Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday January 5th 2020
It’s Monday. Storm Brendon is expected this afternoon, and the parks are still a sea of mud.
Bev and I opt for Highbury and choose to walk the woodland paths as here, at least along most of the paths, deep layers of fallen leaves form a barrier between our boots and the mud.
Before we entered the Age of the Deluge, we liked to walk down the steep slope which begins at the back of Highbury Hall and leads down to several little diverging tracks. Usually, we would choose the track which leads to the beech wood.
Now, the slope slides down to a quagmire and the little tracks are flooded with ankle deep mud.
Unfortunately, Isis knows her way to the beech wood and likes to trot off ahead. Then, of course, I have to follow her to make sure the little hairy comes to no harm.
There’s a grassy mound a few hundred yards before you reach the slope. Here, as has been mentioned in previous posts, Isis likes to dance. Generally, as soon as she begins to move from the mound, Bev, who is usually ahead of me, blocks Hairy One’s path and I hurry over with the lead and grab her quickly before she makes it to the slope.
But today she is too quick for me. I stride after her, calling her name in varying pitches. Amazingly, one of the calls gets through to her and she stops for a second, turning her head. This enables me to get closer to her, but not close enough to prevent her from setting off down the slope.
Eek! Foolishly, I quicken my pace and grab her tail. As I do so, she emits a loud squeak, I lurch to grasp her harness, then I fall flat on my face.
Because I’m holding onto the miscreant’s harness with my left hand, I must attempt to haul myself up from the mud with my right. A few years ago this would have been easy. Frustratingly, since the operations on my shoulders and ligaments, my arms are weaker. I press down as hard as I can with my right hand, but I can’t raise my body.
I’ve never had this experience before. Dog! It’s frustrating.
Getting old really sucks.
Bev is some distance away. She’s too far off to hear a mud-muffled call for help. She’ll assume I’ve walked down the slope after Isis, and she’ll set off back to the orchard with Rufus and Nancy, walk them down to the main path, and expect to meet us in the beech wood.
Just as I’m thinking that I’ll have to let Isis go, I hear Bev calling, “It’s O.K., I’m on my way.”
What a relief. Now, I don’t wish to be too dramatic. It’s not as if I’m on the north face of the Eiger; nevertheless, I would like not to have to follow Isis down the treacherous mud slide. I’m somewhat shaken, and I know it would be virtually impossible to stay upright.
Unbeknown to me, on hearing Hairy One’s pained squeak, Rufus leaves Bev’s side and, closely followed by Nancy, rushes round the trees towards the top of the slope. He must have spotted my spreadeagled figure, as he gallops back to his human, followed, naturally, by Nancy who, by this time, has picked up some of his panic.
Panting and rolling his eyes wildly, he skids to a halt at Bev’s feet. Then both dogs jiggle up and down on the spot, staring intently at her face before breaking away and dashing off again. They repeat this routine several times.
Apparently, Rufus’s panting and wild eye rolling has always been his way of expressing alarm; Bev knows there’s something wrong, and walks to the top of the slope.
When I hear her call, I let her know that I’m O.K. but can’t get up without letting go of Isis.
Considerably more careful than me, she picks her way down to us, and puts Isis on the lead while I scrabble my way upright.
I discover Rufus and Nancy close behind me.Their duty is done. They’ve handed the problem over to their human. Now they can return to their doggie business. Lowering their muzzles to the ground, they snuffle intently, trying to find particularly tasty samples of mud to eat.
Clever, clever Rufus. Loyal Nancy.
I must admit that I wiped my face before this photo was taken. Not from vanity, I assure you, but because I couldn’t see through the mud splattered over my face.
Even so, there’s no question who needs a bath this time!
Thanks a million Isis.
There are, I reflect, some disadvantages to having a deaf dog – not many, Isis dear, just one or two.
Then again, Hairy One’s personality suggests to me that even if she could hear, she’d ignore me and carry on with what she was doing anyway.
*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