Sunday, 18 November 2007
Listening to: Bristol v Stade Francais
What's for tea: Shepherd's pie
Weather: steady rain
Drinking: Argentinian Chardonnay
A wet blanket of a day on Westray, but we finally ventured outside at around 3pm as the light started to dim rapidly.
As a rabbit-control measure, I try to take the dogs for a tour around the edge of the two fields to sniff down burrows, snap and snarl a bit and leave their 'scent' all over the place.
We were in the top field, near the house, when. . . well, I was going to say Owen - our lovely, but intellectually challenged collie/spaniel cross - caught a rabbit, but accidentally bumped into one would be more accurate. The rabbit was toast, he had no chance as Owen was right on top of him. Bugs squeaked pathetically and waited for the worst.
Only the worst never happened. Owen wasn't sure exactly what he should be doing and once our long-eared friend cottoned on, he was off, through the fence and heading for the front door of the house.
Owen set off in pursuit, leaping the fence and following the rabbit which had darted into one of the two derelict stone buildings in front of the barn. I and a frantic Spike (on a lead because of his colourful 'previous') took the long way round, going to the gate and making our way to the outbuildings where a chase worthy of a cartoon was in full swing.
Rabbit and dog flew through the bottom half of the pig shed, both dived out of a window, an impressive splash indicating that Owen had fallen straight into the soakaway/pool at the back of the barn.
He emerged soaked through, shook himself and looked around before the rabbit popped up again and the chase was on again. Owen caught him a second time. Spike was yapping desperately (the canine equivalent of "bite and shake, you moron" I assume), but again the rabbit got away. Owen, with a fair share of sheepdog in his bloodline, had no intention of killing and was trying to round him up.
By now we had done a full circuit of the house and buildings and I was the only one who knew where the rabbit was (cowering near the septic tank). As I'm not quite ready to join my friend Nick as a bare-hands rabbit killer, I called it a day and literally called the dogs off.
Owen, bless him, hasn't stopped wagging his tail since, while Spike looks at him the way a team-mate looks at the footballer who has missed a vital penalty.