Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday November 15th 2020
On November the 7th I note:
No rain today. Damn. And the sun keeps faintly gleaming. Isis won’t like it, even though she’s had to make do with the lane for two days. She is a little uncertain for a while. Shame. Things’ll be flat for her today.
Ah, but there’s a strong, gusty breeze. And it’s autumn. So what do strong gusty breezes do in autumn. Yes! They detach clouds of swirly leaves from their twigs ….. ….. and blow them onto dogs’ heads and their faces and their backs and their legs!
Excellent. We have a rain substitute.
She has always liked the feel of leaves touching her, but this autumn, she steps up her game.
On another day, we leave home in heavy rain but the shower ceases as soon as we park the car; the sun gets a bit twitchy, and, unfortunately, stays a bit twitchy throughout our walk.
But we’re saved again by nature’s rhythms. Squally breezes come, lifting and spinning the autumn leaves.
Isis is delighted. She rears up on her back legs, twisting this way and that as she does when rain is swirling. But now she claps her little front paws together trying to trap the leaves between them. I’m surprised at how many she catches.
Now and again, head down, she snuffles along speedily, snatching up bunches of leaves in her mouth.
Yes, dry or wet leaves in the air, on the paths or nestling in the grass are fine. But then one day when we arrive at the little pool, its surface is coated in shiny, wet, orange-gold beech leaves.
Oh dear, this is a very different matter. Each time a tentative paw is put down, it is hastily withdrawn.
Ew! We don’t like this at all.
Poor Isis wants a drink, but she certainly doesn’t want to put her feet on these nasty things. Even when I scrape out a little inlet for her, and clear a small drinking hole, she flinches and twitches her head away each time a leaf nudges her nose.
Eventually, I guide her half way across the stepping stones where the water moves quickly and drops into a hollow in a rock. Here she has a speedy drink before making her way very gingerly across to the opposite bank.
Later in the week I notice that she has grown accustomed to the feel of leaves floating around her ankles. She still doesn’t want to drink from leafy water though. I guess it smells and tastes strange.
Now we’re in our second lockdown, Highbury is much busier than it used to be. There are many new faces in the park. I’m guessing South Birmingham’s population have realised that no, they won’t dissolve in the rain: it’s quite safe to walk in the park in the winter.
The more strangers there are, of course, the more queries there are about what ‘the dog’ is doing. And now there is more to explain. Those who usually smile knowingly as they pass Isis going beserk in the rain, are now puzzled to see her going beserk in the absence of rain, while those who have never previously set eyes on the hairy creature, are arrested mid stride.
This all makes life more interesting, and it’s always good to see how curious and concerned people are about animals, how responsive to them.
Sometimes Isis-spotting leads to fascinating conversations. And more than once someone has said, “Hello again. I’ve brought my wife (or husband or mum or dad) to meet her,” or “Well, she’s made my day.”
My little star.
*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 www.dogwatchuk.co.uk