Saturday, June 7, 2008
Messing About on the River
Much as I love him, few can deny my poor, beloved Jake is every bit as dense as he is sweet. The little lad has been feeling a wee bit deprived as of late, what with our roads being sealed off due to all the bikes racing past our drive and all. I've had to confine him to quarters rather more than he'd like. Pets and machinery make for a bad mix, besides, the noise of the engines are hard enough on our own ears, let alone on those of our four legged friends.
When cabin fever grabs either of my two eldest, they can escape lock-down via a slightly precarious, rather dodgy back route. You see, we may not be allowed out of our drive, but by cutting through our back garden, opening the gate and crossing down past the glen, if you balance your way over a slippery pile of boulders that straddles the river, then hike over the odd style and fence, you finish up able to cross over a field that leads on to an open road. Yesterday my eldest daughter, in her best of high heels, with her overnight bag slung over one shoulder, informed me she was taking off for a sleep-over at her friend Katie's house. I did mention she might benefit from the use of a pair of stout Wellington boots, but Beccy being Beccy, she naturally decided her sling-back shoes were perfectly adequate for the task ahead.
Twenty minutes later the silly kid came dripping back indoors, in dire need of a shower and a dry change of clothes. Second time around she left with a flat and far more comfortable set of shoes on her feet. I tried so very hard not to crow. Anyhows, I guess she was distracted then, running late as she was, and so it totally slipped her mind to slide the bolt on the garden gate as she left.
Now, Jake may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he is not entirely stupid. He knows where his river is, and since I wasn't about to take him down there, seems he decided he might as well up and take himself off on his own. He's generally a good lad and never ventures far, in quieter times I have been known to allow him out for the odd solitary swim. He rarely stays long and always comes back safely. So when my youngest ran in to tell me Jake had slipped past the gate, I wasn't overly concerned. The front path up our drive is completely sealed off, there is no way he could find his way to danger.
It was about fifteen minutes later that I first heard his barking. When it continued, a little more urgent, I sensed something was up.
With only the mildest of curses, I reluctantly set off to haul him back. Once there, it only took seconds to fathom the problem. The stoooooopid, stoooopid mutt had only gone and swum himself over to the deepest part of the river, right by the edge of the bank. The bank at this point is far too steep for him to clamber up. He didn't have the sense to turn around and swim back the way he came, and he was now furiously doggy paddling for all he was worth. At first, knowing I couldn't reach him, I tried throwing some sticks farther out, in the hopes of encouraging him to turn around and swim back the way he had come. Not a chance, he was far too distressed. Lying flat on my tum, I scrambled down as far as I dared. Managing to hook a finger around his collar, I succeeded in grabbing enough hold to try to yank him up. Sadly, he is far too heavy for me to lift, and the wretched hound seemed to much prefer drowning over the offered prospect of slow strangulation. I gave up pulling and looked around. Such an isolated place, there was no help at hand. I held his collar as I tried to ponder what to do. Bear in mind, hubby is off doing his marshaling bit, and I have only my two youngest back at home.
A couple of years passed (okay, maybe it was a bit sooner than that), when little Abby came out to investigate where we had gone. I urgently told her to hot foot it over to Nutty Nora's next door, and tell her I needed some help. Give the kid her due, she had to climb over the garden wall to get there (did I mention the road was closed?), but get there she did. Unfortunately, what I hadn't banked on was that Nutty Nora first needed to fix her hair, apply some make-up, and dig out her long-lost water-proofs before setting out.. not to mention to fetch a step ladder in order to haul her considerable self over our way.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch..
I finally decided to give up waiting and jumped in to get him. Jake generously accepted my tow back to the other side of the river, and we both gratefully scrambled back up to Terra firma. Pausing briefly to recover our heart rate, we eventually turned for home, weary, wet and a little shaken, we were thankfully none the worse for our little adventure.
Mid-way up through the glen, whom should I spy but the very glam queen herself, our heroine, Nutty Nora. Great. Course, she just had to follow us all the way back to the house again. All I truly wanted was to shower and to change, the last thing I needed was to have her camped out in my kitchen for the next three hours.
No river jaunts for Jake anymore, you can bank on it (oops). And as for Beccy, she has a brand new set of good shoes of mine to replace, when I finally get my hands on her.