I walked the dogs this morning at the big field. I normally walk them around a lacrosse park, but Thursday mornings it is used by a group of archers. As they are all retired and have all day to meet and shoot arrows. They could meet at any time during the day but choose to congregate at half six in the morning so that people like me who are trying to get their dogs walked before work, can be reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel and work will finally end.
The big field is just up the road and is in fact two football ovals, one of which is slightly higher up than the other. The rain had come down heavily about six, but by the time I had drunk my tea and the light was peeling through the surface of the sky, it looked like civilised walking weather.
I was wrong, of course. Just at the top of the second oval, at the point furthest away from where we had started, a massive grey cloud came over the bank, moving rapidly so that within minutes it was hovering over the entire surface area of the pitch like the alien spaceship in Independence Day (the first one). I looked back at my car – a tiny red pimple in the distance – and knew there was only one way this was going to end, and it was not a dry ending.
The dogs and I managed to get under the roof of the clubhouse in the lower field for a quick break but basically it was about damage limitation now. We had one more field to cross and the rain showed no sign of slowing.
‘Let’s do it, guys!’ I cried as we set off at a committed jog. Archie picked up the pace, but Lucy, Lucy was really going for it. The reason became clear as I followed her course direction, which had begun to peel off at a tangent to ours: ducks. Two of them, enjoying the weather and the puddles.
‘No, Lucy!’ I called. She looked at me and then as if to say, ‘Are you kidding?’ And doubled her pace towards them. I guess it is my fault for feeding her duck jerky as a treat. If she loves the dry stuff, she is only going to be even more tempted by the live juicy stuff. Fortunately for everyone, Lucy can not fly, so the ducks made an easy escape.
It was a long and hard day at work, punctuated by a string of calls and text messages from my mother, who was waiting to be told she could pick my father up and getting increasingly distressed as the delay pushed the time towards the end of the day. I had told her that if it was late I would go, but thought maybe they would keep him in another night. As is always the way, I was halfway home when my mother called to say he was ready to go, but that their lift was broken and she was going to find it tough getting to the basement carpark.
So I pretty much arrived home, dumped my stuff and went straight back out again to where I had just come from, through the thick early evening traffic to pick my dad up. Once back at their place I had hoped the lift might be working again, but no. We made our way slowly up the three flights of stairs, stopping at every landing and every half landing so my dad, less than 24 hours out of anaesthetic and 84 years old, could catch his breath. I felt frustrated that he was having to do this but he did really well and was soon back at home with my mum.
I headed back and as I drove past the lacrosse pitch, I noticed the floodlights were on as the teams practised. I could drive the dogs down there for a quick final walk, or I could walk them around the block as they had already been out with my husband this afternoon. They love going around the block, because they do not do it that often and they get a load of new smells – especially after rainfall. So block it was, especially as I felt after the end to the day, that a short walk in the fresh air would do me better than a short drive to a shorter walk.
We set off and were just about halfway around when the heavens opened once again. In my hurry, I had not brought a hat, and on feeling the collar of my jacket, which my husband had bought me last year, I realised it did not have a hood. The rain smashed down onto the streets and onto my dogs, who got even more excited. It ran through my hair and onto my face. Within seconds, I was soaking wet, although not cold as my jacket kept me warm and my boots kept my feet dry.
I walked through the rain once again with my dogs. Later there would be a hot cup of tea and a pair of warm pyjamas, but just then and there I enjoyed it as it tipped down over me and washed away the day.