Things continued to go not quite to plan. I cycled in to town and found the cashpoint was out of commission. No problem, I’d go to the one outside Barclays. I got veggies and fruit from Al and cycled round to the other bank, and found that the pavementworks which had left a path to it no longer did for the time being. So I went in the bank and enquired. The money is not in my account.
I got on my bike, rehearsing in my mind what I’d say in my politely assertive phone call, which I would just have time to make before babysitting. A few yards out of town, however, I saw two black labradors trotting, with ‘tee hee, aren’t we naughty?’ expressions on their faces and bodies, towards the town. I stopped and went up to them and told them to sit. They did, but then a car came along so the younger dog (not much more than a pup) went into the road. I hope the driver didn’t think they were mine. A jogger approached and joined me. Neither of us had a phone with us and the dogs only had phone numbers on their collars, not a name or address. I suggested that I walk holding a dog with one hand and my bike with the other, if he would manage the other dog – they were too skittish both to be managed by one.
So we set off. After a while (for I had the younger, more nervy dog), I looped the strap of my bag through my dog’s collar as a makeshift lead. When halfway to the village, a woman came along. She had seen them too and had gone home for leads and come back to help. We thanked the man and let him go, and proceeded to her house. Fortunately, she lives in the first house in the village.
She doesn’t have dogs now, but had kept the leads, luckily. We spoke sympathetically of the anxiety of the owner, who’d be searching for them. Both dogs were wet, they’d evidently enjoyed a swim (the river and streams are full to overflowing onto the watermeadows) but she cheerfully let them in through her front door. I read out the phone number and she wrote it down, and I thanked her and left her to it.
I was home in time to babysit but not to ring. It doesn’t matter; it’s the protest that matters and the lateness of the payment will not be altered by my irate call.
And the children were lovely and all’s well, really. Nice people, weren’t they? None of us was self-righteous – we’ve all had dogs go missing and we’re just grateful if someone helps, rather than complains.
Which reminds me, a dog was running loose round the town centre on Saturday. Someone caught it and took it into the pet shop. They gave it water and biscuits and tied it to the Buttercross, in the hope that the owner would find it. No one did. So they rang the dog warden. “Well, you can let it go or take it home. I’m not on duty. Not good enough? Pfft. Phone the police then.” So they did and the police have been able to return it to its owner.