We set out along the beach towards the cliffs at the far end, he running ahead as usual, and I keeping an eye out for anyone we knew as my feet slipped back in the deep, soft sand.
The sun was beginning to get some heat and it was still only 6.30am when we reached the 'secret' path up to the cliff path. He looked back at me for the all clear and then climbed up the rocks and disappeared into the undergrowth before re-emerging on the path above me. I called for him to wait, and he did so patiently, but with that look on his face that said "come on, hurry up!"
The path led away in front of us and was certainly dryer than the last time we'd been on it. No soft squelch this time, just the faint sound that shoes make on hard dried earth with a little spring in it. All around me the butterflies flew and the sheep in the field to my left looked up before returning to their morning feast of grass. Rising now, I knew that we'd soon be descending again soon and our destination, his favourite beach, would be in our sights.
He hit the sand running and immediately started for the far end of the beach where he could tread carefully across the seaweed covered rocks before launching himself into the water to swim back towards me. He did this every time he came here. In fact I think he learned to swim properly here. On that occasion we'd suddenly realised he wasn't with us, but the panic subsided as we found him swimming lengths of the beach on his own. The sun was shining on that day as well.
They'd be getting breakfast ready at home right about now, but for Troy and I this was all the sustenance we needed.
My incredibly talented partner has written a children's book - The Adventures of Troy the Spotty Rescue Dog - it is available now on Amazon and in all good book shops
I quietly undid the straps around each canoe before sliding them gently off the back of the trailer and onto my shoulders, the canoes perched atop my head like some ridiculous hat. With each one placed half on and half off of the water I contemplated the upcoming trip.
It was starting to brighten over the Petersham Hotel and the last bout of thunder had been approximately 15 minutes earlier, 'that's OK, another 25 minutes before the group were due to arrive' I thought, 'definitely good with the 30:30 rule'. For those who don't know, the 30:30 rule states that we go back on the water once the lighting is 30 seconds away and we've waited a further 30 minutes.
The next job was going to be paddles and PFD's and then I got the call.... "we're going to have to cancel due to the rain." I quietly flipped the canoes up and over and then walked my hands towards the centre along the gunwales so that I could lower the yoke onto my shoulders before turning and sliding the canoes back on to the trailer. All but one... I was not about to let the opportunity to paddle go by.