Thursday started as one of those misty, cold mornings when Jack Frost's icy tendrils reached out to cover even the hardiest of the surviving plants and cover them with minute crystals of ice, transforming the landscape once again into a mirror image of winter.
By 10am a wan sun was doing it's best to brighten things up and by 11 had succeeded, the mist dissipating almost as quickly as it had come, as once again the river and it's inhabitants delighted in the light and warmth and started to go about their day.
The river is tidal and today it was on it's way out when I finally reached the sea-wall to walk Harvey & Jada, two of my more energetic clients!
Harvey is a yellow Labrador and I've been looking after him since he was a puppy. In that time he's grown from a cute, loveable pup into a handsome, loveable rogue.
At 21 months he's filled with boundless energy and thinks everything in the world has been put there specifically for him to play with.
He doesn't mind if it's animal, vegetable or mineral and will go to extraordinary lengths to convince one and all that he has to be their friend.
On their own, they're confident and happy but together they're unstoppable and live with perpetual grins on their faces. Even the most gloomy day is brightened by their infectious happiness and joy for life
Today however, there was something clearly holding their interest and
I stopped to watch, sitting idly on the river bank with a dog either side, all of us glad to take a breath.
The river is actually quite broad at this point and the gulls were wheeling overhead, their raucous cries in sharp competition to the geese as they soared above us, swooping down almost to the riverbed and then back up again, the sunlight glinting sharply on the droplets of water from their beaks. A short way out a grey heron was standing watching the water intently and a couple of young cormorants were sitting on the jetty, a favourite resting place of theirs, wings outstretched, as the morning sun dried them.
Jada, who having given up on the 'sitting still' experiment (well she had for at least two minutes) was now mooching near the waters edge and had evidently found something to relieve her boredom. She looked up expectantly as I wandered down for a look and found her pawing a mussel which she had found on one of the now exposed rocks. Much to her obvious delight it was open and she was evidently trying to extract it, having no luck she carefully picked it up, and then took it back to Harvey to show him. Not particularly interested he feigned a glance in her direction and then went back to 'goose watching', whereby she promptly dropped it and rolled on it, a particularly self-satisfied look on her face.
Anyway the upshot of all this was that a large number of mussels had been left as the tide had gone out and the gulls were making the most of it, picking the molluscs up and then dropping them onto the rocks below whereby they had opened and were providing quite the feast.
All life was on the riverbank that day and I mused once again how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and unspoiled area.