sticks, tips and tiffs



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On Sunday and Monday I pick up sticks. Ten large dustbin bags of them. They range in size from the ones which can get stuck across the roof of Hairy One’s mouth and the ones which, if she swings them vigorously, could fell six adults. Moreover, on Monday and Tuesday I arise early and am at the Lifford Lane tip by 8.45 a.m. Do I hear applause?

Isis is unconcerned. There are plenty more shrubs left in the garden so she can make her own sticks. Sigh.

I’d forgotten how cheerful people are when they’re disposing of carfuls of unwanted stuff. They stand aside saying, “After you.”  Since we’re British, this is preceded by, “Sorry,” of course. All have their ‘out for a Christmas morning walk’ grins.

My grin mostly arises from huge relief that I have made it to the tip without anything large, eight-legged and hairy emerging from one of the bags. I’ve had to keep reminding  myself that it’s not sensible to drive with my eyes closed however tempting. All I come across, thankfully, is a poor snail on the back seat. I drive him/her home and repatriate him/her onto a neighbour’s garden before taking Isis out.

Unfortunately, in Kings Heath Park Hairy One finds some anonymous food item under a log. I can’t see what it is but she is gobbling it and going back for more. No-one else is around so I have no option but to drag her away from her find.

Needless to say, she is furious. She spins round crazily, snarling and snapping at her tail. Once aroused by my unreasonable behaviour, she remains irritable.

Back in her garden she sets about replenishing her stick supply. She begins by tearing off yet another five foot branch from the buddleia before stripping off the flower sprays and shredding them. What a philistine. The bees and hover-flies were enjoying themselves. Since there’s such a shortage of bees, I only hope that she’s not swallowed any.

Tuesday evening and Isis is still disgruntled. She doesn’t want anything to do with me. Lately, in the evening, she has been coming in from the garden just before nine. And, for no reason which stupid humans can fathom, she’s been coming upstairs at around 2.30 in the morning.

But tonight she doesn’t come in. I keep checking on her through the window and realise that she’s lying down with the ball end of her ball on a rope in her mouth. She’s not done this before. Each time I check, she’s moved to a different spot but she’s taken the toy with her – unheard of – and she’s still mouthing the ball.

At 11.30 I put her on the lead and bring her in. She growls, darts at her tail and sniffs for the ball. I hastily give it to her. Normally I’d be delighted that she was taking an interest in a dog toy but it’s out of character and in the context of her irritability, a little worrying. I negotiate the back door with care and give her her Dentistix.

We both retire.

She does not join me upstairs. Nor does she appear in the morning but lies on the mat in the hall snoozing.

Perhaps I am being over sensitive, but isn’t this taking revenge a bit far?


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

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2 Responses to sticks, tips and tiffs

  1. AmberL says:

    Yikes – sounds like the treatment I get after leaving mine at the kennel for a bit. Seriously, though, mine usually don’t hold a grudge for very long 🙂


    • Yes, dogs do give in quite quickly, don’t they? I recall a dear little cat we had called Mini. When we left her in the cattery she refused to get out of her carrier except to use her tray so they had to lift the carrier into the sleeping area at night and back into the run each morning.
      When she returned home she used to sit on the back of the settee with her back to us for about three weeks before she condescended to speak to us!


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