Three or four mornings over the last week, I have lain in bed in the dark, not particularly early hours, listening to a little owl calling somewhere nearby. It is a delightfully eerie sound.
On Monday morning, while making a cup of tea, I looked out of the kitchen window to see a grey squirrel—a rarity in this neck of the non-woods—chasing Philip the pheasant around the lawn.
It was only afterwards that it occurred to me that all three creatures—owl, squirrel, and pheasant—represent non-native species that were introduced to the island of Great Britain by mankind. Just like me—a Wirral lad relocated to Yorkshire—they are off-comed-uns who will never be totally accepted by the natives.
I am remarkably inconsistent when it comes to non-native species. Little owls and pheasants don't bother me in the slightest. In fact, I rather like them, as I like other non-native species, such as rabbits and brown hares. But grey squirrels really wind me up. Grey squirrels and domestic cats.
Domestic cats and grey squirrels will be first and second against the wall respectively, come the Glorious Richard Revolution.
No sooner had I put some stale bread out for the birds, than Philip the Pheasant returned to the garden after several weeks' absence.
Twenty minutes later, I heard him clucking away in a right strop. The bloody grey cat was in the garden again. As usual, Philip quickly chased it away.
I like Philip. He has the right sort of attitude when it comes to cats.
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