A post should appear every Sunday.
Sunday November 27th 2022
Monday. Not the greatest beginning to a new week. I’m late getting up – plus ça change there then – and when I wander over to the window and draw back the blinds, it looks as though someone is chucking bucketfuls of rain against the bedroom windows.
Sigh. Yes, Isis will love to go out in it, and generally I’m up for walking whatever the weather, but the days of greyness seem relentlessly determined to carry on for ever.
And then I see it: the front nearside tyre of my car is pancake flat.
So many decisions to make. It’s all to0 much in the morning. Must ring my breakdown service immediately. But no, best to have a shower first as they might come out before I’m dressed. But on a day like this, there might be hundreds of breakdowns, and I have an appointment at 4.10 this afternoon. But it’s only 11.00. Get in the b. shower. No, must let Isis out and give her her breakfast first.
Inevitably, this internal debate has delayed me, so it’s well after twelve by the time I’m back downstairs to face the next dilemma. Isis hasn’t been out yet. I should take her before I ring the breakdown. But then I might miss the appointment. On the other hand, if the rescue people come late, there might not be time for her walk before it’s time to leave, and when I get home it’ll be dark, and Isis will refuse to go out. If I don’t have the tyre fixed today, though, what if there’s an emergency? What if Isis needs to be rushed to the vet?
I ring Motoring Assistance. The phone at the other end is picked up immediately (yes, really). About an hour later, a guy is here to change the tyre.
The surgery is only five minutes away. There’s plenty of time to take Isis for a walk.
The rain is still very heavy, so heavy that, for the first time in years, I think Isis needs some weatherproofing! Her natural coat takes hours to dry out thoroughly, and, clearly, she’ll be soaked. Ellie, my previous dog, had a red raincoat which proved much too small for Isis, but it’ll be better than nothing.
I riffle through the animal bedding, vet cones and clothing cache. Nothing. Must have given Ellie’s little red coat away. Then, right at the back I come across another coat. It looks new, it’s waterproof and it even has a warm lining; furthermore, astonishingly, it looks big enough for Isis.
Slowly, the memory comes back. It’s 2014, and Hairy One’s first winter in Britain. Adopters are advised by Dogwatch U.K. that their Spanish and Portugese dogs, acclimatised to warm temperatures, will need coats in cooler countries.
It was obvious that Isis was warm enough during the autumn months, but a warm winter coat was bought for when it would be needed. When the icy weather came, she wore it for several days before I realised, when she settled in the car for the home journey, that the poor little creature was very hot. She was, of course, young and energetic, and she had grown her own thick winter coat.
The new coat was put away and completely forgotten.
Today a very cold wind kindly accompanies the rain. I carry the coat downstairs, wondering how she’ll react to it.
She seems a little surprised that I’m adding yet another layer on top of her harness, and turns her head to sniff at it. I expect that she recognises her own scent on it even though she’s not worn it for over eight years. She accepts it without further investigation, and after Human has worked out how to thread the lead through the little slit in order to attach it to her harness, we’re ready for off.
The coat fits perfectly, and looks very cosy; it even has a stand up collar to keep the back of a dog’s neck dry.
Very chic, Isis.
The new coat does not cramp her style, and we jog off along the pavement, Isis holding her tail aloft, and waving it joyfully. I bear in mind the many times when she has zipped off after scenting a cat, and I have narrowly avoided measuring my length on the pavement: I keep a very close look-out for sudden changes of gear, and there are no mishaps.
Isis investigates each of the myriad scents she comes across, and would like to stay out longer, but, mindful of my appointment, I persuade her to head for home.
Wonderful! Only her head, ears and feet need drying. I hurry upstairs to change, checking the time every few minutes. Before I leave, I check on Isis. Yes, she’s warm, dry and looks very contented.
When I snap on my seat belt, it’s exactly four 0’clock. It usually takes five minutes to reach the surgery, but it’s best to arrive early.
I turn on the engine and reach for my driving glasses.
*”**”*! I’ve left them in the house. Off with the engine. Off with the seat belt. Unzip inside pocket, and scrabble for house keys. Back out into the rain. Only a quick search is necessary. Found them!
It’s still not quite five past four yet. I’ll make it.
But, as usual, I have too many things in my hands. Just as I’m about to open the car door, glug-clank – the car keys have slipped between my fingers, and are lying in the gutter under about three inches of swirling rain water.
**”*! **”*! and double **”*! I scream against the wind. The spare key is broken and has not yet been replaced, the case enclosing the key in the gutter doesn’t fit properly and often comes apart.
Eek! If the chip gets wet, the key may not work. It must be dried thoroughly.
Keep calm, you still have three minutes to get there.
Forgetting that my phone is under my right arm, I reach forward to open the driver’s door. Gurgle, thud! My phone drops into the gutter. I’m beside myself with rage, and muttering, “How could you be so – – – – – – – stupid?”, retrieve the phone and attempt to dry it.
It’s now almost ten past four. I shoot off, park the car and race over the road to the surgery.
Today’s not my lucky day. In front of me, a guy is having a protracted debate with the practice manager so it’s impossible to approach a receptionist. By the time I’m able to announce my arrival, it’s almost twenty minutes past four.
The receptionist tells me that the nurse needs twenty minutes to complete my blood tests, and I’m almost twenty minutes late, so the appointment must be re-booked.
Not wishing to tempt fate, I drive home very slowly, and creep up the path like a tranquilised snail. Once indoors, I am ridiculously cautious, refraining from walking around in my socks, taking the stairs one at a time, drying my hands meticulously before inserting plugs into sockets.
Isis welcomes me onto the day bed, where I doss for most of the evening. She is very relaxed, shunts herself against me comfortingly, and even stays snuggled close to me when I cover her with a fleece.
I call it a day.