The sun descends behind a swirl of cumulus clouds. Mosquitoes make their way towards me. Their evening nibble. Mud droplets bounce off my shoes. Onto my bare calves.

I am irritated.

The dogs bark. A staccato. Then an almighty din. I speak to them. Softly. I slow down, nudging them towards the pavement.

He zips past. Between me and the dogs. A frenzy of bells and barking. I look up. Startled. Furious.

He rides on. Turns. About twelve. Fear writ large on his face. “I’m sorry! I’m really scared of dogs!”

I smile. What’s some mud on my calves?