I love my animals dearly – which is why I volunteered to have custody of them after the divorce (not that my ex put up much of a battle!) – but, corporately and individually, they have tried my patience in recent days.
Last week, my friend, J, very kindly gave me a bag of raspberry canes to plant – and, Lad and Lass about to arrive for for a Mothers’ Day visit, I decided to utilise their youth and strength in order to create Phase One of Alienora’s Garden.
All went swimmingly. It was, as some of you will know, an exceptionally beautiful and warm springlike weekend – and the Young Things dug and planted and hoed while I did a mercy dash to B&Q for compost.
The canes went in a treat, as did the tulip bulbs from another friend and two lovely plants, one my all-time favourite, honeysuckle, from my son. Green garden wire was then dug in around the two most vulnerable patches, compost drizzled like some delectable coulis in a fashionable restaurant and, in a blast of sun-baked optimism (or possibly madness), the Rabbits of War were released. Okay, technically there is only the one – but she is so vast that the plural seems more apposite!
Now – indulging myself in a little aside! – you know what they say about rabbits! Yup! Well, by the time they are two-ish, most female bunnies have had more pricks than a second-hand dartboard, and have warrens of kits to prove it. Pippa, by contrast, is, as far as I know, virgo intacta, and, if I am any judge, not overly thrilled by it! Rotund, rampaging and randy, that’s my rabbit!
Spring is in the air. The sap is rising. Buds are shooting out all over the place. The urge to mate is strong. Pippa, her double dewlap wobbling in ecstasy, is, I suspect, in season.
So there we had it: Three enticing new areas, gravid with bulbs and potential fruit, and a rabbit keen, if you’ll pardon the phrase (and even if you won’t), to fuck a buck.
I can only think that she saw the third, unprotected, patch as her nest (for those phantom kittens) because, sighting it, she was in like Flynn, first burrowing deep and uprooting most of the bulbs and then spraying the whole area with urine. Putting, as you might say, her micturational mark on the place.
I rushed out and moved her on. Not easy with a rabbit of that size! Stupidly, I turned my back for about five seconds – whilst I located a part of my spinal column numbed by the sheer leporine weight – and, blow me down, she had, somehow, found her way into the enclosed raspberry patch and was merrily trying to dig the canes up!
This time, I descended like a Mongolian Horde, screeching, shrieking and showing my teeth in a growl. She frolicked up and down, evading my hands, for a while, but I caught the little sod in the end and, muttering darkly about jugged rabbit and dumplings, hauled her out, and back into her hutch/run combo.
Releasing breath pent by frustration for what felt like hours, I sat down upon the garden deckchair to relax – and allowed Jumble to wander round the garden. Not my best idea, as it turned out. Being a complete novice about gardening, I had not fully realised the extent to which compost is composed of – er, well, basically, poo!
Jumble didn’t need telling, however. As I said to the Younger Generation later, he must have thought he’d died and gone to Heaven. With an arthritic grunt, he waddled into the faecal fray (so to speak) and began to eat his way through as much of it as he could cram in before I noticed.
Fortunately, he no longer has the leaping power required to gain entry to the raspberry patch, though he very kindly (?!) hoovered up all the spillages around it – but he did manage to denude the raw, already peed-upon, patch of most of its succulent goodness before I let fly with a most unladylike fusillade of Anglo-Saxon and chased him back into the house.
Phase Two I completed yesterday morn, without either of the animals this time, and now have a line of pots in front of my shed’s suntrap wall. Herbs, tomatoes, flowers – they should brighten up all the senses once they begin to sprout.
If, that is, I can keep Pippa from eating the seeds and Jumble from siphoning off the composting layer!
I love my animals dearly…