No, no lion living in the garden …

When I was a boarder at school in England, girls frequently used to enquire whether we had lion in the garden back home in Africa.

Ummm. No. I didn’t then. And I don’t now (not to say nobody in Africa has members of the Big Five traipsing through the geraniums and oleander, plenty do, just not us).

But I do have a collection of animals that wander about the garden. The dogs, the geese, the Hadada ibis, next door’s chickens (three of them, led by a spectacularly ugly Rooster which somebody once called Uncle Nick and which bloody mindedly comes dashing across at 6am on a Saturday to crow gleefully under my bedroom window; he clearly has a lie in weekdays because I’m never aware of his racket until after eight Monday to Friday). The cats prowl: we have two, Moshi is grey and was christened thus because the word means smoke in Kiswahili. She is as bad tempered as she is beautiful. Orlanda used to be Orlando (as in The Marmalade Cat? Anybody else read that?) until it was discovered, when the vet came to pick her pockets, that she had none to pick because she was a she and not a he. Orlanda and Moshi hate it each others guts.

Moshi stalks birds and rats in the garden. When we got tired of her killing kingfishers we bought her a collar with a bell, the idea being that the tinkle, as she moved through the grass, would give the birds some warning. Alas, Moshi is too canny and learned how to remove the collar. Every time she discarded it, on an acacia, upstairs, under a bed, it was found, fished out and refastened. But she’s hidden it too well this time and I can’t locate it anywhere.

I am fervently hoping this has nothing to do with today’s non appearance of the tiny sunbird that visits every morning, he sits on the window above the desk where I work and admires his reflection, tapping it proudly with his beak.

I hope Moshi hasn’t eaten him; I am hoping the rat I saw her drag back into the house sufficed.

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2 Responses to “No, no lion living in the garden …”

  1. Gorilla Bananas Says:

    Cats kill instinctively, so Moshi would have shredded that sunbird whether or not the rat had satisfied his hunger. How would you feel about having a gorilla in your back garden? I’d quite like to visit Tanzania.

  2. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    A gorilla in the back garden …? Hmm – to add to the – uninvited – Sykes monkeys already resident there. Gorillas welcome if they don’t shred the orchard and if they manage to keep wretched Sykes under control.

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