As I walked up to the ruined pigsty behind the cottage to look for more snowdrops (see above) I could still hear the dog barking. "Odd" I thought. I decided to walk back along a track above the meadow to see if I could discover what was going on. I realised I had walked past the nearest point to the dog, but there was no sign of it which, if you know dogs, you will appreciate is unusually unsociable. So we back tracked, and then eventually up a little fork in the track I could see a little brown coat, but not moving. we walked up to the spot and there was a little long haired terrier seemingly tied down very firmly to a variety of root stubs and bits of undergrowth (see link for google map to get an idea of how isolated this place was). Cold and somewhat subdued the terrier was very pleased to see us even if he was dwarfed by two lurchers and a collie. I was very puzzled by this situation. It looked as if he had been tied up deliberately while his owner went off to shoot pigeons or some such. I couldn't leave him there though in case he had been abandoned, or his owner had dropped dead in the woods. After hollering for some time with no response, I disentangled his chain, and we slowly made our way back to Beals Mill.
Oscar plus chain
He was obviously very thirsty. When we got to Beals Mill we asked the owner (Mr Page, ex RM) of the fearsome pack of dachshunds if any one had lost a dog. He told me he had thought he had heard a dog barking in the woods over the previous two nights. Now, in these situations there is only one place to go, the village post office at Stoke Climsland. So we drove there (with found dog sitting in my lap gazing adoringly at me). Lo and behold only that morning someone had been in to put up a notice with information about a terrier called Oscar who had gone missing three days earlier. A quick phone call and a five minute drive and Oscar was reunited with his owner, Sally (strangely enough next door to the house where Cassie was born and Bracken still lives). It seems he had done a runner plus chain on Friday evening. How on earth he had got two miles or so through heavy undergrowth, meadows, woods, fences and streams with 15 feet of chain trailing behind him is anybody's guess. Maybe there is a shorter safer route to the spot where I found him.
Several things come out of this tale. Terriers are determined little dogs and nothing is going to stop them going for a ramble. Lurchers are very friendly to other dogs in distress. Oscar is very lucky it was a frosty morning. The post office is the centre of our social network. Always ask at the Post Office! Clean your lens before taking photos.