My meal awaits.

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.

28 Comments

  1. Oh please tell me the dead thing wasn’t the deer? Bosky no time to look it up or I’ll lose my place. First!!!

  2. Does Bosky mean wooded? Presumable the deer and the owl wouldn’t stray too far from the forest. What have you done to the animals so that they all gang up on you when you’re fainting with hunger? Have you been eating rabbits – or chickens?

  3. Pfffft, wildlife. No respect for anyone.

  4. It’s almost like they’re organized…

  5. “like stephen fry confronting burgulars”
    haha!

  6. They are organised, Joan. Unexpectedly, without us suspecting. Like the triffids were in ‘Day of the Triffids’, but with fauna.

    No Pat – of course it wasn’t the deer – don’t worry. I’d have stuck it straight in the boot if so.

  7. i say Mooo! to cows while driving past fields. There should be more communication between humans and beasts, i feel (hurrah for percy the park keeper!), although there seem to be divisive elements in your neck of the woods.

  8. I saw local fauna the other night too: three drunk teens wearing heavy coats, shorts and flip-flops (is that an Americanism? Do you have flip-flops or do they float away in the rain?), one elderly person with bag of cheap beer and one gesticulating homeless person. They were all in the road but as half the cars seem to drive on the pavement that only seemed fair.

  9. You appear to have stumbled into a cutesy Disney movie. Be on the look out for big footed rabbits with a nervous tic.

  10. It’s unlikely the owl and the deer were working together. They haven’t been talking to each other since the owl needed some time to “think about where this is going” and then went off on that cruise with the pussycat.

  11. Here in North Carolina, a deer in the road is takeaway, Jonny. A quick spurt of speed and further progress towards the Chinese Pub would have been redundant. It is a sign of how far removed you are from your noble ancestors that this elegant solution did not occur to you. They mastered their environment, red in tooth and claw – you scurry timidly through it blind to its bounty, in search of another reheated box of catmeat drenched in monosodium glutomate. For shame!

    Servalan could’ve had the owl. Fried owl is just the hearty breakfast a growing girl needs. It’s Nature’s central heating for kids…

  12. Came across a youngish hare sitting in the middle of the road one black night.

    When it spotted the car, six feet away an almost stationary, it ran on and left towards the edge of the road, “No that looks to risky, not going that way.”

    To the right edge, “No that looks to risky too.”

    Repeat, making forward progress at less than 3 mph for about 10 miles! [OK, well a bloody long way at least.]

    When it finally found courage to leave the highway my wife, who was driving, wanted to get out of the car to help it find his way home.

    I wanted to get out of and beat it to death with a shovel. We compromised, and agreed to continue home, and buy a shovel.

  13. NAGA - Life Coach To The Stars

    You’re lucky…

    My most recent confrontation with all things wildlife was with, a Nervous Tic.

    The hot end of my cigarette may have had something to do with it.

  14. You didn’t see the panther?!?

  15. Local fauna, eh? I grew up the very house in which I am currently lodging. It’s deeply rural although admittedly not quite as deeply so as it was 45 years ago. However local wildlife was very thin on the ground and the first full-grown live fox I saw was trotting down the middle of Manor Park in Lewisham, London SE13. I was 19. Apparently there are wild boar around here. Now that’s a serious dinner.

  16. Lions and Tigers and Bears…..

  17. Sounds all very Disney. Any sign of dogs singing and eating spaghetti ? Hordes of people of restricted height looking to undermine your foundations ?

    Hi ho, work calls…

  18. Be happy that there aren’t skunks in your neck of the woods. You wouldn’t believe the odor your car will retain when you run over one of those. I used to see armadillos, usually dead, on the roads in Texas as well.

  19. Maybe the deer transformed into the owl. Perhaps it was that character from Arabian Nights who used to clap his hands and say ‘Size of a [insert your fauna of choice here]’ and then become one.

  20. Grumpy B, that is exactly how our snowshoe rabbits act. They also have an unnerving habit of sneaking up behind you as you’re opening the car door in expectation of rabbit pellets, since my partner has tamed them all. Our neighbours tell us rabbit stew is very tasty.

    We also have bobcats, martins, ermine, mink, racoons and otters about–such potential for a fur coat factory, but I would be the one beaten to death with a shovel if I suggested it.

  21. Lisa,

    Sounds to me like you need to knock those rabbits on the head and pinch their shoes.

    We also have mink living around the lake that ate all our ducks before we could, courtesy of some nutters long ago who released them from a mink farm.

    I now make a habit of going up and giving money to unknown women in fur coats just to thank them for getting rid of the nasty little rodents.

    And don’t get me started on badgers. See what they did to our geese and you too will be swerving in the road to make sure you don’t miss them. Takes a lot to flatten a badger though.

  22. We have hordes of geese.
    Hordes, I tell you.
    Canada Geese.
    Hordes and hordes and hordes of them – and they poop a lot.

    Please send your spare badgers. Thank you.

  23. deering AND hooting … hilarious. Thanks, you made me laugh .. and here’s a secret … I’ve been known to duck while going under a low lying bridge or passing close to a rogue low lying branch in my car … ssshhh!

  24. JonnyB acknowledges my existence. At last!
    Were I a peasant, I would rejoice!

  25. It’s neither the deer nor the owls behind all this — it’s the squirrels who’re the masterminds. Trust me on this one, I work for the power company, and it’s always those fluffy-rat terrorists behind the trouble.

  26. The North American Indians would say that the animal spirits were attempting to communicate something to you. Evidently, you were not on the same wavelength you, the deer and it’s friend Mr. Owl.

  27. But only the grey ones, Bob

  28. Yes. If the red ones had got organised they would not be in the mess that they are today.

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