Chapter Twenty-Eight

Harriet is talking to the dog. The dog is looking bemused.

Monty Dog

I sleep long day. Stay hiding while leg hurt.
Leg hurt walk slow in dark. Smell for food. No food so eat green and sticks.

Day time hide and sleep many day.

Can walk slow better now. Still leg hurt walk. I find dead. Smells bad but like food. I eat. Leg hurt walk. More sleep.

No leg blood now. Small leg hurt. Leg smell bad. Walk slow and jump hop a bit. Will take longer to find home. Walk by small hard, slower kahs, easier to run from, but leg won’t run. More place to hide here. More soft food bowls to eat, but less green by small hard.

See trees ahead, and more green. Mark route, and empty myself. Walk on rough hard by trees. Find more green and big wall, quiet by wall. Sleep here safe.

Wake up to sound. A Leader? A Lone. Sniff to check. Good smells. No anger.
Stand up and walk slow out. Not fear. Sniff hello.
Hear words ‘Go home’.
Please, home, where?
Please, home, where?
Lone has gone. Must walk again.

Hear words ‘Come here’.
I turn and approach slow. Uncertain.
Friend, home, pack?
Friend, home, pack?

I am on a lead, Lone is a Leader. We are at a strange place. Many small packs gathered. I am lifted up and touched all over. They bite me small on my neck. The pack put me in a cage and the Leader is gone. I cannot get out so empty myself inside and wait for anger and hurt. The pack come but do not hurt me. They clean my waste and touch me soft.

I am out of the cage and the pack spray water at me. I try to drink but taste strange. They wet me and touch me all over again. Feel warm. My smell is changed. My leg smells better. They smell safe. No anger.
Have small bite on foot, and I sleep…

I wake in the cage and there is good food and water. I eat and drink all. Leg not hurt now. Little hurt in body, not know why. The pack come and take me outside. I walk better, and can run a little. I empty myself. Body hurt better. The pack touch me soft.
Hear words ‘Good boy.’
I am back in the cage.

The Leader is back and is walking me. We get to their den.
Hear words ‘Home’.
Is this den is home?
There is food and water. I eat and drink.
This den is home?

The Leader touch me soft. Touch my ears and my paws. I learn Leader smell, and show happy.
Hear new words, ‘Monty Dog, Monty Dog, Monty Dog’.
Learn new pack call, Monty Dog.
New pack smells safe. No anger. No fear.

This den is home.
I call.
Home, Pack, Monty Dog.
Home, Pack, Monty Dog.

Leader touch me soft.
Show happy. Show big happy.


Harriet was slowly getting used to her new life and routines. Each morning Harriet went for a walk along the quieter roads around Lower Theraton, looking at the variation in house designs, the number of cars that were now parked on driveways instead of being in the rush hour commute, the pot holed road surfaces, interesting trees, and the increased amount of building renovation going on. There was a lot of DIY, and professional building work happening, men and women tidying already immaculate gardens, climbing up ladders to paint windows and clear gutters, scaffolding being erected and roofs and windows being renewed, sometimes an extension being built or a garage being converted. Harriet even spotted Mr Chow’s company doing some landscaping work in a front garden. After that she spent the rest of the day in the workshop, and then the evenings was spent blogging and tweeting her activities.

It was a busy time, Harriet took part in hosting #MakersHour, a weekly Twitter event where a maker would pose some questions to start discussion and conversation. She also got a commission from @ScienceGirlCan to build a child sized laboratory bench, and she won a gift card from Machine Mart, the machinery and tool superstore.

She kept in touch with Adam and Amanda, and other friends, via the internet, worked on the garden railway, and Adam sent her an Easter egg through the post. Other items that came ‘in the post’ was construction materials for the garden railway, mostly from Mr Chow, but also some from Flo along with other gifts. So post, delivery drivers, waste collection, and builders seemed to be the only non emergency people around. Maybe, Harriet thought, the world isn’t quite so small after all, but lovely and quiet, mostly.

It was as Harriet set out for her morning walk that she came across a stray dog in the front garden of the workshop!
“Hello you, what are you doing here?”
The dog came up to Harriet to have a sniff.
“Have you got a collar? No, no collar, and you stink!
“You’d better go home before you are missed. Go on, go home!” Harriet stood and pointed firmly towards the courtyard gates.
The dog began to walk away and Harriet noticed it was limping.
“Oh, you’re limping, is your paw hurt? Hang on, come here, let me have a look.”
The dog turned and limped back to Harriet. He jumped painfully up at Harriet and she could see that the poor dog had quite a bad leg injury.
“Oh yuck, that doesn’t look good, I think you need to go to the vet.”
Harriet put the dog back down. “Stay!” She said, and turned back into the workshop to look for something to use as a lead. She came back with a length of thin rope. She quickly fashioned it into a simple lead and put it on the dog. The dog seemed to be really friendly and compliant and followed her willingly to the vets.

