Sunday 14 August 2022

Still waiting for a hedgehog


More holiday snaps, if you can stand it. I remember when I was little you'd come back from holiday and invite the neighbours round for the evening to share your holiday photos, often via a projector. There was usually wine and people got a bit pink and giggly, even if it was only the Isle of Wight. 

The dog and I climbed half a mountain, then I decided that the rest of it would be far too difficult for him (lots of big jagged boulders) so we sat on a tussock to wait for the urchins to return. To be fair, it was a beast of a climb, and everyone said the dog wouldn't have managed it. Some people said I wouldn't have managed it too, but of course I would, I was just thinking of the dog. 

I ate all of my sandwiches and said hello to the other walkers who went past on their way up. An eight year old girl and a three year old boy included. A young couple came past, him striding out, being all leader-of-the-expedition, her trailing slightly and interrogating me quite hard about how far I felt it was to the top. I said I hadn't been and I wasn't going, I was sitting and waiting and enjoying the view. She said longingly that that sounded like an excellent idea. He laughed loudly and on they went. 

Apparently the biggest boy told the other two several times that they were almost at the top. It was one of those mountains that looks like you're almost there, but you're not. But they did it, and managed not to fall out. I've noticed that when the chips are down, they do manage not to be too dreadful to each other. Unlike other times, for example, when they are all in the (small) kitchen together trying to make lunch and cricket teas all at the same time. Oh my, did that turn ugly. I found a falafel stuffed inside the oven glove afterwards. Least said about it all the better.

At home, my wildlife encouragement plans hit a slight snag when a rat wandered into the kitchen. You may recall we have already had a cat strolling round the living room, bold as brass. The middle boy and I were eating breakfast in blissful peace and quiet when there was a mad scrabbling in the kitchen from the dog. He had the rat cornered behind the bin. The middle boy escorted the dog away and I shut the rat in the kitchen temporarily while I scoured the house for things to block the escape route. It was fairly easy to shoo it back outside, where I think it is probably living under next door's decking. This is the mouse-poisoner and herbicide fanatic, so I fear things may not look good for the rat if he is discovered. The dog is rather pleased to have been upgraded from purely decorative to chief rat warden. All of a sudden he is a working dog! And we all know they have special food.

It's the first rat I've ever seen since living here, more than ten years now, and the day before I saw the first squirrel I've ever seen in the garden. I wonder if things are being dislodged by the drought. Did I ever tell you about the squirrel on the wires at the front of the house? It was tightrope walking all along the street. At first glance it was intriguing, so I notified the littlest boy, who adores all animals. After a while it became obvious that the poor thing couldn't get down though, and it was all horribly dangerous and after about half an hour I was really wishing I'd never pointed it out. In the end it did manage to get all the way up to the end of the street and round the corner, where the wires slope down to the ground, so we convinced ourselves that there was happy ending.

I must just say thank you for all of your brilliant suggestions for entertaining older urchins over the summer. I particularly liked Jo's tip of making a list of things everyone wants to do at the start. I am definitely guilty of thinking that we'll get dozens of trips in and then realising the whole six weeks has flown by and we've barely done anything. 

Right now I am waiting for cooler weather and fingers crossed some heavy rain, as no doubt lots of you are too. The children have been playing cricket all weekend, which seems like madness. As I type this, a few clouds are gathering in the sky though, so I am eternally hopeful. 


  1. I can see lots of reasons to get a dog thanks to this post. The perfect excuse not to exert oneself on a mountain. Love the idea of the others climbing while you enjoy the view and chat to other climbers. Perfect for trapping rats….yuck…never had the delight of one INSIDE the house.
    Oh I empathise with squabbling boys and did smile about the hidden falafel. The stories we have to tell. Let the kittens out for the first time this week. They are under supervision and I’m hoping they will both be homey cats that don’t decimate the wildlife. I’m working on it although I allow them to chase toy mice. Hope the week is kind to you with lots of rain in your forecast. B x

    1. P.S. love the amazing picture of the stormy cloud. Could do with that here at the moment.

  2. I have my fingers crossed for a thunderstorm - the garden is desperate. My barometer has swung to rain but Metcheck is saying nothing until Tuesday; I'm hoping the barometer is right!
    A falafel in an oven glove? How intriguing! My youngest had rats in the kitchen in her uni accommodation. She was busy cooking and heard something in the pan cupboard, when she opened the door a rat was ninjaing its way upside-down along the pipework.When I asked what she did she said she closed the cupboard door and carried on cooking! You have all the joys of uni accommodation to come! :O) I hope the Chief Rat Warden is coping well with the heat. xx

  3. This reminded me of climbing vesuvius. That is deceptive too with lots of expected summits that turn out to be false. I remember those slide show evenings too.

