‘Return to the Forest’ – Forest Friday

The Forest

Or ‘Pigs and Stars’, No Animals in the Slightest Danger and JR Honour Easily Satisfied…

And so it is that at the end of the year our thoughts turn to winter camping and we head to the Forest of Dean in search of peaceful woodland walking and anniversary celebrations.

Lashing rain first thing has changed to bright blue skies as we leave but Millie who has to be extracted from under the duvet displays no enthusiasm at all – but then again we are pretty convinced that all she actually wants to do is to hibernate until Spring.

We park in the shelter of the hedge, behind us the grass has been grubbed up by boar. A stiff breeze is blowing and it is decidedly cool but it is a beautiful day.

The sun streams in and with the heat from the Remoska it is warm in the van. We lie in a pool of contentment listening to the crows and watching the clouds scud by.

I tell Millie that tonight we will go out and look for ‘pigs and stars’. She looks at me out of the corner of her eyes and if she could roll them, she would…

The sun is already low in the sky when we finally get going. Almost immediately we meet the warden who was so taken with Millie last time. The two of them greet each other like long lost sisters.

Apparently the boar are around and destroying the fences. We walk through the leafless forest towards the Wye. The wind has dropped and the treetops are still. Millie leaps up a bank after a couple of squirrels who are chasing each other around a tree trunk. She looks over her shoulder, sees how far away we are and then hurtles back towards us, all thought of furry creatures forgotten. We return along a wide uphill path that snakes through black trunks backlit by the setting sun. Clouds build up and we hear owls.

Four deer leap across the path behind us, fleeting shadows in the failing light. Millie takes off in hot pursuit but within seconds gives up and comes trotting back, honour apparently satisfied. As darkness arrives it begins to rain and we are glad to get back. Millie dives under the duvet all thoughts of ‘pigs and stars’ forgotten.

Later we pop the roof and see a dark sky bright with stars while Millie snores on.

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