The Girlz and the Boyz
Most of us have things we might do differently if we could go back in time and make amends. I certainly have a few. My major regret is that I never had any kids (bet some of you wouldn't mind having an Aunt MaryE to lend yours to, right?)
Anyway, in Wales I've found a partial (and very satisfying) solution to this dilemma. I have "the girlz." They live on the other side of the farm where I stay and so that they may remain somewhat anonymous I'll call them K&L, or "the girlz" for short. You'll probably hear a lot more about the girlz.
Now, you're wondering, who are "the boyz?" Well, they're my hounds. Right now I don't have any boyz because I gave them back so they can go and be what they were born to be. But let me tell you that the girlz and I really enjoyed our Sunday mornings (and other times as well) with the boyz. See, they'd come over around 9:30 on Sunday and we'd bundle up and go over to the stable and let the boyz out of their pen and I'd bring along a couple of leads and we'd be off across the gates and fields in hot pursuit of the hounds who were out enjoying every single lick of their freedom.
We walked down one field (all the fields are named but I never quite learned them) next to the barn called "the sheep shed" and crossed a rickety iron gate (the boyz squeezed through at the bottom) and then into a field of corn (something cattle eat eventually, not the human kind of stuff) and over another little gate by a big stump and into the upper wood. Now K made a sign for the special fort we have in that wood and the sign says "Hound Haven" and the hounds (Hobbit and Helix) sure loved that place. Used to be pheasants flew out every which way whenever we entered the wood there, but it seems like they've all moved off or been shot or something. Too bad.
After spending some time tidying up Hound Haven (there's always work to be done in a fort, you know) we had to cross a stile and another little field and then another gate. The boyz had to use their hound wiles to find an opening to wiggle through (that's part of their hound training, you see - they have to be major escape artists to make it through every kind of fence, gate, hedge, quarry, river and whatever). And then we were in the lower wood. Now there's a certain tree we have to walk through the middle of to pass safely into the wood otherwise we hit this invisible wall and bounce off (just ask the girlz). Somehow the boyz, escape artists that they are, have managed to get through that invisible wall a few times. Maybe it only applies to bipeds. I dunno.
Now in this lower wood is a big sort of chicken-wired pen that was once used for pheasants back when Pip was fit enough to get down there and raise his pheasants (not Pip the cat who's known as Mister, but the "original" Pip, as it were) and this place has become our other fort. We're going to have a campfire one night there and sit around and sing silly songs like the one we learned on the Sims that's in some nonsensical language (they sing it around their campfire.) This is L's fort and she has named it Leaping Hound Lodge. Good, no? Anyway, these forts offer few comforts but we have loads of fun on the way there and back and as I've said before it's all in the journey.
Before my recent return to the USA one of the girlz turned to me and said that ____ (the name of the place I stay) wouldn't be the same without me. Now that's about as sweet a thing as I've been told in years. Thanks, K.
(Down from the Radnor Forest)
I've had a lot of great times in Wales and some of the best of those have been in the company of some of my most precious friends - the girlz and the boyz. You know who you are!