Monday, September 24, 2007

Lady of the Flies 4

I think the flies may have gone underground. Literally. They have disappeared from the kitchen but hanging out my washing on the drying green, I noticed four large mounds of earth tumbling up through the grass. I presume the flies are regrouping and plan to tunnel their way back in. I set the children to stomping up and down on the mounds in case the flies have not yet got the hint. Then last night I was lying in bed and all I could hear was scurrying in the ceiling space. I have heard a whole din of buzzing from them, particularly when captured in jammy ribbons of fly paper, but I have never heard them scurry before. I presume they were wearing leather soled boots. Cunning creatures flies. In fact, this whole country experience has brought me closer to animals - if not insects.

My eldest would prefer to go to school by bus as many of the other children do. He says: "Why can't I go by bus?" I say: "Because mummy likes driving you." I try to bear that in mind when I am running 10 minutes late and struggling to clip three children into car seats which are ever so slightly too big for the back seat of the car. And it is raining. And we cannot find our homework. On a good day driving the boys to school is like a long nature ramble. "Look children, cows/ horses/ sheep/ rabbits/ hares/ chickens/ pheasants." I still think "Wow" as I try and pick my way through the careless, gossiping pheasants drifting across the road or see a hare lollop along infront of me before it swerves off into the long grasses and through the hawthorn hedge. The other morning, I even saw a red squirrel. A dark russet red, its tail darker again; it whipped across the road, scrambling up onto a stone bridge and leapt for a tree. I have seen deer once with the boys. Deer spotting though is more of a solitary habit. I am not often out late at night and alone. When I am, the very best bit can be the drive back. There is a point in the road to home - a stretch after it has dipped and before it rises again - where if you slow down, lower the music, wind down the window and glance across, away and over to the right, you can, occasionally, only very occasionally it is true to say, see them bound across the field then disappear into a shadowed, distant copse of trees. Then drive on again, content.

22 comments:

Mopsa said...

I'm just back from a walk in the wood with the dogs. Fresh deer scat in small heaps in the culm to be hopped over, and bark on young trees chewed off, meaning they are self-coppicing the wood and there may be less to do by hand this autumn.

Eats Wombats said...

You really ought to find out where the nearest badger sett is and go watch the cubs next year. It will be an unforgettable experience.

Small description here: http://wombatdiet.net/about/

Of course, as a paid up person with a striped face, I would say this wouldn't I.

lady thinker said...

It's the sight of the red squirrel that has made me very envious. Ahhh 'Tufty' ....

The Grocer said...

Deer in my experience are creatures of habit, early morning seems to be a good time to watch them as they often feed in the open at this time. My journey to work used to take me on the A1 through Blagdon and I would often see groups of 3-4 in that area.

aims said...

Here in Alberta, deer are plentiful and often a nuisance - although it's not often you hear anyone complain about them or their beauty - only if their gardens are being eaten.

Driving in the early morning or early evening is treacherous and plenty of cars have been destroyed or people killed because of the deer leaping onto the road. There is a large volume of business done in deer whistles that you attach to your car.

What breaks my heart are the dead ones you see lying on the side of the road - their eyes cloudy and permanently staring off after the others who made it through the traffic......

Rachel said...

There deer where you are must be shyer than the deer which live in Richmond Park. Those deer are everywhere!

Dick Dastardly said...

I think you may find that the scurrying is another rural delight.
MICE!
Have fun

sunshine said...

My "Garden Room" has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on our yard/garden. Last week I glanced up from my keyboard to see a spectacular doe intently gazing at me not ten feet from the window. This is undoubtedly the same doe who has been devouring my prized hosta blooms!

I must admit I gazed back at her in utter admiration for a full 3 minutes before going into my screaming, window-banging chase act, my Bichon shrieking at my side.

I should add that I don't live in the "country"! We are a densely populated suburban area where she obviously feels very at home! Last spring she brought her two fawns over the fence, into my garden, to enjoy my tender tulip shoots.

Peter B said...

The scurrying footsteps in the roof are probably those of field mice or similar. If there are any bodies eg from mousetraps this will certaily be the source of your fly infetation.

Norman said...

The humps in the ground are probably mowdywarps. That's molehills in English. There, thats another Northumbrian dialect word for your vocabulary.
Its probably getting a bit chilly for flies now.

@themill said...

Not often you use the word content - good to hear.
PS I think you need a mouse trap

Ian said...

No bears, No growling.
Red squirrels are such a rare thing to see. I see them on my way to work sometimes.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

You make your way through gossiping pheasants on the way to school. I've made mine through gossiping mums. I know which species I'd prefer.

Phoebe said...

(I can't remember how I found your blog, sorry...probably while googling "far north blogs",lol)

Anyway, I just wanted to say that it sounds gorgeous(the cute wildlife, not the flies). The only wildlife around here that one might spot goes more like "OMG, a bear! Aaagh! Don't get out of the car!" or 'OMG, a moose! No, *don't* run towards it!' (but then, we haven't seen any moose lately, they've all run for the suburbs where there isn't a "backyard shoot" rule--you know, if you kill it in your yard, it's yours?)

Cringe said...

Just moved from rural Ireland where we had half of next doors farm in our backyard (went so far as cow pats in the front lawn) to New Jersey where I've seen more urban wildlife in the past 3 months than I did in the past year back home.

Rabbits, squirrels, deer, and some more unusual little things like chipmunks & groundhogs.

Ha, ha, I don't miss the flies, I don't know why we don't have screens for the doors & windows in Europe, makes no sense.

In particular when you find some fruit flies have dive bombed in your evening glass of red, or a daddy long legs in the biscuits (once when I was pregnant I woke up with a squished one between my boobs).

They got in to our rather creaky, drafty rented bungalow. Some through an a seldomly used chimney (though our only source of heat was the fire).

ChrisJ said...

Be careful, WITN, I see small chinks in your armour against Life in the North!!

Doctor Syn said...

Oh dear. First the plague of flies, then skritching noises in the ceiling. Now mysterious mounds appearing in the lawn.

If you were in the US I'd suggest your house was built atop an Indian burial ground. As it is, however, perhaps it's above a portal into another dimension, the inhabitants of which are attempting to break through.

Have you perhaps seen Christopher Lee lurking ominously about the neighbourhood?

Mya said...

Give the kids an important job. Get them to run up and down the lawn repeatedly - the benefits will be twofold. Kids will be knackered and the moles will scarper (that's definitely what the mounds are - don't think flies have the muscles for large scale earth moving.)

Whilst doing the school run the other morning I too saw a red squirrel - it was really rather lovely. We don't get grey ones around here for some reason.

Mya x

Mike said...

sorry to say this, but I too think it's mice in your ceiling space.
Mya- you don't see grey and red squirrels together, they don't co-exist, the grey ones wipe out the red, as they eat the nuts before they're fully ripe, leaving none for poor little red guys.Here in Ireland, we have lots of grey ones in the east and red west of the Shannon, but apparently it's only a matter of time before the grey will take over in the west too. Pity, i prefer red ones myself Mimi not mike

mutleythedog said...

I am not often out late at night and alone. ...

That can't be true - how are you making a living these days?

Moi said...

Flies fly, mice scurry and moles makes lumps in the grass. Over and out from the nature monitor....

Sandra Montgomery said...

Cringe: A squished spider between your boobs?? No wonder your name is Cringe. I cringed BIG TIME when I read that. Oh the horrors. I don't think I would sleep for a month after that.