As the nights draw in, we’ve been having some unexpected visitors in our garden. I like to refer to them as Hell’s Bambis.
Initially they tended to hang around the far end of the garden, checking out the old garden house and the kids’ football goal. But over the course of the week they’ve become bolder and I’m finding deer in the courtyard, or on the drive or even in my vegetable patch.
Of course, after all the hedgehogs, rabbits, mice etc. this year, I thought I was used to wildlife around the garden. Deer, however, are on a completely different scale than any of these. You can be walking from the house to the office and all of a sudden you’re confronted with something the size of a small horse… which is looking at you with a look of: “Whoa. Where the heck did that human come from?”
When startled (and I’m confident by now that my appearance is terrifying for a deer… it’s probably the way I do my hair), deer make a strange sort of movement which involves their legs going in lots of different directions at once. It’s as if one leg is saying: “Quick… over the back fence” and another is going: “Yikes – scarper down the drive!” It generally takes a good half second for the deer to work out an exit plan. During this half second, if you’re unlucky, its flailing limbs will be making hoof-shaped dents in your car, or smashing the cucumber frames or if you’re really unlucky, hitting you in the midrif.
As a result, these days when I go outside, I’m like a member of a SWAT team. I reccy the courtyard before setting off. I check places where I can take cover… and always run when on open ground.
Of course this doesn’t stop the problem when you’re actually in the house. Just when you’re pouring boiling water into a teapot, or plunging samosas into hot fat…you’ll look up and leap five feet backwards because right in front of you a deer is staring right through the window.
A deer at that distance appears to be looking down it’s nose. The expression is very much one of: “There goes the neighbourhood” as it surveys the state of your kitchen and the pile of washing up in the sink. It’s bad enough having Germans round… they who always seem to keep Ordnung in their kitchens. But now it seems I’m expected to tidy up for visiting deer. Fortunately, the state of my kitchen is such, that I doubt they’ll be popping in for a cup of tea just yet…