Part 3: The happiness of dogs far outweighs the poop.
The dogs are ready to go before she slides back the bolt.
‘Stay…’ She checks her pockets for the roll of poo bags. ‘It’s not the best part of the walk,’ she confides, ‘but: necessary. Heel!’
They surge out like one many-legged animal, some kind of dog-centipede, jostling behind her, till they reach the field and she lets them roam. She loves the way they plunge nose to grass, as though the field is brand new to them.
The dog pen re-secured, Claire fetches the hand trowel, a trug for collecting weeds and a straw hat to shade her eyes. The earth is soft to touch, lightly damp, warm, aerated. Sometimes a welcome shelter of cloud drifts between her and the sun. She watches the cloud shadow cross the yard, wonders where it will go from here. The trug is filled and lugged to the compost box, once, twice, many times; she sets herself a rhythm of work; loses herself in it until her stomach tells her it might be an apt time for ingesting lunch.