Wednesday, 16 November 2011

2. Canine respect & archaeology

       Bella has been with us for a month. She is beautiful, soppy, lovable and responsive to simple discipline. She jumped on the white sofa just once – yes of course she had muddy paws! She took Daddy’s sheepskin slipper out into the garden – just once! “No!” simply means NO and when we say “Out”, you can almost see the bottom lip curl as she turns and walks away!  The vet has taken the final x-rays of the broken leg/pin & plate and given her the all clear; just one more vet check-up next week. Let the long walks begin! 

       On Monday we went out along Lings Lane, a tar road linking Chelmondiston to Harkstead with open fields on both sides. Bella is still on a lead as we’re still not sure of her ‘recall’.  The peace and quiet of a cool country walk is definitely good for both body and soul!  While Bella enjoyed the new smells on the side of the road I was enjoying the misty line of trees, the sun giving off not much more light than the energy saver lightbulbs, and the birds twittering and twattering as they extracted reluctant earthworms from the farmer’s fields! After 45 minutes and within sight of what I presume was Harkstead church, I realised that however far I walk, I have to walk back again, and we turned around, but this time taking a ‘footpath/bridleway’ route across the slowly greening fields and after about 20 minutes or so, happily found ourselves at the (closed down) Red Lion pub next to the bus stop and just a few minutes away from home.

       On Wednesday we went the other way towards Shotley and Bella put up no argument as we walked down the narrow pathway past St Andrews graveyard and into the Chelmondiston Baptist Church graveyard (there’s a public pathway going through the CBC graveyard!) However, once on the main road with cars, postie’s van, farm trucks and delivery vans ambling past at 30mph, Bella was as frightened as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (got that from a Google search!!) Her tail was safe between her legs but she was obviously very, very scared. I will have to look up the counseling on that problem.  We eventually found a footpath and enjoyed another walk through open fields on a beautiful autumn/winter day.  I decided that Bella had been really good and unclipped her lead – she sprinted 100m ahead, stopped, looked back at me tail wagging furiously and I had that sinking feeling that she wasn’t going to come back when called. I’d hardly pulled my hand out of my pocket with the ever-present treat than she ran back and was duly rewarded and safely clipped back onto the lead!  Whew! She enjoyed the burst of freedom and I enjoyed the fact that she returned so quickly without a fight or cajoling!

       After both these walks Bella spent the rest of the day sleeping, either in her warm sheepskin basket in the kitchen or in/on the old tyre in the overgrown corner of the garden! But on Tuesday, when the only walk she had was with Daddy in the pitch dark at 5pm, she had an archaeological day in the garden!  I’ve lost count of how many balls have ‘appeared’, some probably thanks to the primary school on the other side of the fence! My desk is right next to the window overlooking the garden and I get to see all newcomers - who are immediately investigated.

       The ornament duck which once sat next to the pond, has now died. Its throat was totally removed as were its feet.  The 20cm diameter frog pond ‘thing’ which appeared this morning has been replaced on the stone next to the pond, but I’m not too sure how long it will stay there – in one piece. Yesterday a black piece of ribbed hose joined the treasure chest and I only discovered today where it came from. I switched on the pond pump while I was clearing debris – chewed sticks, trampled Chinese lantern flowers and a red velvet bow – but noticed that the water didn’t seem to be flowing into the pond as strongly as it had been. Pushing aside the greenery that almost engulfs the pond I found the water wasn’t quite getting to the top rock, but was flowing quite gently out of a chewed black piece of ribbed hose! 

       Next to the pond was a bottle – one of those old-fashioned green thick glass bottles. Where did she get this from?!  After a bit of cleaning I could make out the words ‘Talbot & Co. Mineral Waters Ipswich’.  I can’t find the same image on the web, but the Talbot & Co. company dates back to 1840, so there’s some Googling to do to see if I can find out when ‘my’ – sorry, Bella’s bottle was made. I’m sure it’s not worth much but I’m almost certain it’s a collector’s item – another sale on Ebay!

      There is one garden ornament that has earned Bella’s respect and has not experienced even a slobbery lick – the little latex mould garden mole!  He is her doorkeeper and worthy of all respect and appreciation. He holds the back door open in all weathers to ensure that Bella can go out if she needs and come in if she wishes. Brave little mole!


That’s all for now – I wonder what she’ll do when/if it snows?!

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