My son needed to get himself and bike to local mountain biking centre to meet some of his Explorer Scouts (last Thursday - but I've been a bit busy). I'd forgotten he was going and wasn't organised. I was in 'full-nag' mode about 'putting the bike in the car as quickly as possible'. I was looking for my walking boots to make as much use of the petrol and time as possible.
'What do you want me to do about the squirrel - its still throwing stones at me?'
Apparently this had been mentioned before and I had been dashing about too quickly to hear him. Squirrel turned out to be clinging by its claw ends to our rendered house wall, very close to the eaves outside 16 year old's bedroom window. It had probably arrived at that point by balancing along the incoming power line. A feat it, or one of its mates, has tried, unsuccessfully, before! It was above the back door and 'throwing' bits of render at anyone who emerged. Son had closed his bedroom window as a precaution - but others were still open. I closed them, shouted at squirrel, attached hose to tap and asked son to flush it off. Insufficient water pressure was our next problem - squirrel looked faintly amused!
Our neighbour was offering helpful suggestions which I couldn't quite hear above splashing water and insults aimed at squirrel. I walked across to the fence to talk to her and nearly trod on a duck which shot into the air with a strangled quack. Why a duck I have no idea. The nearest we had to a duck-sized pond was the small lake gathering as a result of our squirrel-eviction process.
The worst was yet to come. Two plaintive high-pitched squeeks, and two tiny blobs of fluffy feathers ran straight under the shed before I could gather my wits. Mother duck was in the paddock behind our shed shouting encouragement to them. That boundary has fine grade mesh on the fence as at least a partial barrier to the rabbits. Most of our garden is reasonably tidy, but the 6 inch space between the shed and the fence is full of nettles and brambles.
Son was banging and clattering, whilst balancing precariously on the compost bay and managed to flush one out. I caught it, very, VERY cute and so small I barely felt any weight to it. I passed it to daughter who climbed into nextdoor's garden and poked it through their fence ( no wire mesh!) Re-united with its Mum they both shouted at its brother who was in complete panic. I eventually cornered it but it was very stressed and appeared to have died in my hands. I passed it my daughter, asking her to put it down quickly -it wasn't coping. Husband came home to find lake/step-ladder/hose by back door, daughter in nextdoor's garden in floods of tears, son charging round the house looking for cycle helmet and me muttering about 'mess' and 'squirrel' whilst running nextdoor-but-one to ask for flighty mare to be held whilst we entered paddock in search of mother duck. All he could say was 'why are you still here?'
( I should reassure you that, having taken son to cycle centre I found one spot, in which, whilst balanced on one foot leaning over a fence, there was a phone signal, and phoned home to find that horse's owner had reunited duckling with mother and it had revived, squirrel had been 'persuaded' to move by prodding with long garden cane!)