Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday October 20th 2019
My hairy little meteorologist is at it again. She’s perfectly happy in Highbury for an hour, then, when I notice her muddy feet and try to move her on, she protests. I assume that she’s cross because we’re moving on, and insist that she walks with me over to the long grass, where, hopefully, she’ll dance around and her feet will be cleaned.
Usually, she loves playing here. Not today though.
What on earth’s the matter with her? Then I remember. Thunder is forecast for today.
On with her harness. Wag. Wag. Relieved, she trots with me to the car.
Just as we’re about to set off for home, the sky blackens and fat splodges of rain smack against the windscreen.
If she were human, she’d say, “Told you so!”
Late yesterday afternoon, I suddenly discover that my M.O.T. has expired.
C. at the garage has a space on Wednesday, but that means bussing it back and forth to let Isis out at lunchtime. Impossible.
If I bring the car in on Tuesday morning, and someone else cancels, C. will try to fit my car in.
I get up early and clear out the car. Now, a dilemma. I have a hospital appointment in the afternoon, and by the time I’ve returned from the garage – which is not on the bus route – it’ll be too late to walk Isis.
Unless I take her with me and can persuade her to walk back home. If the sun pops out while she’s in a strange place, she’ll refuse to move.
Quickly, I check the weather forecast. Dull all day. Right, we’ll risk it.
We drop off the car. Isis walks all the way home like an angel. It’s a very long pavement walk, but she doesn’t hesitate.
That night I’m too exhausted to go out again. I expect Isis to be tired too. Not a bit of it. While I drift off on the day bed, she leaps around for hours, vigorously shaking her snakes. I only regain full consciousness when she begins vigorously shaking the rug from which arises the dust of ages.
Obviously, a road walk isn’t enough. She needs a play walk too.
The car was fitted in yesterday, so I am at the garage by 7.40 to collect it.
Then I return home to pick up Isis and rush off with her to Kings Heath Park. At lunchtime, I return from my art group. She’ll not do a road walk in the sun, so off we go again to Kings Heath Park.
When I return from my afternoon session, it’s still sunny, so I take her to Highbury. Guilt at leaving her home alone certainly generates lots of walks.
That night we both fall asleep on the day bed. We don’t get up until ten next morning.
My beautiful dog disgraces herself. Again, it’s dull and cloudy, and she is enjoying herself in Kings Heath Park. She is playing on the bank above the old bowling green.
A couple of years ago, six new sapling pines were planted by volunteers near the bottom of the bank. One gave up the ghost in its first few months. Another was repeatedly pulled up by kids, and regularly replanted by me. Despite my efforts, it spent a week out of the ground in the summer while I was away, and died. The remaining four are doing fine, I reflect as I sit on a bench at the other end of the green.
Hairy One appears to be enjoying herself immensely. She’s found something nice and floppy and is killing it enthusiastically.
Oh my dog! It’s not … it couldn’t be….I shoot from the bench and pelt over to the bank.
To my horror, and ‘horror’ is no exaggeration, I see that what she is killing is fresh and green. It’s a long, leafy frond from the smallest of the remaining pines, and, at her jiggling feet are two more green, springy fronds.
She has bitten off the top half of the little tree.
Isis, of course, has no idea of what she has done, but I am mortified. I must seek out one of the lovely gardeners and confess, then I will replace the sapling.
I don’t spot anyone today. I’ll see if I can find someone after the weekend.
Wet, wet, wet.
What fun. Or not. On this, Isis and I disagree.
Today, as on every other day this week, my wellington booted feet suck their way noisily over the grass to my soggy vantage point on a fallen tree trunk. From here I watch Isis happily running up and down the track she has created along the wooded area which separates the two adjacent meadows opposite the car park.
Ahhh, she’s so enjoying herself. How lovely. I smile at her indulgently, and float off into my own head space.
When I come to and walk towards her, I see that her well trodden path is now a channel of deep mud, and she looks like a dog whose lower half has been dipped in chocolate.
How could I be so stupid? I noticed a few days ago that her track was getting a bit squishy. I should have checked it before I released her.
It is, of course, the one day I have arranged to meet someone straight after our walk. Can’t be helped: Hairy One’s filthy, and it was only a few days ago that I cleaned the inside of the car ready for the MOT.
Fussy? Not at all. I think it was when I caught sight of two small plants growing on the floor in the rear, that I realised how disgusting the interior was.
I was surprised by the plants, but I guess grass seeds plus mud plus wet dog equals a fertile site.
Isis isn’t pleased when I insist that we try a different area of the park. She digs in all her strong little toes and refuses to budge. As I stand and wait for her to walk on, I catch sight of the heron. It’s the second time this week that we’ve come across him standing on the edge of one of the meadows.
What’s he doing here? I thought that herons only ate fish, but no, I’m told by two guys who are also watching that herons also eat small mammals. I look them up and find that they eat frogs, snakes, mice, shrews, small rats, and even insects.
Thank you Isis, I could have missed him.
Today the reprobate delights in skittering around the shrubbery in the Colour Garden, until naughty Ebbie sidles up close to her and barks loudly for her ball to be thrown. Alarmed, Isis makes off towards the new bowling green. I catch her and bring her back, sit on the bench and plonk her down between my feet, where she shelters for a few minutes. Then the sun pops out, and she’s off again, this time in the direction of the car park.
Never mind, Isis, we’re visiting J. this afternoon. You’ll like that.
She does. He keeps a water bowl in his flat for her, and gives her a whole digestive biscuit.
Quite a week, Isis.
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