Monday, July 8, 2019
Fishing for Kong
As promised, here's a shot of our evening primrose, blooming after yesterday morning's rain. It's supposed to be great for bees, so we're happy to have it!
I didn't tell you about Saturday's big drama. Remember how devoted Olga is to her Kong toy? It's her security blanket. She carries it everywhere, and she associates it with fun because it accompanies us on all our outings. Whenever she's excited about something, she runs to get her Kong.
Well, we were walking back from the Heath along Church Row in Hampstead when she dropped it. That isn't unusual -- she drops it all the time -- but this time it bounced through a fence and down into a recessed patio off the basement of one of the multi-million-pound houses on that street.
(I'm not really sure what to call this patio. Is it a light well? An airshaft? In any case, it's only accessible via the ground floor of the house -- there are no steps down from the street itself.)
See the Kong, down on the basement patio at lower left? And Olga peering despondently through the fence at street level, upper right?
I rang the doorbell of the house, but no one answered. I went to the quaint little restaurant next door, but they didn't have access to the patio. My only option was to write a note to the residents of the house explaining what happened, put it through their letterbox with my phone number and hope they'd call me. We abandoned the Kong, and Olga was not happy -- as we walked away she kept pulling me backwards as if to say, "Hey! We've forgotten something important!"
I thought about the situation as I was lying in bed that night. I wasn't thrilled about waiting for a call. What if whoever lived at that house was away for the summer? What if it was someone's second home? What if no one lived there at all?
I began considering other options. Could I retrieve the Kong with a garden rake?
A cursory inventory of our garden shed yesterday morning revealed that we don't actually own a garden rake -- but we do own a sort of three-pronged garden hoe on a long pole. I thought that might work.
So Dave and I walked back to Hampstead, carrying the hoe. (Dave joked that he looked like Oliver Wendell Douglas from "Green Acres.") When we got to the house the Kong was still lying where we'd left it, and again, no one answered the doorbell. Dave tried to reach through the fence with the hoe, but the handle wasn't long enough. Even with his long arms, we were a few feet from reaching our goal. The floor of that patio has to be at least eight or nine feet below the street.
As we walked back home, inspiration struck. We needed string.
I tied a ball of twine to the detachable head of the hoe, and carried it back to Hampstead. My giant fishhook worked like a charm! Within minutes, I'd hoisted Olga's Kong out of that rich person's basement patio. Although I wasn't doing anything wrong, I was vaguely aware that I might look somewhat suspicious to a passerby -- fortunately the police didn't show up to question me.
I felt compelled to leave another note telling the residents how I'd solved the problem, and saying, basically, "Never mind!"
So how's that for some tool-making ingenuity? I definitely feel justified, at least for a day, in claiming the evolutionary designation of "higher primate"!