Eight o'clock at night and I am trying to persuade our dog to go out for a toilet break when I hear a beep as the front door is opened followed by the clang of the garden gate. My wife has gone out unannounced. I get the lead and coat on the dog and wait a short while for her return, which she will probably do if she can't see us in the usual place. But she doesn't, so I take the dog out anyway but there is no-one about on this cold, dark night and my wife is nowhere to be seen. I return home but she is not there. I go out again for a few minutes to check a couple of other likely places, leaving a note in case she comes back. No luck. By now it is after 8:30 and she could be anywhere. Worse, if she goes too far she will not remember how to get home. Memories of someone who went missing in the local area and was found in the river days later come flooding back. I am calm and not seriously worried yet but it is time to call in the professionals. As soon as I mention that she is a vulnerable adult with dementia the support officer on 101 takes her disappearance very seriously. I give all the details they need including her description and what she is wearing, not forgetting her distinctive red beret. Yes, she has a small amount of money and a travel card in her bag. No, she hasn't got a mobile phone and couldn't use one if she had. An officer is on the way here to take more details. I am to stay put. Within 25 minutes I see a car outside the door and someone wearing a red beret getting out. The female police officer had spotted my wife's hat as she drove up our street. Apparently she was making her way home after going out for some 'fresh air'. We'll never know for sure where she has been, but that hat of which she is so fond has done the trick and the police - whose response has been first class - can stand down. This kind of excitement I can do without.