Going barking mad
ICOULD have done without being woken by the resident muntjac. Its toneless bark, going on and on relentlessly for an hour, is not a sound of soothing nocturnal musicality, like the tawny owl’s shivery tu-whit, tu-whoo or the nightjar’s sweet churring. Muntjac ‘music’, more Bob Dylan than Bryn Terfel, jars even more than an amorous vixen.
Shouting ‘Shoo’ and other imprecations and flashing a torch didn’t even cause the wretched creature to pause nervously, nor did a ‘Buzz off’ from the neighbour who owns the field through which it visits. I invited, via text, another neighbour, slightly deaf, to join in, but he replied next day, after an uninterrupted night’s sleep: ‘What’s a bloody muntjac?’
Next morning, the little blighter stood chomping on the lawn—or what’s left of it—its chubby cheeks billowing as it placidly ingested a shrub instead of a weed. I know I should do something about it, such as an expensive fence, but there’s something thrilling and wild about visits from the ‘wrong’ wildlife: a badger blundering around, a fox curled up asleep—it must have been a dumped urban one—a sparrowhawk sorting out a pesky pigeon. It hasn’t stopped me looking up a muntjac-mince recipe, however.