So, carrying on with my trips out with one of the ‘Cheekier’ residents (See November the 3rd. One-To-One Time) I drove him all over the Peak District and over the border into Staffordshire and Yorkshire. Because of the social distancing issues and the sad fact that my little companion has no concept of what that actually means (There was/is zero chance that he would ever wear a mask, let alone actually keep it on) I chose villages and small towns to park up in (Smaller populations) so I could help him in and out of the car and into his wheelchair. By the way, he has to be pushed around because he refuses to walk any distance (He can actually walk) and very stubbornly lays down on the floor, pavement and grass in protest, crosses his very short legs and scans the ground for items of rubbish or grass that he can play with! For this reason, I always remember to pick up a reel of strimmer wire, which he plays with after a knot has been tied in it! His eye sight isn’t great so he very comically puts the plastic wire as close to his eyeball as possible to investigate it, turning his head from side-to-side to get a 360 degree view! If it has the required knot in it, he very quietly goes about attempting to solve the riddle of the knot, which he does every single time.
Because this knotted conundrum keeps him happy and busy, I always make sure that I have several pieces of strimmer wire ready (Blue Peter style) for when he’s unknotted the one in his hand. I always know when he’s ready for the next piece of the puzzle because the solved wire either hits me on the back of the head or it flys past me and hits the windscreen whilst I’m driving! (That’s the cue that he’s bored, or/and mischievous) So I’m always ready to throw the next knotted piece over my shoulder in his direction to pacify him. However, the strimmer wire does not always do the trick. On several occasions, he has simply thrown the wire to one side, taken his shoes off and smashed them repeatedly on the passenger window before his ‘piece de resistance’, the shoe hitting me on the back of the head or hitting the windscreen with a thud! I’m used to his antics now, so I tend to allow him to get on with it. If I tell him to stop it, he merely laughs at me and continues. My riposte is usually to turn the cd or radio up and sing along with the music, which doesn’t help him but I does my mental health the world of good!! If all his attempts fail to wind me up, he stretches his little legs and kicks my left elbow (Which is quite annoying and quite dangerous when I’m trying to change gear) If I am able to do so safely, I pull-up by the side of the road, get into the back of the car and tickle him, after which he will put his arms around my neck and give me a cuddle.
On one particular occasion, when he had been on his worst behaviour, I drove to a nearby beauty spot called Holmebrook Valley Park and parked in the car park that gave us a stunning view of the countryside. I poured my little companion a cup of tea from his flask, gave it to him whilst he sat in the back with the window down, and sat on the car bonnet looking at the view to treat myself to a little bit of respite. It was whilst I was sat quietly winding down, looking out over the football fields that I witnessed something I had never seen before. At the far corner of the field I saw what looked like a man walking slowly, flanked by 2 ducks/geese, who were waddling alongside him, never straying from his side. The photographs below were the only ones I had the opportunity to take because my little companion had decided it was a good idea to launch his empty cup in the direction of a car that had foolishly parked nearby!
The man walked the full length of the field with his feathered companions and settled by the edge of the field. As he sat down, so did the geese. I have never seen this before (Have you?) Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs. As I drove away (After retrieving the flying cup and apologising to the owner of the other car) the man with the geese was walking down the hill into the distance, his little friends by his side. Luckily, my little companion was oblivious to the strange sight of ‘One man and his geese’. If he had been closer, I’m sure the geese would have flown through the air (Whether they wanted to or not)