The patio is becoming like a convention centre for squirrels – there were three out there this morning. And three squirrels is two squirrels too many. It was time, at the very least, to have a sharp word with them.
Reasoning with them, of course, would cut no ice. In fact, getting close enough to them to say anything would be impossible. They were well aware that something nasty lurked in the big house just below their feeding grounds and, though they would follow the seed trail however close to the house it went, they were constantly poised for flight. I can’t imagine that they were getting anything out of feeding this close to danger. Living on adrenaline must have been consuming at least as much energy as they were gaining from the consumption of a few oat groats and the odd sunflower seed.
Reviewing my options, I decided the only solution was to rush them. One of them was on the wall just outside the back door, a second one was on the bird table about 12 feet from the door and the third one was rooting through the detritus around the feet of the bird table. I had the advantage of surprise and a very noisy latch on the back door. Like an Olympic athlete, I psyched myself up for a few moments before making my move.
Then in one action, I had clanked the door open noisily, yanked it open and made it halfway to the bird table. I took the squirrel on the wall completely unawares, putting myself between him and safety with my first bound. He had to jump really high to get past me and join his chums fleeing across the patio. Another two leaps and I was nearly on them.
They scrambled, scratched and scuttled their way up the fence panels and over the shed roof at an impressive speed. But I didn’t stop. Two of them leapt into the nearest tree and from there onto the electricity pole that stands in our garden. I played my trump card, making a noise that I felt was a close approximation of what a 12-stone squirrel might sound like if it had caught another rodent stealing its breakfast. That did it. The two on the electricity pole legged it to the top without further discussion and were last seen twinkling along the wire into the neighbour’s garden. I don’t know what happened to the third squirrel, but I didn’t care. It may have been no more than a points decision, but I felt I had won that round. Time for a cup of tea to ease my aching throat. I just hope I hadn’t been observed by someone I know.