Pop's, Nona, Harris And The Hide Away Hut
A Kindness Returned
My name is Harris. A pedigree West Highland Terrier am I.
I am an honest dog who tells stories, I cannot tell a lie.
I sometimes stay with Pop’s and Nona, when Little Miss B goes on holiday.
Little Miss B is my owner. “Oh, how I’ll miss you!” is what she’ll always say.
Pop’s and Nona are just great, they treat me like a King.
Especially since I saved them once upon a time, for home safely did I them bring.
Here is the story of what happened when we went exploring in the wooded countryside.
Caught in a storm overnight, lost and searching in the woods for somewhere to take shelter and to hide.
It started as a clear and sunny day in late Spring, with the sky a brilliant blue.
“How about a long walk in the country Mr H? What to that say you?”
Both Pop’s and Nona asked me as I wagged my tail fast.
To the door I ran excitedly, for out of the house I was not going to be the last.
The woods were a car journey away, but really worth the wait.
Nona parked up their little car, so out we climbed and went through a little rickety gate.
All around the trees stood tall, full of fresh young leaves so green.
Pop’s and Nona chuckled at my high tail rummaging in the grass, a sight was I to be seen.
We walked for a long time beneath the trees, listening to all the birds in song.
Lesser paths passed under our feet. With Pop’s compass at hand how could we go wrong?
Happily, I romped and sniffed all through the undergrowth. I was having so much fun.
Not one of us really noticed any of the gathering clouds above, nor the fading of the sun.
We had set out at mid-morning with supplies and snacks which Nona had prepared.
But at noon’s rest, “Oh by gum! I think we’re lost,” Pop’s suddenly declared.
Chewing on his cheese sandwich he waived his compass despairingly in the air.
“It’s knackered, now I don’t know which way is home!” At Nona he couldn’t look. He really didn’t dare…
He sat there fretting upon his fallen log, then jumped up yelling, itching wildly at his pants.
Nona couldn’t help but laughing as she spied upon the log an army of Red Ants.
They had crawled inside his shorts to nip him neatly on his hairy bum!
Pop’s looked really miserable. With shorts around his ankles the Red Ants had left him numb.
“Pull yourself together,” Nona said, “and have a swig of tea if you please.”
“No-one needs a wailing Wally now, especially not one with knobbly knees.”
“A Brown Owl is always ready, no matter what the challenge, to always be a Guide.”
“We’ll get over this, Pop’s,” Nona said. “You just stay with me, right here by my side.”
Pop’s was feeling very sorry for himself, so jumping up on hind legs I went and licked his hand.
“No time now to ‘dilly-dally’,” Nona said as she began marching into the dense woodland.
“We have our mobile phones with us, there’ll be someone on whose help we can call!”
But sadly, Nona’s hopes were dashed for no signal could be found and their spirits began to fall.
Grey clouds had by now filled the sky above and the wind began to rise.
“All we need now is rain,” said Pop’s in between his mournful sighs.
And sure enough the rain came down through the leaves with a clattering sound.
How quickly the mud formed, making us walk over really squelchy ground.
Drip, drip, drip, the water fell, until it ran down both their necks.
Pop’s and Nona looked so glum trudging in the gloom. A right old pair of wrecks.
The rain, it just did not bother me, nor my paws of mud.
I was getting tired though, with my little legs, and would have welcomed my warm bed if I but could.
Yet on we trekked, all wet through, beneath the dripping branches of the trees.
“We can kiss goodbye to our dinner,” Nona moaned, “of fish ‘n’ chips and some lovely mushy peas.”
A distant rumble then was heard. Said Pop’s, “I think that might have been my tummy.”
“I wish you hadn’t mentioned mushy peas, they’re my favourite and dinner sounded just so yummy!”
Time moved on, the hours ticked by and darkness fell completely,
But Nona had a torch in Pop’s backpack, all packed carefully and really, very neatly.
A torch which she could wear upon her head and left her hands both free.
On it went and with delight, the puddled paths ahead, we then all could clearly see.
Shadows danced in the torchlight, casting spooky shapes everywhere.
Imaginations played their part, with us each thinking we could see a beastly beast crouching in its’ lair.
Flash and crash! The lightening came with a chorus of deafening thunder.
I barked and whined in fright. Storms always make me look for something to hide under!
My nose twitched at a scent nearby, brought to me on a windy gust.
Of rust and dust, dry rabbit droppings and other things, but in my nose I trust.
I barked and yelped, running excited circles around Pop’s and Nona’s muddy boots.
I led them to a hideaway hut over roots and stones and many tangled roots.
A hut of wooden planks for walls and an iron roof, without windows only a single unlocked door.
