The sword of Damocles

 


We have had unexpected visitors. Yesterday, as I drank my morning coffee, I saw a little heart shaped face looking in through the patio doors. It was a stoat and it scuttled off as soon as it saw me. Then it began its antics as if showing off and putting on a performance for me.

The stoat seemed to dance all over the lawn and leapt in the air, it ran with its nose on the grass, scudded along on its belly and did twists and turns, zig zagging all over. I have not seen one this close before. It is a ginger colour with a clear white bib and underbelly. Its little tail has a black ending.

It began to explore our plant pots on the patio. I know that stoats eat small mammals, they can even kill rabbits. We have lots of little voles and field mice that shelter around the plant pots, so I guess that the stoat knew they were there and was seeking them out.

Then suddenly there were two stoats. They are both rolling on the wet grass even now as I write this. Stoats do not like company, so I presume this smaller one is her young kit.

At home we are not used to company these days as we are still trying to dodge COVID. We started off by shielding then being very careful and meeting only outdoors, then a few people indoors with all windows open.

Mr T and I have not had COVID but around 80% of the population have. Is it only a matter of time? It is hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles in an unpredictable world.

On a seemingly less important note, we have not got the butterflies we expected this year. We are at the time of the Big Butterfly Count and I am not seeing the red butterflies as I should. Normally there are lots of them on the buddleia and on most of our flowers. But this week I have only seen one tortoiseshell. There are no peacock butterflies so far which is very unusual. Where are they?

No one really knows. But one thing I should have known is the fate the rabbit. It has been in our garden for a long time, sneaking out at dusk and eating our juicy plants. We fence all our vegetables from it and put gates at our open greenhouse doors to stop it nibbling our fresh green leaves.

But I have just seen the rabbit running for its life with its ears down and using all its swerving tactics to outwit the stoat.

I wonder who will escape.


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