The rain has stopped temporarily. I take the car across the common then down the long bosky lane that leads to the Chinese Pub. The car senses my hunger as it ploughs through mud and puddles. It is clever like that.
I bring it to a halt suddenly. There is a small deer standing in the road. I crawl forward, trying to move it with the rays of my main beam. It raises its head and notices me, before continuing its unhurried deering.
I am a bit flummoxed by this. There is a small deer in the road!!! Preventing me from getting to my Chinese food!!! I flash the lights at it a bit, and I believe I even say ‘shoo!’. It is unlikely that a deer can hear a human being saying ‘shoo!’ when he is behind the wheel of a car. It is just more evidence that I need to start worrying about myself. I edge the car forwards.
The deer ambles into the hedge. Hoorah! The road is clear. I proceed to the Chinese Pub. “Hi Jonny,” says the landlord. I chat to him hungrily, and share a few words with Alan from Bowls. My meal appears in the regulation bags, and I set off for home.
Round the sharp bend, past the gatehouse, down through the woods. The car speeds along, urged by stomach noises.
I bring it to a halt suddenly. There is an owl in the road. I cannot quite believe this. Not content with slowing me up before, the deer has sent his friend the owl!!! I crawl forwards whilst it examines some dead thing in the road, pretending to be all predatory whilst making excuses to hold me up.
I think about hooting, and so does the owl. As it is, there is a long face-off, before it gives me one last lugubrious and slightly disapproving look, like Stephen Fry confronting some burglars. Then it flies slowly off into the trees.