Hen shutting in time. Gird the loins, wellie-boot up, grab the torch.
What's the light up there in the field? Perhaps it's the lad from next door with his dad and his torch. Nope. It's Pete and Abby (who?), lost on their circular walk from a - b.
By the light of our combined torches we find where we are on their map. Lost. That's where - 'cept I'm not. I know exactly where I am.
We discuss the options of where they want to be - most of which would be better in the clear light of day. They don't want to go by the lanes (no way!) so I point them in the direction of the gaps in hedges and the half hidden signs and wish them well as they stumble off into the darkness.
We say our goodnights- and exchange our names. Pete adds that it's great to walk like this. The night is cool and clean and quiet. Indeed it is.
I plod back to the hen pens in the field to drop the pop'oles on birds which acknowledge my passing visit with some sotto voce hen-talk. In a sort of mini experimental tribute to my just-met walking friends I switch off the torch and, giving my eyes a moment or two to adjust to the darkness, make my way tentatively back to the house through the garden.
The night is soft indeed, with not a sough of wind. Gentle, gentle. Over by the church across the field, from the hidden slopes of Trelystan Dingle I hear the muted yelp of a fox. Behind me in the dark conifers of Badnage Wood is the whispery whoot of a tawny owl. Oh, this is pretty good; the cries of the night; the scent of the garden, green, earth and sweet peas.
I know why you walk by night Pete and Abby. You have each other and the wonderfulness of the great Out There. Hope you got home safely.