Dawn Raiders - Jimmy came home
In my youth I grew up appreciating all things to do with nature, and so I was an avid watcher of wildlife programmes. There are many such programmes to be viewed on television but when there were only three TV channels, wildlife programmes were a rarity, Jacques Cousteau – the diver bloke, Johnny Morris in Animal Magic I also use to like watching films such as Lassie Come Home. The black and white British made films of the Lassie series were the best. The dog was a proper sheep dog, which always ended up in an adventure of adversity but would come through and be re-united with its owner. The concept popped up a few years later on as a T.V. series but the dog was more Hollywood and always looked like it had been all day in a dog parlour! One of the old movies was on recently which reminded me of a story of Percy’s little Yorkshire terrier – Jimmy. Jimmy, took on much of the persona of his owner, Percy, they do say this about dogs! He would come rushing up to you – Jimmy that is and would be welcoming, wagging his tail. Percy would do the same, unshaven, hair all over the place and with his shirt out. Jimmy was a scruffy so and so, especially when Percy decided to cut his coat. He would be in to everything, running between your legs, rushing over your nice laid out tackle on the bank and tipping up your bait!! Yes, Percy would regularly do that too! On many occasions I saved the dog from certain death. You see Percy would let the mutt off the lead whilst he fished and the dog would go wandering quite some way at times – until Percy realised he had gone and would stand up and shout “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy where are you, you little ……. Arse?” Jimmy would rush up to other dogs, the bigger the better, and would want to play. Well let’s say if you were a German Shepherd would you want to play with a little hairy thing constantly rushing between your legs. One such big dog took umbrage and when Jimmy ran through his great big front legs went to bite Jimmy round his neck. I saw it and shouted Jimmy. Luckily the owner had a walking stick and whacked his own dog with it just as the big dog gripped Jimmy. Percy just puffed on his roll-up and said “Naughty Jimmy”, well something like that! In the last few years of his life, Percy fished most days; usually on the Cam not far from his little flat opposite the Boat Houses. You would be lucky to get a spot down there these days, it’s full of moored boats, but it still remains fantastic fishing if you are willing to put up with the rowing boats constant dog walkers and much activity on the bank. I didn’t enjoy it, but Percy and Jimmy were in heaven living in muck. In the winter you could get double figure roach catches on the punch at around 7m feed across caster, or maggot for chub to 5lb, and if the colour was right, Bream down the middle. Working near-by, I would nip out at lunchtime to see my old mate. Jimmy would spot me from quite a distance, make a bolt towards me making that squeaky grunting sound; then leap up and put his muddy paws on my suit trousers. Tracy, Percy’s long suffering daughter got quite anxious as Percy’s health deteriorated as on more than one occasion Percy fell in to the Cam, which is quite deep inside the shelf at 7 – 9ft, but Percy still continued to fish and his little dog would be by his side, well most of the time. As I walked up to Percy one day he swung a 8oz Roach to hand; he was catching well. It was a very grey day and the clouds looked full of snow. It was around 1pm and I chatted to Percy. Jimmy had wandered off, but we paid no heed, as this was not unusual. I said “Percy, how long are you going to stay fishing?” Percy replied “Until 4pm when it will be dark”. I said “it looks like it will snow” , “No matter son”, he said. Little did I know as I walked along the footpath back to work that Percy would still be on the bank a 6pm in a blizzard searching for Jimmy. The weather was really bad and the snow was settling quite deep. Fortunately there is some lighting to the footpath and also the Boat House lights light up the Cam near the footbridge where Percy had been fishing. Jimmy had been gone for over 3 hours, which was worrying, and the weather had really set in. “Jimmy, Jimmy” Jimeeeee Percy’s mate Maurice turned up and went looking for the crazy dog. “Jimmy, Jimmy”, still no sign. People were trying to get home and were falling off their bikes, such were the worsening conditions. Freezing snow stuck to faces, it was blindingly cold. “Jimmy, Jimmy”, no sign of him. Percy for the first time was quite anxious. He growled at Maurice “You wait until I get him home”. Maurice, not one for many words said “Look Percy, he’s gone, gone, you had better get home, your hands are blue with the cold”. “No, no, I cannot leave him” replied Percy. There in the gloom, through the blizzard, Maurice spotted a little hairy thing, all covered in snow and he was struggling to walk in the deep snow across and back over the bridge. Jimmy had come home. Quite what adventure he had been on, no one knows. After all, he had walked across to the posh houses. We can only guess it must have been a hot date, because Percy certainly ripped in to him. “You little so and so”.