Coast To Coast Diary

> Day One

SATURDAY 7th MARCH 2009

RAIN


I slept well that night as I always do when somebody is sleeping in the room with me. It is normally Tom as this is his room but as he is away at university in Newcastle I normally sleep on my own. I was not on my own as my master Tony was sleeping in Tom’s bed for reasons unknown to me at that time. The first sound I heard was an alarm on the clock going off and then the other two alarms on his mobile phone followed shortly, so it must be ten past something. I know this because I heard him say it many times to people that he sets the first alarm on the clock on the hour and the second alarm on the mobile at five past, and the snooze goes off five minutes later at ten past, so you wouldn’t have to be a genius to work out that it was ten past something. What you would have to be a canine genius for is to work out ten past what? We canines are not much good at telling the time so ten past what I wonder? He walks past me on the way to the bathroom and mutters “ten past four on a Saturday morning, I must be mad”. Ah ha, so its ten past four but why is he up, and why is he mad? I get up and dutifully follow him into the bathroom wagging my tail to let him know that I’m glad to see him. After he has done his wee he then rubs my head before washing his hands. Can you believe that? Then he says “Maisie doing the coast to coast today”. What is this coast to coast business? He has been saying it for a while now, he says, is Maisie doing the coast to coast, is Maisie doing the coast to coast, Maisie’s doing the coast to coast. It got to a point were it was starting to get on my doggy nerves but I’ve since learned to ignore it. But I did notice as he rubbed his dirty hand all over my head he said, Maisie’s doing the coast to coast TODAY. Whatever this coast to coast thing is, it is today, and Maisie is doing IT!

After he has his porridge and I had been out for a wee (I didn’t rub my paw on his head) he puts a sachet of food down for me. Yuk, does he really think I would eat that stuff? After turning my nose up at it and letting him know in no uncertain terms I walk away into the other room. But I can’t work out why he wanted to feed me so early in the morning as he normally says, “Maisie going back to bed now” as he’s getting ready to go out. Also I notice my extendable lead and other things of mine on the table next to his as he is packing his rucksack. There is a tennis ball (my favourite of all toys ever in the world) pooh bags, 4 sachets of food, ha ha, no way, and a ridiculous doggy raincoat, definitely no way! Normally when he packs his rucksack on a Saturday he goes walking with Smithy in the Lake District and comes back with all his stuff wet but today is different, today is coast to coast day, whatever that means.

He starts putting things in the car and I as usual get my lead that is kept in the kitchen and start running round the house with it in my mouth jumping up and down excitedly. I always do this as it is my ploy to get him to take me with him and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Today it worked however as he clipped the lead on I had the feeling I was going anyway as he said again in his annoyingly little doggy Maisie voice, Maisie’s doing the coast to coast today. Why do humans talk like this when they talk to us dogs? They talk to us like they are talking to a baby. Maisie want her dinner, Maisie going for a walk, Maisie going to beddy, Maisie doing the coast to coast! Anyway we pile into the car (that’s if one person and a dog can pile in) and we head off for the coast to coast with him rubbing my head again, this time in silence and this time with a clean hand (maybe I’ll forgive him for rubbing my head with his dirty hand if this coast to coast thingy is any good). We drive to the top of our street and turn right, go along for about twenty yards then stop. Is this it, is this the coast to coast I wondered? It seemed like a lot of palaver about nothing. We could have just walked here there was no need to drive, and what about all that stuff he packed, what was that all about? All became clear in a few minutes when Smithy’s door opened and out walked Smithy looking like how I felt when I got spayed. Some humans say as rough as a dog’s arse but I never really understood that particular phrase. Maybe it’s because we dogs sometimes drag our arses along the ground, hence making them rough, hence the saying, as rough as a dogs arse but anyway you get the picture.

