Musical Roots: The Drum’s Song


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The drum called, its stick an instant friend in my hand, unexpected tingle of familiarity up my right arm. I knew the figure crouched at my left, bright streams of Sun colour a solar-fall down the cloak of pure gold. I recognised the tall shadow of the Shaman, dark feathers shining unearthly green and blue, pelts still giving off the slight whiff of the animals which gifted them, sharp beak a stern reminder of mortality.

Stones – tall and weathered, humming and sparking with energy – surrounded us; the steep slope, shawled with grazing kine behind, a powerful shoulder for the people to gather strength from, or weep upon. The Circle fizzed and fuzzed with expectant silence. Sun, a radiant smile overhead, blessed the sacred site with its vernal benison, though the catch in the throat and the infinitesimal darkening and deepening of Sky’s evening palette suggested imminent transition. Darkness waiting in the wings of the land, its bridge of colour hovering.

The Shaman’s eyes met mine. The kneeling priest, poised, offered the perfect taut circle of the drum, the dermal sacrifice of creatures long forgotten ready to find, emulate and ultimately match the Mother’s deep heartbeat.

The Tall-stone in the South-East, blood red in places, flared, as if injecting the dying sun with stimulant. Shadows lengthened upon rough grass. Birds held their noise.

Stick, a bony finger calcified by time and loving use, settled into the palm of my hand. I raised my right arm, worried that this virgin descent upon the waiting surface would cause harm, break its hide, sound so faintly that magical energy would be trapped and trammelled. As, indeed, had I been for so long. The irony, aptness and wonder of my new role had not escaped me in the robing up and long walk, a flurry of villagers on all sides, to this high place.

Creaking at first, the lengthy descent gathered pace as arm fell and muscles readied themselves, electricity I did not know I possessed singing an ancient song of power.

The Mother’s heartbeat was uncertain at first, faltering with my fear, as hands held back for years remembered the lyre of Logres and its plaintive wondrous song. But flat and flabby thump gave way, with dawning excitement meeting waning light, to a staccato immediacy and a thrumming pulse that took me away from the ego and its insistent demands; a rhythm, known long ago and forgotten, picked up, cradled and nurtured by the mother within my own nature. The rhythm of song and blood and life and heart; the steady beat that informs the Land and accompanies us from first falling through Mother’s pulsating tunnel to final spasm of darkness followed by brightly-lit transition.

As the beat strengthened, its tone ever fuller in the gloaming, an urge, which goes back to the Ancestors, came upon me: It was the urge to push, to go through the labour of Song-birth, to bring a new being of raven-dark, moon-lit, Earth-cradling luminescence into a world whose heart is faltering and whose natural song has been flattened by artifice and inertia and distance from source.

This need, every bit as powerful and impossible to resist as birthing my own child, took over and the spears of natal agony and ecstasy took over, banishing mind’s control and society’s rigid rules.

The I, ‘prisoned deep within ringing stone cavern, lay manacled. The silent eye took over, its harmony with the Earth-connection and Bardic Lore from the past instinctive and unassailable.

My frail human heart became the Mother’s. The drumstick a maternal finger smoothing a tight full belly, the beat of Mother and Child in unison a warmth and weeping, the Nativity of song a gift to the land.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/roots/

Inspired by Grey Clouds: Shedding skin and growing the next layer


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gray/

My thoughts – scattered like strewn Mah Jongg pieces prior to building the walls – cannot shape themselves into a strong and protective frame in which to contain the wisps and shawls of mist, the phantasms and edgy spectres which have been released in recent days. I watch clouds, vast and pronged like latter-day dragons, cruising in grey splendour in the heavens, their eyes palely golden, their wings delicately edged with sun’s final fistful of deep flame sequins; I watch my Guardian tree, a vast Eucalyptus providing protection in the West. In truth, it is not mine (though no tree truly belongs to a single human, no matter what the man-made boundaries may claim). I watch it and feel the raw sting of its denuding, feel the sudden exposure of its branches – and am torn between delight in the gift of an increased view and sadness that this enormous eco-system has been so brutally culled.

The thoughts which weave, currently single skeins of silk in discrete colours, cannot, as yet, bring to life the tapestry of the weekend just gone; it is too close, too sore, too personal. Sore? Yes. Because deep ritual experiences peel away the superfluous dermal layers of artifice, exposing the bare bone of who and what we are underneath – and, for all the exultant moments, this is a profoundly painful and vulnerable time. We are naked, unarmed, unable to grow another epidermal layer sufficiently speedily to save us from the tiny thorns of life, the harsh beauty of a sky turning to metal, the wonderful bravery and determination of nature.

