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I have come to the conclusion I live in a village where if anyone sees the odd bottom sticking out of a hedge they inevitably know it to be mine. In fact, I am pretty much convinced that walking towards a fellow villager there is little chance they will have any idea who I am but in retreat they are only too painfully aware of my identity; ‘that’s the woman with the bottom and the two mad dogs!’

I am a sensible woman of, shall we say, mature years, it covers a multitude of sins and of a diminishing Mrs Pepperpot habit if my recent dealings with the NHS are to be believed. I am shrinking and, therefore, should not be much given, as I bob along towards sixty, to scrabbling about in hedgerows. It’s the dogs you see.

As you know, Daisy and Wilf go everywhere on their leads which, in turn means so must I even if this necessitates traversing any alarmingly armed hedgerows that might get in the way. I am also somewhat round which means shimmying through narrow gaps is a challenge that was never going to be easy. Hawthorn I have found to my cost is painfully unforgiving and Hazel similarly unyielding.

I do my best which is why on any occasion a passing stranger has spotted my bottom sticking out of a hedge it is a given there is usually an amber-eyed Daisy or portly Wilf on the other side. They are entirely to blame, totally without embarrassment and usually full of irrepressible mirth at my expense.

Daisy has always been good at getting herself entangled in prickly bushes. My abiding memory of her first escapade involved MOH in an SAS style rescue mission, armed only with secateurs and a few ripe, well-chosen words that would have made the proverbial trooper blush. MOH waded in whilst I, of course, assumed the position, flat on belly with bottom in the air trying to spot her whilst MOH demolished most of a small thicket until she was reclaimed. On that occasion not only was a small army of early morning dog walkers treated to this most well-padded of views but a number of Royal Naval Warships happily degaussing in Plymouth Sound! You see, my bottom has history! Daisy’s only comment on the whole sorry saga was to cough up a small piece of rabbit ear, pursuit of which beastie was responsible for her predicament in the first place. I can assure you the rest of the rabbit lived happily to tell its tale.

Today, both Daisy and Wilf took me by surprise by pursuing the same scent simultaneously through the same small hole at speed. I found myself first of all unexpectedly impaled on a hawthorn bush. After much tugging I managed to put enough distance between myself and the bush to allow me to drop to my knees. On examination of the hole the words camel and needle sprang instantly to mind.

Daisy had managed to get caught up by her collar whilst Wilf barked dementedly at, apparently, nothing in particular. I wriggled into the hedge with my bottom protruding out into the lane. As I attempted extrication I heard the sound of the farmer’s quad bike approaching. Red faced, I closed my eyes and prayed he would not stop.  Thankfully he continued on noisily up the hill. Whether he spotted me or not I have no idea and only time will tell.

I wrapped Wilf’s lead around my left arm to free up my hand. I grabbed Daisy by the scruff of her neck and managed to remove her collar, extricate her, extricate her lead, put her collar back on, put her lead on and tie it round my waist so she couldn’t wander off. With rapidly diminishing feeling in my left hand I managed to thread Wilf back through the hole and out into the lane. In the distance I caught sight of a very apologetic looking pheasant, equally suitably red-faced, hot footing it towards the horizon.

I was grubby, with muddy knees, spiders in my hair and pins and needles in my left hand where the circulation was attempting to re-establish itself. My dogs looked quietly angelic. I live in hope they never go tearing off in opposite directions because then I will be truly stuffed!

Of course, if I am genuinely diminishing in height, as my recent dalliance with the NHS suggests, eventually my bottom will cease to be an object of embarrassment and my neighbours will have to get used to identifying me by my ankles instead. Every cloud……as they say!

Bright Blessings x

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