Archive | January, 2011

Ayn Rand Shrugged

22 Jan

Broccles has developed a taste for literature. It began with the newspapers I had been stealing from the neighbours’ recycling bins for lining guinea pig housing. He seemed to enjoy those very much, making no distinction between tabloid and broadsheet, or between different political affiliations. But now he is growing more choosy. He has started pulling books off shelves and working his way through those, placing particular focus on our personal favourites such as Gormenghast.

It’s pretty frustrating when he does this sort of thing without so much as a by-your-leave. Moreover, when I try to tell him off, he skips around, flaunting his giant feet and aeroplane ears, and it is difficult to maintain an air of seriousness. So Bunty is trying a new stategy: feeding him the works of Ayn Rand. Bunty had bought Rand’s books out of philosophical curiosity, but her historically misinformed bigotry had put him off.

“Rabbits are coprophages”, Bunty pointed out. “They should love stuff like this.”

We moved all the good books out of his reach and gave Broccles the Ayn Rand. He has politely nibbled a corner or two, but so far it seems her books are too distasteful even for rabbits.


The Thieving Fog

21 Jan

Today’s frost was so thick it looked like snow, and the fog crept in around the cottage, gradually obliterating the world. The fields, which in the summer had been home to the curious cattle at the top of my blog, now looked like this.

The cattle themselves had long disappeared, and I’ve avoided thinking too hard about where they went. But today was the sort of day that brings thoughts of death and endings closer to the surface. The road my feet took me along has claimed the lives of many wildlife, and our dear rabbit Harvey. A car blasted its horn at me as it shot out of the fog and back into it. I was on the verge, but the driver couldn’t tell.

Farm buildings loomed suddenly into view. The farmyard was empty and silent. There were no shadows beyond the enveloping shadow of the fog itself, and everything was frozen rigid. But as I passed the final barn, I heard a muffled thump. I paused.

There it was again: thump, thump… scrape.

And silence.

I wondered if the farmer might be working in there. But it didn’t sound like someone hard at work. It was too erratic. I knew I shouldn’t, but curiosity got the better of me, and I crept towards the barn door.

Thump. Scrape.


I peered over the barn door, and here is what I saw:

They are the cows from the summer fields. And this is where they went.


The William Wallace Horses

19 Jan

It was the calls of wild geese that summoned me into the frosty, woodsmoke-laden sunshine this morning. I wasn’t swift enough with my camera to capture them flying overhead, but then I spotted some horses grazing in the distance, under the Wallace Monument. (Or Mel Gibson Monument, as it has become.)

I donned my wellies and made off across the fields, crunching the ice in the tractor furrows, and nearly landing on my head in the mud when a gate I was climbing over turned out not to have a lower hinge.

This pony was the first to greet me. She was friendly and docile, and let me stroke her nose and neck.

This horse gives hoodie wearers a bad name. He approached me with speed and aggression, biting the white one on his way, and I was suddenly very conscious of his size and strength and general hoofiness.

I reminded myself that he must be used to having women in wellies taking charge, so I adopted my best Pony Club stance, and without backing down, I greeted him by clicking and blowing. He stuck his nose in my pocket and then began to eat my scarf.  I took that as a good sign, and patted him on the neck. He took it well.

I turned to look back at them as I climbed over their fence to head for home. They had already gone back to grazing, and appeared to have completely forgotten about me. That’s what happens, I suppose, when you don’t bring sugar lumps.