Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday August 23rd 2020
It’s no wonder we British are always snuffling and sniffling. Throughout August bright sun, storms, downpours, gentle breezes and high winds seem to chase each other in rapid succession, sometimes all on the same day. Perhaps most debilitating, is the pervasive mugginess which makes me feel as though the ground is sucking me into it.
It’s widely known as British weather.
I’ve selected seven outings from the last fortnight to write about. Not all have been completely mishap free.
I blame it on the weather.
As far as Isis is concerned, as we know only too well, the weather’s very challenging. I need to check the next day’s weather forecast before I sleep and again when I surface in the morning in order to decide our destination for the day.
One day the sun is fierce and there’s no rain forecast. Off we go to Jasmin Fields. Isis balks at the brightness and has to be persuaded to walk the few metres to the gate. Once guided to the grass path round the field, though, she’s fine. Cautious, but fine.
She trots along sniffing and then turns left down one of the little tracks which meander through the wildlife reserve.
There is, of course, a multitude of scents to savour. When we return to the field, she does a spot of stick hunting, seeks out her little tree, sits under it in the long grass and chews on her stick.
When she decides to move on, I direct her further round the field’s circumference towards a bench. I’m hoping that she’ll potter while I sit.
But no, she soon discovers the path down to the canal and disappears. I meet her on her way back.
Clearly, a rest for Human is not on her schedule.
Hopefully, I point her in the direction of the last bench. She trots purposefully past it. Oh.
Then, oh joy, she rediscovers that wonderful section of hedgerow she spent forty minutes minutes worshipping last time we came here.
Of course, being a mere human, I have no idea what is so inspiring about this patch. Whatever the allure it has for her, I can see that she is set for a lengthy whizz around, so I return, thankfully, to the last bench we passed.
A family group comes up from the canal tow path. They dismount when they see the performing animal and gaze at her transfixed. My bench is set back so that from where they are standing, I am invisible, and after a while, I can see that they are concerned that Isis is her own.
Dad picks up a tennis ball and rolls it gently towards her. She is oblivious, of course. Reluctantly, I drag myself from my seat, walk over and explain her antics.
Obviously relieved that the hairy creature has not been abandoned, they ride off.
It’s comforting that people care.
I roll the ball towards Hairy One’s feet. She’s very pleased with it and carries it, head held high in triumph, until we reach the gate.
Yes, Jasmin Fields was a good choice for her today: plenty of shade which she could find when she wanted it, but no tall trees casting menacing shadows.
The car has become a furnace on wheels, and it’s necessary to open the hatch and several doors before it’s OK to let Isis in. As usual, she refuses a drink. I’m almost tempted to take a few laps from her bowl myself.
That was a good couple of hours. It’s only a few minutes to the house. Hmmmmmmm, elderflower cordial, here I come!
But not quite.
Isis waits impatiently on the doorstep while I, calmly at first, but increasingly less calmly, riffle through all of the pockets in my gilet and shorts. The doorkeys can’t possibly not be there.
Oh but they can.
I tie poor Isis to the door handle of the porch and walk over the to retrieve my yale key from N. Back I go. Tail wags from Isis.
I open the porch door. More tail wags. We’re both smiling now. I’ll leave Isis in the cool of the house while I return to the field. All is well.
But not for long.
The inner door is locked too. We still can’t get in.
Dear little Isis walks back to the car, gets in and settles down without protest. I’ll have to find a shady place for her while I walk the field to search for the key.
Then I remember the clink I had heard while I was pouring water for Isis. Heard and ignored. I’d checked that I’d not dropped the car keys, and then gone merrily on my way.
It could be that I accidentally pulled both sets of keys out of my pocket. If so, the house keys might have bounced under the car and are still on the road.
This time, my luck’s in. As we approach the parking spot, I see a little blob of bright green. It’s the key fob.
When I get out of the car, I see that I’ve been more than lucky. The keys are lying in the road, about an inch from a drain. If they’d fallen into the drain, I would have retraced my footsteps, and, after another long, hot walk would still have been key-less; moreover, I’d have had to call out a locksmith.
Gratefully and very, very carefully – it would be just like me to drop them in the drain – I pick up the keys.
When we arrive home for the second time, I notice that the keys have not survived unscathed.
I must have driven over this one on my first return home. Fortunately, it’s not the key to the inner door. And, amazingly, it still works!
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