The Beach Walk
by Patrick Vickery
The sun emerged with a license to chill, the cat shivered on the patio steps (if looks could kill), and we decided to take the dog for a morning walk on the beach. Dog in the car, house locked, brief wave to the ducks nesting in the hanging basket by the front door, then up the drive past the big fat hen roosting on the back of the nonchalant goat to the receding sounds of the 'left behind' dogs wailing in disbelief that we could possibly have gone without them as we headed for Nigg beach with its panoramic views of outsized sheds, Oil Riggs and the charming village of Cromarty across the scurley wurley waters.
Sadie, golden retriever, a bit smelly at times, lovely dog, roamed the pebbled beach as we ambled, all was tranquility and peace, the only sounds to be heard were the slow-roasted screech of a solitary seagull bobbling on the glittering waters and the chug of a tug boat. Then without warning calm swiftly became chaos. The dog spied the seagull. It was a 'sitting duck.' A view with a thrill. A license to kill. A seagull bobbling was a seagull for nobbling. So with raucous snorting the dog headed out to sea with no intention of returning.
Liz stayed calm throughout and casually hailed the passing tug boat which duly redirected the snorting dog back to shore as I gibbered and jabbered in a state of panic on the beach. Dog in the car, shopping expedition to Tain to buy a bottle of whisky as a thank you brew for the nitty-gritty tug boat crew, then back to Nigg to deliver the hootch, then home again past the big fat hen roosting on the nonchalant goat to be greeted by a crescendo of noise from the 'left behind' dogs still wailing in disbelief that we could possibly have left them behind in the first place.
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