I’ve been thinking, for all our clever technology and lovely shoes and everything, we haven’t really come very far at all. Not a very original idea I know. Let me be more particular…we, as in us living here, where I live, might as well be in the Dark Ages. It’s all this nature, that’s what I blame: it’s so bloody uncontrollable. It doesn’t matter how carefully I plan my garden, or how beautifully I decorate my guest room; it doesn’t matter how meticulously my neighbour Bob mows the mysterious grassy mound outside his cottage (the care he lavishes on this hillock makes me wonder. What’s under there? Is it some kind of burial mound?) Nature is determined to bugger it up.
Last winter everyone up here was plagued with rats. It was the talk of the Hill.
This summer, slugs, even more squirrels than usual and still the rats, hanging on, immune to winter’s death pellets, not even hungry at this time of year. Just strolling about because they can; as bold as brass.
The mice are having a field day. They’ve already started moving in to the roof and it isn’t even November yet.
And the boar. We have hundreds of wild boar here. They usually stay in the woods and when you come across them, as long as you treat them with respect and stay away from their babies, they generally leave you alone. Recently though, they’ve taken to mooching along the lane in the dead of night or the very early hours of the morning, like bored gangs of teenagers looking for trouble. Good old nature delivered such a bad spring, there aren’t enough acorns and beech masts this autumn. The boar are hungry. They churn up all the verges and if you leave a gate open, your garden, looking for lunch.
Bob’s grassy mound looks like a ploughed field. He’s livid.
If you come boar these days, on the lane, they fix you with their beady, unnervingly intelligent little eyes as if to say, “Yeah, whatever. How are you going to stop me?”
They have a point; they’re four foot high at the shoulders, built like tanks and have tusks.
A few days ago, at the side of a path, I came across a headless mole. Why? How? Was it the boar equivalent of the horse’s head in the bed or the dead cat (don’t ask) nailed to the back door? Or a victim of some other crazed, unnatural creature?
Nature, it’s unnatural.