Which are worse children or dogs? I guess it is a toss up as to which will embarrass you most when you go out visiting.
You know you get the invite and you really want to go but you can't get a babysitter so your lovely new acquaintances whom you really like and would like to know better, say: "Do please bring the children, they can sleep in the spare room."
Sleep, my eye, the horrid little toads cause absolute mayhem, run screaming up and down the corridors, jump on the beds and land up sitting on your lap at the dining room table with everyone saying: "No, really don't worry, no bother at all!" But you know they don't mean or else going they say things like: "Aren't they cute!" which you know will only make the horrors worse. You leave said dinner party early with tail between legs and hope of ever returning totally dashed.
But it is worse when you land up taking your dogs, much worse when one of your dogs is an evil black job called Sassy with a penchant for stealing, running off and ignoring you when there are other more exciting things to do. Normally she doesn't do all three, this time she did and she is grounded forever!
Friends of ours (at least I hope they are still friends) bought a new house not far away from us, it is stunning with flint-faced facade, double aspect drawing room, library, billiard room, stunning gardens, just a perfect family home and like all new homeowners my friends were keen to show off . Me, being as nosey as I am, couldn't wait to assist with this excellent plan BUT the dogs had to come to due to builders at home.
Delighted said friend who didn't know my dogs as well as she might.
So off we all went, I had some doubts but boys and husband pooh-poohed me. What can go wrong?
Well, a lot.
Everything was fine to begin with and I got lulled into a false sense of security. The dogs ran about outside, they couldn't get out of the garden everything was fine and dandy, until someone left the back door into the kitchen open...
She got in, at first all she did was run about the house trying to find me. "No problem," said unsuspecting friend. Not so much of a problem then when a few moments later said friends' daughter came screaming and sobbing that my dog had nicked her rabbit teddy and run away with it. I shot off in hot pursuit and found a slightly damp rabbit ted just outside the kitchen, on picking it up I heard a clatter in the kitchen, my blood ran cold. "Oh god no not lunch!" Flinging open the door I was just able to see the dog nimbly leaping off the sideboard and dashing into the garden, or what I took for the garden.
There was definitely something missing, but on the whole not too much damage. Nothing broken. I rectified what little mess there was and took the rabbit ted back to it's grateful owner. I am afraid I said nothing about what had happened in the kitchen.
Lunch was being served when it was thought best that we shoudl take the dogs back to the car. But horrors! The wickedest whippet was not there and could not be found. We got the remainder of the pack, two whippets and a Jack Russell back in the car and I set about trying to find Sassy.
I looked everywhere, high and low. Husband hassled me saying lunch was being served and that I needed to sit down for it. I said I had to find the dog. I called and called. No dog.
I apologised to friends and said carry on with lunch not noting the strong looks, I dashed outside again and started to look elsewhere round the property. Over by the stables, over by the cottage, over by the paddock. Then I saw the style. I went over, then I saw the woods and the sign. No entry. And I knew she was there where she shouldn't be. I called and called. Nothing.
I screwed up my courage and went into the forbidden wood calling all the while. I was calling for ages. Then I spotted her sniffing about a pile of logs. Relief. I shouted at her to get back here. But the bloody dog ignored me. I called again. Deliberate ignoring. I know she heard me because she looked up and wagged her tail but she stayed exactly where she was. I started to approach her, but she trotted off. I stopped. She stopped. I called again. She lay down and rolled. I stepped forward. She started up. It was useless
Husband caught up with me.
"For God's sake lunch is nearly over!"
"But I have got to catch her!" I wailed.
"Fat chance." he said
"She ate the lunch."
"She stole the cold roast chicken..."
I groaned This day could not get worse...
But it did while we were talking she had disappeared again, then our friends turned up.
"Oh my god she can't be in there our neighbours will go ballistic! They've got pheasant pens in that wood!"
My heart sank.
We started to hunt her down. I could hear the sound of traffic nearby. No, she couldn't go towards that she hates cars. I heard the sound of an angry horn.
"Oh God get the car I think she's on the road!"
I ran toward the road then spotted her on th side as cool as you please sniffing something quite disgusting.
I calmly walked towards her. She sloped off up the road. I followed behind calling out to her encouragingly: "Come here Sassy!". We did this for 20 minutes getting further and further away from my friends' house.
I frantically waved at cars to slow down. A smart sports car drove by and sweetly slowed forcing the traffic behind it to slow as well. Sassy was getting further from me. The sports car drew up beside her. They opened the doors and she just jumped in. The car drove off leaving me dumbfounded on the side of the road. They'd stolen my dog!
I lost sight of them so turned back running pell mell I had to call the police. What seemed like hours later I saw my friends' house and dashed up the drive. "The dog's been stolen!" I hollered running inside and grabbing the phone to dial 999.
"The dog is fine and in the car."
I looked blankly.
"That was your husband who picked her up."
I looked at my friend sheepishly.
"Thank you," I said
"No problem." she smiled sweetly
But I know she didn't mean it...