Death in the afternoon

Not my death, I hasten to add. Nor that of our esteemed elder statesman Artur.   But he features mightily in the action on the first terrace this afternoon.

And the cat earns his title of champion mouser.

Here is the action shot of him poised over his quarry.

I actually thought he had come down to visit me when I was doing my raking after the morning’s strim.

He certainly came barrelling down towards me in that way that can melt one’s heart.

But he paused just momentarily on my lap and then moved on to a perch on top of the terrace, right near an underground spring.

It seems to have been the perfect cover for some sort of creature in the once long grass. My strimming had put paid to that.

So while I was labouring away all afternoon on not one, not two, not three, but four terraces.   Artur was sitting, stock still for almost an hour on this spot.

And my intrusive photographing didn’t distract him in the slightest. He only had eyes for his quarry.

I worked on, raking up the bits and dragging loads away. And still Artur perched.   Naturally I chose the wrong moment to go up to the house to stock the fire and get some water.

Because when I came back down he had reached the racing position right over whatever poor creature was still scrabbling about.   And Jean Daniel chose that very moment to drive past.

Being a sociable creature I chatted with him and missed the very moment when he pounced.   We both turned and admired his athletic skill.   Jean Daniel drove home and I trundled down the hill.

By the time I finally did the 200 metre circuit to find out what creature the cat had hunted, it was half eaten.

This is not a cat who mucks about. No playing with his food; toying with it or torturing it.   It was strictly a late lunch.

Rodent I think. Possibly mouse.   He was most pleased. And hung about in the late afternoon basking and preening and looking at my work with a half sleepy eye.

My tally was much less bloody; grass, nettles, brambles and brambles again.

The mighty strimmer cut a swathe. I have attended to all the flat bits on the terraces (and tried not to look at all the work I have to do on the rest of the terraces below) and tried to tame the brambles that grow out of the walls as best I can.

I’m so pleased I have the perfect sized secateurs at long last. They sit snugly in my back pocket and can be whipped out at the first sign of a seedling chestnut, cherry or elderflower tree.

And boy do I have a lot of unwanted seedlings on these terraces. I yearn for goats.   They would make light work of this huge expanse of farmland.

But still, four terraces in two days is not bad.   And if I can walk tomorrow without pinging sciatica, then maybe I will attack more.