Squirrels and Flashes

Squirrell They got me last night.  They’ve been after me for years.  I skillfully avoided them, aware they lurked in bushes, secretly waiting for me.  Last night I lost control and I’m SO annoyed with myself.  You see, I’ve always played the game and won.  Cat and mouse.  Member of the Proletariat against Big Brother.  Underdog with upper hand, you know what I mean!

Let me soothe away your confusion.  What?  When?  Where?  Who?  Why?  Let me explain.

Yesterday, I had a stimulating day in London with my business mentor, enjoyed a delicious lunch in Pizza Express, chatted, had a lightbulb moment, took a walk in the afternoon sunshine (OK, it was only to the post box but, hey, I hadn’t walked that road before and I’m a girl who just loves breaking new ground) and watched wildlife in a suburban garden.  OK, so?  Will you allow me a little David Attenborough moment before I move on?  Promise I’ll be quick. 

In the aforementioned suburban gardan, which I should say had been cleared of surface debris within the previous 24 hours, all manner of life was celebrating the freshly exposed banquet.  A pair of blackbirds, a magnifiscent thrush (did you know they’re in short supply these days), a wren but most entertaining of all, a pair of cheeky grey squirrels.  Vermin.  Yes, I know!  But cute, cheeky, daring, acrobatic, entertaining and just so adorable when their perfectly formed little ‘hands’ clasp a precious treat and those furry little ears are outlined by the late afternoon sun as delicate little mouthsful of said treat are nibbled.  Yeah, I know, you’d unlock your 12-bore but that squirrel was a creature of considerable beauty nonetheless.   

Every quality has a reverse side ’tis true.  My son’s headmistress once corrected me when I referred to his ‘stubborn streak’ which manifested at about the age of four.  "Remember", she said "it’s called stubbornness when they do something we don’t want them to do and perseverance when they employ exactly the same quality doing something of which we approve".

Yesterday, that squirrel was obviously on the ‘perseverance’ side of the coin.  Ask me again when squirrels in my own garden dig up my newly planted bulbs or chew through telephone cabling or the like.  But, for now, he’s a beautiful creature displaying many qualities I find attractive.  Now, I must be honest and say I have no formal proof that this cheeky chappie was of the masculine gender, but he ‘felt’ male in his magnificence.  His partner (of a shy disposition, it seemed to me) ventured down from the tree for a couple of short bursts of frenetic activity but retired to her aerial sanctuary obviously having no stomach for a ‘skating on ice’ type display of physical prowess like her partner.

Sorry about that digression.  Where was I?  Oh yes, I’d been ‘got’, hadn’t I? 

Driving home from London (I use the term loosely, crawling would be more accurate . . . Friday evening, mass exodus for holiday homes in the country via M4, need I say more?), I was initially entertained by looking in the shop windows as I moved through the urban jungle, then Chris Evans came on the radio – I like him, don’t you? – and I sang along to the music, really giving it some wellie when Tom Jones came on singing ‘Delilah’ and other ‘cheesie favourites’ as Chris called them.

Still not too bothered by the slow crawl home.  Enjoyed being with my thoughts, exploring possible new avenues to travel.  Then wondered what it would look like to passing alien ships; would they think these slow moving hard shelled things were life forms?  (Just imaging looking down on the congested road networks without understanding the nature of a car or lorry, especially by night!) 

As Chris finished his programme and went home to his new wife, decided a latte was needed.  Funny thing is, I never stop on the way to London, always do on the way home.  Just love to indulge in a spot of ‘people watching’ and what better place than in a motorway service station?  But don’t get me started on that today or you could grow old before I finish.

Had latte.  Bought Maltesers.  Rejoined M4.  Boring.  Fed up with crawling along.  Car too old to have CD player.  Poor reception on radio.  Want to get home now.  Becoming irritated by people not observing lane discipline.  Maltesers finished.  Don’t really remember eating them.  Yet another set of roadwords.  Then finally, blessed relief, see the turnoff for the A419.  I was up that sliproad like a rat up a drainpipe.  Call of the open road ahead by way of free flowing dual carriageway.  I’m off.  Be home soon.  Fairly fly over the new flyover which means not having to slow for the roundabout below.  Things are looking GGGOOOOOOODDDD.  Not for long.  Mental siren went off.  More roadworks ahead, contraflow, the whole business.  Crawling along again.  It’ll be worth it when the new Blunsdon bypass is completed, I tell myself.  Won’t have to stop for traffic lights then.  So, no roundabout or traffic lights.  Attractive proposition.  Keep a lid on the overwhelming desire to drive straight through the millions of cones.  All the workmen are missing.  Obviously resting at home rather than on the hard shoulder.  (Am I really so cynical?  Depressing thought.)  Finally, I crawl to the brow of a hill and, calling me from a little way ahead as it catches my headlights is a deregulation sign.  YES!  Feel my right foot twitching, ready to push that pedal to the floor and GO!  Am safe now.  Foot extending towards floor.  I’m on my way home.

Damn!  Too late!  Big Brother has finally caught me.  Frustration forced me to show my hand (or foot!) early and, rather like that squirrell in the late afternoon sun, I was illuminated by the double flash of the speed camera.  That’s just plain cruel.  Why site one so near the deregulation sign?  Don’t like to think I’ve been outwitted.  Have played the game for years and won.  I lost it in every way.  Frustration boiled over.  Lost my unblemished (although I have to say undeserved) record and lost the game.

Do you have mail go missing in transit while under the watchful eye of Royal Mail?  We do.  But, know what?  Sod’s Law dictates that my speeding ticket will be delivered right on time!  Or, dare I hope, the film had run out because so many had failed before me . . .   

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