Well, we’re back. Actually, we were back on Thursday night, arriving to a meal laid on for us by Sal’s mum, thus continuing the holiday mood quite effectively.
Thursday might seem a strange day to return from what might have been a week’s break, but we already had guests booked in for Friday night, so we had to get back for them. Imagine our disappointment when we picked up our messages on our return only to find that all of our Friday night bookings had been cancelled due to illness.
Disappointing as this was, it was as nought compared to what has been happening to our bird population. Around the time of our trip to Wiggly Wigglers in November, there were very few birds in the garden. We were becoming quite concerned. Obviously, we blamed the cats that now treat our garden as their own, but even so we expected to see the usual squadrons of sparrows gathered out of harm’s way on the top branches of the dogwood, or chattering in the hawthorn tree. Their absence from these usual haunts made me wonder whether I’d killed them off by feeding them cheap bird seed of unknown provenance. However, in the absence of corpses littering the lawn, and therefore without the corpus delicti that would point the finger at me, I felt that perhaps I was letting my emotions smother good sense.
Unless of course, the cats had eaten all the dead birds . . .
But then, that would hardly be the case. Cats like to play with their food and, from memory, I would say that no cat is interested in a meal that doesn’t put up a bit of a fight. So I ruled out the cats and returned to the theory that the birds had simply turned their backs on junk food.
Wiggly Wigglers came to the rescue. In their little shop, we found home-produced bird seed, some of which had been grown right there at Lower Blakemere Farm. The provenance of all the seed was traceable, and it came with a clean bill of health. Ditto the peanuts. So, clutching a bag of each, we returned home. Just before we left for our little break, we scattered a good quantity of seed about the place and refilled the nut feeders.
On our return, however, neither the seeds nor the nuts had been touched, and no birds were around on Friday morning. But the poxy moggy was around, strolling nonchalantly across the patio as if he owns it. So that’s it – war is now declared. No quarter given nor asked.
It has become pretty clear that this semi-feral black-tortoiseshell-cum-tabby views our garden as the local takeaway and just wanders in whenever he feels peckish. Our birds, not knowing when or where he will appear next, have obviously decided that we are to blame for the presence of the cat, so they have taken themselves off under a cloud of umbrage, boycotting the garden despite the introduction of real seeds.
Thus we have no option but to make our feelings known to this fuscous feline. We will be off to town tomorrow, perhaps to call into the mortally wounded Woolworths, where I believe we might be able to pick up what I believe used to be called a Super Soaker, a modern-day ‘water pistol’ that is actually more like a flamethrower. This useful gadget will project a torrent of water about fifty yards. It sounds like just the sort of weapon that might come in handy in our opening skirmish. And, if that fails to get the message across, then it is off to Bristol Zoo for some lion poo. I’ve heard that this acts as a remarkable deterrent when placed strategically around the garden.