He was moaning that his grandkids had kept him up all night and that he would be another 10 minutes. So this was a great start to our coast to coast adventure (whatever it was) but I do hope it’s not difficult as these two jokers have trouble getting out of their own streets. Eventually we set off but a very strange thing has happened. Smithy got into his own car and is now following us. Why do we need two cars I wondered? I know we only have a Fiat Punto but Smithy is not that fat, he could have fitted in here with us. Maybe he couldn’t fit his gear in with all the stuff PL has put in his boot (I will from now on refer to Tony, my pack leader as PL or just Tony). We bomb up the A1 then across the A66 stopping at a lay by with PL jumping out and saying in his annoying little doggy voice “does Maize need a wee wee”? (Maize is my nickname). Not blooming likely mate, not out here in this cold wind with all these cars rushing by and all the people in them can see me. I’m not that desperate so I jump back in the warm car and I hear Smithy shouting over to PL, “For Gods sake let’s go further on and get a piece, its bloody freezing up here”. (A piece is a Scottish slang word for a sandwich (Smithy is Scottish, as is PL).

So off we go again heading for the coast to coast, and I’m just glad that wasn’t it! We stop at another lay by for a “piece” near the end of the A66 and I jump out and do a number 2 on the grass. PL gets a pooh bag from the car and Smithy shouts out “just leave it there, I can’t see any bins around and after all, it’s biodegradable” but Tony won’t hear of it and goes to pick it up. Smithy starts laughing and shouts over “it will stink your f***ing motor oot ha ha”. After Tony picks up the pooh he leaves it at the side of the road with a few other plastic bags of rubbish that are waiting to be collected. Smithy shouts over saying we should go further on and into the Lake District and stop at the lay by near Blencathra.

PL agrees and off we go again seemingly heading for the Lake District. We stop at another lay by and at last this is the right one to please the up all night Smithy (thank God) cos now I am bursting for a wee and I jump out the car and run down the bank to do it in private while Smithy and Tony have their piece. Then PL opens one of the sachets for me and puts it in my dish and puts it down for me to eat. Not likely matey boy, I’m hungry now but not that hungry. Why didn’t he bring a nice bit of chicken? Out come the cameras and they snap away at Blencathra . Ah, I see now what it is. It’s a big hill with snow on the top. PL tries to take a picture of me eating my dinner with the big snowy hill in the background, ha! Not a chance laddie, no way. And by the way dear reader that is not what you think it is on the ground beside me. Honestly would I lie? It’s a piece of dirt from the muddy ground, I swear on me old dear mothers life (God bless you Queenie x). We get back into the cars and the next stop I hear them say is Ennerdale Water. We pull into the car park at Ennerdale Water and all of us get out.


The two humans change into their walking boots and we all get back into PL’s car (with me now relegated to the back seat, huh) and we are off again this time leaving Smithy’s car at Ennerdale Water and PL saying “coast to coast, here we come”. Well thank God for that because it seems to me that we have been travelling half the bleeding morning. It’s no wonder they got up at 4 o’ clock to get to the coast to coast (or ten past, or whatever time Smithy finally did get up). At last we arrive at St Bees on the west coast of Cumbria. Smithy was reading aloud to PL about St Bees saying, and I quote, The name St Bees is a corruption of the Norse name for the village, variously given as Kirki-Becoc’ or ‘Kirkby Behoc; which can be translated as the “church of Bega”, relating to the local Saint Bega. St Bees head is the only major sea cliff between Wales and Scotland and is the only Heritage Coastline in Cumbria and is also the start of the famous Wainwright coast to coast walk. Ah ha, coast to coast walk, so this is it finally here at last at the coast to coast. But this is only one coast, so where is the other? There is no other unless we are going to try and walk across the water to Ireland or the Isle of Man. Only one man could do that but he died 2000 years ago (and was raised). The only other alternative would be to walk across England to the east coast at say, somewhere like Robin Hoods Bay but that’s not going to happen because that’s about 190 miles away. We park the car in the big car park at the sea front and PL goes to the ticket machine to find out how much it is to park for the full day. He returns saying, “£ 3.50 for the full day, bloody hell that’s cheap”, then Smithy chucks in his contribution to the fee. After a few minutes Smithy is ready and rearing to go but Tony is still messing around in the boot of the car shuffling around with all the stuff he’s brought. Honest to God, he is worse than a woman (sorry ladies) the time it takes him to get ready. He is aware that Smithy is getting impatient and tells him to go on down to the front and we will follow shortly.