The weather system inspired by The Feathered Seer is gathering pace, a storm in abeyance. Climatic conditions are topsy-turvy, as if in tune with the emotional uncertainty principle: Snow alights upon gardens in Scotland, threatening the newly-born wildlife; sudden hail storms pock my blue chair (left, unwisely, in the garden) and tangle, like momentary jewels, in my hair. Winds gust and moan. Sharply sly slivers of sunlight promise much and deliver illusion.

I, like the weather, am unsettled. So tired I can barely move. Unable to focus on the sequential slides of life’s cine film. Caught, often, in a dream or an absence, the latter inhabited by voices whispering sotto voce and physical responses which, somehow, transcend much of what I have always believed myself to be.

I am in transition. I have shucked off my old skin, snake-like, and watched its oddly-transparent surfaces, with the markings fading with scary speed, wither beneath my frightened gaze. New skin waits, its patterns razor-sharp, its colours vibrant and young. But the gap is long – or seems so to me – and the desire to hide, to huddle under brightly-hued snuggly velveteen throws, is incredibly strong.

I am exposed in all my ungainly, new-hatched chick hairlessness. I am needy as a babe, all metaphorical arms and legs, my feathers still damp and sticky from the birth process. I cheep. Dangerously, Attention attracted is not always good. My open mouth is both lure and invitation to feed and protect. I can explain it no other way.

Thoughts, like snow flakes, will, I hope, eventually settle upon the mind’s ground. There is much to say – and no real way of saying it. Yet.

Four Month Anniversary


I finally moved in here on the 20th December last year, around the Winter Solstice and two days before the start of my birth sign, Capricorn.

Now, on the first day of Taurus – and close to another festival, Beltane – I reach the four month anniversary of my, in many ways, traumatised arrival.

It didn’t show. Not really. But then I have long had the ability to present a loud and cheery front – until I really know and trust people, that is. This is no reflection upon, or insult to, those I meet; it is simply one of the wounds of divorce and the months/years leading up to it.

I was excited, of course, and relieved – but I was also terrified and heart-wrenched and, in a very literal way, lost. I did not know whether I would make friends, find outlets for my passions and interests. I feared all the utility bill and mortgage side of things and was genuinely frightened that I would not survive financially. I feared that the friends I had made already, in other places, would leap off the bonding train the way one or two actually already had.

But mostly, I had lost almost all confidence in me, Ali. My world had been so circumscribed, so small and mean and fear-inducing, so wrought with daily (and often day-long) panic attacks and stress-related pains that I was more reminiscent of an injured wild animal, curled into a protective ball, than a fully-functioning human being.

Yesterday marked a wonderful and magical return of the old Ali, thanks to this lovely place, thanks to new friends – and the continuing love and support of old. I taught all day, about which more in a moment, and had a truly glorious evening of hilarious, but focused, rehearsal with the Shadow of the Tor team in my back garden.

I felt so happy and light and delighted to be involved. The setting was lovely – and the lights in the garden came on in time for most of my fellow thespians to see them. I realised, as I hugged my friends farewell, how far I have come in four months.

Mornings are invariably difficult, however, a physical and emotional scarring from mornings gone by – and it hit me, full force, on this four month anniversary wakening, how scared I am of happiness, of being liked even, of trusting. There was a glitch in my teaching day yesterday which caused me to go into full panic attack mode. The urge to run away was almost unbearable in its intensity and my certainty that I could no longer teach very real and horribly distressing.

But, no work having been set for the final two lessons, I was forced to dig into the old Ali way of teaching, and relating to, kids – and I pulled, from that capacious bag of somewhat dusty treasures, an imagination exercise (rather like a guided path-working but suitable for younger people). This involved instructing the Young Things to close their eyes and listen to me droning on for about twenty minutes.

It was a huge risk, of course. I have only ever done this with children I know, those I have established a working relationship with. Due to a lack of seating plan, I had no idea which name was affixed to which kid – and there was, of course, the possibility that I would not be able to exert sufficient control for such an enterprise to actually be born.

‘Today,’ I announced, pacing up and down in my stripy DMs, ‘we are going to do something completely different!’

