Saturday, May 14, 2016

My dog found Sheila Claydon

Something wonderful happened to me this week. I found a bluebell wood. No, that's not quite right. My dog found it.

It's quite a while since I talked about Elfie, and when I last did she was still a puppy. Now, at fourteen months old, she is a teenager. She exhibits all the symptoms. Never an early riser, nowadays she would stay in bed until mid-morning given half a chance, whereas playing 'hunt the toy' or 'fetch the ball' right up to bedtime is her idea of fun. She's moody with her friends too. One day Ginny is her favorite, the next day she's been discarded for Hugo who, according to Elfie, is much more fun. There's her pickiness over food as well, not her main meal which is eaten a top speed, but her treats. A stuffed bone, the same as the one she ate a few days ago and loved, is ignored, because today she wants a cowhide chew...the same chew she has refused to acknowledge for at least a week.

Then there are rules to be broken. The eyes peeping through the banister at the top of the staircase are really saying 'This is a hologram, I'm actually sitting on the bottom step where I'm meant to wait for you.'

The stuffing pulled out of her bed isn't her fault either, it's the visiting cat's fault. In fact the cat is a good all round excuse for anything that goes wrong.

Like all teenagers she can be a delight though. She knows to obey all the important commands like come, sit, stay, wait and leave. She even knows what 'Yuk' means if she goes too near something unsavoury when we're walking, and leaves well alone. When the mood takes her she likes cuddles as well. She has one other good point too. She never fails to remind me I need to exercise every day and then insists on coming along, and it was on one of our recent outings that she found the bluebell wood. I'm not talking about any old bluebell wood either, I'm talking about something so magnificent that it took my breath away. A narrow sandy path meandering through a a sea of blue that stretched as far as the eyes could see, and overhead the fresh green of new beech leaves.

Now I don't know what your fix is, but I find the great outdoors always cheers me up. While I can enjoy towns and cities, in my opinion they don't compare to the beauty of the natural world, so when Elfie added the bluebell wood to our daily walk I gained far more than physical exercise. It's this sort of serendipity that keeps me exploring the world around me, and it's the knowledge that the bluebells will come back next year and all the years after that, that excites me, and I guess it's why I write nature into a lot of my books. This is particularly the case with Reluctant Date, my book set in a very small town in Florida that I once visited, where the inhabitants wake up to dolphins swimming across the bay, and where pelicans have their own special roost known as 'the doss house' because there are so many of them. There are nesting osprey and wild turkeys too, and right in the middle of them all is a love affair, well two of them actually.

Maybe a bluebell wood will feature in my next book.

Sheila's books can be found at  
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