Wednesday, 15 June 2016
A Post By Ted
It's been a while, I know, for which I can only apologise. But you know how it is. Life is Very Busy, especially for West Highlands who happen to be the Senior Dog of their households.
I hope life is treating you all well? Our house is very hectic at present, mainly because there are so many Small Interesting Creatures visiting/ living in the garden and it is my job to do Regular Patrols and check them all out to make sure it's safe for Poppy to go outside.
We've got upside-down birds hanging off the feeders (baby nuthatches) and a small orange creature Mum found hanging out of a case attached to a blade of grass. It sat on her hand for ages afterwards but she didn't show us too closely because apparently I have a habit of eating small orange creatures. I don't know where this reputation has come from because I can't recall ever having done any such thing before. Possibly it was the capture of the baby robin last week that put the thought in her mind. I ought to point out that in that instance, I was carrying the robin very carefully and safely and it was Poppy who snatched it out of my mouth and ran off with it recklessly. Anyway, the small orange creature turned out to be a baby cricket and Mum was pleased because she's never seen one eclosing out of the larval case before (whatever that means).
Poppy is being driven mad by some cats who have a nest just beyond our fence. She spends hours watching them through a crack in the fence. They know she can't get out and reach them so they just sit there, all insouciant, and blow raspberries at her. It's even worse now they have kittens. I try to offer moral support, but I find I just can't get worked up about cats. Pigeons and squirrels now, that's an entirely different matter.
The latter have been exceptionally annoying in recent days, sitting on the fence swearing at me. I have tried Very Hard to knock them off but unfortunately have yet to succeed. They appear to have sticky feet, which I suppose you need if you choose to live in a tree. As for the pigeons, well, this year they've decided not to nest in our wisteria, which annoyingly means I don't know where they are. There are, as a result, fewer opportunities for Pigeon Watching. I hope all the Pigeon Club members around the world are managing to do better than me on that score?
We may not have many pigeons to watch, but we have got Dragons (see the picture of one holding on to a blade of grass). Poppy is terrified of them and it doesn't matter how many times Mum explains to her that they are Dragon Flies, it only makes her worry more. She thinks they're going to fly over and pick her up and fly off with her and then drop her in a lake from a great height. This is what comes of watching Game of Thrones before you're old enough. Sigh.
Yesterday we both had something to really worry about: a Raptor that was bigger than Poppy came into our garden! Poppy had just got back from Mrs D where she'd had her hair cut and three ticks pulled out. Mum was snuffling her because she's all smooth and silky after her hair cut and it's the only time it's safe to snuggle Pop without fear of catching a horribly disfiguring disease, when I decided to go outside. Poppy instantly squirmed and wriggled until Mum put her down and she came rushing up to see what I was barking at. Mum thought it was the neighbours, and as I'm not allowed to do that (?) she came out to tell me off and found us instead both standing stock still, slightly uncertain what to do, in front of a GINORMOUS BIRD which was lying on its back at our feet, with its wings spread out and its feet sticking up at us and its beak all bloody and its chest feathers all covered in gore. It was a Buzzard, and Mum thought we'd injured it!
I didn't know whether to be proud or amazed, so I settled on bewildered. I know I have a reputation as a particularly fierce kind of Westie, and it's certainly true that Poppy is a Jack Russell and they are not for the faint hearted, but even I was a little taken aback at Mum's unwavering confidence in my ability to take down a buzzard. It was nearly as big as me, for heaven's sake.
After a moment's reflection and seeing perhaps the way I was eyeing the enormous creature warily (have you ever had a Buzzard's talons shoved in your face? Or its beak. Or its eye either, come to that- terrifying), she changed her mind and decided we might be in more danger of having our eyes gouged out by it, so she ooshed us back to the house, nearly treading on the eviscerated rat that the buzzard had been ripping apart (which is what brought it to the garden in the first place and explained the blood on my chest and nose) on the way.
By now Mum was in a conundrum. You all know she has a habit of rescuing wounded Wild Things, but even Mum knows you don't just casually pick up a Bird of Prey. They can tighten their talons around a human wrist right down to the bone if they want to. What a skill to have, eh? So she collected a thick jumper and rushed back outside while Poppy hopped up and down and called out anxiously Be Careful, Mum! But luckily as she reached it the buzzard hopped back up on to its feet, squirted out what was probably a worried poo (we've all been there) and flew off, chased by a pair of scolding blackbirds. What Drama, eh?
Mum keeps telling anyone who'll listen (and, to be honest, plenty who don't really want to, like the man who fitted part of the kitchen this morning and the other man who came to do the taps- I could tell by the glazed look in their eyes) all about it, because she's never seen that kind of behaviour in a wild bird before. She thinks the whole lying on its back was a defensive thing, akin to playing dead, which some raptors do (apparently, but if anyone knows different please leave a message to that effect in the comments and I'll pass it on to her. It might stop her talking about it).
Anyway, we had all been so distracted by the Episode Of The Buzzard that I'd completely forgotten to laugh at Poppy's haircut and by the time I remembered it seemed a rather futile gesture, so we went to sleep on our beds instead, to get over the excitement/ shock.
I hope this missive finds all my friends well? Poppy has been playing a lot of football recently, as you can see from the photo montage. Apparently, she was hopeful she might get chosen to play in Euro 2016, which I can only assume has something to do with the Referendum.
Best regards as always,