The Great Escape

“It is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them”

My housemate’s dog (Bruce) seems to live by Captain Ramsey’s words, opting to play the part of the Allied troops whilst we are left impersonating the Germans. In the past week Bruce has managed to escape three times and break back into the house twice.

On his first day with us we locked the dog flap and left him in the garden. A couple of hours later I walked into the house to find him sat in the living room, break-in number one. Turns out a dog flap is no match for Bruce’s big head and he had smashed it off its hinges with apparent ease. The next day we decide to try a different option, using some bamboo fencing we found in the garage, blocked off a small entranceway by the front door, giving Bruce access into part of the house and the garden via the dog flap. Lo and behold when I pulled up on the driveway Bruce was staring out of the window at me, break-in number two. There was now a dog-shaped hole in the bamboo, yet again Bruce’s head proving to be a formidable force. At this point we gave up trying to keep him out of the house.

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As quickly as Bruce had gained full access to the indoor world, he decided that he now wanted full access to the outdoor world. And so the great escapes began. Our garden is surrounded by a six-foot fence, it’s only apparent weakness was the gate which was easily vaulted by Bruce. Using some wire fencing we blocked off the top half of the gate, preventing Bruce from jumping it. Bruce however managed to squeeze through the small gap between the gate and the newly added fencing, escape number one.  After retrieving him from the dog pound, I attempted to dog-proof the front gate again, this time securing the wire fencing to the bottom of the gate so there was now no chance he could get through unless like the plucky POWs, he dug a tunnel.

Escape number two was his best yet and baffled us until we put him back in the garden and watched. Utilizing a raised flowerbed as a springboard Bruce took to the air and jumped the six-foot fence. If I were an Olympic judge I’d mark it as a foul jump, his hind legs just clipping the top of the fence which would certainly had been enough to knock off any high jump bar, nonetheless it was still an impressive feat. It was at this point my housemate decided Bruce would stay in the house whilst we were both at work. But once again the cunning canine outdid us. Leaving him in the house with seemingly no escape route, Bruce managed to open a bedroom door, climb onto the bed and exit into the garden via an open window. MI6 should be looking to hire this dog.

Besides spending my days giving a new meaning to ‘Guard Dog’ I have managed to explore more of what Marlborough has to offer. Pelorus Bridge is a popular tourist spot renowned for its clear waters and waterfalls. In recent years it’s popularity has grown after Peter Jackson chose to film scenes from ‘The Hobbit’ along the river, and I must say it was definitely worth the visit.

Some serious rainfall has hit New Zealand in the past week, which made it the perfect time to witness the Elvy Falls. Whilst the heavy rain made the waterfalls more impressive it did come at a price. Firstly, the famous clear waters of Pelorus looked more like a pint of London pride than water. This was due to surface runoff carrying a vast amount of sediment downstream, having said that the water upstream was still beautifully clear. Secondly, the risk of trench foot* had greatly increased. The majority of the walking track was now submerged as the ground had become so saturated it was actively leaking rainwater. Subsequently I spent most of the two-hour walk with my feet under water (and at times much more than that, particularly when the river crossings where slightly higher than expected). Nonetheless this all added to the experience, one of which I would highly recommend as a great place to stop off en route through the Marlborough sounds.

On the pitch, unfortunately we still aren’t quite getting the rub of the green. A winless start to the season isn’t what we had hoped for, nor expected on the back of last season’s league standings. However, injuries have hit us hard and with some key players from last season out of action, the forwards in particular are struggling. Whilst losing isn’t ideal, there is something enjoyable about the challenge of playing for a side on the back foot. Opportunities with the ball in hand are more limited so I am having to work harder off the ball in order to get rewards and with three tries in four matches this seems to be paying off (it’s also a good trait to develop regardless of the team I play for). On a more positive note we literally had a bus load (well mini-van) of Samoans turn up to training last night. Seven in total but apparently twenty more are on their way over from Samoa next week, how many of them play rugby and to what level we are yet to know but in a numbers game surely a couple will be front rowers or at least distant relatives of the Tuilagis.

*Trench foot maybe a slight exaggeration but I did have to hang my trainers and socks out to dry when I got home.

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