At the Vets, there were small line of people with dogs on leads and cats in baskets. A sign on the door said ‘Ring bell and wait.’ A man in the line indicated to Harriet that she should ring the bell. The door opened and the receptionist came out to take some details from Harriet before doing a quick triage outside. She decided that the dog need to be taken in immediately and took the makeshift dog lead and lead the dog inside. She then returned with a form for Harriet to fill in with her contact information. The receptionist said they would see if the dog had a micro chip and a registered owner. With that Harriet went home, and counted it as her morning walk and good deed for the day.

She returned to the workshop and began planning the laboratory bench for @ScienceGirlCan. It should be a simple job but getting a suitable timber would be tricky. Teak would be ideal, but Iroko would do if she could get that. She could always break up the shelving that Robbie had found for her but they were too useful as shelves to do that with. A quick phone around and her landlord came up trumps with a slab of ex school science lab work top complete with a gas tap still attached. He seemed to have quite a lot of random salvage from various construction jobs and was always a useful first port of call and was able to deliver the worktop the next morning.
The worktop was ideal and Harriet was able to get on with making the bench from it, cutting around some of the damage and hiding as many of the more rude bits of graffiti scratched into the surface as she could. As it was for a child, one slab of worktop went a long way.
Then her phone rang, it was the Vets.

The Vet reported that the stray dog was quite poorly, had a badly injured leg probably from being hit by a car, an infection from the injury being untreated for some time, a bad case of fleas, and had a number of other old injuries probably from an abusive home. While undergoing some surgery to repair its leg they also castrated the dog. Unfortunately they would have to send Harriet the bill but they were able to discount most of the surgery as there was a fund from the local dogs home to help out with neutering of strays, and pets for those of reduced means. Harriet had a choice to make, the dog could be sent to the dogs home where, given its condition and lack of history, it might not be very popular or easy to rehome, or Harriet could decide to keep the dog for herself.

Harriet hadn’t banked on owning a dog, especially one that was a completely unknown quantity. But the poor thing would need a home and as it had found Harriet, she felt a level of responsibility for it. But also she was on her own, had the space outside, and could do with the company. A dog might be fun, but also a responsibility.
“Oh heck! I don’t need a dog in my life right now! But I can’t abandon the poor thing either.”

Harriet cycled to the vets to have a chat and to find out a bit more about what she would need to do if she was to keep the dog. And she returned home having not only paid the vet’s bill but also having bought dog food, food bowl, lead and collar, and with a list of other items she would need to buy before bringing the dog home. “Well, that was an expense I wasn’t expecting!” Harriet said as she returned home with the first part of her purchases. “Oh damn! What does my tenancy say about pets? If Mr Chow isn’t happy about me having a dog I could lose my home and my workshop all in one go! Best phone him before I am committed.”

“Hello, Mr Chow? It’s Harriet.
“Oh, I’m fine…
“No, there’s no problems…
“Oh, well, I found an injured stray dog in the garden…
“No, no, I don’t need you to deal with it, I took it to the vets.
“Yes, someone needed to, and, well, there was no one else around.
“Yes. Well, the thing is, would you have any objection if I was to adopt it? It is only a small, umm, probably medium sized dog. It seems friendly and well behaved…
“Oh, yes, the tenancy does say ‘No pets’.
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that…
“Oh, so one pet would be ok? Oh I see, pet, singular. Oh, of course, I see what you’re saying!
“Yes, rules, thank you for being understanding.
“Thank you, Mr Chow, thank you.”

“Oh heck! I’m a Dog Parent now!” Harriet laughed as she put her phone away.
With the confidence that she wouldn’t be in trouble for bringing home a dog, Harriet went back out to a pet supplies super store to buy a dog bed and some water bowls. For the sake of cosiness, but also to ensure the dog didn’t spend all night chewing her store of timber, Harriet put the dog bed at the end of her bed upstairs, and a water bowl on each floor. Then she went back to the Vet’s to pick up the dog.

The dog looked a lot better then when she left it at the Vets. It was cleaner, didn’t smell, and seemed much more lively and healthy. There were various shaved patches where matted fur had been removed, and bandage on the dog’s paw. Due to the bandage the dog also had a cone around it’s neck.
Harriet made a final payment of Vet’s fees, put a collar and lead on the dog and walked it home.

