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Saturday, 9 August 2014


Watching TV  two nights ago I have been aware for some time of a dog barking nonstop. It is about 10:45pm. I decide to retire for the night, but go to my study at the front to my computer. Now the barking is louder.

Outside I pin it down to the aged labrador across the road. There  are no lights on but there is a downstairs light in the adjacent semi. I have lived here for fourteen years and never heard that dog doing this before. My imagination is rampant, but I try to rationalise and go to bed. But I can’t concentrate on reading because of the continued barking. It has now been going on for a couple of hours.

“Perhaps there has been a suicide pact, or they have all killed each other, bodies and blood lying all over?"

I can’t bear it any longer and arise and dress and go outside again not being sure what I am going to do.

The light is still on downstairs at the next door house. It is now 11:30pm. I hesitatingly cross the road and ring the bell. Even though this is only fifty yards from where I have lived all these years it is a sad reflection on me and society that I have no idea who lives there. An elderly gent answers. He confirms that this has happened occasionally before when the family are all out having left the dog alone. I  sympathise with the guy, but he seems fairly unconcerned,

“I’m a late owl since I lost my wife, don’t go to bed till late, been working in my workshop all night”.

My interest is aroused.

“What are you doing in the workshop?”

“Making a clock.”

“Oh!” - deliberately trying to express keen interest, which is true, but I’m now beginning to think how bizarre this all becoming.

I am invited in. There is a carriage clock, superbly crafted in a wooden case, and in the corner the empty oaken case for a grandfather clock, all fashioned by my neighbour. He tells me he has all the specialised cutting tools for making clock components and we have a good old chat about his hobby.

Back in bed my thriller book seems a bit tame after all this.


The Crow said...

This event is fuel for a good mystery-thriller. You've written the perfect prologue. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

Anonymous said...

Sleep well.

Roderick Robinson said...

Occasionally I suffer from a barking dog. At times it's hard to believe the source is organic. I worry that this being might lose all its spit, dry up and then split at the seams. A further worry is that the animal, not blessed with much of a mind, has now become mindless, having forgotten its original aim it barks because barking is all its sentient bits and pieces can accommodate. The most powerfil instinct we are endowed with is self-preservation; yet barking is - must be - self-destructive and the dog cannot recognise this.

Faced with the choice I would be more able to make a clock than read through such clamour.

gimmer said...

There is something strangely timeless (sorry about that) and enthralling about an 'elderly gent' fashioning timepieces by hand late at night - it conjures up images from ancient (well, not too ancient as clocks were not invented until quite recently, as 'ancient' goes) folk-tales set deep in the Black Forest or somewhere like that - or Harrison struggling alone against the Lords of the Admiralty and declining health to give the Empire a device with which to rule the world! A good man to know, I suspect - Lord Cut-Glass' cousin, perhaps.
Barking dogs - you know I can make a dog bark at 1000 yards but silence them only with the taste of blood (usually mine)!

Sir Hugh said...

The Crow - Perhaps I could sell the outline to RR?


BC - I usually do.


RR - The trouble is I have always had a soft spot for dogs, but recent events like being bitten by the pub dog a few weeks ago on one of my walks, and this event are beginning to make me more wary.


gimmer - I appreciate you entering into the spirit of this whimsical anecdote.

The Crow said...

Certainly, RR could write a pretty good mystery if he tried the genre, but it wouldn't have your voice, and that is what I would want to "hear."

Though I wrote that half in jest, I sincerely believe you could spin a very good tale. What you wrote here had me hooked and wanting to know what happened next. Good signs for a good story to come.

Sir Hugh said...

The Crow - thanks for your praise. This was a real event and as such fairly easy for me to write about, although I did take a lot of time and revision to get it how I wanted, but to to continue with a fictional story I would be struggling - my mind just doesn't do it, although I have never tried really hard. I reckon you would need to have an outline of the rest of the plot to start with and I don't think I have that ingenuity, particularly for the genre you are suggesting.