I am writing my blog entry early today, in the hope that it may prove balm to my tormented mind. The flashing, rumbling sky-dog paid a prolonged visit this morning, reducing me to a shadow of my normally buoyant self. Despite my partner's assurances that it was only a temporary weather condition, I was beside myself with terror.
I attempted to carve myself a niche in which to hide within the putrid compost-heap in my garden, thinking that the sky-dog would never dare to follow me in there, but my partner caught me, fished me out and forced me into renewed cleanliness. By the time she had finished towelling me down and telling me what she thought of me, the sky-dog had rumbled away. But fear has wearied me, so I might pretend to be dead when my partner wants to take me out for my exercise later this afternoon. This is a skill the practice of which I would recommend to anyone. When I am about to be summoned into something against my will, I instantly assume the position of one in the preliminary stages of rigor mortis. I reduce my breathing to its shallowest and fail to respond to all stimuli. I have mastered all aspects of this state, except one. I cannot resist taking a look to see if my ruse has succeeded, and this is my downfall. Instead of seeing my partner prostrate with grief at my untimely passing, as soon as I open one eye for a sneaky peek she crows "AHA! I knew it! Get up, you lazy maggot." It's no good - I just have to look. It seems there are some skills even I cannot perfect.
As if all this were not torment enough, my garden has been invaded again. The hedgepig (see previous entries) has now taken up permanent residence and has been OPENLY lauded by my partner's mother for his efforts in keeping slugs off her prized Hostas (and, for the mucky-minded amongst you, that is NOT a euphemism).
Sometimes I think I might be the subject of some kind of wildlife-sponsored Hedgerow Outreach Programme. The latest 'community worker' to be assigned to me was first sited a few days ago and initially proved a bit of a mystery. We saw him on the bird feeder, helping himself to some goodies. Though clearly a rodent with brownish fur, he was too small and differently-coloured to be a squirrel, yet too large to be a mouse, and was most definitely on MY property. I was intrigued.
Just the next day, I encountered the fellow as I took an afternoon tour of my estate. He was nibbling some succulent blades of my grass and I was upon him before he could flee. "What are you?" I demanded. He looked up at me, as if not quite understanding. "Are you a rat?" I calmly placed a restraining paw on his tail, to prevent his escape.
"Not exactly." came the reedy-voiced reply, as his dark eyes wildly searched for an escape route.
"Come on, then." I said. "Don't worry, I'm not going to eat you." The visitor relaxed a bit, though his eyes never stopped darting about.
"I'm a water-rat."
I nodded, and was about to release him when I was struck by a thought. My home is not close to the river, and the busy main road lies between my grounds and the fields before the river. I asked him how he had ended up in my territory. He shrugged.
"Buzzard." he replied, matter-of-factly. (And regular readers of this blog will know enough of my opinion of these foul raptors to believe that my sympathy was instantly bestowed on the river-dweller). "Caught me and flew off. I managed to struggle round and bit him hard," (Respect was instantly added to the sympathy), "so he dropped me and I ended up here."
"Blimey." I said. I told the water-rat that I was not able to return him to his home but, in recognition of his troubles, he was welcome to make himself comfortable in my garden. I have since found that he has accepted my offer and has tunnelled a small burrow under one of my little ornamental trees. As I released the fellow's tail and turned to re-enter the house, I felt a certain curiosity about his experience and asked him what it was like - being captured by a buzzard. There was a brief silence and then he said
"Didn't think much of the in-flight entertainment."
I laughed, despite myself, as he scampered away and I decided he might be a welcome addition to my garden. Plus which, I've ALREADY seen the New Cat sniffing about outside the gate at the new 'mousey' aroma - so, as bait, he is already proving his worth. Hehehe.