This weekend I rediscovered what a great place Bramall Hall is to take the dog for a walk, beating the monotony of round the block morning and night. Livening that walk up clockwise and anti-clockwise can only achieve so much.
Having a place like Bramall Hall is a real treat, much the same as living anywhere with an interesting bit of history on it’s doorstep in that you take it for granted and quickly forget to go visit. This is without doubt one of Finney’s favourite places to go as there’s plenty of water for a swim and to relieve the pressure on his aching bones, he suffers with hip dysplacia and arthritis in his joints. Being a Labrador with a family tree of field champions to be proud of, his natural instincts are to completely ignore his ailments and run around like a puppy until it’s time to go home again.
Following the river out of the hall’s grounds and under the roundabout to the wonderfully upbeat Happy Valley which on a Sunday morning is packed with dogs hurtling down the paths wide-eyed and with their tongues hanging out on the breeze. This weekend was no different and at one point we saw more than a dozen gathered paws deep in the water stayed intensely at their respective owners waiting for something to be thrown into the water.
The picture below is a little further on after a period lost in the undergrowth rooting around for something interesting and re-appearing with the star prize of a fully functioning tennis ball. I have hundreds of image of Finney in the pose, object place directly in front of me and him some yards further on staring back with all the intensity of a hypnotist who has convinced me that the site of this ball must be thrown immediately and as far as I possibly can, repeated infinitely or until the dog stamps bringing it back. With Finney this usually follows the pattern of doing this 3 times, then he trots off with it in his mouth for a few minutes until casually dropping it to one side ready for the next lucky mutt.
Sunday afternoon was a special time, the family came together to celebrate the birthday of the youngest of us all. Noah turned 3 and Sunday was time for a bouncy castle, face painting and little people running round mad on jam butties, cake and more sweets that they had probably eaten all month. Aside from all of that was the opportunity to relive some of my own childhood with Cuffs ice cream delivered for dessert. At least it should have been delivered but their relic of an ice cream van had chosen this day to breakdown and the ice cream tubs were picked up rather than dropped off. Anyway, it was as good as I remember and the taste brought back lots of memories of school holidays playing in the streets and very analogue games like kick the can and practising wheelies on my BMX.
As for the soundtrack to the weekend, the new Red Hot Chilli Pepers album The Getaway has been on almost constantly. I can’t think of a bad track on the whole album though the standout one for me is The Longest Wave. I don’t think i’ve ever listened this without immediately playing it again (and I’m listening to it right now!).