Ritya 26

Woke to the company of several more dead kerlinkas scattered on the duvet. Hoping the strange taste in my mouth wasn’t insect protein I washed it away with a nice honey coffee and took Banjo for his longest walk yet. Up the village, past the cemetery, across the meadow to the dirt track we had discovered several days earlier, but this time instead of turning up hill to admire the views we headed down.
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The track wound down through some trees and into another dry grassy meadow, the walking was easy for Banjo as his little legs found it easy on the dry mud imprints of the logging lorry tyre tracks. In the centre of the meadow I picked him up so that he could view the scene denied to him because of genetics. After several minutes of mouth open, head whipping stares at things that I personally failed to see the significance of, I put him down and we carried on. I was to repeat this procedure several more times during our trek.
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Breaking through another small stand of trees we came across a small valley that I recognised from previous years. Across on the other side, around 100m away, stood two astonished adult male deer. From his lowly position Banjo was unaware of what I was witnessing and was puzzled why I had suddenly stopped. I slowly unslung my camera, switched it on, raised it to my eyes, let it quickly focus on the scene to see the two magnificent beasts sprinting up the hill and away. Pressing the shutter button to capture the shot, nothing happened! It was set to ‘Smart Mode’! That is the mode for idiots like me who can’t be bothered to adjust the myriad of settings available to take the perfect picture and leave it to the software to sample the light, the distance etc. etc. etc. This takes time. By the time the green box around my quarry illuminated they were away on the horizon, under a tree looking back at me. I pressed the button, heard the simulated click of artificial shutter and yet again I had missed the National Geographic shot of the year.
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Carrying on with our trek, which had now got considerably harder for Banjo who was now bounding along through the increasingly tougher vegetation. A quarter of a mile or so (wish I had brought my GPS) the track turned into the forest and back towards Ritya and once again our route became easier. Though I had narrowly missed the company of the larger inhabitants of the locality, now that we were under the canopy its much smaller insect citizens were all too pleased to keep me company. After fruitless wafting them away for an annoying distance (Banjo didn’t appear to be pestered by them at all) I broke off a switch from a young oak tree and fought back. It worked well until I stopped the swishing, and then they were back. Presently, we exited the forest into the meadow not far from David’s. The insects didn’t follow us into the sunlight, but I kept my little oak, just in case. On passing through the now re-modelled gate, David was up a ladder involved in his favourite pastime, turning orange by grinding tiles.
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The rest of the day was spent by David on his gate roof and I with secateurs pruning the roses and and fir trees that were in dire need of a bit of training. We both took our time and passed the day leisurely. We even had time for a couple of sit downs to take on a refreshing brown liquid and half way through the afternoon broke for a power nap.

That evening we had a much needed shower and before we ate in the bar I made skype calls to Sarah and Sue to catch up on news. Later, too tired to watch a film it was an early bedtime.

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