When we were in Eastbourne for our 'works do' last Friday, I bought a lovely book on antique dolls from one of the town's myriad charity shops for the princely sum of £1.25. I'd only given it a cursory flick-through in the shop, and since then it's been languishing in my backpack, still in its carrier bag. I suddenly remembered it last night, unearthed it and took it to bed for a leisurely read.
I get lots of inspiration from vintage doll books and this one is no exception, with page after page of wonderful photographs from the author's private collection. However what really caught my eye was a whole chapter on automata, a subject with which I've long been fascinated. In fact I've been toying with (no pun intended) the idea of making some prototypes, and only the other day worked up some sketches of a simple mechanism which I plan to hand over to PP (Perfectionist Partner), who will be able to transform the idea from a hasty doodle into a working reality if anyone can.
Of course, as is the way of things, one idea spawns another.
Until I have perhaps a dozen different variations on a theme which I hope I'll be able to develop over the next few months.
I do love to have a project to work on.
It's not as if I don't have umpteem others all clamouring for my attention but I seem to work best in the eye of the creative storm.
So today I will be doing some interweb research on the type of automata I'm considering which hopefully will turn up all manner of interesting and useful information.
In any case, I really needed something cheering at bedtime last night, due to Small Dog almost giving both PP and I simultaneous heart attacks.
The little minx.
Each evening before bed, she has to do the rounds of 'her' garden, checking the perimeter for squirrel incursions, conducting a thorough 'stop and sniff' search, followed by a bit of barking for good measure.
Initially, last night was no exception. PP let her out at the appointed hour and seconds later we could hear her barking, so assumed all was well in her doggy world. It had been raining, so we thought that she would come back in fairly quickly, as she hates getting wet. So after a few minutes I called her.
This is not unusual. I reasoned that she had probably found a particularly interesting smell, or was taking her time over her ablutions.
A very short while later PP called her.
Again no response.
After perhaps 10 or 15 minutes we were getting a tad annoyed, as she'd been out digging earlier in the day and come back in covered in mud. So we assumed that she was continuing her excavations, which would inevitably result in her second shower of the day.
Both of us tried again to call her in.
Not only no response..... there was no sign of her. So we scoured the garden by torchlight, calling her all the while.
We couldn't see or hear her anywhere.
Whoosh! Immediate huge surge of adrenaline at the realisation that she wasn't in our 'escape-proof- garden. And as we both stood in the drizzling rain, frantically looking around, we could hear the distant sound of an animal in distress.
Our garden backs onto ancient woodland which positively teems with nature red in tooth and claw. We are often woken to the sounds of small furry animals being torn apart by larger furry animals..... their screams gradually tailing off....
My thought was that Small Dog had been taken by a fox and somehow carried off over the fence, and the distressed yelps from the woods were her cries for help as she was torn limb from limb.
By then we were in full panic mode, wide-eyed and breathless. We decided on one last trawl of both the house and garden, in case she had snuck in unobserved. PP went through the house like a whirlwind while I stumbled around the garden, searching under hedges, even trying to see behind the shed in case she'd got herself stuck.
Minutes later we reconvened on the patio, the words "Have you found her?" simultaneously echoing in the damp and dark. There was going to be nothing else for it. By this time we were both convinced that she was in the woods in mortal danger and we would have to try to find her. We hurried indoors to find boots, jackets, more torches etc, leaving the kitchen door wide open. As we jostled to find all the equipment we thought we might need.....wire cutters, mallet, torch batteries etc, PP suddenly exclaimed "Oh my god........look".
There, shivering on the door mat, one paw raised in supplication, was Small Dog. She wouldn't move to come in and just stood there, trembling, on three legs, looking up at us. Despite the fact that relief was flooding through me, I had a sudden dread thought in my mind that she would prove to be horribly injured, and that when we picked her up there would be a gaping wound in her side or that some part of her would be missing.
PP scooped her up and quickly checked her over. Aside from being a bit muddy she seemed to be OK, although a bit shaken and subdued. After a quick shower and being snuggled in a warm towel she seemed to pick up a bit..... enough to be able to force down a few dog biscuits anyway.
So we'll be keeping a close eye on her today when she goes out, to see where she goes and what she does.
She seems to be none the worse for her (mis)adventure this morning...... here she is having her mid-morning nap. Unlike PP and I who are still having palpitations........