Opening the five-bar gate from the field into the castle ground to take Millie for a much truncated walk on one of these very cold afternoons we’ve been having recently I heard what sounded like a whole school class of small children, all chattering at the tops of their voices. I was wondering what the teacher could be thinking of to bring them out into the bitter wind of the shelterless castle grounds on such a day. Small children without diligent supervision are notorious for leaving their coats unbuttoned and losing gloves and hats.
I slid the gate catch back into its groove, turned round and started the climb up the hill, Millie preceding me at her very sedate pace. At the same time the ‘school class’ appeared on the path at right angles above me, i.e., one mum holding the hand of a very small child, one small and very lively spaniel, and a curly-haired, blond cherub bombing along ahead, perhaps between three and four years old. It was he who was making the racket. His treble pierced my eardrums. He saw Millie and a high-pitched squeal greeted her dignified presence.
“O look Mum, another dog. It must be really old. And there’s a lady with him. She's really old too.” That was me assessed, judged and dismissed, all in the space of seconds. The castle called. But did he have to be quite as sharp-eyed as he was? After all, I was wrapped in a Michelin man coat and furred hood and almost invisible.
Mum turned and giggled with embarrassment.
Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom and truth.