The time has passed quickly. Markers of seasons coming and going are evident. The blackcurrants are being harvested. I watch the farmer and his team of 3 people as they comb the bushes with a complicated machine. Hares and foxes that hide in the blackcurrant bushes have hopefully escaped the hum and shake of the machine. The dandelions between rows of bushes have lost their fluffy lollipops. Oak trees are heavy with deep green leaves, hiding squirrels, babies who scurry around in a staccato fashion and older squirrels who are cautious optimists. Ivy and Italy (dog and cat) both watch the wooden fence for signs of these creatures. A fascination and obsession. I am guilty too.
The wheat fields that I see from the train are crisp and ready for harvest. The pond on the green is getting lower but undeterred the ducks and 11 teenager ducks, float on. They are all too aware of the Prussian carp lurking below and the dogs barking on the green.
We have been to Cambridge, seen the swans on the river hiss at Ivy and marvel at the colleges, we have mudlarked on the banks of the Thames River and picked-up bones of animals slaughtered hundreds of years ago along its banks plus a few pieces of Roman pottery, and we watched the Coronation with all its grandeur with our Union Jack flag outside the front door and the street tea party that followed. All the while, Russia continues to wage war, climates are distorted by human activity and natural resources become tools of friction.
Yet, in England, it is mad summer holiday time. Towns are bursting with people: tourists, locals and those going about their chores. Ivy snaps at larger dogs who frighten her. We are again forced to apologise for breaking the British silence as Ivy woofs and waffs away…because she can and she will. Always ready to have the last woof. Close your eyes for a moment and you would think we have a large American bear. No. We have a 9 kg miniature schnauzer who goes to day-care 5 days a week with other dogs, and never a cross word is said about her behaviour until she is with her two humans. When we went to the open day at day-care a little while ago, she was in top form. To her carers at day-care, she was another dog. She was not Ivy. Clearly the two humans in her life, who love and care for her, feed her, tickle her tummy, clean her eyes, check her paws, pick-up and carry her excretions around in poo-packets on walks, are a bad influence.
Italy hurt a front leg. We all looked suspiciously at the little black dog. Yes, the dog who chases him, who turns him upside down and spins him on his back on the floor (think: Michael Jackson’s break-dancing), who leaves doggy saliva all over his ears. The jury is out on the suspect (if any) who caused another vet visit but we would not be surprised if the little black dog contributed to a sore leg.
We need a real holiday. All of us. Humans are off to Ireland for a few days. Non-human animals can rest with their respective carers. I am off to an Animal Law conference in Cambridge as well. Then my new studies start. A long road ahead, one module at a time. A deep dive into animals, the law and ethics. Watch this space!