Luna the Aris-dog-crat!

A Saturday: the first day of the weekend, the day in which you can completely exhaust yourself, knowing that you have Sunday to recover. A day in which you can avoid all chores and boring things, knowing that they can be put off until Sunday evening if need be. This blog post is dedicated to Luna, the small fluffy ball with legs, whose craziness made this Saturday particularly exhausting and particularly memorable.

Luna hopped into my life roughly six miles into a countryside jaunt that I had planned to shake away some of the pork pies and cakes of a lovely holiday that I had in the days leading up to the weekend. I was traipsing along the Oxfordshire Way, having caught the train to Islip, then walked to Beckley to enjoy a delicious and massive meal in the Abingdon Arms. After a moment of digestion, I rejoined the Oxfordshire Way to strike out from Beckley and head towards more pretty villages. Upon hitting the path, I spotted a man in a bright pink T-shirt, shielding his eyes in an attempt to spot the stile on the other side of the field. He looked relieved to see me, declaring that he’d become confused and did not have a map. Thinking that he seemed harmless enough, I offered to walk with him for a few miles, as I did have a map and knew how he could get back to his village. Great happenstance! He was tremendously interesting to me, being a university lecturer.  We had a good old moan about the Research Excellence Framework, and discussed late-medieval brickwork and the interesting way that the old system of farming the land was particularly visible due to the flooding filling the furrows in the fields. We then noticed a small white dog trotting up towards us, which promptly started to paw at our heels and demand attention. The little creature followed us as we followed the path further out of Beckley. I was not worried – surely she would turn back as soon as she reached the limits of her comfort zone. Anyway, it was futile to try to discourage her- my ‘shooing’ merely encouraged playful bowing and tail wagging. I must admit, I was somewhat distracted by the conversation I was having, and did not notice the miles that were passing under our feet. But alas, miles passed and the little dog was still lolloping after us. Clive, my new friend, and I went our separate ways. But still the little dog nipped at my heels. By now I was starting to get concerned – I was about to cross a road, and did not want her to get run over. It was also quite clear that she would not be able to find her way back anymore.

Eventually I reached a farm, and my story attracted much bewildered amusement from the farmer. However, the kind man made a lead for the dog from a piece of rope (bright blue- very conspicuous!) By now, I managed to reach the telephone number on the dog’s collar and spoke to a Spanish woman, who was very concerned about ‘little Luna’, but could not communicate anything to me apart from her address. I was slightly annoyed about this. I had guessed that the dog had come from one of the wealthy estates near Beckley – why did I have to deal with the whole situation! However, I resolved to find my way to the dog’s home. So, I looked at my map, and worked out a way to take the little scamp back to her doggy biscuits and squishy bed. I enjoyed our adventure, despite her fear of cars, which made her spook and stare at every vehicle that zoomed past us. I was glad of that length of rope around her collar!

Eventually we reached Beckley again, but not before I had spoken to many ramblers, who were confused about why I was walking miles to take a lost dog home (my answer: “I love things like this, besides, stranger things have happened to me. Several times”). As I neared the address I was given, the magnificence of little Luna’s abode dawned on me. It was a countryside pile and a half!!

Beckley Park

I snook around the side of the house with my mutt on a rope, and was greeted by the Spanish woman, who turned out to be the housekeeper. “SILLY LUNA” she declared, patting the unperturbed Luna on the head. By now I was tired, hot and thirsty, so I asked for a glass of water. The lady exclaimed “of course”, and took me into the amazing kitchen and poured me the most refreshing glass of pure orange juice that has ever passed my lips. She then instructed me to sit at the farmhouse table, where I found myself face-to-face with an African Grey Parrot! The lady chopped up papaya for me, and I sat at the table, eating it whilst she carried on with her chores. I expressed my interest in the building, which resulted in a glimpse into the hall and dining room of the house. Magnificent is the word – there were tapestries everywhere, and dark wood furniture that appeared to have been in the house ever since it was built in the 16th century. It was the most wonderful house I have ever had the fortune of seeing into. Thank you, Luna, you are a pain in the backside, but you made my day!

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