It’s early evening. We sit with glass of wine in our new patio and wind down for the day. The sun is waning and casting a golden glow on the garden, spotlighting flowers and greenery here and there. And I find myself surrounded by a cast of characters enjoying the evening with me.
At my feet is Gabby. Our month old duckling is now fledging, so her energy levels are down. Feathers are starting to replace her down fluff, and she spends most of her time (when not eating or running maniacally around playing with cat toys) pulling out the down to make way for the new. She is currently a mottled collection of yellow, brown and white(!). A toast with my glass of wine to Louis, who is obviously the Dad. We are very curious to see if she will be a true mix of mallard and call duck, or, well, we know not what. But we wait with growing anticipation of the interesting outcome.
Guarding Gabby is Chewie (Chewbacca if we offer up his full name), our standard sized Dachshund, e.g. he is about 3 times larger than the mini version. She likes to stand underneath him for protection sometimes, and consequently we sometimes ‘lose’ her. Chewie is the little leader of our pack. And we appreciate his nose for foxes and the like. Sometimes we never quite know what he is chasing off, but then it doesn’t really matter, as long as our and his little pack are all good.
To my left is Gigi, our ginger (Gingembre to use her full French name) cat. She is sitting quietly, looking over the wall of our patio into the garden next door. I suspect she is searching out the little sunning lizards, but currently doesn’t have the energy or interest to take up the chase.
To my right is Lappy. Also hanging out, just checking things out in apparent random fashion. Until you look more closely and realise that the cats are always flanking the ducks. I love that they are their decided protectors. But then we have seen an inordinate amount of buzzards and other bird of prey overhead of late. One of the not so nice aspects of spring. It’s a real survival game. And I for one am happy for our cats to wish our ducks come out on top.
Beyond Lappy are a sleepy Louis and George, having a snooze with beaks tucked in feathers. Maggie, of course, is still searching for yummies to eat around them. That girl is always in search of food. It’s a wonder she is not as big as a house.
Sipping from my glass of wine and gazing further over the garden I spot an almost hidden Noisette, the third of our cats, as she stalks about amongst the foliage, albeit slowly in the tranquil warm evening. She is our ‘outdoor’ cat, our smallest and our fiercest hunter. But Noisette has the best heart. She is our snuggle monster. Truly independent, and with an amazing adventurous spirit, we are blessed that she keeps us in her sights and hasn’t taken it upon herself to explore the world.
Already gone to bed are Beepbeep and her two little ducklings. Tiny pingpong size balls of fluff. And yet they grow steadily, thank goodness. In the meantime, Sir Studly keeps his eyes on Beeps, guiding her where she can’t see and warning her of dangers. He would rather be hanging out with the other boys, but when duty calls, he is there. He is our true gentleman (except when he has the luscious Maggie in his sights. Sigh. The he lives up to his moniker.)
And so rounds out our happy home at this hour of warm tranquillity. All are fed (except us humans), content, slightly sleepy (or in Gabby and the other ducklings case, sound asleep). A perfect way and place to enjoy a glass of wine.
(Images and antics of our cast of characters can be found at Pumpjack & Piddlewick on Instagram.)