Animals, Seasons, Writing and Books

125 – Return to Queaux

Since my return here on Sunday, it’s been unusually warm. Confusingly warm in fact. A tropical breeze blowing against my wintered face as I sit by the pond on the jetty writing this blurb. If I half shut my eyes and let go, I can see myself dangling my legs into warm seawater holding a fishing rod full of clipper and bream on a beach in Curacao.

It’s certainly changed the mood of the place. Crisp ice-dusted Christmas mornings replaced by warm hazy April ones in a little over two weeks. Crazed wildlife of all descriptions storming over the grounds as though it was the summer holidays.

‘It’s only January,’ I cry out. ‘Get back to bed! There’s snow on the way! (There is).

I even had to check the calendars in case I’d seriously overslept by three or four month – it can happen. But it’s correct. 10 January 2014. Not that the ocean blue sky, roaring sun and Saharan breeze didn’t warrant another look in my diary.

I should be getting back to my book that’s resting neat and rectangular on my desk waiting for me to arrive with my red pen. Slasher Ogley returns to delete the majority of his book with a quick dash of his sword, leaving a few brooding sentences on the irrelevance of the French and the lack of quality farmhouse cider in the area.

But for now, I’m content to enjoy the summer, I mean spring, I mean deep midwinter. Drink in the dashing herons that are using the pond as a watering hole as they fly somewhere I haven’t worked out where yet. Brazil, maybe? And they’re quite welcome too, as I adore herons. Beautiful creatures. The proudest of all birds. And certainly the least fidgety.

As for The Pond itself, I’ve been thinking of commandeering a rowboat from somewhere. Pack a hamper on board and write my book on the water. Fuse the narrative with spirogyra, pond beetle and caddis fly. Use the rocking motion of the boat to write the book for me while I fish for clipper and bream in the heat of Curacao. But first and more importantly, I need to find a way to get rid of the moles before they turn the garden into the fields of Glastonbury.

After heart attacks and strokes, the mole must be one of life’s biggest surprises. In the imagination they are goliaths of the underworld: giant terrifying beasts that rule the depths like subterranean secret police. And yet in reality, they’re tiny, ridiculous creatures that are as about as threatening as a pair of black socks. So how do these runts of the underground make such a mess of my lawn. Not that mine is really a lawn (or even mine for that matter). It’s more a pile of wobbly grass placed around the house to vaguely differentiate it from the miles of rolling meadow around it.

But before the mole cull, a quick cycle to the post office to send off my latest chess move to all the departed souls. It makes life so much more exciting and rewarding to play postal chess with the dead. You can never lose. And plus I hate games that end too quickly. It’s why I love Monopoly or Risk or Chess. They can potentially go on forever. Fill in the spaces left by all those tedious New Year’s resolutions I’ve given myself like giving up alcohol, sugar, coffee, pork chops, mustard crisps, bacon, sausage, black pudding, pate, pizza, ribs, fried eggs, hot curry, Roquefort, duck fat, chorizo, lardons, salami and on and on and on until there’s nothing left to do except hunt for moles in the middle of the night with a hammer and a torch.

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