Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Saga of the Jack Russell and the missing glove

dogA couple of weeks ago my son was down from university for just one day and was getting a lift back to Newcastle via the M62 at Huddersfield. I dropped him off at the motorway junction complete with newly washed and ironed clothes, enough food for the next millennium (because that’s what mums do) and £20 (just because I could). With husband swanning it in Egypt decided, rather than go home, I’d do a bit of leafleting in the M62 junction area. I was giving a talk –  “An evening with Julie Houston”  – to fifty lovely ladies (and one man) the following week with all funds going to the NSPCC, and thought I’d advertise both the talk and the NSPCC with a bit of gentle leafleting through doors. Now, I did have an ulterior motive: my gym’s swimming pool is closed for refurb for the next few weeks and I reckoned a quick stride up and down steps and paths might be a fair alternative to the thirty lengths I normally go for. All was going well, chatted to a few friendly people and was generally working up quite a sweat delivering at manic speed through an amazingly diverse set of letterboxes. (Avoid the hairy ones – they are like trying to deliver through a toilet brush!) I saw the Jack Russell at the window and should have known better than to deliver through that particular letter box. Next thing I knew the bloody thing had my finger through the letter box and wouldn’t let go. Very embarrassing to be stuck to a letter box knowing your finger is about to lose all contact with your hand. THANK GOD I was wearing gloves, and leather ones at that, or my finger would have been at the other side of the door. How does one go about getting one’s finger back? Knock and say, “Excuse me, Mister, my finger’s gone in your hall. Please can I have it back?’ With one final yank I managed to retrieve my finger from the slavering beast’s jaws, leaving only – but still my best – leather glove behind. A bit shell-shocked, I walked, gloveless, and tittering/crying (believe me, there is such a state) down the rest of the estate. Suddenly a voice shouted my name. I turned, assuming it to be the beast’s owner returning my (although at that stage –  I assumed – quite dead) glove. It wasn’t. It was knight in shining armour and RNA colleague Andrew (aka Robert Fanshaw) Shepherd to whom I gabbled hysterically about mad dogs, rabies, chewed fingers and the NSPCC. Andrew did say he’d come to my talk which did go some way to compensating for nearly losing my finger. That night in my lonely bed (remember, husband away swanning it in Egypt) I developed Rabies, Tetanus and Gangrene interspersed with an uncontrollable urge to titter. (Uncontrollable urges to titter alternating with checking for stiff neck symptom of Tetanus NOT conducive to good night’s sleep) I share with you all the tweets Andrew sent me yesterday, the reading of which guarantee his place as Comedy as well as Romantic Novelist!
“Your glove is now in my possession. I hope you still have the other one! It’s a good story”
“That is sooooo funny!! What did you say? What did they say? Just about to throw other glove away. Glad I didn’t!!”
“Mr on a walk with JR and put it to him. Denied it at first (fearing legal action?) then admitted to dog glove theft.”
“1/2 Then rang our door last night, sheepish, proffered glove as peace offering. Our dog barked at his!”

And the moral of the story? Avoid hairy toilet brush letterboxes and Jack Russells that have Napoleonic complex. And if you can’t, make sure there is a fellow novelist living opposite


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