Saturday, 24 July 2010


I have been communing with nature this week, one way or another. I discovered that my raised bed had been plundered and that all of my radishes had been dug up and chewed – despite the bird netting. This was obviously the same bunch of mice that the cat had been bringing home for tea most nights this week, and the same crew responsible for leaving half eaten strawberries scattered over the lawn. The galling thing is that they are half eaten – what’s wrong with my bloody strawberries? If you don’t like ‘em, then stop nicking 'em. Then I realised that they had been abandoned in the most exposed part of the garden in what appeared to be a straight line between the strawberries and the fence. I began to suspect that the owls had been picking the mice off as they lugged the huge strawbs across the lawn in a sort of fruity convoy. They were obviously so pleased with their haul that they had become careless and their lackadaisical attitude to security and overwatch had been their undoing. Oblivious to the possibility of ‘death from above’ their little convoy had been picked off one by one. This was all rather sad, so I now leave a couple of reject strawbs under the bushes near the entrance to their hole so they don’t have to cross no man’s land to pinch my good strawberries.

It was one of those mornings where you think it’s going to thunder any minute but it never does. The air was thick and damp and just doing the simplest thing made you burst out into a sweat. I was a bit distracted with something and was startled by the appearance of a neighbour peering over the hedge asking; ‘how do you get them to do that?’
‘How do I get who to do what?’ I said suspiciously.
Apparently I had 5 or 6 painted ladies sitting on my head licking the sweat from my hair. It turns out they were butterflies, which is probably for the best otherwise this could have turned into another interminable anecdote about the jungle. As soon as I straightened up they took off in a cloud of fluttering orange and brown.

I didn’t get a photo of the painted ladies who went all shy and fluttered away, so here’s a pic one of the 30 tortoiseshells that spend their afternoon sunbathing on the walls of the house. They don’t care who photographs them – slags.


  1. Great photo. Not sure what you can do about the mice other than poison! We put down some poison to stop the rabbits eating our hay and silage bales, it's about the only thing that works, but you have to make sure it is out of the way of other animals e.g. stuffed in a hole!

  2. I think the mice probably have enough on their plate what with owls and cats right now :) my resorting to chemical warfare at this stage could easiliy escalate the situation into a full scale conflict. Nobody wants to drag the rats into this and who knows what side the foxes would come in on? It could all quickly spiral out of control and before you know it there's a mushroom cloud over the pond, or worse in the wormery!

  3. I now have this lovely image of you crowned with painted ladies! Cheers.