I get up with the larks - usually around 5.15am, depending on how hungry senior cat Sparky is. She has developed a method of loudly picking at the kitchen/hallway door and once started, she doesn't stop until someone gets up to see to her.
I am the weakest link.
Just as well I am also a morning person and have always preferred early mornings to late nights.
Naturally, Toby and Millie then decide that if I am up and about then I can take care of them, too. So I feed the cats, let Toby out to stretch his legs and puss-cat Millie usually goes with him. She doesn't actually go anywhere, just sits on the back doorstep, waiting for him to come in again. Then they both demolish their breakfasts, while I empty the dishwasher and boil the kettle to make a very strong coffee.
I check emails, read newspapers online, flick through a few blogs and then get ready to face the day.
If the schools are on holiday then I am free to go out whenever I like with Toby. On school days I have to cook breakfast for two of my grandchildren and keep an eye on them until the school buses come along.
Toby and the girls take the opportunity to take another nap, worn out after their early start, no doubt.
Once I am free to roam the fields I head off to wherever my feet lead me.
Sometimes the wild wood calls to me, other days I may go along by the beautiful watermill, then out along the bridle path, or through the fields to the lovely old dovecote or, perhaps, take a quick walk round the church on the hill.
I enjoy all of those walks and many others, too. Me and the dog. He is very good company, he doesn't expect any conversation but we do exchange many glances!
Often I don't meet another soul, occasionally I see a friend, or someone I know and I will stop for a quick chat. I enjoy the chats but I am more than happy to walk by myself and enjoy the peace and freedom.
An hour later, refreshed and reinvigorated we return home. I kick off my muddy boots, then set to work getting the mud and water off Toby. His reward is a couple of dog biscuits and as I give them to him I often wonder whether it is the walks, or the biscuits which he enjoys more.
My reward is a cup of tea and a bowl of porridge, housework awaits.