Tuesday 30 November 2021

In which I manifest an actual hedgehog


I have manifested a hedgehog. Impressive no? It all began when the biggest boy saw a hedgehog when he was away camping. He'd never seen one before and he was absolutely thrilled. It was eating some peanuts he had dropped near his tent.

Fast forward to a few days ago and we had been talking about hedgehogs on and off and I asked him if he wanted a hedgehog house for Christmas. I had an idea to make the garden all welcoming and nice for hedgehogs. When we first moved in here, over ten years ago, there was a dead hedgehog in the back lane, but other than that I've never seen one, although the middle boy has.

Anyway, the biggest boy said that yes, he would love a hedgehog house for Christmas. We had a long conversation about how brilliant they all are and I had a look online for some hedgehog houses, then in the evening, the dog and I and the littlest boy set off on our evening dog walk. The dog pulled us round in a very determined fashion, more so than usual, even lying down in the middle of the road at one point and refusing to go a certain way.

So we ended up going on an odd, long, around-the-houses walk, the littlest boy moaning that he wanted to go home and eat crisps and not walk for miles in the dark and then suddenly, ambling across the road in front of us, AN ACTUAL REAL LIFE HEDGEHOG. I was absolutely beside myself, hardly able to believe my eyes, chanting over and over, 'What is it, what is it, what is it?' just in case it was a large rat having a bad hair day or something. But no, actual hedgehog! He was completely unconcerned, checking out the gutter then wandering up a driveway and along a flowerbed. He must have been in view for at least five minutes.

The biggest boy and I have been back since to look but we haven't seen him (or her) again and after the day I saw him it's all gone a bit chilly so he might be hunkering down. Anyway, I feel very much that the universe sent me a hedgehog as a sign that I need to press forward with operation Hedgehog-Friendly Garden. I have read all about them and apparently they will be okay with a pond so long as there is a way to climb out. I may have to leave the garden to be a bit messy... 

Elsewhere around here people are hacking things back like mad which is making me furious. I shall stand against the tide and plant things and pile up leaves and put in trees and shelters and all the things. And try and engage politely with the cutting-things-back people. 

Photo: Nicolas Savignat

Hedgehog photo by Nicolas Savigat via Unsplash, as I don't actually have one myself yet, but I am daring to dream.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Unreserved cushions


Autumn everywhere here. Yesterday the sun came out and there was a butterfly warming itself in the sun on a wall first thing in the morning. Today it was drizzle all the way. It never ceases to amaze me how these delicate creatures survive out there.

I am constantly thinking about snacks at the moment, which isn't good. Maybe the colder weather. I am like a bear laying down a few layers of fat before I go to sleep for the winter. The dog is on board with it and even the middle boy has declared that he is now open to eating everything and is no longer Fussy. The biggest boy eats anything, provided it is vegan, so I am branching out a little in the cookery department as well as eating all the snacks.

The main news in town is that (a) some people put a load of fireworks in a dog poop bin and blew it up and (b) one of Bertie's dog chums was bitten by another dog. Honestly, without dogs on the block there'd be no news at all. The dog friend is okay, a bit of an unfortunate event, with a very lively dog meeting a dog who was trying to avoid other dogs. It must be very hard if you have a dog who needs to be away from other dogs. They had gone to a very quiet spot at 10pm to be alone, then out of the dark came the lively dog.

I tried to interest the middle boy in going to the theatre to see Macbeth the other day. He just said 'No thank you' very politely and disappeared, which is pretty much his modus operandi to many things. It was a student production and not in the main theatre. I did find the booking arrangements a bit alarming, so maybe it's just as well he didn't fancy it. As well as reserved seats there were unreserved seats, reserved standing (standing! for two and a half hours! What is this, football???), unreserved standing, reserved cushions and unreserved cushions. I had visions of some sort of musical chairs style scrummage to bag a cushion before the thing kicked off. Can you imagine? For me it added a big fat layer of stress to the whole idea. I am very much the type of person who likes to sit down. Wherever I am, I am pretty much always looking for a comfy spot to sit. I love walking about the place, across the countryside, up the mountains etc. but as soon as it's over, I am looking for that sofa. So the idea of standing up for the whole of Macbeth or not getting a good cushion filled me with dread. I could offer to get it on DVD, but I am pretty sure that will be politely declined as well, so I probably won't bother. The middle boy and I are very much ones for the quiet life. I don't believe I've ever heard him raise his voice.

Sadly, the rest of the household are all about the noise. Well, I might be a bit shouty at times as well, but only because THEY MAKE ME. The dog has huge empathy with everything and can detect even the tiniest nanogram of irritation in a half-sigh or the slightly sharp putting down of a pen. He gets up and leaves silently, with the air of someone who expected better and will not dignify such behaviour with his presence. It comes to something when even the dog is disappointed in me.