I glanced outside the window and up at the sky. It was slate grey. Leaden even and the clouds looked full of rain. But I had decided that this week I was going to trust the Met Office app on my iPhone. I felt annoyed that after so many years the BBC had cast them adrift, so as a show of solidarity I would use their weather app as the basis for any metrological decisions that I needed to make.
I hastily put an outdoors waist coat over my tee shirt, gathered up Lilly’s balls, and clipping her lead on to her collar, set off for the morning walk.
It was, I felt a little chilly and there was a strong breeze. The sky really was very grey. I hastily checked the app again. Cloudy with sunny intervals all the way through to the early afternoon, was the forecast. I shrugged at no one in particular and we carried on. Optimistic and waterproof less.
We had walked for half an hour or so and we were just stepping onto the playing fields that lead to the woods, when it started to rain. Normally you get a few drops at first, a bit of hint, a little warning before the main event so to speak, but not this morning. It poured down from the start.
Too late to turn back, the only option was to accept that we were going to get wet. Lilly was unconcerned. She raced across the sodden grass, (It had obviously rained heavily during the night) and turned to face me.
So for the next thirty minutes or so we played fetch and chase and stalk the ball in the pouring rain. Various dogs and their owners passed us by. The dogs enjoying the rain, bounded ahead of their owners who huddled deep inside warm looking water proofs and glanced briefly at the idiot in the tee shirt with the mad ball stalking collie.
By now I was very wet. Soaked through in fact. The ball had somehow found its way into the undergrowth and Lilly, joined by a black woolly Labrador cross, were both frantically searching for it. The dog was called Marcus. Marcus’s owner assured me that Marcus would find the ball. It was what he did apparently. I shook some of the excess water from my sodden out door waistcoat and watched. Lilly adopts a random approach to trying to find her ball. This usually involves searching all the places that it possibly can’t be first, despite me trying to guide her towards where I think it is.
I was interested to see what Marcus’s technique was. I was disappointed to note that he didn’t have one, unless you can call following Lilly about, a technique. I wouldn’t personally, but despite the evidence to the contrary Marcus’s owner assured me that he would find it, ‘he always manages to find his own balls.’ She declared without batting an eyelid.
It was still raining. If anything it was getting heavier. The ball remained lost. Marcus’s owner announced that she had to go, but she was sure that if the ball still remain unfound, then Marcus would find it tomorrow. I looked at Marcus. I was not convinced. By now Lilly had decided that ball must have somehow got to the other side of the playing field and was wandering over to have a look.
I made a bit of an effort to note where I thought the ball was, just in case we came back tomorrow and then calling Lilly, set off for home. It rained all the way. Sheltering briefly in a shop doorway, I reached into my sodden inside pocket and retrieved my iPhone. I checked the app. It was now showing a diagrammatic crescent moon, and indicating a temperature of zero. This was apparently to last for the rest of the day.
Maybe the BBC had a point.