‘If we had keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’ George Eliot
I read this quote from George Eliot’s Middlemarch today. It’s not a book that Kaff or I particularly liked or enjoyed but we’re revisiting it this summer and seeing if we weren’t a little hasty in our dismissal of it. That, and, once she’s read it, Kaff believes she’ll have another excuse to watch the adaptation with Rufus Sewell in it. (As if she ever needs a reason to do that.)
Anyway, the quote got me thinking about how good it would be, if you humans did occasionally stay still long enough to hear something as quiet as a squirrel’s heart beat. I know we all lead busy, busy lives but really, when was the last time that you stopped and took a little time for yourself and looked at a place or an object or another person or listened to another person or a song or a poem? I mean properly looked or listened. Maybe you should do that this weekend? In amongst all the noise (those dratted vuvuzelas or, if you live near Sid, like I do, that darned woodland imp of a real squirrel, who’s been banging on about how the new patio’s covered up his nut stash all blooming day!), STOP and look at something or someone, or listen to them, so that you really see or hear them. Don’t just glance up and back to whatever you were watching or doing or reading or tweeting (yes, Kaff, I’m talking to you!) Really LOOK and LISTEN. Try it. You might like it and want to do it more often. Just saying.
This is Sid, our local squirrel from the woods out back. It’s not really his birthday today, at least, I don’t think it is. He’s a bit of a strong, silent type is Sid, so I’m not sure he’d tell me if it were his birthday, to be honest. However, seeing how excited he got about the little feast I laid out on the patio for him today anyone would think that it was. He practically swung his way through the trees and couldn’t get here fast enough for not only were there the usual peanuts and seed mix that we’ve been putting out for most of the winter for him – see? NO, birdies, it actually wasn’t for you, but luckily, Sid is a caring, sharing type and didn’t mind too much that you saw fit to swoop in and half-inch quite a lot of his winter feed – but there were also some blueberries that Kaff had bought and promptly forgotten about when they were pushed to the back of the fridge never to be seen again until they were all wrinkly and inedible.
Sid’s birthday, like I said. He loved them. All I hope for our shopping budget is that he sees it as a one-off treat and doesn’t come tapping on the window expecting them again. Just saying.
Because I’m quite bad in this life – let alone past ones – I have to share my pad with a pussy cat called Tux. I know! It is a rough life that I lead and not at all as glamorous as you might assume for a squirrel of my standing. Anyhow, I guess most of the time it’s okay because the dear thing does sleep rather a lot and I am usually up high somewhere out of her reach – sitting on Kaff’s desk or in my hammock, which is even higher out of reach up on top of Kaff’s desk. I think you could safely say that we tolerate each other’s existence at best. What annoys us the most about each other is that we usually want to be where the other is in the evening – namely snuggled up with Kaff on the sofa. I like being here because Kaff likes to a) eat chocolate and b) sometimes does this while watching a half-decent television programme, such as Fringe or True Blood. She will sometimes sit there and read but hey, as long as she has chocolate, I’m happy. The trouble starts when Tux decides that she’ll jump up and cuddle in and that’s when I usually get displaced or knocked over or tumbled to the floor.
So as you can see we’re not best mates, which is why when I saw this picture of a squirrel smooch attack, oh how, I laughed. And imagined myself and Tux re-enacting it. I quickly dismissed that idea – I’d get her fur all over me, the creature molts like she regrows new fur every day, but I thought the pic was fun and every so often I do imagine myself springing a surprise luurrve offensive. It won’t happen but this is kind of cool, all the same and the pic comes courtesy of one of Kaff’s Twitter pals, Miss Fizzy Duck, who is brilliant and funny and worth a follow, if you’re on that social network.
Two of my favourite days combined in some kind of cosmic alignment wotsit today – not only was it National Hugging Day, but it was also Squirrel Appreciation Day. You mean, you didn’t know there was either one of those?
I don’t know who started the first one but Squirrel Appreciation Day was started by Christy Hargrove at WNC-Rehab.org. There are no official events as such but Christy suggests that you put some extra food out for the squirrels in your neighbourhood. Great idea.
Other ways to celebrate:-
1. Make peanut cookies… and then eat them
2. Listen to some cracking tunes by the Squirrel Nut Zippers
3. Watch for squirrel cameos in your favourite films. You’d be surprised how many times a squirrel pops up.
What I did was to spend the day with my crew and the lovely Kaff got us some of our favourite chocolate covered peanuts – made by Cadbury, so we felt it our squirrel duty to eat them before the Americans get their hands on the secret chocolate recipe and they start tasting like the chocolate in America. Eugh! We might also have had a wee glass or two of amaretto which was lovely and warming on this chill winter night. So, all in all, a pretty relaxed day – I can’t party like I used to – but enjoyable and fun.
