This is not the first time I've written about walking the dog. Not my dog, you understand: "the dog" is usually one of two possible dogs I take for a walk when their owners can't. I'm a cat person myself, and don't relish the thought of owning a dog of my own although, if I'm honest, I've got quite friendly with the two dogs in question.
I may not be one hundred percent sold on dogs but I do enjoy the walking: especially when it involves -as it does at the moment- moonlit walks across fields on windless nights. For some reason, the light and the stillness imbue the landscape with a magical quality that I sometimes experience when I look at a room reflected in a mirror. (It's the only way I can describe it and I suspect that mine is a common experience). The outdoors feels as comfortable as my living room and the sky infinitely more interesting than the TV. I want to stay out all night (although I never get round to it and usually have a good reason to need a good night's sleep) and I begin to fantasize about cloaks and wonder why they ever went out of fashion. A good heavy cloak with a hood would be almost as good as a tent, with none of the drag of getting out the poles and pitching the latter. You'd just pull the cloak round you and pull up the hood. The train of thought is always the same. I'm sure you could design a cloak full of all mod cons: well, spacious interior pockets and a light, at least. OK, so a bathroom would be a bit much but who needs a bathroom when they're making themselves comfortable in a field? I'm always reminded of an exhibition we visited a while ago about the work of the ARCHIGRAM group of architects: as they put it, "the solution to an architectural problem is not necessarily a building". People wear space-suits in space, so why not "earth-suits" on earth, suits which would do away with the need to live in houses? No mortgage, no clutter, no housework. No big rooms to heat, so it'd probably be pretty green too. Why on earth hasn't the idea caught on?