Midnight Raid by Peter the Pine Marten. Shock horror exposé probe! – William Frederick
Before I launch into the exploits of our local Pine Marten I would like to mention the weather. We seem once again to be following in the footsteps of our American Cousins in that we, in the UK, have started naming our storms. The Cousins must find it hilarious that the Brits feel compelled yet again to copy what they have done. In fact I have it from a colleague in the Foreign Office that the Whitehouse have a monthly meeting were hilarity oft ensues as they think up ever more bizarre things for us to imitate.
Yesterday and today we have been mauled by autumn storm Abigail which, if described as wild, would amount to an understatement of epic proportion. As I write this deathless prose, our slatted wooden ceilings are heaving up and down and creaking like a pensioner’s back, due to the the pressure changes in the loft as one wave of wind crashes against the house, followed by another. The wave analogy works just fine for me, I know full-well that it’s not water but invisible air crashing onto the roof and walls which behaves just as though we are in a wild tumultuous ocean. In compliance with the alphabetical storm naming of our Cousins, we will no doubt soon be visited by some more seasonal storms, given in our case, wimpish names like storm Bartholomew followed storm Camilla.
Yesterday, shortly before afternoon tea, I happened to go outside to battle my way over to the wood pile for a sack of firewood. Nothing wrong with that, except I very nearly lost my trousers again as the invisible hands of storm Abigail grabbed hold of the fabric as she hurtled across the fields towards the river and the woods beyond. On turning around to return to the house, I saw a delightful double rainbow arching from one hillside, across the glen, to the other. It was complete in every detail from one end to the other, along with the most vibrant rainbow colours that I have ever seen.
I dashed into the house to let Beloved know and she and our guests scurried outside, pulling on suitable outdoor clothing en-route. I ran for my camera, quickly slotted in a fresh memory card and changed the lens, returning to the great outdoors to see a couple of multicoloured shards on the hill overlooking the river. The squall had passed, the rain had all but stopped, the rainbow had gone and I had been wasting my time. However, I have a vivid memory which is getting better by the hour, if no photographs.
The evening progressed and we settled down to a meal of Coq au Vin prepared by Beloved. This was no small sacrifice for a vegetarian of some fifty years. I had snuck in and made her a veggie curry which she ate along with the roast spuds and parsnips of the main meal.
I mixed every Secret Agent’s favourite drink, Martinis, and we sipped at them and then fell over. Next time I shall try less Gin.
A Martini (for information purposes only)
As we retired to our bedroom and our guests, Alex Craimant and his lady friend Anna Chapman fell into the guest room, Beloved and I heard a strange kind of rumbling sound. At first I thought it the sound of distant thunder. I discounted that thought in favour of a large jet aircraft flying low and punching its way through the gale. Shortly after that, Beloved and I exchanged a knowing glance and fell asleep in each others arms wondering just how the blazes the other two drunken sots could possibly generate enough energy or indeed enthusiasm to shake the bed across the floorboards whilst they engaged in seemingly vigorous rumpy-pumpy after a meal and drinks on such a scale! Respect and kudos in much abundance be unto them I thought, as I drifted off.
This morning as I made coffee, Alex dawdled out of the guest bedroom and held out an empty coffee mug gesturing that I should fill it. I caught his eye and winked and we said in unison, “So. Who was a naughty boy last night, then?… No… No… I thought it was you!… It wasn’t us!”
Confusion reigned until I returned to our bedroom to clamber from my nightshirt and into day clothes. Upon opening the curtains, I noticed on the rear lawn (when I say lawn I mean an area of moss and marsh grass at the back of the house), a couple of fat balls. Now I know that these words may be readily misinterpreted but I do not mean some poor chap’s gonads; I mean two balls of compressed fat and seed of the type that we feed to our local birds all year round but especially so at this time of year when the birdie food stocks are low and the weather is decidedly below par.
So. Where had these fat balls come from? Agent Bertram was down in London so I, William Frederick, had to do some sleuthing myself. I looked out of the study window at the front of the house to find that one of our several bird feeder fat ball holders was missing but Beloved assured me that it had blown down the previous day and was in the grass below if I cared to get it.
I looked down at the bird seed storage box below the window, which has a dozen assorted bits of 4 by 2 timber and a stack of short thick planks on top of it, the idea being that if Peter the Pine Marten where to make one of his nocturnal visits, he would have to shift a lot of wood and make a lot of noise to get at the seed. The theory was that if he tried to get into the cache of seed, he’d probably die of embarrassment at the racket he was making. If he didn’t, there was no way that this author was going to tackle the little bugger. He is ferociously strong, as quick as lightning, has appalling manners and a bad attitude!
It was then that I remembered that yesterday, there was a tub of fat balls on top of the seed box. The empty tub was still there sans fat balls of any description! Its lid had been smashed in and left with jagged edges, looking like a cartoon broken window. The little blighter had head-butted his way into the tub and rolled all of the fat balls along the veranda with his nose, dropped them down onto the rear lawn and made off with all but two of them. Not a bad night’s work if you have a family of young kits to feed.
Now I know where the strange rhythmic rumbling had come from. Not Alex and Anna enjoying a little nocturnal activity or even making an exposé probe, but Peter the Pine Marten casually rolling fat balls away to his kids. The problem we now have is how do we stop him?…
Beloved has come up with a temporary solution and has brought the remaining tub of fat balls indoors. They are now stashed inside the vestibule cupboard. Let’s hope that the mice don’t get wind of this snippet of news.