The stunningly handsome “Dash”, hero of this garden and its environs, is a proud Dad. The Rebel is a cute bundle of fox fur, cinnamon in colour, and he first came to our attention two weeks ago. This means he is about seven weeks old, and is full of vim, vigour and mischief. Daddy Dash has had to chase after him across the lawn, cuff him with a gentle paw and the prod of a nose in the side to return him to the den. As he slowly loses his “cub” face and his “fox” face emerges from the fluff, I have a vision of him, red and white spotted kerchief tied to a stick thrown over his shoulder. Off with him on many great adventures.
Yesterday, as he sunned himself on what we now term the nursery rock; devious thoughts of escape no doubt running through his foxy brain, a second smaller cub tentatively put a paw and cute little face out of the den and came to join The Rebel. I don’t know if The Rebel is dog or vixen yet. We have named the sibling “Cautious”.
Cautious is much more nervous, and a short bark from Mother, Miss Pretty, had he/her race back into the shelter of the cotoneaster; meanwhile The Rebel groomed himself/herself meticulously, sneered over a small shoulder at Cautious, stretched in leisurely fashion and sauntered back to the den. We await, with interest, the development of this stunning pair. Cautious is more russet in colour and her/his face is still cub-like. Both have inherited Daddy’s white tipped tail.
Last year’s cubs, three of them, were not a success. One died within weeks of showing himself, one left home for pastures new and the other emigrated for a while to a nearby hill and returned with mange. Copious quantities of blue mouldy bread thrown out to him appears to have cured the mange. Nothing like raw penicillin to do the job. He is horrible to behold in looks, but at least his fur has regrown. We haven’t seen him around for the past few weeks and I think Daddy Dash has warned him off. There is no doubting Dash is a protective father, he ran into the midst of fourteen Grey Crows the other day when he thought they had The Rebel in their sights.
In WWII, or The Emergency as it was referred to here, the Luftwaffe was industrious in its determination to sink the mail boats coming across from England, and to that end Dublin Bay was targeted on a regular basis. The North Strand area of Dublin took a direct hit and much damage was done. With typical Irish phlegmatism the attitude was one of “arrah sure! It could have been worse!” amongst Dubliners.
My Mother used to tell me of nights when my Grandmother would take my Uncle and Mum out of the house and away across the fields to the shelter of a cowshed. My Grandmother was terrified that the planes flying overhead would drop a bomb by mistake, as they flew overhead, on their way to bomb the mail boats.
One evening last week I thought of my Grandmother as many planes flew in over the house. Irish citizens were returning from all over the world to cast their vote in the Marriage Equality referendum. At one stage last Thursday night one could be forgiven for thinking there was an armada of airplanes overhead.
I moved a garden chair to a newly cleared part of the garden which has a view over the Bay. Inspired to do so by having to stand in a bitter wind [this is May right?] admiring the Queen Elizabeth 2 in all her stately nautical glory recently. As she lay at anchor in the Bay, every available hill, road with a view and even some private lanes, were traversed in order to catch the best photo. One lady arrived at my gate and asked could she go up onto our roof, was there any part of it flat enough for her to stand on and take a “leeeetle picky”. Her resemblance to Miss Map notwithstanding, I declined access – we don’t have a flat roof – and she told me she was very disappointed in me. People never cease to amaze me.
My newly placed chair is in a cleft in the rocks, sheltered from wind and sun, cosy and an old childhood haunt. In our youth, my pals and I hid here while we decided who was a Cowboy, which of us were Red Indians and whether we were cattle rustling, robbing the stage coach, or even rescuing the stage coach from “The Baddies”.
In the intervening years since The Lone Ranger, Wild Mikey and The Sun up Kid and I moseyed along to our hidey hole, a rowan tree has taken root at the entrance to our special area. In full bloom at the moment, it has a smell reminiscent of almonds and horse stables. If we get any sort of a summer without snow in it, the lap top and I shall be seeking inspiration out there. Flask of tea and ice top buns, gluten free naturally, will be the order of the day.
Mum's thinking post