After an age we finally join Smithy at a wall with a notice on it and PL asks him if he would take a picture of us and we pose for the picture beside the notice. Smithy has read it so PL starts reading it aloud and guess what? Yes we are going to Robin Hoods Bay on the east coast 190 miles away! But not today. Today we are only going as far as Ennerdale Water around 16 miles away, ONLY... 16 miles, are they nuts? What’s wrong with just throwing my tennis ball a few times up on that there cliff or on the beach then a quick wee and then drive back to Smithy’s car and then home? Oh I don’t think I am going to like this coast to coast thingy and do you know something else, I don’t think they will either! We all walk down to the sea and PL walks into the water. What is he doing I wonder, as I’m wondering this a big wave comes up and soaks him. Ha ha, silly boy, what did he do that for? He then shouts at Smithy to hurry up. I look over to Smithy and see he has got PL’s camera and is pointing it at him and laughing his head off. It is clear to me that PL wants a picture of himself in the Irish Sea but it’s not clear to me why.

They both swap places and Smithy gets a soaking and PL takes a picture on Smithy’s camera. Then PL starts to pick up stones and throw them, ah this is more like it, but he is throwing them into the water which is making it hard for me to get them. He throws one quite far but ha ha, the water has gone out so I will just nip in and get it thank you very much. That’s it Maisie, he shouts, go and get your stone you will be carrying across England. But as I’m looking for it beside all the other thousands of stones which look identical I hear this rushing noise and look up to see biggest wave in the whole wide world ever about two inches from my nose. I grab the stone and turn and move quicker than if I was going after a cat covered in cheese but to no avail. The wave got me and I got soaked, why did he do that? I hear him shouting over to Smithy that he got a good picture there, well bully for him, I’m glad I didn’t get soaked for nothing then. If you look carefully dear reader you can just see my stone on the right of the picture slipping back into the water.


With all pictures taken and cameras put away we headed up towards the bridge over Rotting Beck and then climbed the wooden steps that helped us ascend the cliff. Accompanying us was the smell of numerous cooked breakfasts’s wafting over from the caravan site. I’m so hungry now I would even eat one of the sachets of food that he packed! On arriving at Fleshwick Bay (pronounced Flezzick Smithy informs us) PL & I go down the south cliff and up the north cliff while Smithy goes down to the water. I’m not really sure if it’s raining now or it’s the spray off the sea but my coat is getting wet. While we are waiting for Smithy on the top of the north cliff Tony produces a tennis ball and we have a game of throw/catch. In fact we have a few games of throw/catch by the time it takes Smithy to come up from the beach. As we walk past the lighthouse the mist is coming in off the sea now and it is really windy and pretty horrible. We walk round the cliff then past the front of a cottage and turn right on a road heading into Sandwith (pronounced Sanith Smithy informs us).

We turn left at the Dog and Partridge (no relation) then right up Lanehead to Byerstead Road crossing to the green lane which leads to Demesne Farm and then we cross the B5345 to Bell House Farm. We come across a cattle grid and my thicko master thinks I can walk across it. In the end he realises that no way José can his canine best friend walk the high wire. He has to pick me up and carry me across struggling to see his footing but at least it brought a smile to the dour and now wet, Smithy’s face. We walk down a hill and under a railway bridge and Smithy announces that we are stopping for a piece. It is supposed to be a good place for sheltering in the rain, it looks to me that the bridge has more holes in it than a Baghdad hotel roof. So we stand under the so called bridge and we get wetter and colder and more miserable.

