Walking the Dog – Pat Wilson

Walking the Dog.
(c) Pat wilson

“Will you two stop fighting”, Mum shouted over the melee on the rear seat of her estate car.
“But why do we have to come for a walk?” asked 5-year-old Harry.
“You both know that when we persuaded Daddy to let us have a dog the condition was that you both helped look after her and Sally needs daily exercise” (just like the two of you Mum thought).
“But Mum, its so cold, its, its so empty” replied 7-year-old Melanie.
“Just wait” Mum said with a smile as she parked the car and let a very excited, 18-month old, black Labrador out of the boot.
“Keep a watch on Sally kids” Mum advised, “There are lots of rabbits around here”.
“What is this place?” inquired Melanie as they passed two gigantic arches.
“Hundreds of years ago this whole area was a Smelting Mill” Mum explained. Suddenly a rabbit shot passed. Sally took off after the speeding rabbit; Harry and Melanie sprinted after Sally.
Suddenly there was a loud shout from Melanie, “WOW, I’ve found treasure”.
Mum smiled knowingly, she found her children on their hands and knees at a rabbit warren collecting glittering mineral crystals. Mum explained how the fluorspar, their ‘sparkling treasure’, came to be carried from the lead mines to the old smelting mill site, fell on the ground, became buried then hundreds of years later dug back to the surface by the rabbits.
“Tomorrow” Mum said, “we will go and meet a very special lady at Blanchland who makes Spar Boxes just like the lead ore miners used to do in their space time.
Some 50 minutes later Mum called “It’s time to go home kids”.
“Oh Mum you always make us leave when we’re enjoying ourselves”.
Mum just smiled and whistled for Sally to follow her.

A children’s story of 300 words by Pat Wilson.

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467