A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday October 3rd 2021
It’s a very good week for walking.
There are few of those days which Isis hates, when the clouds race across the sun obscuring it completely, then scud off again, revealing its full glare. Most days this week are dull and murky, which is perfectly acceptable to her. And, joy of joy, on three days it rains non-stop.
At the beginning of the week, in the late afternoon, we drive to the garage where the car is to have its MOT the following day. It’s a long walk back, but the weather’s not doing anything particularly scary, and Isis walks home with little hesitation.
The next day, thankfully, it pours non-stop. Hairy One can’t wait to get out of the house. There’s no decision to make. Naturally, we’re walking to King’s Heath Park.
She scampers down the drive, scrambles through the gate, executes a sharp left turn and, snapping raindrops as she goes, skitters along the pavement.
Then the scenting begins. It’s a while since we’ve walked these pavements, and there’s a lot of catching up to do. So many dogs, cats and wild creatures have left scents for her to investigate. They’re everwhere – on the paving stones, around the tree trunks, up the garden walls and among the weeds.
I’m sure she’s not missing one of them. So assiduously does she snuffle and so often does she pee that instead of taking us thirty minutes to reach the park, it takes almost forty-five.
There are very few people in the park, so I let her wander where she will, and just follow. We stay for an hour and she enjoys every minute.
I wonder how she’ll react when she discovers that the car hasn’t driven itself to the car park, that she has to walk home.
But she doesn’t turn a hair. She trots beside me at a very brisk pace. When it’s dry, she plods along as though she’s ancient, and when we meet someone new to us, they sometimes look at her sympathetically, and ask, “Is she an old dog?”
When this happens I glare at Isis and reply, “No, she’s not. She’s just cross because she has to walk home.”
I don’t know why I get so irritated. Perhaps it’s just transference: I’m getting old and I don’t like it!
But today I don’t have to persuade her to walk past the car park. She doesn’t balk at leaving the park. Of course she doesn’t: it’s raining.
On Tuesday, I walk alone to the garage. There’s no way Isis is coming with me. It’s dry today.
Next day I’m meeting a friend at ten fifteen for a coffee at Beckett’s Farm. I have an appointment soon afterwards and won’t have time to take Isis out. So we leave the house early next morning.
Oh dear, the sun’s out already. She’s not going to like this. I decide we’ll go to Highbury because there are several shady little pathways we can follow.
But even after seven years, Isis can still surprise me.
As soon as I open the car door, she sniffs the air tentatively. Then, ignoring my suggestion that we make our way towards the sunless path, she walks across the tarmac to the flower meadow.
She’s alert and excited. Her tail is up, and she’s sniffing the air. Suddenly, she shoots off this way and that, leaping up, then landing with contented little oofs.
I can’t believe this. It’s as though she doesn’t even notice the sun. What on earth’s going on?
Then I notice that every blade of grass is glinting with droplets. It’s not rained during the night, and it’s very cold. There must have been an early frost, I realise, and she can smell it. Hence the excitement.
She snufles along the ground. The meadow has been mown very recently, I realise, and small mounds, frosted into brown on top but still green underneath are scattered everywhere.
Isis, who loves heaps of cut grass, begins pushing her nose into them and tossing them around.
Eventually, we walk on. Although she balks a little at the shadows cast by the trees, she is enjoying her walk immensely.
Well, well, what do you know?