PL produces a towel and gives me a rub down then he puts that ridiculous raincoat on me but, hey, if it keeps me dry a bit then live and let live, that’s what I always say. Next out the rucksack comes a sachet of doggy food and I scoff it all down. So another one comes out and I demolish that one too, mmmmmm, not bad. They get out their “pieces” and munch away standing there freezing not saying a word, I wonder what they are thinking at this particular moment in time? Stuff this for a game of soldiers, I’ve had enough.

I pick up my lead and go over to PL to gee him up a bit as we need to get a move on or else I think we will freeze to death under this so called shelter. This is not one of my best moments on this planet. Finally they are putting on their sacks, snapping on my lead and with that we are off again, over the stile then bearing left towards Stanley Pond. After passing the pond or what they thought was the pond the next bit was proving tricky. It was very boggy and we soon ran out of paths then we soon ran out of ground. The humans were sinking into the ground to way up past their boots and my little legs were disappearing fast.

This was stupid. Is this their idea of fun? Well if it is, they can keep the coast to coast, count me out sunny Jim, no way José, they can just leave me in the nice park at home playing with my tennis ball. Anyway we just plod on and, oh, did I mention, the rain was getting heavier! We finally reach a stream and spot a little bridge a bit further up. We go up to the bridge and cross it, then we by pass some mean looking cows (if only I’d known now) and up a track like a private road to a gate with a sign at the side. PL reads out “if you were suppose to be doing the coast to coast then you have gone wrong, just go through the gate up to the main road, turn left, then turn right into the village”. We went through the gate and just before the main road we came across a cycle track. This was apparently the excellent Whitehaven-Ennerdale cycleway which is what we were aiming for anyway as it is an alternative route to going through the village of Moor Row.

We walked along the cycle track for a while then taking a path along a field and by passing a cricket club called Wainwright passage. Smithy said if Wainwrght was here he would gladly sink his mucky sodden boot right up the Grand Master’s passage! We get up to the main street in Cleator and it is really raining heavy now. It appears worse with all the traffic trundling by and throwing spray, mostly in our direction. A bus roared by and Smithy spots that it is on it’s way to St Bees of all places. He then starts shouting obscenities at the bus but as he turns round I just catch him saying, astard, and I think that was aimed at the driver for not stopping to pick us up and take us back to the car park at St Bees. We cross the road and look inside the pub window. There is a bloke standing looking out at us looking in. PL notices the man is laughing and he thinks the man is laughing at us.

Then he spots a sign on the pub window and reads it out saying “coast to coasters welcome, muddy boots welcome, pets welcome. But no horses, cows, or pigs! My 2 human companions then start laughing themselves. We turn left at the pub although there was talk of going in and head up the main street then turn right into Kiln Brow and right again over Blackhow Bridge then finally up to Blackhow farm. On the way up to the farm Smithy declares we are having 5 minutes rest and rolls a fag. After a short break we head up to the farm and the 2 humans nod to the farmer as we cut through his farm on our coast to coast adventure. The farm stinks of cow pooh and there is an old van in our path that will never grace the roads again of this wonderful wet country of ours which we call Great Britain.

As PL tries to negotiate round the van he goes into what can only be described as cow shit, right up to his knee. Obscenities comes from PL’s direction this time as Smithy gets away scot free by going round the other side of the van, the proper side where the path actually is. My pack leader has got no sense of direction whatsoever and has this knack of taking the wrong direction when it seems to be clear enough to everybody else that the wrong direction is not the right direction. He follows Smithy and I follow him and we end up at a track at the foot of Dent. We walk up the track and come across a signpost pointing to the left for Dent. PL says we take this one but Smithy says there will be another sign further up the track but PL is sure it’s this one and we take it. Much to my surprise it’s not long before he is proved right, on this occasion, this path is described in the guidebook as ‘a wide forest firebreak which climbs straight up the fellside’.

