Why, on last week’s Saturday walk the dog sprinted to the horizon in a cloud of dust, yet on yesterday’s (and today’s) was biddable. Who knows why, when I unleashed him on the masses of London horizon that is Hackney Marshes, he skirted round the edges near the trees. Who knows why we moved from London in the first place. I do know that, at least: for more space, for the children.
Who knows why I have changed so much in the intervening period – different dog, a cat, two children that are barely recognisable from the babies that they were.
Who knows why I take photos like this, on walks.
Who knows why I like reflections of clouds and church towers, lichen, peeling paint and split wood. Why I like tired curtains in a 1950s flimsy and faded crème de menthe.
Who knows why, cracked glass and terrible yellows. Painted walls under blue skies supervising industrial distress.
Who knows why windows from the outside, when I can never see in.
Who knows why; any of it?
“Dog Days” (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. In the southern hemisphere they are usually between January and early March. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate.
Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.
I took this the other day, on the day there was an outbreak of dalmatians.
Today the dog walk was two labs, a poodle and a growly lurcher. The old warrior Billy was confined to barracks with a bandaged paw. We managed to get round without him but it was not quite the same. His old lab mate Max has gone, and has been replaced with Jasper.
No wonder “the sky was on the floor” as my friend put it.
I was given an unexpected present on Monday: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It is a very beautiful book. The perfect length and structure for a tired brain like mine, and with *deep joy* author illustrations. Thank you to my wise Finnish friend for sharing it with me.
And the story, well it is profound. I need to read it a few times to be certain, but it is about the human condition and the nature of friendship and love; this being partly related through the Little Prince’s taming of a fox and care for a rather difficult rose with four thorns – her only defence against the world.
I suggest the best thing to do would be to read the book, but in the meantime I will share the fox’s secret with you.
He tells the Little Prince: It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
These are the lads me and Rudi had a walk with yesterday. From left: Billy the best dog in the entire world who’s giving Kylie a run for her money in the beauty stakes even into pensionable age, Raffi the poodle who does his own usually somewhat entertaining thing, (including baiting badgers) and Max the labrador who majors in lab-type things.
I noticed also that there’s a photo of me and Billy, when I was in my 20s and he was but a pup, pinned to my friend’s fridge. I quite like to think of myself captured in eternal youth with a puppy on my lap stuck amongst their memorabilia of people, dogs and horses. I also know that I can wave across the kitchen at the Liverpool FC photo and Fernando Torres’ signed shirt. That’s pretty cool, but only because they are now playing leapfrog back up the table…
The old dog walks looked like this: wander through hill and vale, forest and beach, swim and fetch (dogs not me) the dog in perfect harmony by my side.
My new dog walks look like this: risk assess area for 25mph running, small furry things and dogs he mayn’t like the look of before removing lead. Spend rest of “walk” running after him in fruitless fashion calling his unheeded name.
I am shortly trying a new thing this morning: a dog walk with another sighthound. A proper ex-racer with height, grace and good manners. Hopefully.
*A few hours lapse*
Faith’s Lad, the racing name of the greyhound we were with more than fulfilled his personal specification and Rudi the Dude (his racing name when he starts his glittering lurcher racing career) was well-mannered too. High class company must’ve rubbed off on him. Good.
There was loads of running because the kite wouldn’t fly without it!
The tableau was composed of a homemade kite, a crazy hound, a makemeadiva and an miniyetmajordiva (and a couple of shadows).
Oh, we know how to have fun when the sun’s come out to play 🙂
Today I will be eating a goose lunch in Suffolk. This time last week, in the absence of a turkey lunch to cook, I was wandering the streets of London with Rudi. We started our wanderings in Barnes and then had more of them in Hackney. No prizes for guessing where I took this. By the time we had removed to Snaresbrook and then home to Southend he was starting to develop an aversion to walks.
Today we will be going to Suffolk via Hackney. Perhaps I should invest in some maps and charts.
Anyway I just wondered about this – I think it’s rather good.
one was wondering (I know you weren’t Emily), I will mention that racing stuff tomorrow. Today’s racing is too muddy and strength-sapping to discuss and Saturday’s too sublime to summarise in a sentence.
In the meantime I have another snap from yesterday’s expedition, the line-up being as follows:
Billy (deaf and out of shot doing his own thing) – for the record a cross between a brown dog and a Lassie (Stamford Hill circa 1995). Variously described as chestnut or ginger and on one outrageous occasion “orange”.
Henry (Billy’s first friend after Senna) a brown labrador.
Max (Billy’s second friend etc.) a black labrador.
Raffi (Billy’s one year old brother) a black poodle, who has read somewhere that the poodle is a very intelligent breed of dog and is minded to demonstrate this factoid as often as possible.
Rudi (who needs no intro) a fawn lurcher from Navan who needs to go to Your Vet today for his booster vaccinations but who remains blissfully unaware of this necessity…