Have Toby, Will Travel
Besotted, bewildered, bawling woman is reunited with her unrepentant pooch. He is absolutely fine apart from being a lot scared and a little breathless. She is still crying, but now in relief.
Have you ever wanted to be a heroine from one of your favourite books? I always saw myself as Jane Eyre: pragmatic, stoic, capable. Imagine my shock when I realised I am actually Twilight‘s Bella Swan, the girl who never stops crying.
White Van Man offered me a lift but we were five minutes from home as the crow flies (fifteen minutes as the drip walks), so I refused his kind offer. White Van Woman, however – who could have been Jane Eyre because she didn’t take any nonsense – insisted on driving Toby and me home. Her name is Christine and she didn’t mind the interruptions as I talked over her yet again (it seems my manners disappear in emergencies). I first phoned Pam with the good news and then took a call – to my great surprise – from the Hub, who seemed to know all about our adventure.
Christine dropped me and an excited Toby – I’m in a car! I can see out of the window! Why isn’t it open so I can surf? – at home and I opened the door and fell, sobbing, into the Hub’s reassuring arms.
I love coincidences. Do you? How’s this for a coincidence? I had left the Hub asleep in bed when we went out for our walk. About twenty minutes later he was woken by a nice woman named Doreen, who asked if he had two small dogs and if so, his wife had collapsed at the Pyramid roundabout.
Turns out that Doreen used to live just up the road from us and Doreen’s daughter had been in the traffic and seen Toby running through the cars and what she thought was me collapsing (I went down fast, hard and face-first). Luckily, she recognised me even though we have never met – worryingly, from the back (or, more accurately, from the bottom up); I hope it is mostly because she knows the dogs.
Doreen’s daughter phoned her Mum and asked her to drive to our house to tell the Hub what had happened. I found all of this out later when she returned to check on us. Doreen even posted a message on Facebook about a lost Yorkie. I am so grateful. What kind and thoughtful people.
The Hub, half asleep and scrambling for socks, decided to look for Toby. He didn’t know about all of the people helping me but he did know I was with Pam and therefore not alone. He also knew that I would climb out of the hospital bed it was possible I might be in and kill him if he came to see me before finding my dog.
The Hub could be Jane Eyre as well. Everyone could except for Miss Sobsalot here.
Pam arrived then with Molly, and we all exchanged stories in the kitchen, while the Hub made tea to aid our recovery. I’m pretty sure that at one point I said, ‘Excuse me,’ to Pam, and dropped my trousers. I wanted to show my wounds to the Hub.
The Hub disinfected my knees and elbow (I only discovered the scrape on my left thigh later on) and fed me paracetamol and ibuprofen, because my left arm from hand to shoulder was extremely sore. He only became concerned when I couldn’t eat a biscuit: he has never known me turn down food in thirty years, come childbirth or illness, apart from one nasty, four-day bout of gastroenteritis.
A day on the couch, a hearty lunch (including the rejected biscuit), some strong painkillers, wonder that the whole incident had lasted no more than twenty minutes (it seemed like three days; it must seem so to you, as well) and reflections on the immense kindness of strangers, and I was soon back to my normal self.
Which is just as well, because Toby wants a walk…
When I left you yesterday I was bumped, scraped, shaking and crying like a tumbled toddler; and Toby was haring down to the business park off the slip road, having avoided every vehicle on an incredibly busy intersection. I use the word ‘haring’ deliberately – one helpful stranger said that when she first saw him, he was running so fast, she thought he was a rabbit. If we ever catch him, we’re thinking of entering him into greyhound races as the mechanical hare.
I didn’t know what to do. A cyclist and several motorists had all stopped to tell me that they’d go after him. I didn’t know whether to wait where I was for them to come back, or follow my dog…my dogs! I had two dogs, one of whom I’d recklessly abandoned to chase the other. I phoned Pam, my walking companion, and she reassured me that she had Molly safe. We arranged a meeting place so that I could give her my house keys and she could take Molly home via our usual walk, on the off-chance that Toby had run that way.
I think Pam managed to grasp my instructions between my dry heaves and gasps, because she found me, took my keys and gave me the lead. She carried Molly all the way home because Molly, having been carried so far, refused to walk. Molly was born to be a handbag dog. Her only regret in having me as her darling is that my main ambition in life is to have a handbag so empty, pockets will suffice (yes, I am a woman. I’ve been tested).
What happened next is a bit of a blur. I know people stopped to ask if I was okay; to offer help/lifts/comfort; to tell me they’d seen my dog – a big husky, right? All of these drivers pulled over in rush hour traffic to help a complete stranger in obvious distress. There was a fireman, a businessman, truckers and more.