We climb up the wide path and the walk is starting to slow Smithy down a bit as he is falling farther behind until eventually he is out of sight. This alarm’s me as one of the pack is now missing, however it doesn’t seem to bother PL as we carry on up the fellside to a seat were we sit down and have some food. I can’t relax and I sit there waiting and watching for Smithy. Come on Smithy; put your back into it as he approaches the seat to join us for some food. After a while we are off again and they go over a stile and I go under it. They are a really good idea these “doggy stiles” with the little plank of wood that the humans just lift up and we canines go through. Another slow wet trudge up the fellside. We lose Smithy again for the second time but this time PL looks concerned that we could actually get split up in this mist, so it looks as if he has decided to wait until Smithy catches us up. After a while we spot a figure in the distance and PL zooms in with his camera and says “yeah that’s Smithy alright, I can see him resting on his pole”. We eventually reach the top of the fell, well near enough, it is a big stone shelter then we cross a piece of very boggy ground to reach the fells true summit on the east side.

I remember at some point my Pack Leader and Smithy lifting me over a wall or a fence or something, certainly something high but I can’t remember where exactly. After walking on a slow decline for a while in the mist and rain we came to a signpost and it was pointing, coast to coast to the right.

Somebody had scratched an arrow into the wood pointing to the left for the coast to coast. We turned right which took us on to a track and came down that way. They were saying that they thought the left turn at that signpost would have taken us down on a very steep route and we were doing the right thing by coming down on the track.

The track was pretty steep in places for vehicles to get up and Smithy said that he would bet that they used a full tank of diesel just to get up the track. It was also slippery but we got down to the bottom safely. Which way now? Nobody was sure here so the best thing they thought we should do would be to follow the beck which must be Nannycatch. We did this for a while and at times there were no paths so we stuck to the beck thinking this would lead us out. After lots of zig zags and crossing this, crossing that, we came to a dead end at a fence. It was getting dark now and I could tell they were starting to get worried. They were beginning to think that we were not going to find a way out before it got totally dark, and I for one did not relish the fact that we would be spending the night out here.

I imagine on a lovely summers evening that this is a beautiful place, yet at this moment in time which was as they said “quarter to six on a very wet, very misty, getting very dark, very quickly, March night” it was a big scary monster with big scary hills looking down on us with evil eyes looking to trap us. It was just light enough to see a path over the other side of the beck cutting straight through a field to a wall that was partly pulled down. What this looked very much like was that plenty of other coast to coasters had done exactly the same thing as us. Having found themselves here and nowhere else to go, people had just crossed the field and clambered over the wall and with it probably happening so often the wall was crumbling. We only had this option opened to us, and it would be completely dark any moment now. We hurried down the embankment crossed the beck got onto the path and walked up to the wall which had a fence on top. PL threw his walking pole over. Then he took off his rucksack and that went over as well, then he looked at me. Hold on a cotton picking minute here, what’s he thinking, I thought? He then looked at Smithy who was bringing up the rear. PL then started climbing over the fence as no doubt countless others had done before him. What else could we do, it was our only chance of not spending the night with the scary monsters. After a bit of a struggle he was over. Then I was joined at the wall by Smithy who then threw his pole over followed by his rucksack then they were both looking at me. Smithy came towards me and picked me up and before I had the chance to protest he was walking towards the wall. Oh no I thought, as he started to climb up the wall with me in his arms. I was sure this would all end in tears. After a few grunts and groans from Smithy he was lifting me up at arms length.

Then he was starting to wobble with the weight of me and the position that he was standing. Something was going to give here and I was scared that it would be me! I don’t mind so much the falling through the air bit, it’s the hitting the ground bit that hurts. I couldn’t see the ground behind Smithy, it was too dark now and I was quite glad really cos I would have been more scared I think if I could see it. Just as I was thinking I would be renamed Splat, Pack Leader grabbed me off Smithy and put me to the ground safely on his side. Phew, what a relief, the ground was much higher on this side and it was actually a path, hurrah! Ok, two down and one to go, did I say down, I meant over. Just the agile Smithy to get over now and we can be on our merry way up this path and hope it can lead to some kind of civilisation in these parts (if there are any). It’s fair to say that Smithy will never win the high jump at the Olympics again but if he could just muster up one last super human Daley Thompson effort, we could be on our way. He climbs up the wall then tries to get his leg over the fence but it’s just too high. The fence wobbles and shakes with Smithy’s weight on it. He tries for a second time to get his “leg over” but to no avail. On the third attempt and with the help of some serious huffing and puffing, plus some well chosen expletives, he manages to get it over but he gets his trousers caught on the wire, and is fenced. If a whale is beached then Smithy is fenced.

