Most days George The Dog allows me to accompany him on his walk.
George takes me to a forest near where he lives. It's nice and shady and there's all manner of trees to sniff and vegetation to explore.
Occasionally George will meet up with another dog. This gives him something else to sniff too, if you get my drift. On such occasions it seems he is in Heaven.
He puts up with me ambling along behind most days but take a left turn at the end of one particular trail rather than a right turn and the mood of the forest visit changes.
A left turn means one thing – we're going to the swimming hole.
George the placid, relaxed, pooch suddenly becomes a maniac. An avalanche of excited furry, fluffy legs and ears threatening to sweep you up as it thunders past you on the way to the water.
The other day it happened again. Left, turn, avalanche of dog, swimming hole etc. Except this time we were joined in our daily stroll by 8-month old Baby Poppy in her pushchair and 2-year old Chevy, Poppy's dog.
Yours truly had copped babysitting duties for an hour and rather than sit at home on the play mat trying to get the wee cherub to say 'Grandad' I opted for a stroll in the forest.
I figured if nothing else it would kill two birds with one stone – rock her to sleep and give the dogs a walk.
It started off okay. Though getting organised with everything I'd need felt like I was preparing for an assault on Everest. Baby's bottle? Check. Nappies? Check. Crampons and ice axe? Check.
Anyway. Very soon our little wagon train of well organised and provisioned adventurers is strolling through the forest in the dappled sunlight and, as mentioned, eventually finds its way to the swimming hole.
This time I've got two dogs, one an experienced maniac and the other an exuberant trainee, going absolutely bananas around me as I stand on the water's edge with Poppy in the pushchair.
Most times when I'm with George I will chuck the odd pine cone in for him to fetch. Unfortunately, this time my mind was more on the baby and I completely forgot to pick some up on the way. Nor could I now leave the wee cherub and go looking either.
The dogs just sat there eagerly awaiting a pine cone throw, quivering with excitement.
I was on the verge of leaving the swimming hole – with two disappointed dogs – when an angel of, shall we say, later years appeared.
We got talking. It seems she is in her 80s. Walks the forest regularly. And, importantly for me, would be happy to grab a few cones and throw them in for the dogs. So she did. Sort of.
The first throw barely made it to the water. I should have realised there and then throwing was not her strong point.
The second pine cone reached the water, but so far to the right of where she was aiming the dogs went splashing off in the other direction and then stood there knee deep in one of those confused "what just happened" moments.
Unperturbed, our angel had one more go. She wound up and gave it huge heave.
And it hit me on the head.
Now I don't profess to know anything about the laws of physics and trajectory and all that. But I'd say from where she was to hit me on the scone would have to go down as something of a miracle.
In fact, if some kid had got it on his phone camera I'd be going viral right now – although in today's Covid climate perhaps that's not something you want to shout about from the rooftops.
But I digress.
So, I've now got two, wet and muddy (and presumably peeved) dogs, a crying baby who has just heard her grandad utter a profanity rather than "Ouch!" and a cut on my solar panel that I can feel is starting to ooze a bit of claret.
Naturally the angel felt terrible but I assured her all was well and not to worry about it as we took our leave and hurried back to the car.
On the way we encountered more people and dogs, the former expressing increasing concern as to my wellbeing (what must I have looked like?) and the latter peeing in excitement over the noses of my two scruffs as they did their checking sniffs.
Eventually I got the whole, sorry caravan back to the car and loaded up. I could feel the blood coming from my cut still. Not heavy you understand but enough to stain my hand as I checked up top.
Finally, all were loaded and I slumped into the driver's seat and checked my look in the rear vision mirror.
No wonder I'd gotten some strange looks. A trail of blood ran down my forehead to the end of my nose and it was still coming.
Somehow I'd lost my handkerchief in the kerfuffle and the only thing I could think of to help was one of the wet wipes we keep in the pocket behind the driver's seat.
And that's when it happened.
As I twisted and reached round to get the packet, a dog's tongue, last seen as part of a face buried in the rear end of another canine and being peed on minutes earlier, came out of nowhere and licked the blood off my nose.