Within its fragile frame, shelter is what we took from pouring rain, lightening flash and the sound of thunder roar.
With relief Pop’s and Nona hugged, before patting me gratefully upon my head.
“Well done Harris!” they said together. “Here we’ll have to camp for the night, settle down and make a bed…”
Nona set about to organise us, for that is just what she liked to do
In the corner of the hut there stood an old log burner, complete with a dry twig or two.
“Try and get a small fire lit, Pop’s, to warm our damp and aching bones.”
Pop’s huffed and puffed whilst looking for some matches, to which Nona irritably said, “Please stop it with your groans!”
“But these matches are no good, Nona,” Pop’s proclaimed, “in this soggy box!”
“I have my fire makers badge,” said Nona, “so I’ll start the fire with these twigs, a bit of twine and these old grey rocks.”
Pop’s watched in wonder Nona work her magic, creating tiny sparks so bright,
Soon they had a small fire burning, and that certainly made them feel better, alright.
Their coats and clothes they took off, hung on old nails in the walls, hoping they would dry.
Wrapped together in a picnic blanket on the dirt, Nona produced a surprise snack of pickled eggs with a cheese and potato pie.
“Oh, happy days,” Pop’s cried out loud. “It reminds me of our honeymoon spent sleeping in the car park at Beatrix Potters home.”
Nona began to laugh, but then she shrieked in fright, for a piercing cry they suddenly heard from a night creature on the roam.
There came an awful scratching at the bottom of the door, a grunting and growling came before they saw the claw!
Pop’s and Nona clung together while I barked and barked, and then I barked some more.
“F, f, fox or b, b, b, badger?” Nona whispered into Pop’s hearing aid.
“Let’s make some noise,” Pop’s replied, “Some camping songs with you I’ll trade.”
The badger left at my barking or their noise, I think I’ll never know.
But it did not stop a mouse or two, in the night, from running over Nona’s toe.
“I love to go a wandering…,” Pop’s began croaking with his first song.
Nona joined in, taking over with ‘Pink Pajama’s’, which I thought went on a bit too long.
Feeling so much better they ended on ‘Ging-Gang-Gooli-Gooli-Gooli-Gooli-Wish-Wash’.
Pop’s and Nona worked together, such a predicament as they were in, their spirits could not squash.
They finally fell asleep hand-in-hand with the storm still raging through the night.
Yet when morning dawned the rain had stopped, the skies were clear and bright.
While Pop’s and Nona got dressed in clothes that were nearly dry
I popped outside thinking I’d find the way home, or at least I’d give it a try.
“Hello Harris!” I heard a voice I knew call from near the base of a lonesome pine.
“Why Hamish,” I said with surprise, “You’re far from home. I hope you and all your fleas are fine.”
“Oh, we hedgehogs are quite a hardy folk. We travel far and wide.”
“My troupe of fleas would love to know if you still have flea one-oh-three right there with you, on your side?”
“Indeed I do,” my dear friend, “he’s been a blessing with each and every itch.”
“I wonder if you might help us?” I then said, “as Pop’s and Nona have us lost. We’ve hit a real old glitch!”
“You may not know but my fleas also guide me on my travels, so let flea one-oh-three with them consult,”
“Their heads together a route home for you they’ll find, and one-oh-three can tell you the result.”
So that is how Pop’s, Nona and I made it homeward, with one-oh-three sitting between my ears,
He guided me, and I guided them, until at the car at last Pop’s and Nona wept with joy and tears.
Through sun dappled glades we had walked, along the edge of meadows filled with wild flowers,
Along winding trails in sight of many deer and their white tails, we had walked for several hours.
Pop’s cracked some jokes along the way, to bring a smile to Nona’s face,
I did not find them that funny, but Nona took them with good grace.
“What do dogs and young tress have in common?” Pop’s asked as we were nearly halfway back.
“They’re all barking!” he announced and Nona groaned, replying “As a comedian you’d get the sack.”
In the car, safe at last, Pop’s and Nona on each cheek shared a gentle kiss.
Said Nona finally, “As our phones are now working we’d best call ‘B’ and all, so they know there is nothing that’s amiss.”
The calls they made then and there confirmed there had been some concern…
To each and everyone they both said together, “This is one experience from which we will definitely learn.”
I received so much praise for looking after them so well.
They would never know I had my friends to thank, but to them it’s just something I could never tell.
My story shows how one good deed turns around; how friends and family support each other too.
It doesn’t really matter who, what, when, how or why. Just remember that one day it could be down to you.
Pop’s and Nona had some home duvet days after that, grateful to be warm and cosy; anything but shiver.
Me! I made the most of the rewards on offer, being treated like a king, and I dined out for at least a week or more on sausages and best liver.
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