At 1.45 am this morning our dog was scraping at the kitchen door to go outside so I pulled on my dressing gown, pushed my feet into my slippers and went down stairs. Quietly opening the front door the damned mutt carefully dragged me into the street. The air was so cold that I felt my breath freezing as it escaped into the atmosphere. I watched each smoky breath slowly rise as if I too were ascending, piece by piece.
I slipped around the side of the house where the back security light momentarily blinded me. The dog seemed oblivious to the Colditz-like intensity of it’s spotlight and continued pulling me towards the back of the garden beside the tall hedging. The grass sparkled like a million diamonds had just been delivered from the dark sky above. I tried to resist but the dog was too strong or, more likely, I was too weak. Anyway he seemed to have something other than the cold air on his mind. I thought, the quicker this is over the sooner I will be back in bed.
The dog circled around his usual haunts before deciding not to decide at all. In just one brief moment a number of factors came into play all at once. Even now I am not sure which order the following occurred. The dog somehow managed to get his long lead wrapped around a clothes drying pole; the security light went out after it’s obligatory time had elapsed – plunging us both into darkness, I pulled at the the lead to try to encourage him to make the return journey but was only successful in making me pirouette to the ground – falling onto the grass at the edge of the decking below thereby instantly letting go of the dog lead as I used my hands to cushion my fall, the dog let out with a loud yelp as I can only imagine that the leads’ plastic handle hit him square on the ass. I then added to the general jollity of the moment with a few unsavoury words of my own as I cascaded to terra firma.
I lay there for what seemed like forever wondering what sort of funeral my family would plan for me when I suddenly realised that I could not get up again. Having often imagined this scenario, and therefore having worked out all of the possible solutions, I had felt well prepared. Normally I would have had my mobile with me such is my paranoia but alas not this time. My hands clasped the sharp edges of the decking like a man clinging to the last “women and children only” lifeboat casting off from the Titanic.
For all that, I was impressed by how utterly calm I felt as I lay face down in the wet grass that surrounded the area. I decided that I had in fact just fallen awkwardly and had not broken any bones this time. Instead I could look forward to waking up with some terrific bruising. Feeling instantly better about my situation I thought I should get up. As I tried to push myself up on my left hand side I felt an acute pain. I lay back down and, glancing to my right, noticed that the dog now stood beside me. By the light of the moon I could not grasp what he was contemplating doing next. He may be there sympathising with his master or he may be just about to add insult to injury. Without thinking I bared my teeth and growled at him. As he quickly lay down beside me and began to whimper he made me feel very guilty for having doubted his loyalty.
Moments later I did manage to get up and make it back to the house. At that precise moment the pain was not as great as the humiliation I felt at being pulled off my feet by a little spaniel. After cleaning up my wounds I retired for the evening. I did not sleep too well.
A whole 24 hours later and here I lie, propped up by pillows, cushions and pain relief, dictating this to my son who is feverishly typing it into the computer. The moral of the story: next time, go back to sleep.