I am probably going to be accused of being fox-obsessed, but these mornings it is very hard not to be. Since my last blog, there has been an increase in Vulpes vulpes' activity in the garden. On Saturday night, the outside light came on around midnight, just as I was trailing off to bed, exhausted from a day preparing for the morrow's lunch for twelve family members. It was the Silver Vixen, plump and well cared for, and why wouldn't she be. The word recycling in this household includes fox; well, leftovers are thrown out, and chicken bones are always very welcome. It has a knock on effect, according to my neighbour. Apparently since OH and I moved back here, his Buff Orpingtons, Silky Bantam [the one that thinks it is a cat] and two Rhode Island's are nowhere near as traumatised by the sight of a Silver Fox slavering over their shed, drooling as she mentally concocts such delicacies as Poulet avec Feathers, or whatever.
Sunday morning I opened the dining room curtains to watch her wend her way to her den, which I have my eye on, with a large rat gripped firmly in her jaws. She's earning her living then! Yesterday afternoon, the inlaws, outlaws and attendant offspring sat 'round the dining room table. Suddenly little Odhrán gave a shout - Mam, look, it's a, it's a...fox, he squeaked. Instant rush of city dwelling members of the family to the window, instant disappearance of fox who had been sunning herself on the rocks, in this instance it was the Bracken fox. By dusk, those who had lingered on, otherwise known as those without offspring, or whose offspring have fled the nest, were enjoying a glass of Chardonnay, watching the sun set over Dublin Bay when the neighbourhood Barn Owl swooped up and over the dining room roof.
"My God" cried Trish, "what the hell was that?",
"Oh!, just the garden Barn Owl" said YD casually.
"You have a Barn Owl in the Garden? For real?" squawked Mags, always one to squawk in amazement according to Therese her sibling - these two do NOT get on, and, as I nodded my head in assent, it suddenly hit me that this was "AN EPISODE" in Mags' life as a former neighbour liked to term such moments.
I have never taken the wildlife in the garden for granted; be it the Badger, Barn Owl, Fox, or on occasion when the grass tussocks have been trimmed and there is something resembling a lawn, the rabbits. The cry of the curlew over the hill, the swoop of swallow like a squadron of Spitfire pilots, chasing the tasty morsel of fly and gnat - the lower they fly the worse the weather next day will be. That was a belief firmly held by my Mother, and she was seldom proved wrong.
When we were children, in the summer, we were always fascinated how she, and next doors Mum always knew that we wouldn't be disporting ourselves on the local beach the following day; we were sure they knew magic, was it the seaweed they both had hanging outside from the gutter? Damp and rain would follow the next day, crispy dry and sunny days ahead? No, years later when I had ED and YD Mum let me into her secret, it was the flight of the swallows. High for good weather, soaring on thermals because that's where the fly was, low to the ground for wet, and it never failed.
Back to work today after two weeks hols for Easter; this was the break I had been waiting for - and, needless to remark, the best laid plans of mice, men and IE went seriously astray. This morning I lugged myself out of the bed at seven, staggered into the kitchen, now resplendent with new linoleum on the floor, cream painted units, and a new fridge instead of dark brown wooden cabinetry, and dark brown wood effect linoleum on the floor of last year, and pulled up the blind. There, calmly walking across the lawn were seven magpies. Sauntering casually, pecking holes in OH's beautifully mown velvety lawn, I envied them, oh not the lawn pecking, but being able to stay in the fresh air, and not be stuck in an office. Still and all, we are lucky, the Boss gave us an early evening off as things were still quiet after the recess, and I headed home thanking God for the longer days. After a quick bite to eat [we'll be on leftovers for the next three days with all the dieting fads of yesterday] it was out to the garden in wellies, and some rockery restoration for me.
I have an ambition. It is to restore the rockery my Dad created six months before he died. Nasturtiums were his favourite and I have planted the seeds for their homecoming. Thanks to wonderful pictures of Auricula's at a certain venue lately, I have become attracted to these pretty and long lasting lovelies. Pink and Orange grace the place - they are a joy to behold and brighten up otherwise dull areas.
And so to bed; to be awakened in the morning by the Great Tit's call of "didja, didja" and the Bullfinches as they work their way around the apple blossom; the tree is old and this year I think the harvest will be poor, the blossoms are disappearing at a great rate. I am so up to date with my housework, I am ahead of the posse on the laundry and I am reeling in shock at the thought that, tomorrow I shall be a lady of leisure. Now, let me think...relax in garden and weed a bit? Shopping trip for a few little bits and bobs for the house? Lie in? Read a book? Oh God! the possibilities are endless and it seems like months since I have had time to do such things. Blog? Definitely!