The dogs were waiting for their walk. We weren't later than normal, only 10:30 but we had been out to the airport and confused their routine. The Student is moving to California today for  a year studying abroad and we had driven her to Manchester for a tearful fairwell and to encourage her through the security barrier and on towards her future. 

"If we go now we should be back by the time she takes off" said the Webmaster.

Dogs on leads and out into the September morning sunshine. "Hold the


"If you are willing to put trousers on we could do the long walk around the lake" said the Webmaster.

After a quick check on the weather I ignore him and dress in shorts and tee shirt. I'll take my chances with the nettles. "Do you think it will have dried out by now? When was the last time it rained?"

The usually muddy paths down to the wood and across the Head of Trent are surprisingly dry and there is little sign of damage from the torential rain and flash floods of last Tuesday. The dogs


"Will you have time for a walk with me tonight?" asked the Webmaster.

It is approaching six o'clock and the Worker is just finishing for the day. On work days she only has time for an evening walk. Only the Webmaster and the dogs get to enjoy a morning walk.

"If we go now we won't need the torches."

The radio is still on as we leave. The Webmaster doesn't know how to turn it off. At least he has never been know to turn it off. He says the dogs like listening to it, but it is doubtful they


"Have we got time for a walk? There was a queue all along the M60 slip road so I'm later than I expected."

"If you don't mind eating later, it's already 19:20."

We find the torches and set off. It will definitely be dark before we get back. 

The sun has already set and the last red glow is beginning to fade. Over the valley ribbons of street lights look like distant fairy lights. A few birds are still swooping overhead. Crows. Maybe Jack, Marjorie and their mate! It is too dark to see them


"It's almost dark already and we are only five minutes later than yesterday."

"But is has been dull and overcast since mid afternoon. There was heavy rain; see all the puddles."

"Could be a lot of frogs in the road again."

There is still enough light for us not to need the torches as we set off, but it is decidedly gloomy and damp.

"I finished strimming in the orchard and I got the hedge trimmer started with the new spark plugs, but the brake has jammed on. It will either need replacing or


"I'm on the way home. I definitely need to go for a walk tonight."

"Before or after we eat?"

"Before, unless you want to set of when it is already dark."

"Mm.. that will make it difficult to cook the meal, but OK."

"I might be too warm in this fleece" declared the Webmaster. "I'm going out to see what it's like." The Webmaster opens the door and steps out. Less than 20 seconds later he is back inside.

"Is it warm?"

"It's actually raining now. Heavy drizzle."

"I'll swap this fleece for my yellow running jacket."

"Are you serious? Have you seen the weather? And it's nearly dark."

"Is it raining? Do I need a coat?"

"It isn't raining at the moment."

The Young Dog ignores us and stays curled up on the settee, where he isn't supposed to be. The Old Dog notices we are preparing to go out. The dogs didn't get their usual walk this morning because it was too wet and she wants to go now.

We step outside. The moment of no rain has clearly past.

The sunset is spectacular. A large, thin, flat layer of rippled cloud, as though made by waves on a beach, lit, apparently from below, with the red glow from the sinking sun. Orange, red and pink light reflects back down to us. The sun itself, visible below the clouds, silhouetting the the folly at the high point of the ridge and casting a red glow over the fields. But it is sinking fast and soon there are only a few red streaks of light remaining.

"I can hear a cat" said the Webmaster as we walked past the neighbour's farm gate. Their dog was nowhere to be seen. It must be in the shed eating its supper.

A thin cat, mewing loudly, appears out of the gloom and squezes herself under the bottom bar of the gate.

"It's Mrs. Cat. She's got a mouse. She's going to follow us to give us the mouse."

"It's cold tonight, it hasn't been this cold for ages."

"Those clouds are interesting, those with the pink tops."

"Which clouds? I can't see any. .. Oh those, I can see them now there is a gap in the hedge."


Both dogs are dashing about in an excited state. They know we will be setting out on our Sunday morning walk soon. They missed their long walk yesterday and only got to dash round their usual weekday route because we were going out for the day. Now they are circling the furniture and following us up and down stairs as though to prevent us leaving without them. They do this every weekend. They must know when it is the weekend.

"Sit. SIT!" the Webmaster is trying to calm the Young Dog. "Are you


"It's cold. I'm putting on a fleece."

"I'm taking my gloves. And we can take the camera in case there is a colourful sunset. But it isn't such good light as yesterday."

We set off down the lane. The sun is still clearly visible above the horizon but the sky is turning red and the clouds are streaked with pink and orange.

"Let's go up the hill first. If we go all the way round the sun will be down before we get to the top."

"The clouds are the same type as when we had the spectacular sunset last week."

"I can't see the sun at all or any sign of a sunset."

"The clouds are too thick. It is up there behind the murky clouds." The Webmaster waved his arm in the general direction of the sun.

"It's come up in California. I saw it in the sun rise photographs from the Student's early morning hike."

"It's 10:30, are you ready? The dogs are making a fuss" the Webmaster yells up the stairs. I am in bed reading on-line newspapers.

"I can't find my trousers. You put them away somewhere different every time. Where are they?" Although I haven't looked, it is a safe bet.

"Drying from yesterday's washing."

"I've got more than one pair. Where are the others?" shouting down the stairs and jumping out of bed.