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.