Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday January 5th 2020
In deference to Isis and her hysteria when, soon after she came, I switched on my ancient, flickering television, ours has been a television free household for the last five years.
Very recently, she has become more tolerant of indoor light, as long as it’s stable. And modern televisions don’t flicker like the old ones did.
A week before Christmas, our new television arrives.
“You must be excited,” say my friends. No. I’m not. I’ve always been happy with mechanical stuff: things with backs you can detach, innards you can prise out and mend, widgets which can be oiled or tweaked, wires you can reconnect, cases you can kick or thump. Hands on, fine. Memory and sequence dependent, not fine.
Friend Y and I manage to unpack the set and power it up. She gets a picture, but neither of us can work out how to set up channels.
The Thursday before Christmas, an I.T. savvy friend sets up the channels and shows me how to navigate the remote.
I try to watch something, but I’ve forgotten the sequence I need to follow. Thoroughly fed up with my ineptitude, my only interaction with the blasted thing is to glare at it balefully as I listen to the radio.
By Christmas night friend Y. has worked out how to locate a programme. We watch ‘The Big Friendly Giant.’
O.K. Now I can watch T.V.
No. By the next day, I’ve forgotten again.
It can’t be that hard.
I cover Hairy One’s ears and shout very rude things. When I’ve finished shouting, I uncover her hairy ears and resume scowling at the blank screen.
This week I.T. savvy friend shows me again what I need to do. And shows me again. And again. And then gets me to do it myself. Now I understand what I’ve been doing wrong.
This week too, after the latest monsoon period, Bev and I check out the woodland walk. It’s not bad at all. We avoid the slope behind Highbury Hall, as the paths at the bottom are ankle deep in mud. Instead, we take the highest path back and walk down into the orchard.
Wow! What a lovely surprise.
The Highbury Orchard volunteers have been at it again. They’ve dressed one of the trees with multi-coloured crocheting.
I would love to capture this for Hairy One’s blog but, unfortunately, I have phone trouble. My Windows phone, with which I took most of my blog photos, is no longer in operation. I am lucky enough to be given a 2013 iPhone, which tides me over well for most apps, but is affronted when asked to take a photo, and shuts itself down, even when it’s fully charged.
For a few months, I re-use images from the media library. But on Thursday my new phone arrives, and by Friday I’m confident enough to use it.
On Saturday, I lead Isis carefully around the mud patches and up onto the grass below the beech wood. When I set her free, she makes a beeline for the pine avenue. There are dried stems under each of the trees, but one shelters a particularly thick blanket. This is her favourite.
It’s several weeks now since I had to disentangle prickly stems from her coat. I’ll just have to do it again: she’s enjoying herself so much, it would be unkind to drag her away.
As usual, she dashes around perfectly happily, gathering dead stems like a rolling snowball gathers snow. As usual, it’s only when I replace her harness and attempt to walk on, that she stands with a pitiful expression on her face. She’s telling me that she can’t possibly walk another step until I put things right.
It’s not going to be an easy task.
It isn’t, but little Isis is a good dog. She keeps very still. Now and again, when I tackle a particularly deeply embedded stem, or several matted together in her fine hair, she lies down. Unsurprisingly, the poor little creature is apprehensive. No doubt she is also tired after all the running, but she stands up again obediently when I wriggle a hand under her.
At last, we’re fit to move on. If we walk through the stream, instead of squelching along the well used path, we can avoid the mud, and Isis can run free on the flower meadow.
Remember, I said that I was confident when using the phone camera. Confident, not competent.
I shoot four or five videos. I’m on a roll. Oh yes, I soon got the hang of that!
But when I play the videos, I discover that my confidence is ill-founded. Not only is Isis racing around the meadow at the speed of light, she’s also upside down.
Today we go to Kings Heath Park. It’s one of those sun-in-sun-out days which unnerve poor Isis; nowadays, though, she will always leave the car – unless Rufus has his nose in it ready for his affectionate but rough greeting.
She walks slowly, gingerly, from the car to the path. She flinches and glances anxiously around her before scrambling and ducking through the shrubbery towards the pond.
As we make our way towards the old bowling green, she perks up.
But there are menacing stripes of sun and shade here, and when the light suddenly changes, she grasps her tugger and hurries off to the back of the basketball court. Although she’s only been in the park for thirty minutes, she’s on her way to the car park and home.
We can’t have this. Although she protests, I manouvre her into the Colour Garden. If she’ll not play here, she’ll not play anywhere.
After a few minutes she sniffs her way to the shrubbery, her tail pops up and wags, and she begins to play.
It’s only after she’s pelted up and down non-stop for about forty minutes that I decide to have another go at a video. This time I am more cautious. I notice there is a ‘stabilise’ button and think it might be a good idea to tap it.
Unfortunately, by now, Isis is bored with her gymnastics, and is winding down her play, so the video isn’t the most exciting entertainment on offer.
But at least Hairy One is the right way up and moving at a normal speed!
*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