Another cold, damp and drizzly morning and by seven thirty it's barely light but off go the intrepid walkers into the slowly lifting gloom. barney doesn't care he's wearing his waterproof white coat although some mudguards would be handy when only the right side of your face, ear and the base of your tail is light brown. By the time we get back after a couple or so miles of tramping along tracks and headlands he'll be absolutely filthy and smell like an old and very wet sheep.
A diversion through one of the orchards provides a some longer wet grass and a belly wash but never really solves the problem of mud. While we are in the orchard the fieldfares and redwings rise in a flock having been warned by their treetop sentries of danger.
The danger isn't the two walkers it's a pair of sparrowhawks looking for breakfast. The speed of the strike is so quick I don't even see the hawk just feathers drifting down and sticking to the bare, damp branches. A brutal end for a bird that has probably flown all the way from Scandinavia.
Meanwhile Barney just carries on getting muckier and muckier in the dykeside looking for rats but without the skill and cunning of our late and much lamented Jack Russell called Minnow.