Two nights of interrupted sleep in the last few days!
Last night, I woke up at 4.30am feeling rather too cold under my summer-weight duvet. The weather has changed: nights are beginning to get cooler, even if the daytime is still nice and warm. And the other night I was woken at 4.00am by an unusual noise that I couldn't immediately identify.
It drew me up from a deep slumber, and as I became more and more awake I wondered whether it was raining heavily, and I was hearing the liquid drip-drip-drip you might get from a roof gutter that is overflowing. But no, it wasn't raining. And yet something was making a racket outside my bedroom window.
I should explain that I live in a bungalow, and of course all rooms are at ground level. So you are close to whatever might be shuffling and snuffling around your front garden. I have seen foxes scampering across it before now, although nowadays that's not terribly unusual, as foxes have become well-accustomed to cities and would think nothing of strolling across a village garden as if they owned it. But whatever was making the noise, it wasn't a fox.
Lying there in my bed, now thoroughly awake, I tried to analyse what I was hearing. It was loud. It was like a rapid kissing noise. Indeed, as if a kissing competition were going on. Not really wanting to get up, but intrigued, I donned my dressing gown, grabbed my torch, and went outside.
Would you believe it. Two hedgehogs head to head.
They sounded as if they were kissing each other, but surely couldn't be. I went back indoors for my camera. By the time I came out again, they had separated. This was Hedgehog No 1.
Lucy: Right, what's going on here? Come on, speak up! Out with it!
Hedgehog No 1: Wasn't me made them noises what woke you up. It was 'im over there. I'm just mindin' my own business.
Clearly I wasn't going to get any sense out of him. So I stepped over to the other miscreant, Hedgehog No 2. Here he is.
Lucy: Well, what have you got to say for yourself?
Hedgehog No 2: I ain't done nuffink.
Lucy: Oh really? Well, what's that you've got in your mouth?
Hedgehog No 2: Nuffink.
I gave up. You can't get anywhere with animals like this. If you look carefully, you can see that there's a round shiny thing in his mouth that could be a snail. Perhaps he thought I was going to take it away from him and eat it myself. Who knows what hedgehogs think.
I'm guessing, but I reckon Hedgehog No 1 found the snail (if that's what it was) but before he could snap it up with relish, Hedgehog No 2 cut in, and pinched it from under his very snout. Then they argued loudly over who should have this prize, and that was the 'kissing' noise that woke me up. Perhaps they were really squeaking, but to me it sounded like a kissing contest.
It ruined my night's rest. I did eventually get back to bed, and then to sleep sometime after 5.30am, and I slept on till 9.00am. Half the morning gone. What a waste.
The hazards of country living. It's not all church fêtes and cricket, you know...