Day 19 April 22

Dogs, dogs and more dogs! I love this aspect of my walks. In fact I positively look forward to it. There have been quite a few cartoons flying around with dogs slumped on sofas with captions like, “I’ve been taken out by every member of the household and I’m exhausted” type of thing. I see dogs of all types perkily trotting or plodding, stouter ones dawdling, on the lead, or off, chasing balls and stones, in the park or on the beach. In my little park there’s always a sniffing competition or a circling game in progress whilst owners chat at a distance. But there isn’t one dog that seems reluctant to be walked by their stir-crazy owners once, twice or four times a day.

I love dogs; always have. I don’t have one because I like my independence but I don’t feel deprived as I get my fill of them here. In the past few years St. Leonard’s has become Doglington-on-Sea. Delighted down-from-Londoners stroll along the prom with their designer dogs side by side with good old Staffys, Rottys, German Shepherds and the like. I love it: glad my walking day is populated with such an array of uncomplicated creatures.

This is Stanley, a shingle-toned Labradoodle with his happy mistress who tells me she moved down in December and loves it more than she can say, as she sniffs the air with a sense of sheer delight. I tell her I was new once: down-from-London 35 years ago this May…