a week in autumn


A post should appear every Sunday


Sunday November 13th 2022


On Monday we walk in Highbury. For some reason, on this day, Isis receives even more  ‘oos’ and ‘ahs’ than usual. Almost all of her admirers are taken aback by her fluffiness.

“Oh, she’s so fluffy.”

“So’s my house”, I reply truthfully.

“She’s so clean. How do you keep her so clean? Do you have to give her lots of baths?”

I answer that I can’t remember when I last bathed her, and I don’t. Her coat seems to be self-cleaning. Dirt just seems to  drop off her, usually onto the floor at home, which, sadly, is not self-cleaning.

I do have to brush Isis frequently, I admit, so that she doesn’t get tangled.

“But doesn’t she run through the mud?”

Now this is a F.A.Q., and inevitably leads to  my explaining Hairy One’s disabilities. The people whom she hasn’t walked into yet are always astonished that she is happily finding her way around off lead without any problems.

Having her leads to some very interesting conversations. There’s a sweet Irish guy who often walks around Highbury while waiting to pick up his daughter from a nearby school. He was very taken with Isis when he first met her, and sometimes says, “I’d love to give her a cuddle, but I know I can’t because she’d be frightened.”

On Tuesday we take the track from Holders Lane through to Cannon Hill Park.

It’s a good walk. When the light’s too bright, Isis employs her passive resistance technique, refusing to walk until I clip on her lead, and this works very well.

Poor Isis. If she only knew that she will have her rear clipped before this afternoon’s vet visit for anal gland emptying: last time the nurse couldn’t find her bottom, let alone her anal glands!

My little dog is exhausted tonight.

It’s Wednesday, and our morning walk in Kings Heath Park is the only pleasant part of a long and exasperating day.

Why? Because Human is such a procrastinator. Her car and breakdown insurance expire at midnight, and at the moment she feels that she might well expire well before then.

For years, she’s put off sorting out her car related documents as she’s carried on with the same insurer which also selects the breakdown service. Today she has to research other insurers and breakdown services.

Thank dog for confused.com.

She spends the rest of the day chasing information about her no claims bonus and the date of the last claim made. To top it all, she has to obtain a DVLA certificate, and has lost the reminder, the reference number of which is also required.

Moral: it’s not a brilliant idea to wait until the expiry day before you sort out the necessary documentation.

Now it’s Thursday. Not only does it tip down all day long, but Human, still exhausted from Wednesday’s debâcle, turns her back on the outside world and dozes on the daybed until late afternoon, Isis stretched out beside her.



By the time we leave the house, it’s still drizzling off and on, and the sky is relentlessly grey, so Isis is amenable to a road walk. I’m not feeling fully awake when we set off, but we’ve haven’t gone far when Isis jerks me to full consciousness.


She gives a sudden, violent tug on her lead and gallops along the pavement. I skitter behind her on the wet flagstones, expecting to hit the deck at any second. Miraculously, I remain upright, even when she turns abruptly left onto someone’s garden path.

Yes, I understand, Isis: a kitty lives here.

Once she realises that she will not be allowed to follow the scent  up to the front door and into the house, she reluctantly gives in and returns to the pavement.

It isn’t long before there’s a second hefty jerk on the lead, and another fruitless pursuit. But fortunately, I am now fully awake and watching her like the proverbial hawk.

I fantasise that roadfuls of cats have simultaneously awoken to the fact that, for the first time today, it’s not tipping it down, and have popped out for a breather.

On Friday, before we set off for Highbury, I empty my stubborn pet’s sardine and Burns’ supper into a plastic bag and shove it into my pocket. At least the crows will benefit from the recalcitrant creature’s fasting.

The crows are delighted with our gift, and dozens of them follow the fishy trail, gobbling the fragments.

As we leave the happy birds behind, heavy drops plop onto us. The local forecast said there’d be a downpour around 3.00, and here it is. Two people who were walking towards us beat a hasty retreat beneath a huddle of trees, while I creep under a single, very leafy one. After a few minutes, Isis becomes bored with standing still, and, tempted by some magnetic scent, sniffs her way to the path which leads to the pond. Soon she’ll turn the corner, and I’ll not be able to see her.

Sigh. Thanks Isis.

I emerge from clusters of leaves to find that the rain is nowhere near as bad as the forecast predicted. We walk on up the hill, then descend to the flower meadow and make our way home. We’ve been lucky: as we leave the car park, the rain begins to pound against the windscreen. It rains all through the night.

Today, Saturday, is dry and quite sunny. We head for Holders Lane woods and circle back via the sports’ fields.

It’s been  a very good week for sniffing.


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.


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