“Come along, I’m taking you home!” Harriet said as she walked the dog. She wasn’t sure how much the dog would understand what was going on, but it seemed quite happy to be walking on a lead and, despite a limp, seemed quite happy. As they arrive back at the workshop Harriet bent down to talk to the dog. “This is home now, you’re going to live with me and keep me company, and I will look after you. I don’t know much about dogs so I guess we’re going to learn together. Are you oh kay about that? I hope you are.” The dog looked at Harriet as she spoke as if trying to understand her words. He then hopped forward and licked her. That seemed like a promising start so Harriet took the dog inside and showed it where the food and water bowls were, and then lead it upstairs to show it the dog bed. “I wonder what your name is? Well it doesn’t matter, you can have a new name, to go with your new life. I am sorry for whatever happened to you in the past but I will look after you.” Harriet sat on the floor facing the dog. They looked at each other. “Oh you scruffy wirery looking thing, what do you look like? Friendly though, and gentle, despite the sort of life I guess you’ve had. Oooh! I know who you remind me of, looking like that! That gardening chap on telly! What’s his name, Monty Don! That’ll do, Monty Dog. I’ll call you Monty Dog!”

The dog barked in response. “Wuff”

“Monty Dog!”


“Yes, good boy, you’re recognising your name, Monty Dog!”

“Wuff wuff!”

“Come, Monty!” Harriet patted her lap, and Monty clambered up. Harriet wrapped her arms around him and gave him a big hug, Monty responded with a lot of tail wagging and licking.

As Harriet and Monty got to know each other Harriet carried on working on the laboratory bench. Monty helped where he could by inspecting the work and making sure the bench would hold his weight as he climbed on it. It was a fun time for Harriet, she had Monty’s company and no longer felt self conscious talking to herself in the workshop as she could direct her conversation towards Monty. “Everyone talks to their dog, don’t they, Monty. Even if they don’t have a dog! And you know just what I mean.”
Monty cocked his head as if he was wondering what Harriet was talking about.

Harriet gave Monty a pat on his head and then rubbed her eyes. “My eyes are so sore, nowadays. I think I am going to have to take my lenses out again.” She went to the shower room and abandoned yet another pair of disposable lenses and washed her eyes. Is it allergies? She wondered. What am I allergic to now? What’s changed? She put her glasses on and blinked her eyes to get used to the slight change in her vision. That’s better, now where was I? Oh yes, finishing that bench. Harriet returned to the workshop where Monty was chewing a stick he had brought in from his last walk. Harriet allowed him to bring in one stick to play with, as long as he didn’t chew on the timber she had as workshop stock. Monty seemed to be very quick to learn the difference between a round green stick and a square edge planed timber. He seemed to mostly enjoy just stripping the bark from a stick and then carrying the remaining twig around. Harriet didn’t tend to have much waney edge timber and certainly not with bark still on it. There wasn’t much call for it so most of her stock was safe.
“There’s a good boy, Monty! Enjoying your stick?” She patted Monty’s head again and then brought her hand to her face. She stopped. “Hang on, it’s you isn’t it! That’s why my eyes itch!” She sighed. “Oh Monty, are you setting off my allergies? Are you making my eyes itch? Well, if it is you or contacts then I guess I am going to have to stick with glasses then! Oh well, I guess you’re worth it.”


Daisy spent the following week or so feeling a resigned acceptance to her life. It left her feeling awkward, a little lost, and uncertain of what her true feelings were. She carried on work as usual, not wanting to share her troubles further, but quieter then she had been. When asked she just put it down to being a little tired and fed up. The pandemic situation was a good scape goat for any signs of upset or misery.

“Morning, Daisy!” Steve called out.

“Morning. Anything different to do today?”

“Not a lot but there’s a new address on my Thursday round that needs a recycling box. If you fancy doing me a favour, you could deliver it if you like, it would be on your way home.”

“No probs, I can do that. Remind me later in case I forget.”

With lockdown the recycling collection was becoming quite routine, and repetitive, not a lot changed and not a lot happened. The rota allowed each of them to take turns on the trikes, or in Beryl, and covering a different round every now and again, just for variety. But otherwise each of them had their own primary round where they knew the residents’ habits and any local issues.

