Way Beyond Heaven!
So just when you think life is pretty durned good it gets even better. Yep. This morning I got up and around early, drove over to the kennels and picked up my new pair of foxhound pups, Paxo (dog) and Pastime (bitch) out of Passion! There's nothing funnier than listening to a late-middle-aged huntsman with a hand-rolled fag sticking out of one side of his mouth and a hunting horn out of the other (or perhaps under his armpit) shouting across the hillside, "Passion! Passion" Maybe it's just me, but knowing the fate of middle-aged men it seems more than a bit amusing and I always have a good laugh about it.
But back to those pups...I picked up Paxo and Pastime this morning and put them in the back of the truck and it wasn't 30 seconds before they'd weaseled their way into the back seat and since it's a pretty wet and muddy kind of day got their doggie mud all over everything. The huntsman helps me get them back out and we put a coupler on them - now not so easy to slide through the gap into the back seat. They stayed put the 8 miles back to the farm where I stay.
Got them in their stable and dog run and headed out for a day's hound exercise with a local hunt here in the valley. As exercise goes, it was probably a bit of a dull day and a hound surely wouldn't get fit off what exercise they had today, but the thing that had me smiling all day was the fact that it was my first day out with Gideon and Gizmo, the first pair of hounds I walked two years ago - and more! I kept them for a year, so they feel like my children. True to form, they ran right up to me and jumped all over me (second set of clothing I had completely mudsoaked in about one hours' time this morning). But never mind. It was worth it for that loving embrace by Gid and Giz! Throughout the course of the day's exercise I got to see (and hug) those old hounds of mine a couple more times. And I'm still smiling. Maybe because they were my first I confess: I love them best. I even got some photos of them this afternoon, though it was very wet and grey so I can remember the day in detail from now on. Now this huntsman hasn't been keen on exercising his dog hounds in the past but apparently he's mended his ways so most Wednesdays will find me grinning ear-to-ear as I strain to catch a glimpse of Gid and Giz ambling down some road in the company of 15 couple hounds or running along some tidy hedge or careening across some quarry ledge.
Unless you've walked some hounds for a local hunt you may not understand how I feel about Gideon and Gizmo. I love them, plain and simple. I'll bite anyone who tries to hurt them.
After I've recovered from being waterlogged for the third out of the last five days I'll see if I can put up a photo or two on this blog. But don't hold your breath.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, Paxo and Pastime are eating to their heart's content, howling at being away from the kennels I suppose (though soon they'll be glad to get ALL the treats) and getting used to their new digs. Oh, when I arranged to get these "pups" I forgot to ask how many weeks old they are....heh-heh, try MONTHS! They were born in June or July and appear to be not far off full-grown. May take some hard work to tame them!
Anyway between Pastime and Paxo, Gideon and Gizmo today has been an A number 1 super duper way beyond heaven hound kind of day.
Whenever you go for a day's exercise you're bound to meet some new folks, see some new sights and maybe look at something familiar from a very different angle. Today was no exception as I explored fields and roads I'd never taken notice of before in my travels about the valley. Of course as a photographer I see the light constantly changing, though today was a bit exceptional: pretty well 100% dull grey light with more than enough drizzle and downright rain toward the end of the day. Never mind. I'm just so proud to be here!
A nice cup of coffee and a chat over at Donna's after the hounds had been put in the lorry and the horses were boxed up...the huntsman, amateur whip (she keeps up with the hounds during these exercise excursions), two joint masters and a couple of the mounted field came in for a cuppa and some chat. It's times like this when I marvel at what a lucky American I am!
Oh, and while I was stood there by a hedge in the valley watching the horses and hounds about their exercise the man next to me starts talking and says he heard I was from Nashville....so we get talking about country music...and bluegrass...turns out his favorites are George Jones and Ralph Stanley, among others....that led to more conversation! Pretty cool, another "small world" kind of experience. Of course all that music stuff ties in with the "other" side of my life - America. Music is only slightly less heavenly than my dear hounds!