Mad­die’s World

In her weekly col­umn, Mad­die Grigg shares tales from her life in ru­ral Dorset . . .

The People's Friend - - Contents -

LIV­ING where I live, in Lush Places, a good, sturdy pair of wellies is a must, be­cause some­times this part of Dorset is more like Slush Places. Mud and pud­dles ev­ery­where.

A year or so ago, Mr Grigg caught me eye­ing up the boots of one of our neigh­bours, Mrs Re­gal Bird. I don’t think I’ve men­tioned her be­fore, but she is a very el­e­gant and serene woman. She is so grace­ful, she re­minds me of a swan.

Not just any old wellies for her. No, her boots are of brown leather, with a criss-cross pat­tern on them and a thick sole.

“Don’t tell me,” Mr Grigg said. “You’d like a new pair of boots like Mrs Re­gal Bird’s.”

The ques­tion had arisen be­cause the boots I’d had for years had de­cided to spring a leak, just as I was walk­ing Arty through a muddy pud­dle, caus­ing me to wail like a baby. I hate hav­ing wet feet.

“Well,” I said. “The thing with boots like Mrs Re­gal Bird’s is that they wouldn’t look out of place if I had to hot foot it from the field to the high street. They’re per­fect.”

So, one Christ­mas, I be­came the proud owner of a pair of boots just like my neigh­bour’s. I later dis­cov­ered that Mrs Put­ter and our next-door neigh­bour, Mrs Cham­pagne Charlie, had been given ex­actly the same by their other halves for Christ­mas.

It seems that word about Mrs Re­gal Bird’s boots had got around.

Mine lasted two whole weeks. I was walk­ing through a stream with Arty and sud­denly be­came aware of my sock be­ing as wet as the riverbed.

“That’s ridicu­lous,” Mr Grigg said. “It’s not as if they were cheap.”

Dis­cov­er­ing a split in the sole, we went back to the shop and got an iden­ti­cal pair as a re­place­ment. Again, th­ese lasted a fort­night. This time, how­ever, it was not the man­u­fac­turer’s fault. It was that blessed dog of mine.

Artemis is com­ing up to three years old now, but she still hasn’t out­grown her habit of chew­ing any­thing she can get her paws on.

Back in Greece, when she was just a pup, she de­mol­ished my grand­daugh­ter’s beau­ti­ful but­ter­fly san­dals. She’s eaten her way through slip­pers, Christ­mas presents and the base of a pine cup­board next to her bed.

It can’t be bore­dom, be­cause she does it even af­ter a five-mile route march through Dorset’s most un­du­lat­ing coun­try­side. That dog just loves to chew.

It was my own fault, re­ally. I shouldn’t have left my new boots where she could see them. But they were on the drain­ing board of the util­ity room sink af­ter I’d scrubbed off the soles.

I for­get that Arty is a big dog, es­pe­cially when she gets up on her hind legs, which she is apt to do when she spots some­thing she fan­cies.

I should have known, re­ally. I was busy with some ad­min on the com­puter on the din­ing-room ta­ble when I re­alised that Arty was no longer at my feet. She was quiet. Too quiet.

That’s when I dis­cov­ered my lovely boots had been re­duced to a man­gled wreck. Well, ac­tu­ally, just one of them, but it might as well have been the other one as well. Un­less I planned to hop around the fields, my boots weren’t much use to me.

So I’ve aban­doned the Mrs Re­gal Bird look and bought my­self some cheap wellies which do the job very nicely, thank you, and also come in the most de­light­ful shade of pink.

I am also very care­ful where I leave them so that Arty can never be tempted again.

Some hope . . . n

Wellies are a must in Lush Places!

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