Wednesday 11 May 2016

Birds, Beasts and Southeast London

Caught in the act
I've really been enjoying ITV's The Durrells, an adaptation of Gerald Durrell's books set on Corfu, including My Family and Other Animals, and Birds, Beasts and Relatives, which I read when much younger. It's very well done, with the excellent Keeley Hawes playing the put-upon Mrs. Durrell, and beautifully filmed on Corfu. (What's more, we're going there this summer -- and I'd already booked our holiday before I knew about the series, so I'm feeling rather smug.)

Anyway, we have been experiencing our own birds and beasts here in Crystal Palace. Honestly, you wouldn't think a Southeast London suburban home, close enough to central London that you can see the Shard from up the road, would be a haven for wildlife. But since we moved here we have had the following animal experiences:

1. Pigeons in our attic. They'd even made nests up there and laid eggs. When we eventually realised, we had to get our roof fixed, which involved lots of scaffolding (it's a tall house) and expensive builders. It also led us to change our water tank system, as the previous system was an open tank in the attic into which pigeon skeletons may well have fallen.

2.  Foxes eating the boys' football goal. The phrase "back of the net" doesn't apply to this goal (Littleboy 1's birthday present last year) any more. Because the back of the net has been chewed away. I wondered at first if some unfortunate animal had got tied up in the netting, and that's why it had been destroyed. Maybe a cat had got its claws caught. But this morning I caught one of our many resident foxes in the act - jaws in the net, looking balefully up at me in defiance as I shooed it away. I'm quite fond of foxes (although they also keep us awake with their shagging noises) but honestly, this is Not On.

3. A ladybird infestation. Seriously, there are hundreds in our house. I don't quite know what to do about it  - they're rather pretty, and not really pests, but we do wonder if they bite (a few of us have had mysterious insect bites). Any advice?

4. Slugs in the hallway. How do they get in? How?

5. Pigeon in the bathroom. Unable to get in the attic any more through their holes, the pigeons have now taken up residence on the bathroom window sill, which is now covered in bird poo and feathers. During the hot weather this weekend, the bathroom window was left open -- and a bird flew in and shat all over the shower.

Any more for any more? I'm thinking of setting up a small zoo.