What a sight to see, the soaked through Smithy swaying back and forth in the wind and rain, in the dark, up there on the high wire fence, caught like a fly on a spider’s web. I’ll bet he didn’t read that in any of his Lakeland guide books! ‘I’m f***ing stuck’ comes the cry from the fence as PL runs over to try to free him from the wire and certain attachment to the fence for life. He manages to free the trousers then Smithy lowers his leg onto the wall but the fence is now stuck in Smithy’s groin. As well as being painful for Smithy, I could tell by the expressions on his face, it is also painful for me to watch. If it was only his face I could see at this moment in time I would swear he was practising for the world gurning championship, and he would be the red hot favourite to win with this effort! So I looked away and after some huffing and puffing, moaning and groaning, I hear a thud. I look round and fear the worse but Smithy is standing on the path on this side. Well done Smithy, all over safe and sound, the three musketeers ride again, one for all and sod the rest! With rucksacks back on, poles picked up, we were off again. On our way up a path this time and I have a good feeling or sixth sense that we are going to get out of here tonight. As we are walking up the path PL says something to Smithy that I don’t quite catch, to which Smithy replies ‘Am I f**k, that’s me and Wainwright finished. I could have had the day with the grandkids at home instead of being up here, f***ing soaked wet through again! No that’s it, I’m finished. Me and Wainwright part company as from now’ When I hear this I am ecstatic because if this is the coast to coast then I don’t want any part of it either. I will just have to call my book or blog or whatever it turns out to be, Coast to Ennerdale Water, A dog’s wet tail. That will do, it will just have to be a smaller book, blog or whatever. Smithy says it can’t be that far now and not long after he said this they spot a sign that says, Low Cock How Farm just around the next bend, with that, we know we are out and we will be safe, thank God for that. As we round the bend we come across about a dozen or so horses just standing on the path blocking our way.

PL puts his walking pole down and gets his camera out and takes a photo of the horses (you can also see how dark it has got by looking at this picture). Smithy walks right through the horses, stroking them as he goes. It’s ok for him he is a human but I am very wary of these giant beasts, as they advance on me and my Pack Leader. I have had a terrible day and now this. They keep on coming and we keep on backing away from them.

My pack leader shouts to Smithy that he doesn’t want to risk walking through all the horses in case I get frightened and start barking which in turn might frighten the horses causing them to panic and who knows what would happen, so he shouts to Smithy to go back and get his walking pole while we start to climb up the embankment out of harms way of the giant beasts. Smithy is reluctant to go back at first but then he agrees, so PL and I walk up the wet grassy hill and onto a road. It is pitch black by now and we walk down the road a little bit to where a path comes up and this should be where Smithy comes out. PL phones Mrs PL to tell her that we are ok and on a road now but still about 2 miles to Ennerdale Water which we have to walk to and get Smithy’s car. So he tells her by the time we do that then go back to St Bees to get his own car and then drive all the way home, it will be 11 o’ clock or so before we get in.

After the call Smithy comes walking up the path, gives PL his pole and informs him that he will not be walking to Ennerdale Water. He will only walk to Ennerdale Bridge because he has hurt his ankle, so that means PL and I will walk to get the car and pick him up in Ennerdale Bridge. We set of on the path that runs along the left hand side the road as it is much safer than walking on the road itself for fear of getting killed by speeding cars (advised the guide book) so he says. We had only took a couple of steps when PL went down like a sack of spuds, getting covered in mud for taking the trouble to avoid the so called dangerous road. ‘F**k this’ he said ‘I’d rather take my chance on the road’ as we step on to the tarmac to head down to Ennerdale Bridge, leaving the limping Smithy fading into the misty night behind us and we were never to see him again.

