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Mrs Liveinabin tells us: My mum told me to eat my vegetables, or I wouldn't get any pudding. I'm 32 and told her I could do what I like. I ate my vegetables. Tell us about mums.

(, Thu 11 Feb 2010, 13:21)
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The mother.
My mother's always been a tough old bird. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour which affects her balance a good few years back (an acoustic neuroma, in fact) but she hasn't let it hold her back in the slightest. I've got a vivid memory of her from around ten years back, armwrestling a local builder into submission in the pub. Somewhere, I've got photographs of her up to no good in Antarctica, and others of her paddling up the Zambezi river, all within the last ten years as well.

Just after the New Year came the case of the dog.

My parents live up in Hertfordshire, on a small farm that they're renovating. During the cold spell over Christmas they were almost entirely snowed in, and everything was white around for as far as the eye could see.

In the field nearest to the house they're working on, there's a large pond. In summer months and previous years, people used to travel to this pond to fish. Since the previous resident on the farm died, however, my parents have been turning it into a more decorative pond, and so filling it with water from a bore hole. As such, before the cold snap it had almost doubled in width, length, and a large amount of depth. It froze, predictably.

My parents had two dogs at the time, with my brother's staying in the house as well. After running them around the field briefly, they all returned to the house but left the gate open to the field so that the dogs could entertain themselves. Two dogs came back with them with the other staying in the field, most likely to roll in shit.

A delivery van turned up with building materials for the house. This all had to be unloaded and dealt with, and cups of tea had to be made. By the time the van was seen off and the tea finished, my parents came to the realisation that the dog had still not returned, and had in fact been gone for around half an hour. The dog in question is mildly deaf, and a silly bugger about coming when called at the best of times, so they trudged back out into the field to see if they could find the daft thing. The reasoning at this point was that she was probably eating a dead rabbit or something equally tasty.

Of course, she wasn't. My mum found the dog in a hole in the ice in the middle of the pond, head barely above water, feebly paddling in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. Luckily, this isn't a tale of someone immediately diving into the freezing water and drowning herself, but she said herself that she can understand exactly why it happens.

She stood and watched for long minutes as my father tried to find a rope, or anything that could be used as such. The dog stared at her frantically the entire time, and was visibly losing what little strength it had left.

My dad returned with rope; my mum shucked off her coat, wrapped the rope around herself, and waded in. The headway was alright initially, as she was able to stamp and kick at the ice to break a path. The pond drops off rapidly, though, and she was quickly having to swim and break the ice before her at the same time with her bare hands. She swam about thirty feet like this before she got to the dog, with the broken ice in front of her constantly pushing the feeble thing further away. By the time she reached it, the dog had stopped moving almost entirely.

If she hadn't had the rope and my dad pulling, she says, she wouldn't have gotten out again. With his help, though, they both got back to the shore and dragged the frozen dog out. My dad handed her coat back to her, as it was the only dry piece of clothing she had to hand, and made to pick up the dog.

She made him wait, so she could put the coat on the dog first.

She turned 60 a week later.

tl;dr version:
Mental older woman risks life in frozen pond, saves dog. Love you, mum.
(, Mon 15 Feb 2010, 1:01, Reply)

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