ups and downs



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!


Sunday October 25th 2015


Hannah F. has asked owners to submit ‘before and after’ photos of their rescued dogs for consideration for inclusion in a Dogwatch West Midlands calendar.

We have lots of photographs but Hannah wants a camera-facing one without a busy background.

Sounds easy.

Not so.

It’s Thursday. Since the garden is cluttered with muddy toys and desiccated twigs, I decide to use Kings Heath Park.

Bev offers to help. But wherever we move, the gang follows us: an extra muzzle suddenly pops into the view finder; an anonymous tail wags onto the screen; as the shutter triumphantly clicks, Isis flicks her head away; then someone trips over her long lead.

But I keep clicking while Bev., patiently holding onto Hairy One’s lead,  offers helpful suggestions.

Eventually, we prevail. But poor Isis is not a happy podengo (mix).




Help me, Conchobhar. I don't like it.

Help me, Conchobhar. I don’t like it.




It’s Thursday morning and just after breakfast. Very good. She yaps soon after she first assaults her breakfast, so I expect a second outburst. But no, only one food withdrawal is necessary. As soon as she’s finished eating, I shove her little treat bowl under her nose,  pre-empting spins and yaps. She is rewarded with one of her favourite treats.

It becomes clear that she is still annoyed with me for pursuing her so relentlessly with the camera. As soon after I let her out into the garden, she tears up a huge root from the  blackcurrant bush, then jams a very large stick across the roof of her mouth and between two of her front teeth.

The preparation for her evening nosh does not begin auspiciously. Clearly, she’s becoming bored with good table manners. Or she thinks I’ve forgotten that she’s supposed to stand quietly while her food is prepared. As she waits, she jumps up and down on the spot, emitting little woofs. She follows this up with a noisy spin. We’re not having that.  I abandon the preparation and sit down in the back room for a count of 100. She rapidly subsides and we continue. Good. Only one food withdrawal.

Again I pre-empt a postprandial spin by shoving her treat bowl under her nose. She empties the little bowl then, as I replace her water in the stand, she utters a brief yap and leaps up the wall – just for the hell of it, I assume – smacking me over the left eyebrow with her concrete muzzle.

It hurts like hell but she didn’t intend to attack me so I refrain from yelling. When the throbbing has subsided a little, I tell her it was a very silly thing to do and, because of the yap, she will not be rewarded with a special treat.

My left eyebrow is crooked now and has a large blue lump over it. I look permanently surprised. Par for the course with Isis around.

On Friday both meals pass reasonably quietly. One yap and one food withdrawal each.   Again I shove the treat dish under her nose so she hasn’t time to yap and spin as soon as she finishes eating. After a minute or two a tasty reward.

On Saturday this pattern is repeated. I am a little concerned that she’ll get into the habit of one yap per meal followed by food being removed followed by a minute of hell raising. But I think it’s wise to follow the same routine for a week or so and see what happens.  Mealtimes are already much more peaceful.

Saturday night. We retire. Sadly, it’s time to retreat from British Summertime by turning the clocks back an hour. Understandably, I am quite morose at the thought of daylight fading an hour earlier. But for some reason Isis is grumpy too.

Grrrr. Nyapp! Grrrr. Nyapp! Grrrr. Nyapp!

Oh, for goodness sake.

After a restless couple of hours she gets up and stands on the landing. She wants to go out. Sigh.

It’s a chilly but fruitful trip. I return to bed. Isis remains downstairs. Not a sound. Relief. I doze off and after an hour or so she joins me.

We sleep peacefully until a voice on the radio informs me that it’s seven o’clock. No it’s not, twithead. It’s nine. Then the same voice insists it’s eight. I check clocks and watches. It’s ten. No it’s not. I’ve turned them all an hour forward instead of an hour back. So it’s two hours earlier than I thought. That’s good. We snooze on.

Most people appear to hate the putting back of the clocks. It’s bad enough to watch the days becoming shorter naturally at this time of year without intervening to shut down the light at four o’clock in the afternoon. When the subject is raised the government usually cites the Scottish farmers having to begin work in the dark as a reason for our annual return to Greenwich Meantime. Well, if Scotland eventually becomes independent, at least we could leave the time alone. Maybe. It’ll not begin to get lighter again in the evenings until after December 21st, the shortest day, then only by a minute or two a day. Until then we hibernate if we can. Sigh.

Isis and I will have fun struggling with the lights/dark question. Artificial light still irritates her greatly. While living in the dark from four in the afternoon doesn’t fill me with irrepressible glee.

Perhaps we’ll try the Doggles again. Or inhabit separate rooms.


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 ups and downs

  1. Amber L says:

    The majority here in the states agree with you – no one I know likes the time change. We have another week here before it does, though. I’m sooooo much less productive around the house, and less social, over the winter; I come home, it gets dark within a 1/2 hour or so, and I don’t do much of anything until bedtime… I like that photo of Isis!


    • How ignorant I am: I didn’t know that you had a time change too. I am relieved to learn that you are a winter sluggard too. It just feels like lost time, doesn’t it?
      I like her expression on this photo. Utter fed-up-ness.


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