And this is Polly .......
The Machinist made them a recherche ground floor apartment, situated under the back deck. Now that there is a nip in the air, the 'puppies', as we still call them, aren't too eager to leave their cosy kennel and throw themselves at the back door, (as they usually do in the morning) in an attempt to gain entry into the kitchen. Instead, they wait until they hear the sliding door open, scramble out of their blankies and race to the open door. They won't come in until invited, though, as that would be thoroughly bad manners.
The Machinist positions me at the front door. I hold it wide open, and hide behind it. Then, he opens the back door, greets the puppies, (who are at this stage yelping with excitement) and tells them "walkies". They race through the kitchen, then through the front room and straight out of the front door, where they suddenly slam on their paw-brakes.
"Where's the mistress?" they seem to ask, looking around the front garden for me.
The puppies are just too cute, and I can't stand it any more, so I step outside and fuss them, while the Machinist clips their leashes onto their collars.
It's usually around 6.45am when we go walking. There is a thick line of mist at the bottom of the range, while the top is burned amber. There is dampness in each breath we take. The smell of ripe berries on hawthorn bushes fills the air. Neighbourhood dogs bark as we pass their territories. Garrulous cockatoos are common, early morning rioters. A daring rabbit crosses our path, and the puppies begin to tug....
The Machinist tightens his grip on their leashes.
We arrive at the oval. Time for the puppies to be let loose and race against each other. Bobby is unclipped first, and he goes for a pee in the same place each day. Polly copies him, determined to have the upper hand. As Bobby takes off, Polly barks at him, as if she's reprimanding him to slow down, or to let her go first. Bobby ignores her, and begins to race around the perimeter of the oval. Polly chases him, running as fast as her short, stocky legs will carry her. Suddenly, she trips over a large sod of grass, and her chin slides along the hard, compact earth. Only for a microsecond, though.
Yes, Polly is really determined.
The rest of the morning walk is usually uneventful, as the puppies are wet from the morning dew (they despise being wet), tired and panting. The Machinist lets them off a little before our driveway. Bobby does his usual pee, Polly copies him, then they race to the house.
And the winner is.......