We kept going down the lane and over the bridge....
...and who should we meet but Kevin Anyway the pony!
I hope Kevin is okay; she (yes, she's a she) is a bit grubby and isn't well groomed. Apart from that she seems in good health, but I think I'll consult with my horsey sister who knows about these things - I'm probably being paranoid, not being an expert on equine matters. And Kevin Anyway's friend Amigo (who wears his name on his jacket, as you can see) seems equally sprightly.
We were petting their lovely velvety noses when a car came along and pulled up next to us. An older lady was at the wheel, with a large black lab in the back seat.
"Aren't they lovely ponies?" she said, and we agreed, because they are. She said she sometimes gave them a sweet, and asked us if we wanted to give one an organic jellybaby as she had one left in a packet. Which we did. So I fed Kevin Anyway a jellybaby, and she woffled at my fingers and snuffled up the jellybaby. And the kindly old lady drove off with a cheerful wave. I hope jellybabies aren't too bad for ponies - it didn't seem to do her any harm...
So off we went up the lane, and a few minutes later we heard a snaggly bark and these two very bold little dogs came trumpeting towards us:
(it was actually still quite bright, but not bright enough for photography, apparently.)
These dogs were hilarious. They were both very friendly, but every time the little black bulldog-cross danced around us asking to be petted, the white terrier would bark and bite at him, obviously jealous. We played with them for a bit, and continued up the lane. But they followed us and danced about us. And then a larger dog, a black and white female sheepdog, appeared on the horizon, and our small canine chums ran up to her. She was friendly too, but the white dog obviously recognised that she was his superior, so he didn't mind us petting her. And off we went, now with three canine companions.
Now, three new animal chums should be enough for one journey. But when we turned the corner of the lane we heard more barking. And soon our entourage increased by a large black labrador. This was getting ridiculous.
And would get more ridiculous a few minutes later, when a tiny Yorkshire terrier appeared, seemingly out of thin air, and joined the throng. At this stage it was getting dark, so we turned around and headed back for home, our canine guard parading behind us. Luckily (or rather, sadly, because they were pretty entertaining) they all left us as we passed their homes, all except the elderly sheepdog. And then, as we were nearing Kevin Anyway's field, a huge fox burst out of a hedge and ran down the road in front of us. The sheepdog ran after it half-heartedly for a couple of yards and gave up (adorable as she was, I would not want that dog guarding my sheep. If I had any). And then she apparently reached her own house, because she trotted in to the next gates, and we headed for home. The only animals we met after that were Kevin Anyway and Amigo, but frankly, that was enough.
So that was Anna and Patsington's ANIMAL ADVENTURE. Hopefully next time we'll encounter some more exotic animals than ponies, dogs and foxes, but they'll have to do us for now.