One morning we heard squealing from the back garden and found a lovely black and white bunny rabbit, who was so nervous and twitchy. We think she may have been caught by a big cat, and we brought her inside, put her in a cardboard box with some lettuce and carrots and she thanked us by keeling over and dying overnight.
Another time we chased a cat out of the house who had obviously entered through the terrace door, and about a day later we heard a squealing sound from the shoe and coat cupboard under the stairs and found a little kitten. I guessed immediately that this was why the cat had been in the house in the first place so we placed the kitten on the terrace and moved away to a distance and watched as the mother cat came and claimed her young. She had two other kittens and we fed her and them on the terrace for a while although she would not let us anywhere near her or them, and then one day they disappeared.
Not all our guests were the feline variety – we also have had the occasional mouse that has decided to move in. I don’t mind mice generally but really don’t like to have them in the kitchen or anywhere in the vicinity of food, and, although there are various poisons on the market not all of them are humane – one of them is a kind of glue that literally glues the mouse to the spot which I think is very cruel. Another is a bag of tiny grains which you put on food around the kitchen and this has worked with varying success. I have had the odd mouse that, I suspect, has peered out at me from behind or underneath a kitchen appliance and laughed at my naivety in expecting him to fall for that trick, because the food stays around….and so does the mouse. We had one that was locked in a cupboard and we left it for days and days without food and it just would not die – I hated the thought that it was dying a slow death, and my husband decided to put it out of its misery and kill it with a broom. Far from killing the wretched thing, the mouse escaped and my husband broke a hole in the tile at the back of the cupboard. So much for putting it out of its misery!
There have been times when my husband and children (bearing in mind they are almost all adults now) have decided to deal with the mouse problem with military precision and everyone takes up position beside a potential bolt-hole armed to the teeth with a broom or other cleaning utensil. The furniture is moved carefully to coax the mouse out of its hiding place and then…..all hell breaks loose. There’s a lot of shouting and accusations flying through the air while all the furniture is hurled around, the mouse flees for its life and vanishes into thin air and lives to terrorise us another day, while my living room and kitchen look like a tornado has hit them.
And then there’s Jack….the tortoise who is just one step up from a rock. We acquired him from a friend whose dog had attacked it. We had to move him out of his home in the front courtyard when the builders came and he has been reigning supreme in the middle courtyard ever since. He belongs to my eldest daughter and many is the time she has exclaimed at how happy or sad he is, but in all honesty to me he has the same gormless expression on his face no matter what befalls him. We finally saw something of his personality when my nephew came on holiday and spent a lot of time in Jack’s courtyard, whereupon Jack decided to claim his dominance and rammed any foot that entered said courtyard – fine if you remembered he was there but a bit of a shock when you forgot and suddenly found your foot being gnawed off.
|Jack - picture courtesy of my nephew, hence the superior photography!|