That is, until we picked him up at Ennerdale Bridge in about an hour and a half’s time after we had walked to Ennerdale Water and picked the car up. We walked through Ennerdale Bridge and stopped under a street lamp so PL could get his wind up torch out of his rucksack because he says, we would definitely need it on this last stretch. We set off again turning right at the signpost past the school on the left and out into the night again, with him winding up his torch that my female PL put in his Christmas stocking. It was really creepy going along the lane in this horrible dark misty wet night that seemed to be going into the back end of nowhere. I’m glad he knew where he was going (maybe for once) because I sure didn’t. After a while he shone his torch on to a sign and read out the word Broadmoor. We turn right here he said and I thought, you can turn anyway you like matey boy, because I’ve no option but to follow you, plus I was on the lead anyway so I wasn’t going anywhere else. We came to some houses then the road bends to the left, further up it bends to the right and as we were walking down this part of the road somebody somewhere was letting off fireworks in the distance. We couldn’t see them for the trees just hear them.

After a while going down this road it was getting rough underfoot then suddenly we are on a little bridge and over the water turning left through a gate to avoid the cattle grid and we are in the car park at Ennerdale Water. PL shines the torch on the only car in the car park and yes, sure enough, it is our absent friends Smithy’s car. We went over to the car and PL opens it up and gets a blanket out and spreads it over the back seat and I jump in. He throws his stuff in the boot and we are off, roaring down the country lane heaters full blast with the lovely wet dog smell oozing from the back seat (Smithy will be pleased). We pull up at the school just beside the phone box in Ennerdale Bridge where Smithy is standing with all his wet gear, and also, in all his wet gear. Smithy gets changed while PL sits there in his cold wet clothes and I lie shivering in the back seat. It takes him ages to change and finally we’re off, not heading for home though but heading for St Bees to collect the other car and then maybe we can start heading in the right direction which is, HOME! When we get to the front at St Bees there are a few other cars there, mainly boy racers. PL jumps out and opens his car up and tries to change into his dry clothes but he is finding it hard with the force 10 gale that seems to be coming off the sea nearly blowing him over. It is quite a sight to see him standing there trying to change into his clothes on a dark cold March night at 8 o’ clock and by the look on his face, he is not enjoying it one bit. The look on Smithy’s face as he sits there eating his “piece” in the nice warm car looking out into the night, he is enjoying it, more than one bit! The spectacle of his mate trying to put some warm clothes on, in the freezing cold night. Smithy turns round and says to me, “well, it was him that got us into this Maize”. Finally done PL shouts me over and I get into his car and jump on the back seat with the wet dog smell that follows me. We say our goodbye’s to Smithy then we set off for home from St Bees and I take it Smithy was bringing up the rear as I couldn’t be bothered to look out the back window to see if he was there but I guess he must be. I was exhausted and I just snuggled down and went to sleep for the journey home.


I woke up as the car slowed down on the slip road coming off the motorway at our junction and pulled up at the traffic lights. I jumped into the front seat and looked out of the window but it was dark. I did recognise our local park as we made our way towards home, the park where I have so much fun, so why didn’t we just go there today instead of this coast to coast. I’ll bet it didn’t rain here, typical bleeding Lake District! We parked the car up, go into the house and go up to the bedroom to see the female PL. She said she was tired and went to bed at 11 o’ clock and told him there was a Cornish pastie in the fridge. He tells her some tales from today and informs her that he will sleep in Tom’s bed tonight again as not to disturb her when he comes up and then we say goodnight. Downstairs PL has his pastie and I have some proper dog food then we go up to Tom’s room. I get into my bed and PL gets into Tom’s and starts to read. He did not read for long before he put the light out and the both of us went to sleep listening to the wind and rain that must have followed us home from the Lake District, where it obviously lives.