He’s eating the leaves and weeds that currently grow unfettered. The unfetteredness is because 1) Mr C, although recovering mightily well from his knee op, is not yet up to hard labour and hard labour is what is needed in the Carmichael compound and 2) the weather has been so utterly inclement to date that I have not seen the need or urgency of hiring a hard core labourer, yet. The first sunny day……… now that’s a whole different game of gardeners.
The muntjac is getting close to the open bifold doors. He eschews the Rhodo flowers, preferring the two tone white and green leaves of the bush next door. He is cute, looks healthy and is prepared to let me take photographs as he eats.
It wouldn’t have always been this way.
Thirteen or so years ago when summers were still summers in England’s fair isle I had a fluffy haired toddler in the pool with me down the end of the garden. The day was beautiful, the dogs relaxing nearby and most of the rest of the Carmichael clan glued to the television watching sport (Mr Carmichael) and Disney movies (daughters various).
I got Bertie (left) when Mr C was on a business trip to Chicago. Sometimes it’s best to follow your gut instinct in these things and carpe diem. My husband would probably have said, “No!” and then where would we have been?
He’d been returned to the breeder (Bertie that is) because of an overdose of miscreant proclivities that lasted him a long and crime filled lifetime. His first owners couldn’t cope and that was our luck. Making ‘Naughty Dog’ a Life’s Work puts flesh on the bones of his story.
I paid £400.00 for the puppy and £2000.00 for the fencing to keep him in. It’s one of Mr C’s favourite dinner table stories…….now.
And I promise that the relevance of this sidebar will soon reveal itself.
So, there I was in the pool bouncing a baby when my eye was caught by actions off. My dogs were running, nay hurtling with purpose from one side of the garden to another and back again. Silently, save for the pounding paw falls. All three of them.
But I didn’t have three dogs.
Baby chortled as they veered towards us but this was not a chortling matter because my boys were hunting and appeared in grave danger of catching their prey, a terrified muntjac, ably assisted by the dog proofed fencing.
Terrified myself I screamed. The daughter stopped chortling and joined the scream as we exited the water and ran, dripping, up the grass, sidestepping the canine posse.
“Close the doors,” I shouted imagining the carnage if the three of them gained ingress to Casa Carmichael. “Shut the doors!” I can still see my family’s startled faces. Mr C, tearing his eyes from the, whatever, grand prix began to argue but then noticed the silent movie occurring outside.
I threw baby at an older daughter and Carmichael mere and pere took on the beasts.
“We have to get the gates open and drive it towards them,” I screamed. “Shit, shit, shit, shit!”
The muntjac was tiring. Bertie was not. Flynn, bless him, probably hadn’t even noticed the deer and just thought his brother was being kind and including him in a game for once.
I got to the gate. Mr Carmichael did a fine job herding. Too fine in fact because the critters arrived before I managed to unbolt the rusty lock.
It was all very scary.
Have you ever felt the Devil? I believe I I did that day.
This bit of fence was six foot, the dwarf deer two at most but it had no time to either work the math or stand and wait for me to wrench open the gate. The force of its cloven hooves on my back pushed me into the wood panels as it flew over fence and off, I hope, to safety.
The dogs panted and lapped water, the peanut gallery applauded, Michael Schumacher won the race and, for quite some weeks, I sported a hoof shaped bruise.
Today there’s a muntjac in my garden but this one can take his time to forage. My boys are hunting elsewhere now.