Sunday. The chill out day of the week. Occasionally Sunday will be a luxury day; lunch out, or maybe a spa trip, something really indulgent, but normally Sunday is a proper family day and family in our book includes the dog. In fact until the new baby came along 21 months ago our dog Desmond was the focus of our chill out Sundays.
In the good old days (from his perspective) Sundays involved my parents (his grandparents obviously), my husband, myself (Desmond's mum and dad) and, if we were lucky, his brother, our son, going for a bracing walk along the sea front. Every Sunday, week in week out, the same place, same time.
Rain, snow and occasionally sun would see our merry band march along to the harbour and back again. Des as ever catching admiring glances and scoring the odd dog biscuit from other dog walkers out for their promenade.
More recently we've found that life gets in the way, sometimes a grey day seems too cold to expose the baby to the chill of the north wind, or maybe the demands of a toddler during the week result in empty cupboards at the weekend meaning that the Sunday walk is all to often forfeited in favour of shopping or some other tedious chore.
I think Des gets sad though when he misses his Sunday walk. So today, for the first time in a month we resolved to do 'the walk'. Of course, when we go now Des is no longer the focus of our attention. How can he compete with his walking and talking sister?
So we start to get organised, I call my folks, but Dad is golfing and mum is going shopping. Our son is studying so says we are to count him out. Okay, it's a smaller band than normal, baby, hubby, dog and me. We get the lead, the poop bags, the coats, the hats and the scarves. We pack the car, we take everything we might need to cope with any baby situation that might arise. (For those of you without children, this takes more than 5 minutes.)
Eventually we set off only to arrive and find the baby is sound asleep. The wind is picking up and we reach the decision that one will sit in the warm car with the baby and one will take the dog for his constitutional. I decide to do the walk.
Des is clearly excited to be at his favourite place, he goes wild sniffing out friends and foe and has great fun running circles round the other dogs. On our way back to the car I caught sight of him, I think he enjoyed his walk, but I think he enjoyed it all the more because today it really was just his walk.