26 November 2010

Animal Farm

I’ve never read the book Animal Farm but I know the story and I think it’s happening here. The animals seem to be taking over.

Shadow is in and out of the house every five minutes, likewise the cats, and they don’t half make a noise if the doors aren’t opened within seconds to let them onto the terrace when they want out.

The stag has been spotted by Guy in the newly cleared terraces and he’s even been in the space between our house and Tan and Angie’s (the stag, not Guy), wrecking my hedge which I’m trying to grow to give some privacy to both families. I reckon it’s the rutting season and he’s practicing on my Leylandii – whatever he’s doing, he’s making a real mess.

The dreaded magpies are becoming brave again, venturing within shooting range and shouting at me as some sort of gang warfare cry but they now know the click of my air rifle and despite being maybe 100 yards away, they hear that familiar 'click' and off they fly. Safe for another day to come and cover my terrace with purple bird poo.

The buzzards seem to be breeding like welfare recipients in England (sorry not very PC – just watching the UK news) and they fly over the house every day now, screeching their harsh song. It used to be that you never saw them for weeks but there’s now so many of them, it’s not an unusual sight to see several of the young ones tracking the hang gliders on a sunny day.

And talking about poo, last week and there was a strange set of droppings on the terrace beside Shadow’s food bowl. I thought it was a badger but not being an expert on animal droppings (apart from donkey’s), I wasn’t sure. We don’t see many badgers here – only twice in ten years – so I was quite excited that we had one of these quite rare beasts visiting us.

And then last night I wandered into the kitchen and there was a furry shape eating out of Shadow’s bowl. I thought at first that it was Coco (the cat) but on closer inspection it was a magnificent fox. I wasn’t too surprised however as Angie had spotted it on her terrace a few weeks ago but I was surprised that even when I went right up to the window, it continued eating Shadow’s biscuits.

It was big for a fox with a wonderful white and red tail, not one of these scrawny urban animals you see and it just looked at me and then continued to eat the food in the bowl. I rushed off to get my camera and even then it seemed to sense that if I took a flash picture, the flash would just rebound from the patio windows and the picture would be of me taking a picture of myself. I switched off the kitchen lights and went to open the doors but it dashed off.

I closed the doors and back it came. And then I had a brainwave – maybe I could bond with it. I went and put on J’s new fox fur coat and went back into the kitchen. It was so sad – foxy looked at me with tears in its little eyes and I’m sure, uttered the word ‘mummy’. And then he/she left. Aaaaaah.      

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