I have been trying to get back into the habit of taking a daily walk and as this place is close to home I've used it quite a bit recently, sometimes with the dogs, sometimes without. It is one of those walks where you are expected to keep dogs on a lead. I don't like those kind of places. Probably about half of the folk who walk dogs there do obey the rule. I'm one of the half who usually doesn't.
It really is a lovely walk, along the riverbank part of the way and there are bluebells in Spring. And it is truly beautiful in Autumn when the leaves are on the turn. And there are donkeys. But this walk also has its downside. You are in sight and sound of the pig processing plant and sometimes you will hear the pigs screaming when they are being unloaded. That is probably the worst thing. Then the path leads to Galgorm Manor Hotel (very swanky) and the new building that they have erected looks very ugly when seen from the riverbank. The second worst thing (after the screaming pigs) is some of the other people.
For, despite the anguish of the pigs and the horridness of the hotel, the walk is very popular and particularly so with dog walkers. Some of the dog walkers are the type who pick up their dog's shit in little black bags then hang it on the low branches of trees. How can people be so vile? Many of the dog walkers are pleasant people who smile and say hello. Some are not. The last time I went on the walk, a few days ago, I had Judy, no lead on her, bad, bad me. There is one narrow part at the beginning and a thin schoolmasterly, vinegary little man was approaching. He had with him a thin, vinegary, yappy Jack Russell Terrier. As soon as he spotted Judy he gathered up his yap dog, and back tracked. I bored on, ignoring him. As we drew level, he's standing there with his skinny dog in his arms and Judy and I just didn't see him at all. He muttered,
Should be on a lead, Should have it on a lead.
Judy and I pretended not to hear. A bit further down the path we met a lovely young woman with an Rhodesian Ridgeback also off the lead. Judy and the Ridgeback had a bit of fun together. Afterwards I pondered the thin man's words. I suspect he would not even have spoken to me had I been a man for he seemed a timid sort. I'll bring a lead with me next time.