed the food that Mr Pandammonium had hunter-gathered for me while I was at parkrun and set off on an eleven-mile walk.

I saw butterflies, bees, hover flies, ladybirds, one heron or two herons (depending on whether it was different herons or the same heron), sheep, pigeons, unidentified water birds, dragonflies and/or damselflies, quite a few tractors, pylons (if you like pylons, see the extras) and the controversial bridge over the River Little Ouse .

I kept Mr Pandammonium informed of my progress – he stayed at home and listened to the cricket (yawn). When I was on the home straight, he said he was in the pub, which I was planning to pass on the way home. He also said to watch out for cows.

I climbed over the stile into cow country. Did you know cows love a river bank? There were some cows, but they were off to the right on a bit of land with trees and rusting things. I felt ok about them being there.

After a while, I saw a pair of birds on the river and took out my phone to get a closer look via the camera. They were grebes, and I took a photo. I don’t know why, but I looked to my left at where I’d just walked from. A cow, quite young, was standing there. Staring. Staring at me. It mooed. I was scared.

I’m wary of cows. I hear stories of them stampeding people. (Can one cow stampede? No, but it can run.) The cow came closer; I got more scared. I turned away and went slowly forth; meanwhile, it picked up the pace and cantered past, stopping further ahead. The terrifying cow incident was over.

Or was it? No: I still had to get past the terrifying cow. It turned so it was looking at me. I walked slowly forward, scared of what it would do when I reached it. That moment was to come sooner than expected: it ran towards me, mooing; I hid behind a handy post. A stand-off ensued between me, the handy post and the terrifying cow.

A disembodied voice drifted upriver. A rowing boat and its coach were coming. I don’t know whether that or something else was the cause, but the terrifying cow bounded down the bank to the river bank and cantered downriver. The terrifying cow incident was over.

Or was it? No. I continued walking; when I realised I was really close to the pub, I put my order in with Mr Pandammonium, and rounded a bend. What did I find? A whole heap of terrifying cows – probably enough cows to form a stampede – mostly lying, one standing.

I dithered, wondering if I could get to the pub via the river bank, but it was too overgrown and/or fenced off. I’d have to pass the cows.

I walked slowly past, telling them to stay where they were and not get up. They did as I bid, and I escaped past them to the stile. The terrifying cow incident was over.

Or was it? Yes, it was. I went round the pub to the beer garden, looking for Mr Pandammonium. I saw him just settling down at a table with a couple of beers. Perfect timing.

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