The dogs were waiting for their walk. We weren't later than normal, only 10:30 but we had been out to the airport and confused their routine. The Student is moving to California today for a year studying abroad and we had driven her to Manchester for a tearful fairwell and to encourage her through the security barrier and on towards her future.
"If we go now we should be back by the time she takes off" said the Webmaster.
Dogs on leads and out into the September morning sunshine. "Hold the dogs while I lock the door". The Webmaster extracts his old purse ("gentleman's coin holder" he corrects) from his pocket and coins pour everywhere. Its seams have split and it no longer holds coins. One day he will mend it or buy himself another.
"Have you got your phone"?
"Yes", I replied, "in case she calls again. She should be at the gate by now." The Student has travelled many times before but is scared of flying. She might need a bit more moral support.
We ignore the road closed signs and head down into the valley. The road, a narrow lane, has been closed for weeks for repair and resurfacing. Without them one more winter would have rendered it back to track status. Unfortunately the freak storm and flash floods of last Tuesday washed off much of the newly laid tarmac and the rather resigned highways engineer we saw on our walk last Thursday was surveying the damage and planning to repair the repairs. Two hundred metres down we squeeze passed the workmen's small lorry and see the repairs to the repairs taking place. We decide to avoid an encounter with the tar spraying equipment and turn back to find another route.
The Old Dog struggles with one of the stiles. She isn't as confident climbing and jumping as she once. These days she prefers to squeeze under, but this stile is particularly difficult and the Webmaster picks her up and lifts her over.
The field has been recently sprayed with liquid manure. It is still wet. The Webmaster specialises in giving the appearance of a tramp. He would rather moan about the delapidated state of his boots than source new ones. Just like the coin holder. "Argh, sh*t. Remind me to change these shoes when we get back. This muck has just pumped straight into them". We continue. The next stretch of path is overgrown with nettles. I jump and twist along it and fairly successully manage to protect my bare legs. Only stung once. Not so bad.
"Oh stop, while we are in the shade and I can see my phone. She's sent a snapchat. Come and see." I wait for the Webmaster to control the Young Dog and move to see the screen. A picture of an aeroplane parked at the gate appears with the message "Please don't crash" typed across it.
We manoever the old dog over or under a few more stiles. She manages quite well but is extremely cautious. Another message. This time a text. The Student is on the plane. Her seat is a window seat at the back. She is scared but on her way. I reply trying to assure her that air travel is safe but she already knows that. She won't relax until the seatbelt sign is switched off.
"Have you heard about the potential trade deal with Australia?"
"No, but I saw that India is likely to hold out for fewer visa restrictions."
"What a surprise. Bl***y Brexit!" We were back on our usual topic. Brexit. We must have relaxed knowing the Student was safely on board.
"The government is weak. It should be leading and making decisions in best interest of the country".
"It's all about politics now, they are just pretending they can get something better."
"That guy who wrote the article about it being politically incorrect to tell people they are wrong was right; and the one who said that Brexit view of making Britain great again was based on arrogance and ignorance."
"Nigel's gone. He's distancing himself so when it all goes wrong he can blame someone else for not delivering."
"Do something because you can and then sod off. Typical bully behaviour."
"Come out of there!" the Young Dog had jumped into a muddy pool and was drinking the water. His mouth was full of mud.
"Good view from here today".
"She should be taking off now. We may see her flight going over. Depends whether they go out over Liverpool or Wales."