The biggest test of our policy of trying our hardest to laugh at things rather than cry when everything goes a bit wrong, came on a night not long before Christmas, on a housing estate in Milton Keynes. This is where our brilliant t-shirt printer Tricia lives. Richard – my long-suffering fiance – and I had gone to pick up our latest batch of t-shirts (orange reindeer, and may I say how cool they look? Yes, I think I may.) We had arranged for my parents to babysit so that we could escape for an evening, pick up the t-shirts, do some relaxed late-night shopping and stop for a drink somewhere nice. By nice I mostly mean somewhere that doesn’t resemble a crèche. We’re not really picky when we get out these days. All was going well, we collected the t-shirts, admired them, wished Tricia a happy Christmas and moved along the hall to the front door, which is when it happened.
Rich opened the door, and out ran one very excited dog. And there followed the most ridiculous dog chase ever. I haven’t been involved in many, I should say. I’m more a cat person myself (read into this what you will, I am well aware of the many people who regard cats as malevolent, selfish creatures with very little consideration for anyone else…) and I have not chased a cat since I was 7 and was trying to put a cardigan on one. Anyway, I just assumed that a rattle of the treat tin, and a bit of tactical blocking, the dog would be back in the house within a few minutes. I was very, very wrong. Tricia’s daughter valiantly tried the biscuit tin trick, whilst Richard, Tricia and I attempted to cajole the dog back inside. After a few minutes, the dog, who was having a marvellous time, started to sprint up the road, dodging in and out of cars, presumably just to add that little extra adrenaline to the evening. We pursued the dog. We lost sight of it. Tricia’s son was dragged into the action, and we eventually tracked the very excited dog down in a dark, muddy field. Having dressed vaguely to go out somewhere civilized, I was now charging around the wet grass in some heels and a uselessly thin dress. Occasionally, as I jogged past Richie, he muttered disconsolately ‘but I’ve got my good shoes on..’ before whistling and trying to pounce on the dog, who was having the best evening with unexpected guests chasing him in and out of hedgerows.
Eventually, after an HOUR AND A HALF, Tricia somehow caught the dog. I have no idea how but I suspect that she may just have thrown herself on top of it. I would think that would be the only way. It had definitely not been showing signs of boredom or getting tired. There’s nothing like a 90 minute chase to remind you that are not in tip-top physical condition: we were exhausted, slightly traumatized, and too late for Christmas shopping.
Just to make the evening even more special, we stopped on the way home at a pub where a row of bored looking middle aged men stared as we trudged through the bar, bedraggled and muddy. And I accidentally ordered some hideous wine.
The t-shirts, on the other hand looked fab. And we did laugh, eventually, once we were back home and dry, and the alcohol had kicked in. I sent Sarah a text:
‘T-shirts great. Interesting evening…’