The End of the Line

mickthechippy

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The Red van swung left, off at the roundabout at the edge of the conurbation

slipping the shift into 5th, the pilot eased in the seat, lighter flickered and the half tab of the roll up that lay on his bottom lip glowed deep red, the scarlet of fire glowing in the pale light of the morn

the yellow globe was rising now, light spread before the traveller, weakening the halogen beams that illuminated thier coming

slower roads now, ancient roads, roads that had seen Caesar and his troops advancing towards the warbands of the Celtic Kings, where Hengist and Horsa had trod, leading the tribes that came after them, giving this Island its Name

The thrum of the diesel engine hieghtened as it echoed off the magnificent bridge the road swung under, the latest page in the history of this land at the edge of the sea, mighty trains thundered over this, trains that rode iron tracks under the sea,

Seas that had been the walls of the people since times before times, breached by technology rather than war,

engine dipped lower as the wheel was swung to the right, toward the edge of the escarpment, the long line of low chalk hills that cut toward the east, ceasing only at the shore

wending its way down the lane went Wolfsburgs finest, the first hamlet drew near, the church, the pub, the war memorial grouped round the village green, the few houses slipped by and the hedgerows returned, the lonely village hall sat resplendant in its magnolia colouring next the pitch that saw modern tribal games, then this too was consigned to the rear view mirror

yawning, the passenger rose from his slumber, the faint breeze through the pilots open window exciting his nostrils as he sniffed the air

"Nearly there mush," nothing else was needed, up and feet on the dash, the tounge dropped out, Hanging, as the bright sparkling eyes of the black terrier met his mates, "Nearly"

high yellow brick pillars either side of the road, dirty stained brick, allaying to thier age and use, an industrial Argonath sat either side of the highway

left turn, swinging the wheels the tyres clawed concrete, huge long deep slabs and rose to the summit of the slope, rolling off the top and into a clearing, crunching to a halt in the open space, silence came with a mere flick of a wrist,

you could see the small dog shivering, that peculiar rolling shiver that started at the head and leaves at the root of the short stubby tail

"malright then" the question was replied by a snort and a get down, "Angon him!" to no avail, dog and feet fight tio find the best spaces for alightement and the doors swung open, out, out it shot, fleeing the confines, back to its natural habitat

Pilots doing the doing, haversack, long lead, water, smokes, bum paper ( local legal requirement for all those tasked with adventuring with a dog)

security taken care off and where was him, daft question, replying to every other pup that had left a message, damn near empty afore the start,

Glance up the track saw the gate and beyond, a dead straight track, built up above the next to ground, a causeway near on, leading into the distance, an empty distance, no-one in view, the straight tree lined corridor promised isolation, far from the madding crowd, east to west it ran flanked by native trees, oaks, beech, wild cherry, ash, hazel, a mighty plethora of trunks either side, unleafing thier promise of cool shade from the summer sun to come, at the base the occasional flash of golden colour flickered into view, the paler carpet of primrose and the white and gold of the taller daffadowndillies

hes under and through the kissing gate now, on his way, nose down and shortstepping, the pilots eyes feast on the signage, everything from warning of trespass off the track from the army to the national signs of a named byeway, adopted now it is, though this was never a byeway when this was formed

built by men of iron, a parculiar breed they were, itinerant, travelling the country like pikeys of old, shovel and barrow in hand, The navigators

For this mighty road was an iron road, laid far before the modern hi speed link to the south, built by hand, far fewer were the machines in those days, the pair were on a railway,

South eastern Railways folly it could be said, built back in the 1880's to rival the other local rail company, the SECR line that proved far more popular for the journey to englands gateway

following the black spot of fur that was now rapidly receding from sight, the gate was flip and flapped and the boots crunched on hard packed cinder, tramping on a bit to catch up, no lingering at the start, things were new, things were to be investigated, important things,

wasnt long though, the lure of sniffs and off road excursions halted the westward path of the pup, pilot breathed easier now, passing he murmers, "Mere" and the short snout lifts, checks and returns to the grass and scrub, in and out, using paths under the low spreading branches, he follows,

half mile in and the cobnut trees are passed, later on these would be worth a good old halt, a search for those green shelled nuts that taste so nice burst from the soft husks before they brown and harden, those that you can find though, that are missed by the others who covet them also, for many show the marks of the sharp toothed tree rats and mices who breakfast on them too

on further, time for a calling, hes lagging now, loitering with intent you could say, "Mon then" pilot tramps , measured steps, first point of call is but half mile onwards,

the parting of three ways, a junction, left, right or centre, each has merit,

to the left an arable field, to the right rough cow pasture, army land, training area, or forward, heading along the hardened way

stopped now, at a puddle he is, licking, drinking, "Oi", takes no notice, "Oi",head up and looking, "Mon" the command is accompanied by a wave of the arm for although he is a good un for hard of hearing when it suits it, he is a bit deaf these days, but he knows, knows far more than he lets on he knows, but he knows

halting now, we are here, off over the pile of road shavings the army works gang keeps here, hes looking for another of the young rabbit that a decade ago breathed its last breath in between his teeth, young dog then he was, quick and alert, still thinks theres another kill there he does, if it was there once, who says there aint another

