Friday, May 09, 2008

Lost : One Border Collie and 83 Years Of British History

If you are in the habit of walking the highways and byways of West Yorkshire you will have no doubt come across a series of posters stapled to almost every available telegraph pole and tree. The posters call for information about a lost dog, a tri-colour border collie called Freddie which went missing in the Wakefield area back in March. Since then there have been sightings of it in various parts of West Yorkshire and an army of volunteers are searching the fields and the woods and pinning up the Freddie Missing posters with commendable energy. Perhaps it is some kind of antidote to the complex feelings of betrayal Yorkshire people felt given the outcome of the Shannon Matthews case. Dogs don't let you down : when they go missing they are really missing.

As I have walked Amy, I have come across dozens of these posters. The astonishing thing is not only are the posters distributed over an extraordinary geographical area but they seem to be regularly updated with new sightings and information. Besides the posters there is a website where people can report the latest sightings of Freddie and pass on their sympathy to the dog's owner. At the last count there were over 750 postings to the website from Freddie Searchers everywhere. Call me an old softy, but I now log on to the site every day for the latest news. And Amy and I keep are eyes wide open when we walk the paths and lanes of the area.

Perhaps I can attach a second "Lost" notice to this posting, for I have recently discovered that I have lost 83 years of British history. The years in question are 1087 to 1170. I am reliably informed that all sorts of jolly interesting things happened between these two dates - there were revolts and rebellions, weddings and wars, and even a King called Stephen (although I can't believe the latter any more than I can believe that there was a King Wayne in the 14th century). But my knowledge of such developments is zero for the simple reason that I do not have the relevant episodes of This Sceptred Isle. During the last run of the mammoth series on BBC Radio 7 I managed to catch almost all the episodes after King Charles had his head cut off. Some kind person then bought me the CD which covered 55BC through to 1086. I have today discovered that BBC 7 are running the series yet again but, damn, damn damn, I have missed the first few weeks. Thus, I will only be able to listen to it from 1171 onwards and hence my 83 year gap. Is there anyone out there who can help me? I have designed a series of small posters and I will be stapling these to local trees and telegraph poles. If you know anything about these 83 years perhaps you could get in touch . There is a small reward.

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