March 26, 2013

I really wasn’t expecting much of my ride to the papershop this morning. To be honest, I was only going out to see whether the snow had been flattened down enough that I could pick my way through the worst bits and I was fully expecting to have to turn round long before I’d got anywhere near Papershop village but look!

wall of snow

It was very odd to be cycling between walls of snow, head high in places, especially with the hillsides mostly green and free of the stuff. It seems all the roads around have been ploughed, even the ford road (scraping off several years’ accumulation of mud and vegetation in the process). It’s narrow though – exactly a vehicle’s width in most places. A couple of times I had to tuck myself into a niche in the snow to let an oncoming vehicle through – and had a nice chat with the white van man who stopped to wind down his window to say thank you. For once round here the bike really was the quicker option, once you factor in reversing half a mile to find a space where two cars can pass…

I’m not the only one who prefers to make direct contact with the ground, picking her way very carefully through the deeper bits of snow …

cat and snow

Although I noticed that when she thought there was a mouse to hunt, she forgot all about it

cat footprints

In other news, it’s been trying to snow all day, but I’m ignoring it.


Killer Kitty

November 1, 2010

The neighbour’s cat, perhaps finding hunting mice too tame a game these days, appears to have set its sights on more substantial fare. Not only has it been seen stalking the local pheasants – and given the dimness of the local pheasants, it’s surely only a matter of time before it catches one – but it has begun looking at us with a worryingly assessing gaze. It’s bad enough having to dig out several tons of Crocosmia in order to claim back a square foot or two of flowerbed, but doing it with a cat intent on stalking and pouncing on my fork gets rather tedious. It then pounced on my turned back (thank goodness for fleece, I say, although maybe if I wore something that made me look less like prey I’d do better). It also tried launching itself from the wheel arch of the car onto the other half, although apparently it changed its mind comically in mid leap having decided it was better off not attacking someone with access to a pressure hose who will not hesitate to use it. We’d feel securer if it hadn’t also worked out how to get in through our bathroom window which is disconcerting when you were rather hoping to have the bathroom to yourself.

But we’re not taking it that personally, because the cat is just a trainee killing machine and will pounce on anything that moves and some things that don’t. During the course of yesterday the cat variously attacked its own shadow, a bee, several leaves, a buddleia bush, a figment of its own imagination and the shed, and then actually caught a shrew which it carried around squeaking furiously (the shrew, not the cat) while we both implored it to do the decent thing and kill it properly. And so far, we’ve yet to be troubled by any more mice.

The other half is now hoping it will concentrate on its pheasant stalking skills and start bringing us back the spoils. The cat is undoubtedly hoping that we’ll turn our backs for just long enough for it to get a really good run up at us. Though if that’s going to work, it might have to rethink its hiding technique.

The Dogfather

May 12, 2010

I was in a farmyard this morning, and I noticed a little black and white cat, barely more than a kitten, coming out of a barn with a mouse in its jaws. It dropped its prey at the feet of the old sheep dog which sleeps chained up in the sun there, and nudged it with its head, as though to show it what a wonderful present it had brought it.

‘Awwwww,’ I said to my cycling buddy. ‘How cute is that?’ and we cooed for a while at the little vicious killer and its ancient partner in crime.

I have definitely lived in the country too long now.

Close Encounters

April 24, 2009

No not with car drivers, for once, but with an altogether more ferocious creature. There I was, cycling back from the shop, having already avoided a loose cow being lured back into its field by the farmer with a bale of hay and enjoying the return of the non-rain, when I heard a rustle in the hedgerow ahead. Too quick for me to take evasive action, I just had time to register what was going on as the animal crouched and then sprang in a flurry of black-and-white fur.

I was being pounced on. By a cat*. Fortunately for me (and it) I was in fact going faster than it had anticipated – clearly the advent of the shiny new tarmac had thrown out its calculations and foiled an ambush weeks in the planning.

Lord knows what it thought it was going to do with me if it had actually caught me – feast on my carcase for a week? Stealthe pint of milk in my bag? Take me home and use me as captive domestic staff as its own humans were no longer coming up to scratch? – but after this series of posts, I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Dogs next. And there’s one in a farm I pass through that particularly wants my guts.

* ‘You really do go slowly, don’t you?’ said the other half when I told him this