Yes people, we have had two days without rain! A weekend of aridity after Friday’s wickedly mischievous wind pushed tiles off St F’s roof and sent them hurtling to a soft landing in the ankle-deep mud where her garden used to be. Neighbour’s fences relocated to parts unknown and satellite dishes that once looked to the sky for input were left dangling and swaying on broken stems. The woods are unsafe to enter as possibly fifty trees have tipped into unstable poses, some leaning against their friends, some prone in the leaf litter. The rain-blasted fields could absorb no more water and shrugged the run-off down to the river which rose up and swallowed the road – again. Electricity came and went but still, St F and I managed to turn out a special Valentine’s meal for Medusa and Semtex and their significant others who had come to stay. They had to stay. The village was cut off from the outside world.
But. But. Saturday dawned bright and dry with blue sky. It was still a little windy but I could go outside and remain upright so that was a bonus. St F and I celebrated by taking the dogs out for a run.
Eric has a girlfriend, a black spaniel called Madge. And he loves her. As they’re both rescue dogs, they’ve both had ‘the snip’ so it’s fairly certain that their’s is a simple and pure relationship. Eric is a very Alpha male so his interaction with other males is all about dominance but with bitches he’s better behaved – sort of. He’s got a strong prey drive. All he wants to do is chase things. Deer, pheasants, bicycles, joggers – and Madge. This is a good thing because Madge lives in a flat in a nearby town where she doesn’t get to run free (because she’s a sod to catch) so, when she comes to stay with us, she has a lot of pent-up energy. And she runs faster than Eric who will tire long before she does. And she’s a feisty little creature who will give Eric what for if he annoys her too much. Perfect.
There is one drawback to this happy image of two furry, black smudges haring around on a hilltop and that’s Eric neglecting to watch where he’s going. So intent is he on catching up with the smaller, speedier Madge, he fails to notice the vulnerable humans in his path i.e St F and me. Twice now he has bundled into me and then trampled my body into the ground. I don’t know if I should blame Eric or Madge or maybe the unseen shade of Alfie the original Doberman cannonball. (Int Life Brilliant?) Is he laughing in the shadows of the hedgerow and whispering to Madge, ‘Go closer to the people. Lead Eric towards his family. At full speed. Snigger, snigger?’ Is it his revenge for the flashing reindeer antlers that Medusa forced him to wear one Christmas?
Meantime, Ernie the collie, oblivious to ghostly dogs and high-speed canine romance stares at St F from a short distance away.
‘Throw the ball,’ his expression says. ‘Throw the ball. Please throw the ball.’
Back home after chewing up the kindling, and ensuring that I have to grub around the carpet for splinters of wood to light the fire, the lovers retire for the evening. Note that Eric is no gentleman. He gets the bed. Madge gets the floor. However, he’s so whacked from his outdoor exertions that he won’t stir – not even if I walked through the room banging cymbals together – and he won’t know when I call little Madge up on the sofa. Ha ha ha, serves him right.
That was the first dry day.
Sunday was warmer, sunnier and almost windless. I went alone to the hill with spaniel and Doby. The grass in the field had sprung back to vertical after the hammering wind and rain had flattened it. Deep, shimmering blue arched over the landscape and reflected itself in the sea encircling the headland. The dogs chased up rise and down dip and I found a boulder to sit on where I could watch a buzzard circling below the quiet clouds. After a while, Eric tired of the chase, leaving Madge to pursue an annoyed and vocal pheasant who had a safe head start, he came to stand by me.
Quiet communion. Woman and hound sharing a small moment of peace. Then it was my turn to chase Madge around the field. Seems she didn’t want to go back on her lead.