With the first group, I had to be very firm initially – embarrassment often makes the buggers giggly and silly, and we kept being interrupted by blighters from another class coming in! – but they loved it. The second group, last lesson of the day, were a far more naturally biddable crew – and the actual exercise proceeded without a hitch. They, too, were excited and delighted by this strange magical journey.

All day, prior to that, I had had my hair up in a tight pony tail, so that my turquoise and copper sparks were invisible. But, last two lessons, I literally and, I guess, metaphorically, let my hair down and became, for two hours, the Miss Browning/Mrs Taylor I once was – and it hit me, like a tsunami: One of the reasons I have struggled so mightily with supply teaching has been that I have tried to be a conventional, smartly-dressed teacher – to please the establishment, I suppose, and out of fear of being told off.

But, my strengths as a teacher came from being a maverick, from being a bit of a wild spirit and a lot of a rebel. I did not conform to uniform rules then – and, to be frank, it made no difference to my ability in the classroom. I am not, by nature, a formal person – and, while I accept that I do need to tone my usual look down, I cannot be other than who I actually am.

I’ll tell you what is both weird and sad, though: My own inner resistance to compliments, to doing things well, to being joyful and overcoming difficulties. I know that a lot of this is the result of massive, and sustained, gaslighting attacks; of being told, in so many ways, that I am an awful human being and a talentless failure. It is for this reason, I think, that I have yet to acquire a new A string for my beloved fiddle so that I can play it once more.

But under these crises of confidence, these days when I do shiver and shudder and cry, there is a strong person battling to emerge, a person who knows how to befriend, to join in, to be social, to be happy in an almost childlike way.

And, one day, I will take out my fiddle, dress once again the liberating Red Costume, tune up, rosin the bow – maybe even plug the instrument into one of the Lad’s amps – and, standing proud, will, once again, bring Irish music out from head to air!

Photo by Neil Phillips, Photographer.

Four months in, the scabs are beginning to drop off – but some, unhealed as yet, catch on things and bleed afresh. I have moments of paralysing uncertainty and almost cosmic insecurity: Days when I hold my stomach, as if keeping something in, and rock and feel unutterably forlorn and sad; days when listening to my favourite records and CDs brings storms of weeping.

I cannot scratch such days off my emotional calendar or pretend that they do not exist. Nor can I prevent the lunges of uncertainty and the sudden dips in confidence. Everything has it shadow side.

But – and this is the gift these sixteen weeks have conferred upon me – I am, for the most part, far more me than I have been for years, if not decades. And, for all that those who no longer like me would see this as a bad thing, I daresay, I am immensely relieved and happy to welcome home this being who was lost for so long: The Orange-Haired Delight of an (Ex)-Wife, as one of my close friends has christened me.

Mummers Play and me!


Yesterday morning, I found myself first researching the genre and then actually writing a Mummers Play. It is to be performed as part of the forthcoming Dragon/Beltane weekend in Glastonbury. Can’t wait to take part in, or experience as audience, everything that is going on the 29th and 30th April.

I first wrote a play when I was eleven: Still have the faded blue notebook, filled with childlike handwriting, and the memory of sitting in the back garden of Cumbraes (the house in Headington, Oxford, I lived in until I was eighteen) scribbling away. Such delight.

My next major dramatic piece of writing took place in 2011 when I wrote the play version (camped up) of ‘The Land of Green Ginger’ for Wrington Drama Club to perform as a pantomime. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out the way I wanted them to – and, long story short, the play, as twisted, er envisaged, by Ali, has yet to see the light of day. Damn shame! It was, and is, very funny though I say so myself.

So, with five novels under my belt and all the rest of it, the challenge of trying a new writing format (because the Mummers Play type of play-writing is very different to more modern ones) was irresistible.

It all started, in a sense, when I joined Shadow of the Tor a month or so ago. During Monday’s rehearsal, and having volunteered to take part in a ritual drama which is also part of that Beltane weekend, I was asked if I would like to come along to the planning meeting of the Dragon/Beltane Committee and find out what was what.

I had a lovely evening in the George and Pilgrims (G & P) – and, as a result, agreed to write the Mummers Play. Like you do! I wasn’t even drunk at the time, I hasten to add, having been quaffing nowt but Diet Coke all evening.

Once I knew roughly what I was doing, I set to – and, Oh, the joy! It was a delight to do from start to finish; I had forgotten the sheer pleasure of extended humorous writing. It has some slight resemblance to that perennial favourite ‘St George and the Dragon’  – but has been brought up to date in some very specific ways, which I won’t go into!