Earlier this month I introduced you all to my crew. Well, I am delighted to announce that we have a new addition in the form of Squashy, Patch’s cousin, who is freshly arrived from the US of A this morning. Understandably, Patch is beyond himself with excitement and is chattering away nineteen to the dozen while poor Squashy looks around faintly disoriented at his new surroundings. Poor little fellow is a bit rumpled and squashed from the long journey and I think we ought to leave him be, so he can get over his jet lag. I’ve no idea how long he’ll be staying but he’s very welcome, although I do hope our monthly nut allowance expands to accommodate having another mouth to feed. Here’s a pic of him, me and Patch (l-r).
The village of Dorking is in mourning after the sudden passing of a local celebrity.
I was shocked to hear the recent news about Albie aka Percy aka Snowy’s untimely passing. The striking albino squirrel was recently killed in a tragic hit and run accident. Local greys in the Dorking area have credited Albie aka Percy aka Snowy as he was variously known with raising the credibility of non-red squirrels in the area and going a long way to improving their image and standing in the community. He will be sorely missed.
R.I.P little fellow. Hope your nut store runneth over in that great tree in the sky.
Every self-respecting squirrel has a group of friends that forms his entourage, or as I prefer to call them, my crew. It’s time you all met mine so, after a gruelling photo shoot yesterday, here we are in all our glory. Good looking bunch of squirrels (and chipmunk), eh?
From l-r, da Crew is as follows: Handsome little old me, Squizzey; then little Detty, our explosions expert, in his Welsh scarf; behind him is Heike, my German mail-order intended bride (although I am strongly resisting the loveless match and remain very happily single). She’s not really part of my crew. I think she’s just trying to muscle in on that coconut. Next to her and valiantly trying to wrest the coconut from her evil grip is Patch, my American buddy. He’s fab & a whizz at opening coconuts. His neighbour is Fluffy, the weather squirrel. If you ever wonder why it’s squirrel grey outside, then that’s all down to Fluff. Next up is little Leo, the baby of the pack and, I have to admit, he can be a bit of a pawful at times. Last up is another American and an honorary member of the squirrel entourage, given that he’s really our distant cousin, its Chip. Nice guy. Pretty quiet for an American but great at foraging so always handy to have around.
We had a brill wrap party after the shoot as we got to keep the rather lovely large assortment of nuts in the picture: almonds (my fave, yum!), hazelnuts (pretty tasty) and walnuts (bleurgh – Heike got those).
In my last post, I voiced some concern about some humans’ misplaced love of the red squirrel and how this could have unforeseen consequences and only be a bad thing for us greys.
So, it came as no great surprise when I read the news yesterday that those pesky, but apparently oh-so-cute, red squirrels have made it across the Menai Straits and are now on the Welsh mainland. This is worrying news for Welsh greys. We were quite happy for them to have their own little colony on Anglesey where they were no bother to us, but to come onto our turf is well out of order.
Oh, and it gets better. Word is, that the reds who have made it across are colonising. Think it might be time for me to whizz up there and put a stop to that kind of nonsense before it gets out of hand. My jet is currently in the shop being pimped so I will have to get up there the old-fashioned way and fly like a superhero – it’s a little nippy at this time of year as the nights draw in and now that the clocks have gone back but needs must. I have to stop the encroachment before it’s too late.
So, if you see any lightning-fast grey objects over Wales in the next five minutes, worry not good people – it is only I, Super-Squirrel, on his way to fight the incursion.
I nearly spluttered my almond-flavoured coffee over the keyboard this morning when I read the latest news from Wales on the BBC News website. There is talk of a grey squirrel cull on the Gower early next year, followed by a plan to re-introduce those pesky but apparently oh-so-cute red squirrels in our place some years later. The ‘conservation’ group behind these plans is heartened by the success of a similar scheme in Ynys Mon (aka the isle of Anglesey in North Wales).
Well, let me tell you this, people of Gower, my troops will be armed and ready and waiting for you if you want to try such a hare-brained scheme. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Oh, and it gets better. Some human beaker bods are working on ways to control grey squirrel fertility – yeah, well, good luck with that one! I am incredibly fertile and I ain’t going to be eating no food (or bait as they stupidly call it) laced with some dodgy immuno-contraceptive. There’s a reason why me and my crew moved up to chocolate-coated peanuts and shop bought nuts generally. It’s not only much more convenient, it’s also a damn sight safer to eat!