Jack, my Jack Russell terrier, has been "giving me evils", to quote Vicky Pollard, ever since I arrived home this afternoon. He really, really wanted to go-for-a-walk. (I'm sure Jack thinks it's just one word; my Dad's dog used to respond just to "go-for-a", when we purposely eliminated the W A L K word from the McLean family vocabulary.)
It was way too hot at 5 pm to go-for-a-walk but, finally at about 10 pm, the temperature had cooled down sufficiently. When Jack locked eyes with me, for what must have been the hundredth time, I said the magic phrase.
Nothing terribly eventful tonight, but the neighbourhood dogs do have a habit of being overly protective of their yards, and their whole street's privacy, when Jack walks by, no matter what time of day. So we regularly create lots of late-night canine ruckus on our 20 to 30 minute jaunt, and tonight was no different.
I heard yesterday that the drought has brought out the snakes here in Penrith, with several large brown snakes and red-bellied black snakes being spotted in my street. One Jack Russell has succumbed to a poisonous snake bite, I've been told, and - knowing Jack's fondness for seeking out all things scaly and slithery - I'm trying to keep away from the obvious snake havens that we pass along the route.
I encountered a huge red-bellied black snake just beside Penrith railway station two years ago. It must have just emerged from hibernation, and I'd been there with Jack only a matter of minutes earlier. The snake crossed my path while I was retracing my steps on my way to Penrith Plaza. Had I still been with Jack on the lead, he'd have been out in front and would have met the snake long before I'd noticed it. It was a close call; one I'd rather not repeat.