It has now been read by some members of the Committee – and they think it will do for the day; in fact, they think it’s pretty good, which thrilled me no end.

Yesterday afternoon, rehearsing Shadow of the Tor’s play (written and produced by founders, Francis and Brad), in Abbey Park, surrounded by verdant trees and sun-thrown shadows, I rejoiced. Clad in Mediaeval costume, larking around in Spring sunshine with like-minded people, I couldn’t have been happier!

It is so good to feel that my creative side, held under wraps for so long, is beginning to flower once more; that tight and terrified posts and journal entries are being replaced, increasingly, by free-flowing, joyous, even experimental pieces of writing. It is lovely to feel that I can contribute something to the local community in this way.

If you live in or near Glastonbury, do come along – on the 29th, the 30th or both! – and watch the Dragon Procession, hear the talks, be enchanted by drummers and Morris Dancers, watch ‘In the Shadow of the Tor’ and the Mummers Play, celebrate Beltane at the foot of the Tor. It is going to be magnificent. I shall be there, in the thick of it!

 

 

Bullying and Disrespect : The Terrible Twins…


People meeting me for the first time would be unlikely to see me as an obvious victim figure – and in my mind I am not! – yet, throughout my life, I have been susceptible to bullying and disrespect. It finally hit me, writing yesterday’s post, that the two are inextricably linked. Of course they are. If I did not see this, it was because, at some level, I did not want to. Who, after all, finds any pleasure in admitting that people they know – and, in some cases, like or even love – not only fail to return their feelings, but actually see them as second class citizens, people who in some weird way do not merit respect, equal status, equal rights?

Call them Trolls. Call them bullies. Call them Malignant Narcissists. Call them sociopaths. The label does not matter. It is the intent which makes the difference – metaphorically, the setting in the heart and mind to freezing. In many cases, bullying starts from an obdurate, if at times unconscious, sense of entitlement, of social hierarchy, of being a King or Queen (or, when younger, Prince and Princess) within the circle and of having certain rights conferred upon one as a result – rights (and this is the crucial part of it) which the lower orders (the serfs, villeins, slaves) do not have because they are inferior. Basically! They are there to do one’s bidding, whether it be emptying the Guzunder, paying out danger money, cleaning the mansion or accepting kicks and slaps when frustration reaches boiling point – and, of course, it goes without saying, being verbally reviled at the drop of a hat.

Bullies may well be festerous heaps of insecurity and childhood trauma underneath, but their way of coping with same is to blank it out where possible while at the same time taking it out, often viciously, upon those they do not respect, those who are insecure and vulnerable themselves (and do show it) – and those who, through their lowly status (financially, socially, emotionally), are not deemed worthy of kind or thoughtful treatment.

But there are, as everyone knows, two sides to this coin – and, as one bullied since early childhood, I must, in all conscience, present the other side: Very often, the bullied come to see themselves as inferior; they almost come to expect unpleasantness, or casual disregard, or neglect, as their inborn right precisely because they must, in their eyes, be majorly flawed in some fundamental way to have been bullied in the first place.

To put it very simply, the bullied often let bullies get away with it because their sense of their own rights, needs and entitlements is so flimsy as to be virtually non-existent. Used to being looked down upon, kicked, given orders, messed around and treated like shit, they cannot conceive of any other real alternative – and often grovel piteously, or slavishly agree with everything their lordly Trolls say, in order to receive that daily crumb of mouldy bread which, tossed contemptuously from Above the Salt, is all the sustenance they will get.

Because the bullied don’t believe that they deserve decent behaviour, guess what?! Yup! They are notorious for attracting whole colonies of Trolls into their lives. Respect for the ‘victims’ has become so far reduced to the lowest common denominator, that being noticed benevolently is cause for celebration; more they cannot hope for! They allow others to disrespect them – and, as we all know, there is an awfully thin line between casual and unthinking lack of respect and overt bullying.

I think it is a truism that bullies do not target those they see as equals. Why would they? Just as animals in the wild bring down the weak, the old and the very young, so the bully homes in on the fragile, the vulnerable, the child (or adult) who carries the unmistakable ‘scent’ of one who has been chased and caught and wounded before.

You see – and this should be obvious to all but the most insensitive – bullies are not as brave as they think. Otherwise they would take on the giants, the monsters, the dragons, the Green Knights of this world. But they don’t, do they? We see it globally. Big powerful countries picking fights with those not their equals in stored weapons or manpower or financial backing. We see it in schools. We see it on the street, in friendship groups, in the home. The ‘strong’ beat up the ‘weak’. Those with a modicum of power (whether it be a Headship, a Prime Ministerial role or a Presidential one) take out their frustrations, and sense of inflated entitlement, upon the metaphorical serving classes. Why? Because they know they will win. They know that the fight will be uneven. They know that they are, for all the rhetoric they use, unassailable when it comes to the lesser beings.

But, I would have to say this: Those in power can be toppled. The French Revolution is bloody testament to that. As ‘Lord of the Flies’ showed so graphically and memorably, nobody wins in a bullying scenario. All the savages on that desert island were shown, right at the end, to be nothing but wounded little boys.  Jack and Roger wielded temporary power, but it was shown to be a destructive sham by the end, the latter’s sadism combining with the former’s sense of absolute entitlement to be Chief to the deadly detriment of all.

I do not believe that looking down on others, and bullying them, gives any genuine satisfaction in life. It is like a very dark craving, an addiction if you will – and increasingly nasty behaviours have to be adopted in order to get that all-important high. Just as those who smoke, as I once did, start with the occasional fag and end up on twenty or more a day, so the bully can never satisfy that almost sexual craving with simple name-calling for long. There is a link, in some people, between sex and violence. I know that because the man who sexually attacked me on a Weston street so long ago was fuelled by the need to bully, to overpower, to terrify, to assert his dominance and, although it was expressed in a sexual way, the urge was pure Troll and I, in his view, was a nothing.

What can I say? I cannot force anyone to see all other humans as equals. To do so would involve the kind of bullying against which I seem to have been fighting all my life. All I can do is to ensure that I, Alienora, am aware that we are all in this together, that there is no true division hierarchically between the peoples of our planet and that working together towards a common aim is far more likely to bring about true peace and equality than bullying others into seeing the world the way we do.

Jolt: Uncalled-for and Snide Comments: Trolls here and in real life!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/jolt/

With any luck – and a good following wind! – at least one Troll will read this and get a jolt!

Most of us who write in the public arena get visitations from Trolls (and, one assumes, Trollerinas). I tend to rant and rave and get all aggressive – verbally! – in return, or indulge in humorous scathe.

Sue Vincent, friend and fellow blogger, shows a far better response to Incursion by Irritating and Insulting Under the Bridge Dweller in her morning post. Do read it! It is brilliant! https://scvincent.com/2017/04/17/reaction/

Sadly, as we all know, Trolls are not just anonymous nuisances who prey upon our internet sites with their darting moves and grammatically incorrect persiflage and sheer unpleasantness. People we know can also hurt us with the Just-Hidden-Troll set of moves. They tend to have far higher IQs than the on-line variety and are very hard to catch because they claim that their poisonous asides and slighting comments are either a joke or a necessary tool to reduce our rampant egotism.

I was Trolled in real life a couple of years ago. It was horrible, really distressing, because the person concerned was, on paper at least, a friend of some years’ standing. Caustic comments flew my way, along with blatant attempts to exclude me. I was talked over. Anything I said became a battle of One-up-man-ship. Any opinion I gave was challenged and, most commonly, deemed wrong-headed and stupid. I was laughed at and made to feel like a complete coward. It was vile.

At the time, I was so busy fending off tears and blaming myself that it didn’t occur to me to ask the obvious questions: ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why now?’

Now, my contention may annoy some people reading this – but, hell, I am going there anyway! Trolls, in my opinion anyway, attack because they are envious. They seek to destroy that which they – secretly or overtly – wish they possessed. They are rarely able to access their own sense of low self-worth, often claiming that they know everything and have been everywhere. They are intensely competitive and can top anything you happen to mention with a far superior example.

Competitiveness often spikes the wheels even of the closest friendship. It is, however, usually managed and softened by self-awareness and genuine love of the other. We all feel lesser at times, and envy our friends their relative good luck, or money, or significant other (or whatever it is) – but the bond of friendship allows us to leap such feelings and prise out the genuine delight in another’s good fortune.

So, going back to my visible Troll, what had shifted things so that amity turned into a form of bullying? What had changed the status quo that year, that time? I say this because all connections exist in a state of balance – and fallings-out often occur when one member of the group appears to have risen far higher on the scales than the others.

Very simple answer to this one: I had published five novels. For some reason, this was seen as borderline unforgivable and certainly, I suspect, evidence of unacceptable big-headed-ness. I needed, of course, to be brought back down to earth and shown that I was less than nothing; that my achievements were small indeed and that this other was capable of far better.

It was a sustained and concentrated ‘attack’ upon my sense of self – and, for a while, it succeeded. I felt incredibly scared and got at and lower than the lowest creature. I began to see my five novels as examples of showing off and dubious talent.

But, once the clouds cleared and logic reasserted itself, I could see the Green-eyed Monster lurking all too prominently in the other’s soul. I could see that – comparatively speaking! – I, who had always played second fiddle in this connection, had been made the leader of the orchestra, albeit a very small local affair!

I do wonder this, however: What do people who indulge in constant nastiness to others tell themselves as justification? How do they square their consciences with such behaviour? Whether they are sneaking in at dead of night, and depositing a verbal turd upon the bed of a sleeping blogger or firing a snide-bomb at a known target, the same rules and motivation apply: They are unsheathing their claws because they feel, at some very deep level, inadequate; they feel that they are only safe if they come out on top – and, if that means destroying others along the way (or attempting such a course of action), so be it.

Trolls are cowards. All of them. You may be surprised by my use of this word because, surely, those who go on the attack are not afraid. Think again. Trolls go on the offensive because they are too cowardly to face their own envy and insecurity and lack of self-esteem. They attack because something in our relative success stirs the broth of jealousy and fear to such an extent that they cannot bear it any longer. They attack because, to them, our small joys and innocent pleasures are construed as a deliberate slight, and a battle for supremacy, to them – and they cannot stand it.

Easter Bunny


Symbols of fertility, are they not? Bunnies, I mean. Now translated into Lindt’s best milk chocolate, these integral aspects of Easter/Eostre have gained in popularity in recent years – and are just as likely to be the main gift as their equally symbolic counterpart, the Easter Egg!

Perhaps they were chosen because they are such a prolifically reproducing part of Spring’s gorgeous light, explosions of green and sense of hope as everything creaks and groans, stretches and sniffs air for the first time in months, mates, ruts and comes back to vivid life again, bringing new buds, kits, pups and babies into a suddenly beautiful world.

My very own bunny, Pippa – who, other than her soft whiteness, could have been the original model for the luscious Lindt one! – has very much got into the spirit of her kind and of gravid Spring.

Now, I have no reason to suspect that she is harbouring a bellyful of kits, or that a rampant wild male leaped over her fragile barrier and into her most privy parts; in fact, on balance, it is all far more likely to be a Phantom Job – but the fact remains that she is behaving like an Expectant Mother, an Enceinte Female, A Rabbit with a Tray full of Buns in the Oven.

So, on Maundy Thursday, she took to a form of grooming which is so extreme that she appears to have removed her first layer of fur in bunches and bundles. I woke yesterday to a bedroom (hers, not mine, I hasten to add) containing a straw nest embellished with much soft white ’embroidery’ and scraps of this natural material strewn about her Living Room and outside play area.

She looked decidedly slimmer – so, heart in mouth, I looked closer, wondering if I would see a scattering of tiny bunnies in amongst the bedding.

No sign. I was torn between relief and an odd haunting sadness for this Desperate to be a Mummy creature. The sap is rising. Oestrogen is, most aptly, on the boil amongst the distaff side! Sex hormones are in the air. By making her nest, my big bun is only doing what is natural – and there’s a part of me that says, ‘Hey, she should have her chance at kits too!’

I would guess that she is fertile. She is young and hasn’t had the incision from which there is no reproductive return – and, let’s face it, a really determined and horny buck could easily burrow under her fence and have his wicked way!

I am not sure – not being a rabbit myself! – whether her display of apparently maternal zeal is a sign of life within (whether real or imagined) – or whether it is a doe of her species’ way of saying, to all wandering males, ‘Hello, Big Boy! Is that a carrot or are you just pleased to see me?’

Would I mind if she were impregnated? Yes – and no. The logistics of a load of bunnies shakes me rather. On the other hand, it could be that such an outcome would be devoutly desired and, for all I know, Pippa has the makings of the equivalent of our Earth Mother – and to deprive her of her chance at Motherhood could be construed as a cruel and unnatural act!

Happy Eostre! Happy Easter! Enjoy this warm and wonderful Spring day!