Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘scenery

The Obnoxious People Of Bovingdon

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My parents live in a small Hertfordshire village not far from Watford. It’s commuter land, only 45 minutes by train to central London but on the edge of the delightful Chilterns countryside. It’s not quite as gorgeous as Dorset but the dogs and I enjoy the change of scenery when we visit about once every month.

The nearest place to find anything more than a village shop is the small town of Bovingdon. Every time I visit there I am dismayed, horrified even at the boorish, selfish and obnoxious behaviour of the local drivers.

There’s nowhere to park in Bovingdon but that doesn’t stop them. They park half on, half off the pavement in the most dangerous and inconsiderate places, often right opposite each other. The town is full of ostentatious, gaudy four-wheel drive Toyotas, Mitsubishis or, God preserve us from even more oriental invaders, Kias. Does no one buy British any more? These tasteless and clumsy status symbols are thrown about with abandon, aggression and a complete absence of any manners. My 17 year old nephew was literally forced off the road last week by yet another woman who simply cannot judge the width of her vehicle and so drives in the middle of narrow country lanes.

Of course, I am sure that there are many very nice and responsible people in Bovingdon but you can drive through the High Street at anytime of day to see recurrent displays of the most selfish, inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour.

There is one other observation though that, for me, condemns these unpleasant people out of hand. As I walk the dogs around the local countryside I am disgusted at the fly tipping and the disgraceful amount and variety of rubbish in the hedgerows. It’s difficult to understand why this wealthy and privileged part of the country is full of so many nasty, selfish and dirty people.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Walking The Dog 3

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Walking The Dog 3

 

The fields have been ploughed and scattered this week.   My memory tells me that the ploughing should take place in the depths of winter so that the frosts can break up the great clumps of soil but that’s not the way it’s done in Emsworth.

 

Instead the local farmer brings in contractors who arrive in huge leviathan beasts, each worth a brace of Aston Martins, that devour the stubble fields and transform them into finely graded seedbed.

 

Think of the effort of lifting one spade of compacted soil.  The plough carves down three spades deep and four spades wide with each of six blades.  The earth surrenders to its mighty force and is exposed rich red and raw.  Then a massive grader, its huge weight hauled at speed across the fields smashes the soil into powder.  Only then does the farmer drive out his John Deere, looking puny by comparison and sets it to seeding and raking.  In the space of three or four days the work is completed.

 

The new scenery brings out a burst of fresh exuberance from Capone.  He gallops across the fields, his energy enough to lift any mood.  His sheer joy at being perfectly expresses the purpose of a dog.  He and the intimate experience of a walk with my best friend is the most powerful of therapies requiring no theory or structure, just the doing of it.  Perhaps more like a meditation or prayer.

 

With age the individual senses diminish in power but I find that there is a greater discernment between them.  I hear birdsong now like I never used to.  The pleasure of the birds, the sea, the sky, the light and the breeze is all so much more intense and the unreserved, joyous companionship of my dog makes it all the more so.

 

The most extraordinary things happen every day to those of us that indulge in this most universal hobby of walking the dog.  Last week, and I kid you not, from behind an isolated cottage, flew a second world war US fighter plane at no more than 200 feet.   Breaking every civil aviation rule in the book, it sent Capone and me diving for the nearest slit trench convinced that we were its target.

 

Regularly the Chinooks fly over Chichester harbour, their massive thumping beat pulverising the air.  If you happen to be wading through a large area of eight foot tall bullrushes it is so easy to imagine the rattle of M16s and the threat of napalm descending from above.

 

 

 

 

But the real dangers that lurk here are of a more rural nature.  The most marmalade orange, malevolent cat saunters along the church wall, a half dead rat clamped in its teeth.  The nasty fat corgi, its belly dragging on the ground and while Capone ambles by it leaps up and bites him on the back of the neck!

 

Spring is accelerating towards summer now.  The grasses and nettles in the hedgerows are lush.  The trees are turning a deeper green and filling out their magnificent silhouettes but the earliest crop in Emsworth is the forest of masts that’s sprouting everywhere you look.

 

 

Peter Reynolds 14-05-08