The old oak tree at the bottom of the South facing hill had come under attack from an invasion of crawling ivy, which was strangling the life out of the poor thing, so I made it my mission to grab my secateurs and head down there to see if I could rectify the situation. As I chopped and hacked my way through the scrambling stems, I discovered a thin, red, electrical cable, hidden in the foliage, disappearing upward toward the higher branches. Mystified, I took hold of the cable and gave it a damn good yank.
Much to my horror, as I looked up I realised an instant too late that the cable had been installed running straight through the centre of a squirrel’s nest, or a ‘drey’ as I have since found out they are called. The effect of my yanking was a like a whip crack, and as the cable straightened taut, the drey exploded into tiny pieces. Rudely disturbed from slumber, the mother squirrel was strong enough to keep her grip, but alas her brood of six youngsters were catapulted straight over the wall onto the adjoining railway line.
I ran over to see what I could do, but I regret to announce that the ten forty-seven to Crewe came blasting down the tracks at that very moment. The baby squirrels, or kittens, never stood a chance.
Now I don’t speak squirrel language, but I can’t imagine the chattering and squeaking being levelled at me by Mama squirrel was entirely complimentary. I apologised profusely and swore an oath I would find the identity of the miscreant who put that damned cable there and caused this unfortunate infanticide.
With Mama squirrel hot on my heels, I followed the cable down through the dell, where it lay hidden in a shallow gully, and up and over the fence onto the neighbouring estate. From there it wound its way around several sharp corners, in the direction of the main house. When I realised its ultimate destination, my mouth fell open in shock. The cable ran up a steel post to a video camera, aimed straight through the back window of the lady next door.
It didn’t take a genius to put two and two together. On one side, my land is bordered by that of Marvin Scrote, a somewhat nefarious character, who earns his fortune from internet pornography. On the other lives Lady Mugrunch, a highly esteemed champion of gay rights, and host to the International Naked Lesbian of the Year show.
Goddamnit. That son of a bitch Scrote was surreptitiously videoing the unsuspecting nudists for his website, using a hidden wire tap running straight across my garden. I wasn’t about to stand for this sort of nonsense.
Mama squirrel and I went and banged furiously on Scrote’s door. A small man with slicked back hair and a pencil moustache, he answered and regarded me with cold, reptilian eyes. “What do you want, Smith?”
“I found your cable and video camera,” I snarled. “You should be bloody ashamed of yourself. This poor squirrel’s entire family is dead because of you.”
“Oh yes? And what are you going to do about it?” He flicked ash from a menthol cigarette straight into my face.
“You cunt.” I rolled up my sleeves and went for him. After that, it’s all a bit of a blur.
I was able to piece the story together later from the police report. Apparently, Scrote’s bodyguard, an eight-foot tall gorilla, grabbed me by the neck and administered something of a pasting. But then, as Scrote stood laughing, Mama squirrel leapt up and bit his nuts clean off. She carried them away and buried them somewhere in the garden. They still haven’t been found to this day.
That’s it for my April gardening advice. Check back in May when I’ll be explaining how to prune your evergreens and stumble into a Russian blackmail plot.