Daisy and I, having traversed the meadow, sit on our beech tree root and survey the hedgerow.    All around us the bare forms of the trees stand out against the sullen skyline in magnificient detail.     Salome has now cast her final veil and stands uninhibitedly naked at the extreme edge of the tree line.   

The weather vane fox runs to the west into black rain clouds which move towards us in an unbreaking wave.   Despite the damp weather it is not cold.    There is a very slight chill in the air which prompts a longing for the fire smouldering in the grate at home, but the first day of December is surprisingly mild.

Daisy sniffs the air.   Somewhere there is squirrel.    She is impatient to be gone and, forsaking my usual quiet moments of contemplation, we walk homewards through the woodland, taking the lower path.     

The lure of squirrel is extremely strong this morning and all the way through the woods Daisy pulls me along.   She is surprisingly solid and strong for a small dog, tugging furiously at the end of her long lead, and I find it hard to keep my feet as the ground beneath me is treacherous, wet and slippery.  

The fallen leaves have formed a mouldering mass which covers the pathway lying inches deep in some places.   It feeds the forest, I know, but will see the unwary flat on their backs if they are not careful.     I have fallen once before in these woods and am determined to watch my footing even if it means spoiling Daisy’s chase. 

For the most part, falling face down in a pile of leaf mould excluded, I love taking Daisy for walks.   She is happy and enthusiatic about everything and everyone she meets.     She stands on her hind legs the better to take things in and skips along, front paws tucked to her chest, ears cocked.     

Daisy relishes the smells, dirt and damp of the countryside and is never happier than when covered in mud.    She is less keen on being unceremoniously dumped in the bath, a last resort as she hates water, when we return home from a walk and she is covered in something disgusting and gooey!     She is also a mouser par excellence and has dispatched a number of that invading bretheren cleanly but without mercy.    

She is still fascinated by the sheep in the first field.    They have worked hard at their task of ‘mowing’ the grass and a field that was once knee deep in grass in places is now clipped to within an inch or so of the ground.     She surveys the sheep keenly on our way home through the field, but her nose is easily distracted by other smells and soon she is working her way back and forth across the path chasing another scent and oblivious to them.   They watch us for a while and then turn their minds to the rather more serious task of grazing.

When we get home I wipe Daisy down, she takes a deep drink of water and then retires to the front room where she takes her ease in front of the fire.  She loves to warm her belly.   I feed her toast as she cannot be asked to move from her warm and comfortable spot.     She chews happily at the buttery toast and then lets out a small gurgle of contentment.   I think all is very well in Daisy’s world.    I am glad.