To the forest by way of the docks and I am a child again on the train – no bucket and spade now. Just the Review in case I get bored. Bored? Absurd. Past pylons and derricks flat mud and sea all set against the most marvellous cloud formations. Clouds of every class and order, I can hardly believe I lived my entire life not seeing this wonderful free show. Clouds like fat ladies on postcards by Gill and pale high clouds stringing along. This evening we have them all and they move and change from moment to moment, one side of the train is blue sky over docks the other has galloping bulbous varieties of cloud one over the other like appliqué but moving. Shifting silently some with charcoal centres and silver edges with the sun making a supreme effort to get through shining making the edges glow.

Then the forest which I also came to enjoy late in life. I had a job looking after an old lady in Minstead and I took my dog Zit with me which meant that I took him for walks to Acres Down every afternoon I was there. I went on Monday and back home on Tuesday evening which meant that I could see an appreciable difference in the trees from one week to the next. Before I took this job I was not keen on green places I lived in London for most of my adult life and Hyde Park where I took my Boxer for hazardous walks was the limit of my green awareness. I fact I still find silence at night faintly worrying without the familiar police car sounds and the throb of traffic and I really I prefer the town.

I do like cream teas of course and am willing to bribe myself to go to the forest but it is not my natural habitat. Most of the people I know are quite besotted with things green. I expect I am a committed townie but I did get intrigued by the growth of leaves that begin to bud in February I liked the ponies too but they always look hungry to me as they forage among the heather. But now, not having been in the forest for months it is exquisite and bright green buds of all shades make trees look lacy and it is all seductive stuff. Gorse which I love shines out and I wonder why I don’t come here more often.

I  know too. I have no dog and for me a dog with wagging tail in front of me is the only good reason to walk. Dogs enjoy the forest so much; it makes me love it too. The first time I took Zit to the forest we met the hunt and he scarpered off to join the pack. The shame of it was terrible and I had never realised quite how huge large men on horses are.  He, the large man, yelled at me in a stentorian tone to call my dog which surprised me so much that I obeyed without thought ‘a lot of good you’d be on a hunt Sab’ my inner voice sneered but I got Zit by the collar and exited. A tiny consolation was the fact that I didn’t open the gate for them. But I was pretty peeved at Zit who was in the best of form tongue lolling round his smiling face.

So I conclude that I have mixed emotions about trees and stuff but I know for sure that I love clouds, especially if a gasworks or a few pylons are thrown in as background.




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