Cedric has made a new hole under the fence. Yesterday I blocked it with a solid panel and though it had worked when I saw Na´cha try to slide behind it, fail, and return to the house. Last night I prepared their dinner, having opened the door to let them all out. They all rushed out but were soon back in, clustering around me. Na´cha sat in her crate waiting patiently, as did Hula. I’d put Cedric and Maxim in their places and realised I was short a ruby: Melody wasn’t there. I went out and called her and there was no sign so I thought maybe she had managed to slide behind the fence panel; so went and opened the front door and called her. Nothing! Melody, usually, when she has got out has come running to the door as soon as it’s opened, so I was a little anxious. I went and looked at the repaired fence but could see no sign of her having got through, shining a torch I saw no ruby hair caught on the wire. I walked down the length of the drive wondering if perhaps she’d gone to look at the horses: there are four mares in the nursery paddock. There was no sign, shining the torch I saw no reflections from eyes other than the horses who snuffled a bit and seemed a bit disturbed. As I walked back to the house I heard what sounded like footsteps on the gravel next to me, by starlight I could see nothing other than the pale driveway and the dark grass at eh sides. Shining the torch I saw a toad who’d clearly been walking beside me: probably not intentionally. He/she didn’t like eh torch either and scrabbled away from the light. I went back to the house and put on my clogs as it was drizzling and the mules I had on are not the best footwear. I walked up the h rod in the opposite direction and still saw no sign, more worrying no barking from either Jean-Michel’s or Jean-Pierre’s packs of hunting dogs – so it seemed she hadn’t gone past them. I went over to my weekend neighbours’’ and shone the torch round the back of their property: no Melody but I managed to step into a puddle that was deeper than my foot so was soaked to the ankle and had a clog full of muddy water. I decided to go home and wash my foot. I left the outside light on just on case melody turned up, and let the dogs out of their crates. Na´cha is able to open doors so I tend to keep the ones where I don’t want her to get into a room locked: not possible with the WC and bathroom as they have locks that only operate from eh inside. I had earlier caught Na´cha trying to open the bathroom door, but had looked in there and there was no Melody. Then I thought I hadn’t looked in the WC: I opened the door and Melody flew out, clearly happy to be found! I guess that she had gone in and the door had been pushed closed behind her. I gave her her dinner and she was very happy to eat. I imagined the poor little girl sitting there hearing everyone else eating, but wondered why she hadn’t cried, barked or even scratched at the door. I also asked myself why I had not explored every possibility in the house before getting myself soaked. Melody spent the rest of the evening on my lap! Cedric has made a new hole under the fence. Yesterday I blocked it with a solid panel and though it had worked when I saw Na´cha try to slide behind it, fail, and return to the house. Last night I prepared their dinner, having opened the door to let them all out. They all rushed out but were soon back in, clustering around me. Na´cha sat in her crate waiting patiently, as did Hula. I’d put Cedric and Maxim in their places and realised I was short a ruby: Melody wasn’t there. I went out and called her and there was no sign so I thought maybe she had managed to slide behind the fence panel; so went and opened the front door and called her. Nothing! Melody, usually, when she has got out has come running to the door as soon as it’s opened, so I was a little anxious. I went and looked at the repaired fence but could see no sign of her having got through, shining a torch I saw no ruby hair caught on the wire. I walked down the length of the drive wondering if perhaps she’d gone to look at the horses: there are four mares in the nursery paddock. There was no sign, shining the torch I saw no reflections from eyes other than the horses who snuffled a bit and seemed a bit disturbed. As I walked back to the house I heard what sounded like footsteps on the gravel next to me, by starlight I could see nothing other than the pale driveway and the dark grass at eh sides. Shining the torch I saw a toad who’d clearly been walking beside me: probably not intentionally. He/she didn’t like eh torch either and scrabbled away from the light. I went back to the house and put on my clogs as it was drizzling and the mules I had on are not the best footwear. I walked up the h rod in the opposite direction and still saw no sign, more worrying no barking from either Jean-Michel’s or Jean-Pierre’s packs of hunting dogs – so it seemed she hadn’t gone past them. I went over to my weekend neighbours’’ and shone the torch round the back of their property: no Melody but I managed to step into a puddle that was deeper than my foot so was soaked to the ankle and had a clog full of muddy water. I decided to go home and wash my foot. I left the outside light on just on case melody turned up, and let the dogs out of their crates. Na´cha is able to open doors so I tend to keep the ones where I don’t want her to get into a room locked: not possible with the WC and bathroom as they have locks that only operate from eh inside. I had earlier caught Na´cha trying to open the bathroom door, but had looked in there and there was no Melody. Then I thought I hadn’t looked in the WC: I opened the door and Melody flew out, clearly happy to be found! I guess that she had gone in and the door had been pushed closed behind her. I gave her her dinner and she was very happy to eat. I imagined the poor little girl sitting there hearing everyone else eating, but wondered why she hadn’t cried, barked or even scratched at the door. I also asked myself why I had not explored every possibility in the house before getting myself soaked. Melody spent the rest of the evening on my lap!

Today I bought some small rigid mesh panels that can be sunk in the earth and cut to size and if we get a day without rain will have a concerted effort at getting all the holes repaired.

Jane