At some point, a man who works for one of Stockport Council’s service providers told me to get in his truck and he and his mate would take me to where they had last seen Toby. His mate was apologetic but adamant that I couldn’t get in because of insurance issues. No problem, said the first man; he’d walk me down and his mate would follow. I went with him but I don’t remember getting from one side of the intersection to the other. I think I was a little dazed.
The kind man then got back in his truck and went off in search of my dog. I walked in the same direction, calling Toby, still crying and shaking but thinking, somewhere deep in the bowels of my mind, I hope I haven’t put holes in the knees of these pants. I love them and I’ve only had them a month. It’s all about the priorities with me.
A blue van appeared and a nice man invited me to get in. I did. I can’t believe how easily I was prepared to drive off with total strangers. I can’t believe how the media have lied to me all these years – no one molested me in any way and every one just wanted to help. The man took me round the back of the business park, where a man out of a white van told me a bunch of people had tried to catch Toby but he had run off round the back of the buildings and they had all gone after him, some in their cars, some on foot.
He suggested I go one way and he go another, in a circle to try and head him off. He pointed to a woman slowing down in her white van (this was a business area; white vans are de rigeur in business areas) and told me she had trailed my dog. As I was chatting to her – mostly me saying, ‘Thankyousomucheveryonehasbeensokind’ between sobs and over her as she tried to tell me what had happened, the white van man shouted, ‘There he is!’
Toby was running towards me! He must have run all the way around the fairly large business park. I ran towards him, shouting his name, so of course he turned-tail and ran off in the opposite direction.
Desperation focused my mind at last: I yelled, ‘Where’s Hub? Where’s Hub?’ The Hub is the love of Toby’s life (and vice-versa): he slowed down; he turned; he hesitated; and then reluctantly headed in my direction, not entirely sure he could trust the woman yelling his beloved’s name.
Then he realised it was me. Not for Toby an enthusiastic gallop into my arms – he turned his back to me, which is his way of saying, Pick me up, please.
And I did.
Image from Wikipedia
What happened to Zemanta? I’m away for one short month and WordPress has changed everything.
I feel a prompt post coming on…
Yo, readers! I’m back! Did you miss me? I told you I’d be back. Thank you for your patience.
I had a lovely blogging break and feel refreshed and ready to write again…or I did, until yesterday.
Back With A Bang…Literally
I had intended to write my first post-break post tomorrow, on the first (you will note that my break didn’t wash away my propensity for mangled sentences; there’s no break in the world long enough to make that happen), but I had such a day yesterday, I wanted to tell you all about it; and to boast about how kind the people of Stockport are.
The day began in the ordinary way: at 08:35, my Yorkshire Terriers Toby and Molly, my friend Pam and I left my house for our weekly walk along the river Mersey, on the Pennine Way. It takes us into the heart of Stockport, under the M60 motorway, but away from roads, so it’s safe to let the dogs off the lead.
We’d been out about fifteen minutes and Toby was a little way off, investigating smells. Have you ever walked Yorkshire Terriers? They were bred as ratters. Try throwing a ball – they’ll get halfway to where it lands and be distracted by a smell, à la Doug and squirrel in Up, and that will be that for the game of Fetch as far as a Yorkie is concerned.
Toby was nose-deep (probably in something disgusting), when his body language changed and he realised he was being stared at intensely by a large dog which had come up behind us, a husky-type dog. The husky charged, scenting prey. Toby legged it. He ran up the path, under the subway and followed the path until it turned left.
I acted instinctively, forgot I was fifty and charged after him, yelling his name in what was intended as a command but which came out as a whiny beg. Fortunately, Pam had the presence of mind to grab Molly before she ran after me running after the husky running after Toby. We must have been quite a sight, with the husky owner running after me running after the husky running after Toby…who ran into rush hour traffic.
I rounded the corner as he dashed across the far four lanes. The traffic in the two lanes closest to me had stopped so I belted over to the other pavement and suddenly realised I was running downhill, faster than I’ve ever run before, and I would very shortly be crashing face-first to the ground.
And lo, it came to pass. My left hand must have taken the impact because it hurt-hurt-hurts today, up my arm to my shoulder. I thought at first I had sprained it and I’m lucky not to have broken it, such was my momentum. It is worth the pain because my face merely bounced off the pavement, leaving no scratches or bumps, just temporary indentations where my glasses had tried to give me eyes in the back of my head.
