Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday September 18th 2016
Well, in the last post I wrote about Isis wanting to stay within and explore a small area of Highbury Park, and how this made perfect sense for her. Today I have cause to be grateful for my sake too.
Ji., Isis and I arrive at Highbury. Out of the car pops Ji., looking forward to his walk. Out pops Isis, desperate, as usual, for hers and sniffing the delicious park smells drifting along from the entrance.
I swing the driver’s door behind me. CLONK. It bounces back. After a few more tries, inspecting the lock mechanism and comparing its position with the front passenger door lock, I resign myself to the unwelcome fact that the car is not drivable. I ring a breakdown number and grind my teeth while the recorded voice, for the next five minutes or so, thanks me for holding. “I’ve got no b. choice”, I mutter irritably. Eventually, I am put through to an operator who queries whether the non-functioning door lock constitutes a mechanical fault. I grit my teeth as I point out that it is the mechanism of the lock which has failed, adding that it’s not terribly practical to drive a car with the door open.
At this point Isis, who, understandably, refuses point blank to get back into the car before she’s had her walk, heaves at the lead and scrabbles to reach the park before flying into a frustrated rage and grabbing her tail. “GRR-RRR”, she shouts loudly as I try to carry on a sensible conversation with the guy on the phone.
Much to my annoyance, I am put on hold while he checks what constitutes a mechanical fault.
At this point, predictably, the mobile goes dead. We have lost the connection with the breakdown centre.
Sigh. How very unfunny it all is.
I dial again and have to listen again to several minutes of meaningless recorded apologies and expressions of sincere regrets for the wait. For the sake of decency, my responses are not recorded here. To add insult to injury, the accompanying music is particularly naff.
Eventually I get through again. A different operator. Thankfully, he doesn’t query whether a deceased door lock is a mechanical failure. Instead, he informs me that I am not registered with the agency. I’m not. I replaced a dead phone recently and evidently transferred an out of date number. The operator kindly puts me through to the correct agency, which, fortunately, answers immediately.
By this time Isis is beside herself. Imagine being a dog and standing still (sort of) for half an hour on the pavement outside the park while other dogs are trotting past to enjoy themselves. Not amusing. Not likely to induce canine co-operation. She paces and pants and bucks and huffs.
The operator asks many detailed questions, including the precise size of Isis, who may, along with Ji. and I, need to avail herself of the recovery service. I am anxious that I will be cut off again before the operator has my location. I develop a nervous twitch.
Eventually, the inquisition comes to an end. Then I am told that, according to their records, my breakdown policy has not been renewed so I’m not covered anyway. I can’t believe it. After my assurances that I will definitely pay for the roadside assistance if it transpires that the policy has, indeed, lapsed, a breakdown vehicle is sent out. It can be expected to arrive in an hour.
Which brings me full circle to my opening remarks about Isis being happy with narrow horizons.
Ji. offers to stay in the car and wait for assistance to arrive while I take Isis just inside the park entrance to play. When the man arrives, Ji. will call me.
Isis plays happily for forty minutes in the shrubbery close to the entrance. What an obliging little animal.
When breakdown man arrives, he attempts in vain to reactivate the lock before declaring that the car door has no intention of closing within the foreseeable future. The lock will have to be replaced.
He fixes the door in the shut position by securing cable ties around the door pillar.
As he reaches into the car, Hairy One begins one of her smell confirming twirls.
Then, “Gr-rr-rr-rrrrr” she declares menacingly.”Gr-rr-rr-rrrrr- RRRR- Ra!
Deciding that the breakdown man will be able to operate more efficiently if he retains both of his hands, I hold her anchoring strap very firmly, telling her that the nice man is here to help.
She doesn’t believe me and remains on red alert until he moves well away from the car.
What a day.
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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk