One of the plus sides of our new-found freedom in the great outdoors is all the new friends we are able to make. Last week, the Vicar was off sunning herself in Normandy (she said it was a “Deanery Clergy Conference” in a monastery, but we’re never fooled by such fibs), so we got the Parishioners all to ourselves for once.
La Editatrice was round every morning and evening, to give us food and watch the telly with us, sometimes accompanied by El Toro, who seemed to be worried about the state of our furniture, and kindly encouraged us to sharpen our claws on something else instead.
The Churchwarden and Head Server also came round once a day, as they enjoy our garden and wanted us to show them around. It was quite exhausting, as they seem to enjoy running and chasing games, and we had to amuse them for hours before they finally allowed us to come in and have a sleep on the hall rug.
Since we have been out in the garden, we have also discovered that we have some rather interesting neighbours. The first we saw of them was a couple of weeks ago, when one popped by the study window to say hello.
It turns out that there is a whole family of these chaps living under our roof – well, on our roof to be precise. We have been pointing this out to the Vicar for quite a while, as we could hear them scurrying around the guttering. In the end, it was the Churchwarden and Head Server who finally listened to us (although even then, Mary had to actually stand at the window and point them out).
The Vicar didn’t really get the message until Saturday, when one of our friends decided to drop in for a visit. Quite literally. Martha was sunning herself in the living room when the little grey bullet shot out of the fireplace and across the room. This was a great game, and she was soon in hot pursuit until the squirrel ran into the dining room, and the Vicar rather unsportingly shut the door and locked us both out. We don’t exactly know how the scenario played out for the next half an hour, other than that the Vicar came out and reported that the poor thing had got itself wedged behind the sideboard, and the Churchwarden had to be drafted in to start moving furniture.
By the time the Webmeister and Cellarer arrived, there was a full-scale rescue plan in operation, and we came in just in time to see the squirrel emerge from behind the sideboard, only to wedge itself behind the radiator. It was finally got free by a combination of the Vicar’s fingers and some handy paint rollers, and the Head Server directed the poor thing back into the living room. Then we all formed a human/feline shield, and amidst lots of tapping and the clever use of the living room curtains, our little friend was finally ushered out into the garden. It scampered away from the house rather quickly; no doubt it was as alarmed as we are by the general state of untidiness, despite La Editatrice’s best efforts to straighten things up in the Vicar’s absence.
The whole episode was rather exciting, so we all had to retire to the garden for a lounge about in the sun before the Cellarer and Churchwarden went off to play with guitars in Farlington. Meanwhile, the Webmeister (who, confusingly, is now also a Churchwarden) set about painting the radiators in the dining room, no doubt spurred into action by the squirrel’s lack of appreciation for their pink colour.
Luckily, the Webmeister decided to paint the radiators white instead of pink. This is a much better colour, and we showed our appreciation by trying to give him a hand with the work. He is clearly not much of a painter, as he was using brushes and rollers, which seemed to us like a very long-winded way round. Obviously, tails are much better suited for the purpose, as Mary was quick to point out.
Bizarrely, the Webmeister wouldn’t take our advice, and just kept on with his brushes, all the while muttering darkly about “hairs in the paintwork.” Funny man. He didn’t seem to mind having to kneel amidst a pile of peanuts, which the Vicar had inexplicably decided to throw all around the room in a pathetic attempt to lure the squirrel out of the window.
Humans, eh? If you ask us, they’re all nuts.