Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday February 5th 2017
I continue to worry about Isis wearing down her lovely white teeth with her frequent clack-clack-clacking dances, but this weekend I become aware that the clacking can also be very useful.
On Saturday Isis is enjoying her freedom in Highbury Park. First she spends a happy half hour trotting round a grassy area which is bordered on three sides by privet hedge. True, on one side there are two or three gaps through which Hairy One could exit. But this area is not close to the road, and she does not appear to have much interest in the gappy side, apart from a nifty hedge prune now and then.
She is much more drawn to the opposite side where there is a length of extremely unsavoury looking ditch full of very black mud. Now, I know that a dog must be allowed to have fun, and that fun for dogs is often mud shaped. Ellie, my previous dog, had a favourite deep, mud puddle. The crows used to bathe there and, at every opportunity, Ellie would join them. When reprimanded, she would rise slowly from the morass, a happy smile on her face, looking as though she had been dipped up to her shoulders in thick, dark chocolate. Afterwards, of course, she needed a shower.
Isis, as we know, is not into being washed. She hates having her legs or paws handled. She becomes very upset, so I try to avoid it.
Needless to say, she gravitates towards the ditch. I manage to intercept her and we move to pastures new, the landscaped area the other side of the little stagnant pond.
As Isis frolics, Scamp and Gemma arrive. Their owners X. and St. tell me about their recent sightings of a kingfisher. St. tells me where to stand in order to have the best chance of seeing it.
Isis is clacking loud and clear, so a few minutes after the others have moved on, I walk to the spot and look towards the trees across the pond.
I can still hear the clacking perfectly clearly.
Almost immediately, I become aware of what appears to be a small, orange and blue sphere winking at me from the thick foliage. “Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t be that lucky”, I tell myself. I continue to stare at it, though.
After a few minutes, a small bird whirrs out from the leaves and lands on a nearby branch. It perches, facing me, and I have a perfect view of its beautiful chestnut bronze breast.
From the other side of the hedge, comes a steady clack, clack, clack.
I stand, gazing entranced at the kingfisher. I still can’t quite believe it’s not a blue tit in disguise.
Then suddenly, it flies from the branch, its wings emitting strobes of dazzling, iridescent blue, swoops in a lightning arc across the pond and dives into the shallows.
Still a rhythmic clacking from the other side of the hedge.
It had been years since I had last seen a kingfisher. And then it was only a very quick whizz of blue in the distance.
Amazing. I’m elated.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk