Jack stood up and patted his leg at the excited labrador at his feet,
"Come on then, dopey!", the little dog didn't need asking twice, she shot up and ran for the living room door. Jack climbed the two steep steps to the door, and unlatched it, letting Rosie speed into the dining room, smacking her wagging tail against everything she past.
The last two cottages, had originally been built into the hillside, which meant when you were sitting in the living room, you were actually sitting a few feet under ground level, the cottages had been built this way to stop sloping. Jack walked though the dining room, past the kitchen and the back stair case and into the out house, collecting his walking stick, fasioned many years ago by his late great uncle, Wally. Wally had crafted a long walking stick for all the members of the family, Jack didn't require its help moving up and down the steep walks of the valley, just enjoyed carrying it.
"Take her lead!", Anne called from the living room, which Jack pocketed, he wouldn't need it, there would be no cars or people moving down the lane till the following day, and even then they were few and far between. Passers by were in fact, so inferquaint, that you just couldn't help but look up and see who was passing as they did, a far cry from the city he came from.
Jack opened the back door and let Rosie run out into the night, she ran straight across the tiny path and up a small flight of stone steps which led to the paddock,
"No...Rosie!, we're not going there!!", Jack called after her, receiving nothing but a wagging bottom in response, as she disappeared into the dark. Jack had forgotten just how dark the nights got there, street lights were non existent, there were none between Slad and Stroud. He waited for a few seconds, wondering what was taking Rosie so long?
"Come on, Rosie, I wanna go down to the valley!!", eventually a set of gleaming brown eyes appeared out of the dark and Rosie ran straight for him, she headed for the back door, expecting to go straight back in, but the moment Jack opened the back gate of the garden, the little lab became ecstatic and nearly knocked him off his feet trying to get into the lane, Jack laughed,
"Eassssy Rosie!", he giggled, then "come on!", and he turned past the double garages, and headed down the lane.
The lane was quite wide, enough room to squeeze anything from a small car to a tractor down it, Jack walked, the only sound Rosie's panting and the clink of his stick on the lane. It did ocour to him that there seemed to be a distinct absence of animal noises?, no grass hoppers, no night birds or bats, not even the rustle of badgers, rabbits or foxes in the long, tall brambles that lined the edges of the lane, but he shrugged it off, Rosie was being very loud, running in and out of the bushes, sniffing everything in site,
"Good thing your not a hunting dog!", he told her, "you'd be crap really wouldn't you!", Rosie just ignored him, continuing her hunt for whatever it was she could smell and he couldn't.
They reached the half way mark, a long, metal blue gate, which he knew from expierence would swing open hard when he unlatched it, easy enough to open and close, but there was a much easier way. He stepped into the over grown brambles and found the old stye, climbing over in one big step, he turned back to see Rosie squeeze her body under the gate, then bound past him, heading for the second gate, located by snow farm, at the end of the lane, before the valley.