A car pulled up, and another, I think. Someone helped me stand, a cyclist chased off after Toby, who was running the wrong way through the cars on a busy intersection.
See the triangle of grass above the .co.uk? I had crossed the diagonal red path above it and was now prostrate on the path to its left. Toby was running down the slip road in front of the Pyramid, which has a large white truck going one way and a yellow van going the other.
And I will stop there for today, for two reasons:
1. Always leave them wanting more and
2. My arm hurts. Which leads to three:
3. Always leave them feeling sorry for you: it may result in chocolate.
A bits ‘n’ pieces post for you today.
The Hub managed to be in my good and bad books at the same time yesterday. He told me I’d have made a great frontierswoman, getting stuck in and getting on with surviving. The kind of woman he likes.
For someone who hates cooking, housework, needlework and any job considered ‘female’ back then, it was a rare compliment indeed. Then he said, ‘You’d have been great; but you’d have complained a lot.’
I should have told him that, in my imaginary past life as a Woman Out West (WOW), I married the wealthy rancher and let other women do the female work, with him as the mop.
That’s what I call surviving.
I met the woman who connected me to the man who organised for me to read at Walthew House in church yesterday.
Discussing how the poetry reading had gone, she told me that on that particular Tuesday, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clinic was running and the queue had spilled into the hall, as it sometimes does.
So they weren’t carers being rude; they were people who couldn’t hear me and presumably didn’t know they were talking over me.
I feel better now I have revised my earlier position. Perhaps I should send them the book.
I ran two writing workshops on Saturday, at the church fun day. If I add the total number of participants at the start of each workshop to the total number of those who came in late, it adds up to a total of Big Fat Zero.
I had a sign outside my gazebo:
I watched as people walked towards me, began to read the sign, got as far as WRITERS/WORKSHOPS and then veered rapidly off at an angle before I could collar them. Not one person in four hours expressed an interest in writing or workshops.
It went from exasperating to embarrassing to I couldn’t stop laughing about it.
Five children wandered in at different times; all went away happy with their free notebook and pen; three also left with poems they’d just written. It was worth being there for that alone. I also chattered to a lady who caught me as I was leaving (covered in shame). She knew about Stockport Writers but had never joined us; I hope I convinced her to come along to our next meeting.
Your faith in me is flattering but, I surmise on this evidence, unjustified. I thank you anyway. As a reward, have the smile that Stockport’s non-writers didn’t want: 😀
It’s been another busy week at Tilly Bud Towers so, of course, it was the blog wot give (something had to).
I promise to try and put aside tomorrow to reply to your comments and return your visits.
Sorry. Again. I mean it. No, really; I do.
There’s a lion loose in Stockport!
My friend Pam and I came across it while out on a walk with the dogs.
Pam was brave enough to stop and take a photograph:
I promised to tell you about the poetry reading I gave. It was an interesting experience. I learned how to ignore people, and that’s always good; I’ll try doing it to the Hub.
There is a place called Walthew House here in Stockport, It supports people with sight and hearing problems. They asked me to do a reading at one of their lunch groups. After some discussion over the phone with Ben, the group organiser, we decided to go with my Apartheid collection. I spent an evening preparing for the reading and a month worrying about it.
I shouldn’t have. The group was lovely: warm, friendly, inquiring.
It was the Others…
The lunch group sat at the front of the hall; the Others sat at the back. And talked. And talked and talked and talked. They talked over light poems, dark poems, black and white poems, poems about witchdoctors’ penises and poems about death, murder, bombs and violence (a lot of those).
Fortunately, I had a microphone. Unfortunately, I also had a folder and needed to turn pages regularly. Ben had provided a table but I like to stand when I read, to project. After some serious folder wobbles I had to put it on the table and look down at what I was reading. Looking down while reading aloud is a dreadful way to perform, but I figured the one bunch couldn’t see me and the Others didn’t care to. I tuned the Others out and earned my free lunch over the fifty minutes I wittered on about me and my life and the male genitalia I have met.
I invited questions and there were quite a few from the lunch group. We talked more over lunch. The Others did not eat. I think they may have been the people who brought the lunch group to Walthew House. Their attitude appeared to be, if poetry be the food of driving, talk on.
Despite my complaints, I enjoyed the experience. The group was warm and welcoming and the microphone was on full volume. I’m going back in October.
Now I have to prepare for Saturday: I’m running two poetry workshops at my church Fun Day. No microphones; no lunch; and an open gazebo. I must be mad.
mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.
Where is the heart of Stockport?
notices and reflections in ministry
The adventures of little read writing Hood
An Overlooked British Evacuation