Saturday, August 26, 2006

Missing Dogs Scare!

Well we've just had an almighty scare! I'd been at work all day and Ian had gone down to Salisbury to pick up the kids who are staying for the weekend. The boys had been left out the back in their fenced off area on the patio. I got home at 5 o'clock and went straight out to see them, but there was no sign of either of them. The wire fence panels had been forced apart and there was a hole under the wire fencing in front of the hedge where they had obviously squeezed through into one of the adjoining gardens.

After knocking on the doors of all the houses that run along the side of our garden with no luck I traipsed the length of the road down to where the path to the river bends off and tracked round along the riverbank and into the big field behind us, where we have found Pepsi on a number of previous escape attempts, but this time there was no sign.

After checking out the opposite bank, again with no luck, I traipsed home in the rain. I had rung Ian by this stage on the mobile and let him know what had happened, but he was still a good 20 minutes away. As soon as I got home I tried finding the number for the local dog warden, but couldn't find anything in the telephone book and ended up calling Birmingham Council emergency hotline, where they very kindly gave me the number after I explained the situation. But on ringing all I got was a recorded message that the office was closed until Tuesday (as this was Friday and Monday was a bank holiday, this wasn't much help!). So then I rang the police in the hope someone may have reported them and again was given another number to ring for the local station. The officer made a note of the details but couldn't help any further. By this time Ian had arrived home with the kids, who he had told the grim news in the car.

What happened next must have been inspired. After searching through the telephone directory in desperation I came across a number for something called Petsearch and thinking I could at least report them missing rang the number given which was in Solihull, a town in the next county. Almost immediately an elderly ladies voice answered and on my giving the dogs details she told me to ring a Mrs Moore and gave me a number which I assumed was the contact for my area. She then said 'she's got them' it took a few seconds for what she had just said to sink in, but once it did all I could say was 'thank you, thank you' before bursting into tears of relief as I put down the phone. I had to hand the phone to Ian so he could ring the lady as I was in no fit state to talk to anyone. Anyway we found out that they were safe and well and about a mile away, having gone down the length of Middlemore Road and onto a busy crossing, turned left and carried on up the very busy West Heath Rd, where apparently Max seems to have been clipped by a car as they crossed the road. Fortunately he has shown no signs of any harm or damage since then and has certainly not lost his appetite! so we are assuming his bulk saved him and he probably just glanced off it.

It was with great relief that we went and fetched the two errant boys and of course a great fuss was made of them once we got them safely home with lots of treats and hugs. Needless to say we are having to rethink the garden security as I found Max climbing the fence on Sunday and only just managed to grab him as he reached the top and was about to launch himself off to the other side. At least we now know how he has been getting out!

Friday, August 25, 2006


Our present big project is redecorating & recarpeting the hall, stairs and landing. We have already ripped up the old carpet and underlay, and what a job that was! it was all so old the black rubber underlay (which obviously dated from the 70's) had in large part turned to dust and what hadn't was stuck to the floors and stairs! After getting all that cleared up and thrown out Ian has got on sanding down the door frames and skirtings (fortunately because we have replaced all the doors they only need painting!) and has now nearly finished the painting.

We have chosen a nice pale coloured wallpaper with a terracotta (more flame orange actually) motif to go with the carpets we are getting once all the decorating is finished. These will match the colour we have in all the main bedrooms so the floors wil be thesame throughout. After reviewing the situation a couple of weeks ago we made the decision there was no way we could do the wallpapering ourselves due to the high ceilings above the stairs and long drops required, so we have found a man to do it for us. I wanted him to just stick it up over the existing woodchip, seeing no problem in this method :-), but he has insisted on stripping the woodchip and then wallpapering. I foresee problems ahead because I dont think the condition of the walls is that good and I think this is going to cause more harm than good and turn into another expensive repair job! (like most things we have attempted in this house!). Anyway he starts next month after we get back from our trip to Ireland so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Talking of our trip to Ireland, we are off to County Cork, in the South West, taking the overnight ferry from Swansea to Cork and then driving west to Schull (pronounced Skull). We wanted to stay in the Skibbereen area as that's where my paternal family originated, but couldn't find any rental houses that would accept two dogs. We finally found a brand new detached house (which sleeps eight!) in Schull, a very pretty fishing village not far from Skibbereen. We are off in a couple of weeks and I can't wait.