Things can go bump in the night. Just after three am this morning the lovely sleepy Sharon and I were ripped from our sleep by strange noises. The noises were such that we both sat up very quickly, and we both knew it was an intruder.  The noise was that of a door being pulled from its hinges by a mysterious monster.  A tearing, then a snap of wood back into position. Then, tear, snap, tear, snap, tear, snap.  Some of the tears were punctuated by a muted yelp, a kind of bark. The sound that finished it was a whine that crossed the barrier of communication between species; an obvious frustrated whine.

Very quietly, I put on my dressing gown, buffalo, woolly hat, head torch and wellies.  Dressed in this strange fashion I ventured out of the cottage and into the freezing night.  The cats were not running about.  My head torch beam caught their glowing eyes with their faces pressed against the window of the garage, like spectators in the executive box.  There was no damage at the door of the chicken’s shed and no signs of the mysterious intruder.  I opened the door and made a quick head count.  They were not their normal lively selves when the torch lit up the coop. Instead, they sat silent and subdued; terrified.

I must admit that it is a little undignified for me to pee into a bottle, undignified for the lovely Sharon to pour it at night, and undignified for the hens to have it poured over their home.  It’s not a nice habit to aspire too, but it is a habit we have slipped out of twice.  The first time we failed to mark our territory the fox tried to dig under the old coop, and now we have this nocturnal visitation.  It’s time to slip back into that bad habit.

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