"Are you serious? Have you seen the weather? And it's nearly dark."
"Is it raining? Do I need a coat?"
"It isn't raining at the moment."
The Young Dog ignores us and stays curled up on the settee, where he isn't supposed to be. The Old Dog notices we are preparing to go out. The dogs didn't get their usual walk this morning because it was too wet and she wants to go now.
We step outside. The moment of no rain has clearly past.
The Old Dog has clambered up into the window and is watching us as the Webmaster extracts his delapidated coin holder and scatters coins across the wet bricks of the drive way. He extracts his key, locks the door and swears about the world in general: getting wet, dropping his coins, the madness of walking in the rain.
"Is the US banking system primitive or is it just that the uni only offers a limited selection of payment methods? Don't they have bank transfers or debit cards? They only offer credit card, at a fee, or e-check from a US bank. And for e-checks it says to 'make sure you accurately copy the details from your check'. Copy from the cheque! It implies you need to transcribe from an actual paper cheque. I didn't realise it would be so awkward, or expensive, just to pay a bill."
"At least we got the £750 back."
"Seriouly poor customer service even if the technical support was eventually OK. Why didn't they just say they had had a system failure on the day we transferred the money and that it would be sorted within a couple of days. It would have been much better than worrying us that our money was lost. They knew we had transferred it on that day."
"So she's going to ask her US bank about the 'checks' tomorrow?"
"Yep, but even without transaction costs it's going to be more exensive this month, about £10 more. Thanks to Boris making noises of a reckless hard Brexit, the pound's down against the dollar again. Some experts are saying it will fall to $1.25 by the end of the year. It's already £100 a month more than we expected last October. OK there'd be fluctuations on the exchange but it never occurred to me that there would be a Brexit crash. I don't even think the referendum date had been announced, apart from something vague about 2017".
The rain has eased off slightly but the road is very wet. It looks as thought it has been raining all day.
"I can't see where I'm going." The Webmaster was in need of wipers for his glasses. "I think we should walk up the hill from this end and get it over and done with."
"Ok. Let's just go round the short route tonight."
We reach the stile at the bottom of the hill and climb over. Short of squelching through four or five inches of mud there is no way through. The sodden ground is completely cut up by hooves, surface water is lying on top of the soft mud in each sunken hoof print.
"No point making this more uncomfortable than it already is. My shoes are already full of water." The Webmaster will have developed webbed feet before he buys new shoes.
We decide to follow the road and turn on to the hill at the start of the Common and avoid the cow field. As we turn at the bottom of the hill to follow the lane up we are no longer aware of the rain.
"I'm used to this now. I'm hardly noticing the rain."
"That's because it has nearly stopped. It keeps comming and going. It will start again soon. Watch out for frogs."
We walk a while in silence, scanning the road ahead in the light from our torches for frogs.
"I need to contact MT about the password problem. I can't find an error. She said it was the password reset email, it 'didn't work', but I don't know what she means. Does she mean she didn't get it? It p's me off when someone reports an error and then won't describe what happened after I've asked them." The Webmaster is annoyed. Apart from the re-display of the cached detail screen no one else has experienced any problems and he wants to finish the beta testing an roll it out to all members.
We turn up the track and onto the hill. The rain is falling steadily and there is a haze around the distant lights. A bright, white glow rises from what we assume is the sports ground, as though the drizzle has formed a mantle and created an enormous lamp. We walk down through the car park.
"There are no cars tonight."
"I wonder why" comes the sarcastic response "and the gate is probably locked."
Back on the hard road surface the Webmaster's shoes squelch with each step. "I'm going to get some new boots. Ones that don't leak," he announces. I wouldn't put money on it. All of the Webmaster's plans are at least five year plans and the chances are that the boots he will eventually buy have not yet been designed. "Are we turning right here to double back?"
It is raining hard again. We head down the lane retracing our steps, forgetting about the frogs until we almost step on one.
"Let's get a picture of the frog for your blog." The Webmaster takes out his phone but has difficulties with the flash. The frog stands patiently, blinking as the light of each flash illuminates him against wet road. After five or six attempts, each resulting in nothing but an off-white splodge on a black background, the Webmaster gives up and we leave the frog to continue its journey.
"I can hear squeeking. Is there a bird? Listen. I can't see anything."
We walk along listening. Squeek. Squeek. "There is is again."
"It's my feet." Squelch, squeek, sqeek, squelch. Yes he is right; it is timed to his strides.
We arrive back at our front door. A clean, dry, fluffy white cat emerges from under the car when she sees us. The Webmaster pulls out his coin holder and coins cascade onto the floor. The cat goes to investigate but quicky loses interest. The Webmaster swears as he searches for the key and the cat returns to her shelter under the car while she waits for the front door to open.
Inside, the Old Dog is curled up, comfortable and dry.