  4. I don't blame you for only climbing half a mountain, I would have done the same.
    I'm surprised that's the first squirrel you've seen in the garden.
    Still no rain here. xx

  5. The slide show evenings, how well I remember those, your description is perfect. I am surprised that lady didn't offer to join you to keep you company, that is what I would have done! We don't have many squirrels around here, we once saw a red in next doors garden last year but I have not seen it again. I am kind of hoping they don't move in anytime soon as we have planted a hazel hedge and have high hopes of being able to actually eat the nuts they will hopefully produce ;)

  6. A falafel in the oven glove! Mothering doesn't get easier as the children get older... I dislike family meals now because the conversation is essentially a competition in bickering. Still, good to know they can work together when it counts at the top of a mountain. The drama in your corner of the world! A rat in the kitchen, a tightrope walking squirrel on the and the aforementioned falafel in the oven glove. Your hike sounds blissful though, particularly the part where you enjoy the views with the dog. That's my kind of hike! Have a very lovely week xx

  7. Never thought I'd be so thrilled by Drizzle, (I even write it with a capital letter now). I waited for it all day yesterday in vain, and was bitterly disappointed when we just had more of the wall to wall sunshine that we seem to have had since living memory. Don't get me wrong - despite the sunshine and heat, the sky itself was leaden and yellowed, like an old bruise, which gave you hope of an imminent thundery shower. But no, it was merely messing with your head. Nothing in the way of moisture.
    And then this morning, after another night of uncomfortable heavy air, which had to be chewed before you could breathe it, I heard it - no more than a sea fret at first, then proper, slanting, diamond like, rain ! For three minutes ! Followed by episodes of Drizzle, some lasting as much as ten ! My cup runneth over, I am happy again.

    And suddenly the activities of daily living, abandoned for weeks, seem possible once more. I am shyly excited by the prospect of wearing garments that have seen an iron ! Perhaps the oven will stir into service again, after many days of surviving on yogurt and plums, (I have a tree in the garden), crisps, (and that health food, known as chocolate), which need no preparation, and no washing up. (Entire digestive tract now in excellent working order).

    If we have an actual thunderstorm, with an actual downpour, I may well run round the estate in my bathers - not a pretty sight, but indicative of my delight - to commemorate the occasion, and to cement it forever in the memories of my neighbours. I have been able to switch off the fan/air cooler without passing out, and one of the dogs ran out to shock a wood pigeon which was paddling in the bird bath, (after it had been putting its tongue out at him for days, in the sure and certain knowledge that Louis would run out of steam after a couple of lopes towards it), and came back all smiley, and self satisfied.

    Ah, the good old days are back, my friend, please raise your glasses to the Drizzle ! Hurrah !

  8. We are hill walking tomorrow. It was on the list so I am committed right? That is how the holiday list works and the girls have been to an art workshop with me today so fair enough. The dog will love it so he is also in the mix. My other thing I forgot to say is that we have '3 till 4' which means everyone can go where they want in the house and not be followed. You can watch TV for an hour, listen to a podcast for an hour, sew, walk the dog, have an afternoon nap, your choice, it is your hour. We have done it since the girls were little. 3 till 4 was when they used to start falling out and it has kind of stuck. Even if we are out and about later in the day my big girl will say "when we get back can we have a 4 till 5? Hell yeah! Jo xx

  9. Loving the atmospheric photos, just stunning. we all need rain, nothing here for nearly a month. Struth, you had me laughing out loud re the falafel and rat strolling in. We had a rat and mouse infestation that drove me crackers, hubs was furious as I wouldn't let him kill them. Clearing all cupboards and the lofts finally saw them off, they hate their environment changing.

  10. I hate to break it you but within 20 minutes of being inside my house, my 31 year old twin boys start bickering. They get on really well and don't seem to do it elsewhere. And it's not even the house they grew up in!