Head down concentrating hard with the heavy patter of torrential rain beating rhythmically down on the conservatory roof; I became aware of people in my garden. I looked up to find Mini Son with one of his teachers. She was carrying a large box and he, a crutch. A pang of panic punched my stomach; had he been in an accident, why did he need a crutch, haven’t I been here before? They reassured me he was fine, as out of the box they pulled a white fluffy rabbit.
I have two rabbits; technically they are my children’s but guess who looks after them. Following another long cold winter we have let them out of their hutches into the garden which gives them freedom and exercise. They have now discovered the weather worn holes in the back fence not to mention the broken panel in the back gate that no longer closes. I also suspect they have dug a tunnel under their hutches to the field behind. A large expanse of open field which is public ground, unfortunately planted with so many tiny trees that no-body is able to use it. My children being the exception, they play the modern equivalent of cowboys and Indians shooting and hiding and battlefields. They have a base up in the trunk of the ancient tree that commands the far left corner of the field and watches over the estate. They play a mix of ball games or rugby tackle mauling with a range of local kids on the small area kept tree free for future development.
This has given the rabbits a hitherto unknown freedom which they are currently taking full advantage of. Smudge has developed a teenage attitude and has a regular nightly meeting around midnight with two local cats. They sit on a nearby roundabout and play together. Somehow I do not think it is the cats in command. Smudge has also developed a strong attachment to getting into the cage of a nearby female rabbit.
I often get people returning Smudge or telling me my rabbits are out. I have stopped running after them. They come back when they want food, when it is wet for shelter or sunny to lounge on the decking and have a wonderful life just lolloping around the fields. A few dogs have chased them and they lead them straight home and under the decking where they have I suspect a myriad of tiny tunnels.
Mini Son’s boxed rabbit was a young fluffy white one not unlike our own Magic, it had been running round the car park at school, cars narrowly missing her and she was now cold, shivery and very frightened. I was sure it was the errant female Smudge had previously been enamoured by. Mini Son had come home for some bedding and rabbit food and if I knew the owner could I contact her. Impulsively I told them to put the rabbit in Magic’s cage. At least she would be dry and could be picked up once I had contacted the owner.
I rang my friend. It wasn’t hers, their female was still locked away safe from stud in waiting Smudge and tucked up warmly and dryly in her pen. I spent the rest of the working day contacting people to no avail; it seemed that no-one had lost their pet. I left messages with the vets, haven’t I done this before Reg ( http://tiggyhayes.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/reg/)!.
As I prepared our evening meal, contemplating with each chop of the carrots how I should break the news to Sexy Sporty Dad that he might need to feed an extra mouth tonight, there was a knock on the door. A man dripping wet in overalls and wellies stood on the step. He looked as if he had spent hours chasing round looking for a lost pet. Delighted he had found me before Sexy Sporty Dad arrived home I was about to take him round to the hutch when he asked if I had lost a rabbit.
Was I not supposed to say that to him?
I stood, now dripping with the rain beating down my back looking at all three rabbits as he produced yet another rabbit. This young blackish brown one was cold, shivery and very frightened. He had been caught under the cars in his road near the school. He had been running about all day apparently with a white one earlier and caused many a car to break suddenly. It had taken the man ages to catch him.
Coincidences! There are some coincidences that I just don’t believe in.
These were a pair that had escaped together, it made sense to keep them together. That is how I came to have two extra bunnies when Sexy Sporty Dad arrived home from work. All my contrived explanations and assurances that I had already prepared were unnecessary as he knew the whole story before the door had even closed. Mini Son desperate to show him the new pets, Middle son was busy thinking of names for them and No 1 Son nonchalantly asking to borrow the car while our attentions were turned.
Jungle drums finally worked and a series of texts, mobile calls and facebook messages led a local mother to ring me to ask if I had one of her missing pets. Over the moon that I had both, she arrived as the rain began to cease its relentless pommeling with a large overnight bag to retrieve her mischievous monsters.
Reunited with two rabbits a much relieved parent left, our own pets resumed their quest for freedom and I served dinner.
The crutch? It had been used to catch the rabbit!
I have a very exciting development in the Memories saga. A friendly barrister has agreed to read the book for authenticity. I have naturally sent it off to her before I or she can change our minds. I hope she doesn’t throw it back as rubbish.
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