The only thing that was worrying me was that we didn't immediately see Betty, but she finally appeared, bleating and charging down the hill towards me (or towards the bucket), just as we were leaving.
The mist on the fields around the down was spectacular, like a rolling ephemeral sea, and the cattle loomed out of it like creatures of the deep...
|Islands of woodland breaching the mist|
|An attractive shot of Betty|
|Ice crystals on nettle|
We had High Drama on the way home. A fallow deer had been hit by a car just outside Stockbridge and three men were in the road with it. We drove past, thinking it looked like they had the situation covered, but a voice in my head immediately told me to go back, so we turned round and went to help.
It turned out they hadn't hit the deer, instead, a car with two elderly people in it had driven past them with its front hanging off and a second later they came across the deer lying badly injured but alive in the road. Despite not being country people, and despite the fact they were dressed up and on their way to a day at Cheltenham races, they pulled over. One went to the deer while another rang the police.
Knowing from experience that the police don't always know what to do with wild creatures, and also seeing that although alive, the deer's back legs were paralysed and it would not recover, I rang Sean, who has done a game-keeping course and also works as a GC. He told me to cover the deer's eye with a cloth to help calm it while he got in his car to come out. Luckily, M was wearing two t-shirts (it being parky) and stripped off one so I could wrap it round the deer's head. It stopped struggling, which was a relief.
At this point the local policeman arrived and told us he'd left a message with whoever was top of their vet/ local gamekeeper list to come out. The only problem was he had no idea when that would be. Sean had told me he would need to cut the deer's throat (sorry if this upsets anyone, but I'm afraid that's the reality when a large animal is injured that badly on the road and you don't have a shotgun handy).
Anyway, I told the policeman Sean was on his way and in a few more minutes he arrived. The lads who has done so much to help the poor animal decided they didn't want to stay and see what had to happen, so M and I took over. I held the deer while Sean did the necessary.
I was very glad to have him there and we were both really impressed with the way he handled things. He was calm, steady and professional, so: well done Sean, and Thank You.
It all feels rather surreal now, but it isn't the first time an injured wild thing has died in my arms. You do what needs to be done for the welfare of the animal and worry about your feelings later.
Subdued, but also relieved that the poor thing was no longer in pain, we went home, collected L, dropped off Ted and went to collect Poppy. We rather feel we have witnessed both ends of the life cycle today, with the death of the deer and the addition of a new puppy. Such is life.
Anyway, Poppy is a sweetheart, and already bounding about the place chasing toys and chewing people's slippers. She didn't enjoy the car journey much and was sick twice, both times mostly on me, but she has now recovered and is eating, weeing, squeaking and charging around in general boisterous puppy fashion. I think she has taken rather a shine to M and is therefore a bit of a Daddy's Girl (which he loves). Ted isn't sure about her. He's growled a couple of times when she tried to sit on his bed, but I don't mind this- better that she respects his spaces. I expect them to be fine once they get used to one another.
She's asleep on a blanket by my feet as I type this- she seems to have worked out already that instead of squeaking when I am working at the computer, it's much better to go to sleep under the table where I'm not far away if she needs me. Poppet.
Here she is (hard to photograph well at present because she is very rarely still)...
|Demonstrating that she is currently not much bigger than a pumpkin|
|Look at that expression!|
|I'd say she was Deeply Honoured to be allowed a) on Ted's bed, and b) to share Ted's fire, even if it is from the back position of the blanket|
|Definitely a Daddy's Girl|
I'm going to finish on a poem I read on Cait O'Connor's excellent blog a couple of days ago by a poet called Mary Oliver. It's called The Sweetness of Dogs" and as such seems very appropriate for today. I'm also going to dedicate it to the deer, who was, like the rest of us, a creature of the Universe under the gaze of the moon.
What do you say Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. Full moon.
So we go
And the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself; one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit,
I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face, as though I were
his perfect moon.
Wishing you all a lovely weekend.