Thursday, 11 February 2010

Old lady goes for a walk

The dog is only middle-aged, but she is very fond of a sit down when we go for walks.


Today she sat down here and looked at the wintry view. Fortunately, the mud beneath the battered bench was frozen hard. This is a memorial seat, put up for someone's parents, and isn't robust enough to withstand penknives and a little vandalism. The inscription is being chipped away.


The bouncy dog from down the street came to say hello. She curled her lip at him, showing him some of her seven teeth; he took the hint and loped off. She dislikes all dogs, does Madam.


She needs a haircut urgently, but it's still a bit too cold to have her home-grown insulation removed.


We moved on. She had a little sit down here too. The sun was warm in sheltered spots, but the wind came from Siberia, and cut like a knife.


Vale House, the hideously-incongruous tower block reserved for the over-55s (no children, no pets, and also no shops or hairdresser that were promised at the time it was built in the 1960s) is having a facelift, and for the first time ever, new windows. The exterior paint has been pressure-washed off, a process that has been going on for months. This has driven neighbours demented, as the cradle sounds a horn whenever it moves up or down, at a volume that may be audible in the English Channel on foggy days. It will all be repainted in an unalarming beige.


Eddie the Poisoner, fellow-allotmenteer, lives here. He says that he keeps himself to himself, otherwise all the old ladies on his floor would try to look after him. He makes this sound like a fate worse than death.

Sandra delivered newspapers here when she was a teenager, and says that the miserable old caretaker in post at that time wouldn't let delivery boys and girls use the lifts.

A minibus service shuttles back and forth into the city centre and as far as Central Station; it prevents these flats from becoming a prison for some of the elderly people who can't manage the hilly streets. It's a handy little bus, picking up from other estates with older folk, and buzzes with the liveliest gossip. Most people seem to have racking coughs; it's a journey that always makes me feel young, fit and well.

And then it was time to head home. We'll go out again later, but this time with the dog's coat on; we find that Siberian winds don't warm up much as daylight fades.

16 comments:

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Hope the weather warms up soon.

My Yorkie used to snap at any noses that got too close! (Can't say I blame her!)

Dartford Warbler said...

Our Old Dog sympathises with your Old Lady. Twenty minutes up on the hill is all that he can stand in the Siberian wind.

BumbleVee said...

good grief! that monstrosity looks like the blocks of Russian flats...except it is taller. Pity the poor pensioners if there is a fire and the "lifts" are stopped ...they may as well stay in their cells and just wait it out... they'd never make it down the steps....

I think it's pretty cute how the little lady love to sit on each bench....

Pam said...

I liked this little peek into your everyday life, and of those around you. As you say, the maintenance work must be driving people mad.My mother would be one of those ladies that would drive that old man mad, and she'd try to find out everything about him. When I tell her that some people just don't want to reveal everything,she just says "Nonsense, some people are shy. They need to be drawn out.I'll try to get him to answer the door this time, when I leave this casserole...".

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Tosca's walk rather resembles a Royal Progress .Though she seems to have given up the small talk with vulgar peasants bit .
What alarming colour was Vale House before its wash ?

rachel said...

Yes, Pam, that's exactly the sort of old lady Eddie is avoiding....

And the dog, when not sitting on thrones, tends only to see the vulgar peasants as far as their mid-shins. Not conducive to asserting her queenly authority!

Vale House used to be a rather nice pale blue-grey, the colour of an English sky, but sadly, still looked awful.

Marie said...

We have those frigid winds down here as well. Not very nice and totally freezing. I will be glad when they depart!!

PG said...

No offence intended R, but sometimes when I see your photos I am reminded of why I was so thankful to leave Newcastle (I can remember the joy in my heart as I was driven out and away for the last time) and why I have never returned, even for a visit. However, I do have old college friends who remember it with nostalgia (naturally they all live in the home counties and London...)

rachel said...

Yes, PG, I am longing for a softer, greener environment, where I don't have to ruthlessly crop my photos in order to shield the gentle reader from the hard-edged grimness of much of this city....

Soon, soon.....

judy in ky said...

I will never be old enough to live in a place like that... no pets... that's just cruel!

BumbleVee said...

hey Rachel.... do you have any patterns for a doggie coat? or good sources? A fellow bear maker in the UK was wondering if we know of any.

Rattling On said...

Bumble Vee I used to live in Russian flat!! But I know what you mean.
Our old dog can't even manage a short walk these days, even though she'd really like to.

MLou said...

If I was a wee teacup terrier, I would like big bossy dogs either. It's all a matter of scale.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I want stained glass windows , too . Your window ledge is beautiful .
Did you watch the Monty Don programme on ancient crafts last night ? I thought I'd start on the chair while I waited for the one on glass . Might give thatching a miss , we've got a flat roof .

jinksy said...

Your dog has the right idea - no hair cut until the weather warms up! Wish I'd had as much sense!

Meggie said...

I am so glad I don't have to live in a hideous building like that!
Your animal family is lovely!

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