Going to the dogs

What’s up with Raffles? He doesn’t seem to have been quite himself for a couple of days now. Having recovered from last week’s tummy bug, he was walking stiffly with an arched back in training class on Monday. I hadn’t noticed anything was wrong and, to my shame,  it had to be pointed out to me. He seemed to like his back being massaged so I did that and he rested and he seemed to be OK after a day or so.

And then, on Tuesday night, he had an altercation with Oscar over a piece of cooked broccoli. Protesting loudly, and at length, Raffles seemed to have recovered, but yesterday he growled when the OH went to put on his lead for his walk, and trembled in what we thought was fear. Following his walk, he spent the whole afternoon on his favourite sofa. 

This morning, there he was again, gazing into the middle distance. Even the act of putting on his favourite coat didn’t seem to rouse him. Poor dog has the cares of the world on his shoulders. Perhaps it’s something specific; perhaps it’s SAD at the dull, grey February; perhaps it’s just a feeling of general sadness and malaise. Who will ever know?

And here’s Lola. She’s often there at the entrance of the park, sitting on the grass and waiting while her owner walks all of his other dogs (and dispenses treats – whole Schmackos) to any dog who happens to be around. 

Lola is an elderly lady but I have never had the discourtesy to ask her how old. She doesn’t walk very well but if she sees a friendly human, she’ll pull herself slowly upright and toddle over to them arthritically to say hello. Generally this elicits a treat, a quick rub of the head and a few kind words. 

Lola is smiling here. Though elderly and no longer steady on her pins, she’s not worried about much. 

To many of us, it would seem like we’re going to hell in a handcart. We’re like Raffles. Perhaps, though, it would be better to channel Lola, at least from time to time. 

Golden day

High Elms

What a glorious, crisp and sunny day it was! A great day for “peeping” at the autumn colour at High Elms, which has been one of my favourite nearby places for decades.

While walking around with the boys and marvelling at the colours, it occurred to me that we probably won’t have too many days like this before High Elms is no longer just down the road, when and all we can do is dream of our memories. Here are some of today’s photos:

A slight change to an autumn walk

Before I lived in Paris, I was one of the staunchest indoor people ever. And then, to stave off the effects of croissants, patisserie and driving everywhere, I started running up and down the Seine towpath a few times every week. You really start to notice the ever-changing beauty of the things around you and Autumn is such a wonderful time to be walking dogs.

We haven’t yet had a frost here. It’s expected any day soon but in the meantime there’s a chance to view the wonderful fungal structures that have popped up all over the place. I caught sight of the bouquet on my run this morning and came back with my camera on the dog walk. Dogs often don’t appreciate the local flora to the same extent as me. One stray set of paws and the ephemera have had their brief time on earth.

There was an added frisson today, though, because Lewisham Council shut the golf course yesterday and Raffles was allowed to run around off the leash for the very first time without fear of him being hit by or, more likely, picking up a ball in play and running away with it.

Our gain is very much the Lewisham Golfers’ loss, though. This was the last remaining public golf course in Inner London. The council no longer wish to finance the upkeep of what they consider an elitist sport. What a pity. And it means that these beautiful, mature trees between the links are set to be bulldozed to make way for a lake and…new trees. Which doesn’t really make a huge amount of sense. There are rumours of other shenanigans too but, as a resident of neighbouring Bromley, I don’t know enough to make any accusations here.

Walking up the hill to the mansion at the top, we came upon a load of protestors, who are staging a sleep-out Occupy-style protest to try and remind Lewisham of its duty to keep the cafe and lavatories open as an amenity to park users. They told me that the bulldozers’ action is being challenged in court and that they’d be there until the outcome of the case is known. They are asking for volunteers to spend a couple of hours with them this week. I might just go, public protest being a thing of mine.

In the meantime, do enjoy the photos of a foggy, smoggy London morning walk.


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