Another night, and this time I am waiting for the badger. Just as I turn to step back indoors, a sixth sense stops me. A bird is disturbed from its roost on a low branch and suddenly the badger appears, white stripes on his face remind me of headlight beams, his sandy-grey coloured back is the perfect shade to blend with the night. He follows the route of the night before, across the road and into the darkness.
As I retreat indoors the rain begins to fall heavily.
A last look out an upstairs window. The hedgehog, presumably having gorged his fill in the gardens and woodland edge, scurries past with the air of somebody who has forgotten their raincoat or umbrella hurrying home out of the rain.
It has become a nightly habit, to stand for a few moments in the cool freshness of dusk and wish the badger well on his adventures, before bringing my own to a close at the end of the day. I hadn't noticed before the week's rhythms; the way a fine Saturday night is busier and noisier than any other day of the week. Cars pass up or down the road twice as frequently, there is chatter in gardens and movements along the street.
The badger's head protrudes from the bushes at his appointed time, but he obviously was bumbling along without paying attention as he seems startled by the sudden presence of a young couple walking past. They spot the badger as he turns and ricochets back across the rife into the fields beyond, but they don't spot me sat on a low wall in the shadows.
The hedgehog didn't spot me either until he was within a foot or two of my own two wellington-booted feet, but to give him credit, I didn't spot the hedgehog any earlier either. Hedgehog froze and I held my breath.
A neighbour's cat came to say 'hello' and was intrigued by the spiky creature crouched at my feet, and jumped up onto my lap with a confused meow when a stern word informed him that he wasn't allowed to investigate further.
Hedgehog sensibly came to an eventual decision, turned around and shuffled off back the way it had come.
I breathed. Neighbours cat went home for his dinner.
|Who knew that snails were a fan of Friday Night at The Proms?|