Sunday, 22 July 2012

July evening in the garden

9pm. In the garden with candles and a book. Classical music drifts across from the Battle Proms in the Park. Close by, a nest of chicks cheep competitively. Cannon fire reverberates around the streets, setting off a series of echoes and distant dog barks. The Bear is safely, if reluctantly, indoors.

The sky fades from white through pink to grey. A bird screeches, and I catch a glimpse of a bat hunting across the trees.

9.30pm. A ginger cat peeps cautiously in at the gate, considers for a moment, and then walks away. This might be the chap who torments The Bear at night, mocking him from the window ledge, a pane of glass safely between the two. The Bear hates to be mocked. Soft as a kitten with people, he transforms into a snarling monster with other cats. I once watched over the wall, helpless to intervene, as he backed a cat into a corner and kept it there, screaming at him, for hours, whilst he merely sat and stared at it with his one golden eye. But sadly, in spite of his roguish looks, word has got around that he is now completely toothless (the only way to deal with his recurring gingivitis), and thus his ability to defend himself is somewhat impaired. Several times the vet has had to patch him up after he has stomped home trailing blood, somehow still looking triumphant. A cat of his age really should know better, but he won't walk away from a challenge.

9.50pm Rustlings in the now-dark garden. Moths float by and - happily - stay away from the burning candles. More cannons as the Battle Proms reach their final hour. Fireworks - not visible from the garden - reflected off the side of a neighbouring house. It's chilly. I decide to watch the end of the firework display from the library window.

10-something-pm. Land of Hope and Glory with firework accompaniment. An encore. God Save the Queen. Auld Lang Syne on the bagpipes.  That's all for tonight.

I decide that now is the time to cook a very late dinner. I repair to the kitchen and begin to chop vegetables.

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