Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday December 8th 2019
So. The rain continues. It doesn’t rain every day. This week there are two days when it doesn’t rain at all. But if we are free of rain during the day, it rains at night, so the ground has no chance to dry out. We still have our ‘clean’ bank in Kings Heath Park, but even here there are challenges for Isis. These we will consider later.
There’s always Highbury, of course. Many of our usual haunts are swamped with mud, but surely, with a little imagination, we can find somewhere for Isis to play.
The landscaped area beyond the walled garden is the best place. Twice this week I manage to get her to walk on the lead towards the High Street entrance, so that I can take her up onto the raised level, remove her lead and harness and let her trot off ahead of me. If it is raining, she explores the area joyfully.
But on the other days, the sun either flashes in and out, or lurks low in the sky behind the clouds, making poor Isis very jumpy. Fortunately, there’s one area which is always in the shade. She makes for this and plays for an hour or more.
Unfortunately, the rest of the week the sun does its ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ act, and there’s no way I can persuade Hairy One to walk anywhere near the landscaped area.
OK, let’s think again. We can walk through the woods: they’re mostly shaded. She’s walked there with Rufus and Nancy several times lately and it’s not too bad underfoot as long as we return on a parallel path and don’t attempt to walk down the slope opposite Highbury Hall. This is very steep and for weeks it’s been so thickly coated with mud that it’s as slick as a ski slope.
Isis, contrary as ever, always makes a beeline for it, so it’s imperative to capture her before she skitters down there. Sure footed as she is, she has no difficulty at all traversing it. I certainly do when I have to retrieve her.
On Thursday, I make sure she’s on her lead as we approach the slope. Oh, lo and behold, the surface water has drained away and grass is revealed. We can go this way today.
But dopey Human forgets that the paths which lead up to the beech wood are virtually impassable at the moment. We trudge on and are soon ankle deep in claggy mud.
Not one of my best ideas. The only answer is to take her up to the long grass round the by-the-road log, and put up with having to remove all the burrs she’ll collect.
We make our way there, and she plays happily for an hour, running and leaping among the long, wet clumps of grass. She returns to the car sprinkled all over with burrs, but with clean, pink feet and spotless, hairy legs. Excellent.
Today I wonder whether there’s any possibility of avoiding the worst of the mud and the burrs. There’s the smaller of the rose-bay willow herb patches. The little culvert opens up here and the water is clean. She usually enjoys playing here.
But after ten minutes, the sun flashes out. Immediately she comes to find me, and is glad to be reharnessed.
Ah! Inspiration. She loves to dance under a particular tree in the Italian Garden. She’ll jig around under it for hours. We set off.
Here’s the tree. She perks up. I set her free. She’s poised to dance when I notice, beneath the tree, crowds of crocus bulbs poking their tips above the ground.
We walk back along the path, through the beech wood and past the pond. Isis makes her way across the little waterfall and onto the meadow towards the the small patch of rose-bay willow herbs which she abandoned forty minutes earlier.
Now, oh joy! The sun has gone in and rain clouds are gathering. Little dog trots happily over to the erstwhile dangerous patch and flings herself into a delighted frolic.
Thank goodness for that!
Who’d have thought that taking a dog for a walk could be so problematic?
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