Saturday, June 02, 2012

Juneathon 2012 Day 2 - Minor Conflict

Juneathon 2012 Day 2 - Minor Conflict
Walk - 7.9 miles, Time - 2hrs 40min, Weather - drizzle damp then grey

We moved to one side to let the cyclists through: a young boy, about 10, closely followed by his father. Ahead was a man with a dog. The dog, as dogs often do, moved unpredictably and the boy applied his breaks so forcibly he shot off the saddle and planted both feet on the ground. "Shit". Behind him the father tried to avoid crashing into the rear wheel, wrenched his handlebars violently and toppled over. "Language!" he chided the boy, as he fell. I was impressed that he tried to maintain standards in such circumstances but then things went downhill as the two men squared up:

"Can't you keep it on a lead?. Keep it under control?!"
"Why is it always the dog? Why blame the dog? You go too fast! You should slow down! Pay attention to other people! Oh no you have to go fast!"
Etc etc.

Meanwhile the boy was being mature, trying to move away and end the slightly uncomfortable incident: "It was an accident. Look sometime things just happen". He was right: it was one of those things. The father was too close to his back wheel but at the same time dogs not on a leash can be a menace on the footpath. Things sometimes happen.

It had all started so differently. Our start wasn't too early, 9 0'clock is hardly the crack of dawn,  but the canal path was empty and somehow it felt as if the world hadn't woken. Perhaps it was the damp, light drizzle that put people off and made everything feel peaceful; perhaps it was the bank holiday weekend and other people had better things to do. Who cares. The conditions were perfect for a walk where attention could flick between interior dialogue and staring intently at the wildlife, whether it be the flash of a kingfisher, swans gliding by, or counting the snails enjoying the damp.  It was a gentle and enjoyable walk.

But a couple of hours later as we came back into to Berkhamsted where there were now knots of people and the problems of conflicting needs in a restricted space.

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