I'd done two circuits of Calverley Woods, tripping over every other root and getting smacked in the face by every other low-hanging branch, emerging into the bright sunlight looking like a beetroot jelly, gasping for air and coughing up half-digested insects. Noel, on the other hand, had hardly broken into a sweat.
The busy main road was quite a contrast, the noisy traffic thundering past, rattling the gravestones at St Wilfrid's Church, along with their occupants. You always take your life into your hands when you try cross, so the forlorn little sausage dog that wandered out of the vicarage driveway towards the road, looked as if he was heading to book his place in the pet section of the cemetery.
Emboldened by endorphins, I stepped into the road, waving my Apperley Bridge Canter-branded drinks bottle at the surprised motorists, mouthing 'Stop!'. They looked shocked, they'd never seen a gesticulating beetroot before.The cars swerved and cursed, the poor dog yelped and ran, only to be scooped into the arms of White Van Man.
Mr WV Man had seen the spectacle, managed to contol his laughter, pulled up and saved the dog. He comforted the poor creature and called the number on his tag. There was no reply, but he offered to take him home and look after him until he could be claimed. He didn't even get speed off and drive up the bumper of the nearest car while texting with one hand and and making a call on his other mobile with the other.
Mr WV Man, I salute you. Noel salutes you. The dog salutes you.