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"It hasn't rained much so we should be OK."

The Webmaster is suggesting our traditional route down through the woods and round the lake. I put my walking boots on.

We set off. It is warm, cloudy and dull, slightly damp but not raining.  At the bottom of the lane the dogs turn into the farm yard. They always want to go this way and today they're in luck. 

"That's just over 500 metres." We have decided to track our walking routes with our GPS watch and attempt to overlay them onto the map with the GIS system we recently acquired. "I haven't charged this since the last time I went for a run and it has less then half its battery power left."

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"It's getting cold."

"I've got my woolly gloves. Pity about the holes in the two index fingers. You could have bought me a new pair for my birthday. 99p from the local supermarket."

"Shame about the tree. I did think it was supposed to be like that."

"I've started looking through the old photos for a picture of what it used to be like. Twenty five feet tall tree in the garden and we didn't notice it had died."

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"Do I need gloves?"

"We need to take the torches, it's already going dark."

We set off but stop before we reach our gate.

"It's definitely dead." We look up the garden. The tree we spent all yesterday afternoon cutting free of strappy sycamore sapplings and leggy holly trees that had grown up round it was bare. It's bark wrinkled. That part of the garden had become overgrown. Sycamore and holly grow like weeds. It is almost a full time job pulling them up and for a few years we hadn't take much notice of this part of the garden.

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"Is there a good walk towards Horton?" asked the Webmaster.

"I'll look on the map I made, I found all the Staffordshire rights of way. It's got most of the paths. The only ones missing are those round the Serpentine and past the visitors centre."

I print out a section of the map I made yesterday using OS OpenMap Local data, rights of way data from the county council and my very novice GIS skills.

We select a route. It doesn't go to Horton but it includes paths we have not walked before and it criss crosses lanes we know well from running.

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"Change your shoes, we can go in five minutes" says the Webmaster as the Worker comes in through the door.

"I"m very tired."

"We don't have to go for a walk if you don't want to" offers the Webmaster, sounding slightly disappointed.

"Let's go. It might make me feel better."

The Webmaster looks for the torches. We had forgotten them last night, but fortunately we had set out early and had managed an extended evening walk while it was still light enough to be safe on the lane without them.

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