Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday December 7th 2016
Today is the day of the power flush. This should blast all of the sludge from the central heating system. It takes about seven hours.
I am not looking forward to it. How do I keep Isis calm when someone she doesn’t know is moving about her house all day? Even three hours out walking leaves four hours to contend with her at home.
P., the specialist from British Gas, arrives just before nine and explains exactly what he will be doing and in what sequence. I explain about Hairy One’s difficulties and that I would prefer her not to eat him. She decides to illustrate the talk by leaping up and down in the bedroom while uttering yaps of protest and slinging the bedside rug around.
While P. assembles his machines and tools, I bring Isis downstairs and put her in the car. So far, so good.
Off we go to the park.
Bev. has a good idea: why don’t we meet up later in Kings Heath at the the Loco Lounge where dogs are welcome and one can while away the hours with a book, kindle or friend?
Sounds good to me. But then we realise that it would be approaching the lunch hour by the time I had finished walking Isis and the café would be full of local office workers. This would be a bit dicey with Hairy One, who is not used to going into public buildings, or even other people’s homes, come to that. We decide to keep the Loco Lounge as a contingency plan – to be used if I feel Isis is driving me loco at home, I guess.
We return from our walk to find machines burbling and gurgling. Isis is not impressed when she discovers P.’s scent not only in the hall but in the kitchen and in her room (the back room) too. We enter and I shut her in. She scrabbles around indignantly and barks. I take her breakfast in to her. She becomes hysterical when it takes her a few seconds to locate it, then falls on the food yapping and snarling, just like she did in her first year here.
I am reminded how important routines are for this little dog, and how alarming such changes must be for her when she can’t see or hear what is happening.
P. and I have a drink and a muffin, and I take to the futon with my kindle. Although Isis is restless for a while, she is persuaded to settle and she sleeps for about an hour. Then she gets down, snuffles around her food dish and barks at the door. She’s finished her water and is letting me know that I need to do something about it. Excellent.
(Since I forgot to feed her on Saturday evening, she has taken matters into her own hands, as it were, and become more assertive. The following evening, when I sat down next to her, she got up, stood in the doorway and barked very pointedly until I fed her.)
Now she is persuaded to return to her futon and resume her afternoon nap.
The radiator in our room is being de-sludged, and emits a sort of muffled purr. I become accustomed to this, and when P. calls me from the room, I assume that a sudden surge of hissing is just the radiator upping its act. As I close the door behind me, however, P. asks sharply, “What’s making that noise?”
“Oh,” I reply, picking up the tension in his voice, and reopening the door, “I thought it was the radiator.”
As we step into the room, we are met with a roaring crescendo. This is no purring radiator. Oh my god. What’s happened? At first I think it’s coming from the gas fire. Then I realise it’s the hoover. I switch it off. We both give a sigh of relief. I must have knocked the switch on as I walked past it – in the dark, of course, as Isis can’t tolerate artificial light.
P. explains that when he hears that sort of sound he immediately thinks of rushing water. Apparently, the force of a power flush on old pipework like mine can blast a pinhole tear in an under floor pipe, causing water to spray out under huge pressure. Phew!
Fortunately, unaware of the unfolding drama, Isis slumbers on.
Before three, we are on the road and off to the park again. When we return, there’s only an hour or so to go. Just as well. Isis, unnerved by a day of unpredictable smells and improvised dining rooms, is crotchety and restless. She doesn’t like the strange scents on the drive and in the house, and twirls sniffing the air and complaining. Again, she goes ape when presented with her meal, and afterwards falls into a pattern of dropping off to sleep, waking up in a snarly rage, falling asleep for another few minutes, waking up in a snarly rage, and so on until P has gone.
Then she takes herself off upstairs and barks until I go up. And another hour of snooze, rage, snooze rage. She hasn’t tolerated being left alone even for a few minutes today, and this continues throughout the evening.
We’ve been out into the garden and she’s played ‘find the treats’. Now, as I write, she’s climbed back onto her futon and fallen asleep. Poor little dog, She’s exhausted.
But the house is really warm. For the first time for months, you can’t leave your hand on the radiators for more than a second.
“Grrrrrr. Wowf! Wowf!”
I spoke too soon. Bed and Thundershirt for this hairy neurotic, I think.
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