I have been away in Center Parcs. I’m not going to say much about that because there will be actual COLUMNs and you will find them tiresome enough.
However, I left the family home in the hands of our next-door neighbours. I wasn’t expecting them to tackle burglars – I just gave them a mobile number and asked them to call if the house was in some way destroyed.
For carrying out that task it was decided they were entitled to a box of Center Parcs-branded marmalade-flavoured biscuits, and because I am the man of the house it fell to me to deliver the biscuits.
This is because my neighbours have a Jack Russell with an enthusiasm for barking and jumping far beyond his dog years. It probably qualifies as a mid-life crisis. I suspect he also suffers from “little dog syndrome” and is over-compensating. Either way, he can be quite tiresome.
I used to own a Jack Russell and so I am able to speak with authority on the subject. They are loyal but vicious little buggers.
I rang the bell, and the dog – let’s call him Davina – started barking and scratching the door with gusto. I was filled with a sense of foreboding and wished I’d thought to bring a ham roll with me.
My neighbour answered the door and Davina shot through my legs.
“Thanks for looking after the place. It didn’t burn down, then? Ha ha ha ha ha,” I said. I am amazing at banter.
“Ooh, biscuits. I like them”, she replied. “You shouldn’t have…”
And as she said it I felt a very sharp pain in what I can only describe as my rumpy parts.
I was aware Davina was jumping up behind me. What I do not know is whether he scratched the area with a claw, or whether he actually nipped my backside with his sharp, dog-style teeth. What I do know is that I squeaked very loudly.
But the squeak was not acknowledged. I assume she thought this was the sort of thing I do in the middle of a conversation and I can sort of see where she would get that impression. Instead, she took the biscuits from my hand and dismissed me with a cheery bye.
Now, my question is this: should I have demanded the biscuits back having paid my debt by being possibly nipped by her dog? All she had done was have a phone number somewhere in her house. I have loads of phone numbers in my house and I don’t expect a lorry-load of biscuits.
I have basically given her a couple of biscuits for having a piece of paper and the rest for the privilege of not knowing for sure if a dog has bitten my arse, haven’t I?
This is why I should never go on holiday or speak to other people.