leaning on the field gate, the hand swings toward the bag, tin out, fag rolled and ignited, farmers field this, mainly hay, though corn or wheat some years, off to the front are wild woods, past the fence of the field, hard work to travel through if your not on a path, part of the shooters ground, for deep in them lie brood pens for the young pheasant that live such short lives, signed keep out in places,

turning, his eyes flick upwards, there beyond where the small black dog resplendant on top of his mound is sniffing the breeze, eyes closed nose held high, is an open gateway, barred only by the leg breaking cattle grid that lies between the weathered posts, training area is the large sign, Keep out,

turning further, the trackway continues its path westward,
 
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Dave Spence

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Absolutely superb young Michael, I love your writing style, keep em coming mate(y)(y)(y)
 

mickthechippy

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will carry on with the tale later when the beer and blow kick in

watch this space
 

mickthechippy

space cadet
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11,076
The Warmth of the now risen sun gently brushed over the cheek of the pilot and he extinguished the tab end of the roll up on the top bar on the gate

"wonder how many times Ive done that" He thought

for this was a favoured stroll, one taken many times by by him and his companion, more miles of this ground had passed under the feet of this pair than probably any other, though, the trundle over the scrubland, beaches and shoreline at the warren would run it close

it was the sun that made forced the direction they took, to the field it would be,

setting up onto the stile, the leg is swung over, shout towards the mounds, reveals the small black dog,

dropping down, it wanders its way over, Pilot lifts the handle and the portcullis arrangement rises to allow the ingress of the beast,

clever little arrangement if truth be told, put in by council workers as they built the footpath a few years back, no more scrabbling under or through the gate for the mutt, hes even got his own front door

to the left, theres a patch of rougher ground, the bit that was hard to plough for the farmer, while back, the said farmer took to dumping a few piles of animal bedding here, formed a use for a patch that was not much use

remembering when he first saw it, the pilot muses on his anger then, and muses more on the way its weathered in, different to the rest of the meadow, different flowers, even the grass aint the same, the shade lovers grow well there,

a rough track leads south, tractor wheel formed and kept in use by the gamey with the landrover carrying his sacks of feed and seed for the precious birds in the woods, though that way is not for us

leaves just the sun on your left cheek, thinks he, alighting down from the stile, he turns right, darky dogs already took the hint, and 30 yard further up, his hindquarters are just visible, head stuck deep into the hedgerow

smilin, pilot trudges up the long low slope, never forgets that dog, never does he does, knew just what and where his attention had been took, and as the boots arrive, his head pops out, smilin, tounge out again, back lookin, showin, see see wot I found, !

the mini tunnel formed in the rough grasses that wrapped there way up through the bush and wire fencing led into the darker recesses further back, hes doing the dancing now, the patterdale two step,

"yes mate" and the hand comes down for an earholin, "looks a goodun, brers been in and out that aday taint he"

standing, the eyes of man sweep the field, out about 5 yard from the fence its uncultivated, the public path, beyond that, this years first crop of grass is rising, somewhere thinks he, theres a bunny or two watching me back, lying there squatted tight to the earth, knowing the danger thats come upon them,

but we aint after them today, walkin on he's soon overtook, like a racehorse is he, spreading his body long heading for the top of the rise, pilot follows

the pup stops atop the crest, beyond the ground dips, further down than the walk up, the field falls to marshy ground towards the far end, clumps of that spikey sharp grass, tiny mounds built by each plant, rising higher each year until their time comes and they weather down again,

hes caught here as well, couple times in the past, must be like cochise suddely appearing over the hills as the settlers run for the cabin, exepting some of them settlers have been slower and closer bunnies than the indians prey

theres plenty of the trails showing through the hedge, always been good for rabbit hereabouts, pilots thought turn to the snares back in the shed, maybe later on and further down, on the path less travelled thought he, we will come back armed for our dinner

tramping down now, the warmth from the golden globe now high in the sky to the south was pleasant, the mild breeze had fallen away as he followed the dog down,

quartering the ground now, nose down, dashing in and out from the hedging, was a fine sight to see, old as he is, hes allus been the same, good breed, the first black dog pilot had offered a home too, spur of the moment dog, costa fortune dog, demanding dog, a good dog,

hes gone, through the far gate, into the willows beyond, pilot strolls on,

there was a choice of ways here,

through the hedgerow past the fence a brick arch shows amongst the trees, leading under the tall embankment, always muddy in there, the marsh doesnt quite reach but its a favoured place of the brown cows that wander the pasture on the other side of the trackway,

passing on, the pilot reaches the gate, proudly emblazoned with the arrow showing the permitted path, flipping through, the tramping runs to another five yards before the sound of the brook reaches the ears, past the turn in the path and the plank bridge comes into view,

stopping point two, swinging his legs over the side he sits and looks down, bright and clear, running quite fast, the stones on the bottom are scanned for life, always take a peek, though nothings ever seen, nary a fish ever, though you would swear that you would or should see at least a bullhead

the rustle to his side denotes the return of his companion as the pup jumps down and takes a drinkin

its a nice as pie here, sun on your face, the sound of water, the tree tops whispering, worth a five minutes rest
 
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