Tuesday, 1 April 2014
The clocks have gone back/forward. Evening light is hanging about. The temperature has risen. The thermostat has been fiddled with. Dexter knows. It's gone six. The sun's rays filtered in Suffolk pink. He begins to bark. Evensong. Excited yaps. He knows. It's that time of day. It is the season. Routine. Dexter digs out that solid rubber Kong ball. perforated with teeth scars. Sucked, gagged, chewed pitted pock marked solid rubber ball. The surface of a crimson decaying moon. But boy can it bounce. Yap. Yap. Yap. Woof - woof. Ruff. Woof. Yap. Ruff - Ruff. Yelp. Yelp. Play with me. Play with me. I'm selecting the plastic launcher stored on top of a kitchen cabinet shake off the spiders engineering works. The winter webs. Dexter in a yodelling frenzy. On hind legs, dancing backwards in front of me the Kong ball loaded into the launcher like a school cook serving lumpy mash potato. Dancing Dexter pirouettes through the gate. Skylarks in the distant. A pair of collared doves spectating on the telegraph wires directly above. The lane is deserted, late spring sunlight. I launch the ball towards Long Melford. Dexter like a greyhound at the Romford Dog track in pursuit of a ragged rabbit, plenty round here, gallops down the straight narrow lane my throw as true as Dennis Lilley and I am bowling a fast bouncer on Twickenham Green. But Dexter is almost blind. And only partially grasps sign language his hearing defunct. He's game. In the past me and my pal would play this game for ever, until the sun went down, Until the lights came on. Dexter would retrieve that Kong ball snatch it grab it find it run back drop it. bark at it wait for it chase it down. On a loop til exhaustion. Fittest terrier in the east of England. Tonight he's relying on his snout. Snout to the ground. The Kong ball bounces at one point along side him. He doesn't hear it. Doesn't see it. I see it. It comes to rest next to the grass verge sixty or so yards along the lane. Dexter sniffs along a trail and figure of eights and eventually comes across his crimson globe and trots back and deposits it at my feet. We try 3 or 4 throws and each time he's Donald Pleasance in The Great Escape.