"I might be too warm in this fleece" declared the Webmaster. "I'm going out to see what it's like." The Webmaster opens the door and steps out. Less than 20 seconds later he is back inside.
"Is it warm?"
"It's actually raining now. Heavy drizzle."
"I'll swap this fleece for my yellow running jacket."
The dogs are woofing and jumping about with excitement. The Webmaster attempts to calm them down before attaching their leads. He fancies himself as good with the dogs but one word from him and they do what they like.
At last we are ready to leave. It is still drizzling, but not as heavy now. In the distance we can see patches of blue sky.
"The road is very wet. It was raining hard in the night. I don't think we should go down to the lake. The path down will be muddy."
"It was OK last week, even after the flash floods."
"But that had been five days earlier not the night before. Let's go the down Tongue Lane and up to the church."
The dogs began pulling. Even the Old Dog can pull with a force that belies her age and stature. They always strain against their leads and pull us past the neighbours gate where, as they pass, they exchange greeting with the resident dog. Once the ritual of greeting and pulling past the neighbours dog is over, they dawdle along, sniffing at almost every clump of grass. Walks with the dogs are always slow.
"You were mean to me in your last blog" the Webmaster remarked.
"Car coming down". We pull the dogs to the grass verge. When she was young the Old Dog was quick to move and crouch close in and parallel to the edge of the road as cars approached but now, in her dotage, she is less co-operative. She insists on standing perpendicular to the verge with her tail end sticking out. It is as though she thinks the car should wait until she is good and ready to let it pass. We push her onto the verge, which at this point is wide and flat. She sniffs something interesting and forgets about the car.
"So did you enjoy meeting your old uni friends yeaterday?"
"Yes. Very much. They were all exactly the same. It didn't seem like 30 years."
"You didn't reminisce much about the antics you got up to. Like setting off the fire alarms or singing rude songs in the refectory."
"We didn't do things like that. Not everyone one was as antisocial as you and your mates."
"Did you understand that bloke who complained about us talking about Brexit. He didn't make much sense to me and he didn't say what he was expecting to get from it, but I think he was a bit drunk."
"Seemed to me like he though no one had a right to disuss it anymore and we had to get on with it. He was referring to the OECD report that said the immediate post Brexit referendum shock hadn't happened. He also said UK had lowest unemployment rate in Europe, apparently implying that everything is OK so we should shut up. He didn't agree that the impact would be slow. When I asked him what "get on with it" meant and whether he thought there was a plan he said he didn't know what needed doing but he was sure the government did."
"He may not have liked it if he heard the story about the 17 million can't be wrong and L's comparison with the vote for the National Socialists in 1933."
"Or the joke about the government paying out a fortune to hire experts who had advocated Remain to sort it out because they were the ones who knew best what the EU was and how it worked."
"He could have joined in, we made room for him."
"I've never heard anyone who starts by saying stop moaning and get on with it come up with any arguments against the point being discussed. He just counted how many of us there were and got up and left. May be he felt out numbered, but to be fair, he didn't try to justify zero hour contracts. He just seemed to accept it was what it was."
Simultaneously both dogs lurch towards a small hole in the raised embankment at the edge of the road. "There must be something smelly there. They've done that at this spot everyday this week" comments the Webmaster. We wait a few seconds for the dogs to sniff and then urge them on.
The roadworks have gone. The repairs and the repairs to the repairs have been completed. We walk down the newly surfaced road, the black tarmac still new and shiney. "It was funny when he accused us all of being neo-liberals."
It is no longer drizzling and the patches of blue sky are growing. It is warm in the sun. We walk back up through the fields towards the church. The Young Dog leaps the stiles and the Old Dog squeezes herself under them. At the top the dogs avoid the cattle grid.
We continue out of the village, up the road towards the hill of our weekday evening walks. The Old Dog stares at the stone climb up to the stile. There is no way she will attempt to climb over and there is nothing for it but to lift her. It is awkward and she slips once, but she doesn't seem to mind.
There are a few cars in the car park and we can see two or three people walking along the footpath over the hill. We reach the highest point and turn to take in the view.
"It's nice light today. Would be good for taking photographs, but probably not with our phone cameras".
On the top there is a strong breeze. The light, the colours, the breeze and the view combine to create a perfect Autumn setting.
"Look, there. Did you see that?" asks the Webmaster pointing towards a hovering kestrel. "It dived in, wheeled round and then stopped." The bird appeared stationary, hanging almost motionless. From time to time the tips of its wings flicked. We stand and watch until the dogs pull us away.
"By the way, my membership application," said the Webmaster, 'if you use the back button it doesn't put you back into the edit page. You might see a cached page but you can't change anything unless you log in again."
"I think you need to stop that. Can you set the page not to cache? If some of the members get the page re-displaying and decide to change something else they will complain it doesn't work. Or some may complain it could show the data to someone else after they have logged out."
"I suppose so" groaned a reluctant sounding Webmaster.
We walk through the cow field and down off the hill. It is muddy and slippery on the final decent to the stile. The Webmaster tries to avoid the mud and instead walks into a marshy patch. Water pumps in through the holes in his shoes and they squelch while we ascend back up the lane for the final pull past the neighbours' dog. On the way back the dogs don't bark.