At the end of the day Daisy collected a recycling box, and the address of a workshop in Lower Theraton, and set off with it. The address was about half way home for Daisy, and only a slight detour just before the ring road and near to Theraton Road Station. It wasn’t an area Daisy did on her rounds often, it was Steve’s primary area in Beryl when Daisy was on the trike. She walked along looking at the cluster of big old Victorian houses that she had read about, the ones that were built when Theraton Road Station was the potential competitor for Market Theraton Station. Some were clearly converted to flats, with big Council bins outside and multiple letter boxes and cars in what used to be front gardens, while others were recently refurbished as single residences and looked very expensive. She rounded a corner and headed down a cobbled tree lined road and at the end was a large gateway to a small walled courtyard. The court yard had a short driveway up to a big roller shutter and a door. Daisy wasn’t really in the mood for talking to a random tradesman so she quickly and quietly put the box down by the door and left the recycling leaflet inside it held down with a small pebble. She then turned and went home.
It wasn’t until she was nearly home again that it occurred to her to wonder why she was delivering a residential recycling box to a commercial workshop. Still, it was the right address, and the address did say it was a workshop, so not really her place to question it. Daisy decided to let Steve know it was a proper commercial workshop before the next collection just in case there was an issue.


With the Library closed Daisy had little choice but to do her historic research online. There was a lot of stuff she had to scroll through in order to find real research that was freely accessible. One site seemed interesting, the Theraton Historical Society.
The website was awful, a single block of pale green text on a black background with a colour changing scrolling banner over the top and down the sides!
“Oh God! This site is is older then I am!” Daisy exclaimed!

“What?” Fran called out.

“You’ve gotta see this, Fran. This is what websites were like before you were born!”

Fran came into the kitchen, with a mug and put it down on the side of the sink before leaning over Daisy’s shoulder to have a look. “Oh geez! My eyes! I’m blind! What is that? A migraine simulation or summat?” Fran turned away and rubbed her eyes. “I was gonna make a fresh cuppa, but I think my eye balls have fallen out and rolled under the cooker.”

“Haha, I’ll do it. You sit down and recover.” Daisy got up to put the kettle on while Fran took a seat and squinted at the laptop screen and began to scroll down the page.

“This is all history stuff isn’t it?”

“Yes, the Theraton Historical Society. I just found it.”

“Does that make it a historical artefact then?”

“I think that would be more archaeology, or palaeontology. Do you think I should send the link to the Museum to check?” Daisy laughed. “Here, have a cuppa.”

As Fran scrolled down the page making cringing noises, Daisy scan read some of the headings. “Oh crumbs, the text changes colour the further down the page you go! Is there much more of it?”

“I dunno, the scroll bar just gets longer and longer. Is it really all on one page?” Fran scrolled faster. “Tell you what… Umm…select all… copy… Open new text document… aaaannnnnd…. Paste!”

“Good idea, Fran.” Daisy said as she patted Fran on the shoulder. “Is it working? Why is is taking so long?”

“Look at the page count, Daisy! Just look at it! Seventy-six… ninety-three… a hundred and fifteen… What the…. How much memory have you got on your laptop, Daiz?”

“Not enough! Oh kay, I’m scared now! What have you done?” The page count began to slow down, but still no text appeared. Eventually it stopped at four hundred and eighty-seven blank pages. “Is that it? A whole load of nothing? It is probably in something my laptop can’t read. A load of code or something.”

Fran tried putting the cursor on the page, something was there, she could scroll around the page freely so she tried highlighting some of it. “Yes!” Fran shouted out. “Got it for ya, it’s all white text on a white screen! Right if I… select all… Font… where is that on your screen, oh there it is, font colour black. There you go.”

“Blimey, it is all one paragraph and huge!” Daisy started scrolling through. “There are no breaks in it anywhere. Who writes like this? It’ll take days to go though it all, but I can see stuff I recognise so it can’t be all bad. Right, lets save this so we don’t have to do it all again.” With the text saved, and reduced down to a more manageable font size, Daisy began to scan read through the document, breaking it up in to proper paragraphs to make it easier to read and decipher the useful information. It was so much easier then trying to read any of it online. “At least at ten point it only takes up… How many? One hundred and sixty seven pages. That’s a lot more sensible. Oh, Fran, did you know there used to be a tram line in Theraton? It says here it was the Theraton Light Rail Service, it ran between Market station and Therry Road station.”

“Oh, that sounds useful, they should bring that back.”

“I’ve never seen any tram lines, so it has probably all gone now. Oh well, but yes, a tram would be nice, if it went to right places.
“No, hang on, I’m sure I have seen some, can’t remember where now. That’s gonna bother me until I remember.”

(Chapter 27 here)
(Chapter 29 here)

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