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Friday, April 09, 2004

I haven't seen a deer in Stourside or Kirkton Close for about 18 months. Which is possibly due less to the habits of the local deer population, and more to the fact that I haven't found myself walking around Shotley Gate at 3am for the past year and a half.

But all that changed this morning, as I strolled along Stourside in the middle of the night, nonchalently trying to avoid looking like a burglar, whilst simultaneously turning on everyone's security lights as I passed. One household however clearly knows a thing or two about security, and seem to have trained a killer deer to jump out at passers by, thus giving innocent insomniacs such as myself the fright of their lives.

Having leapt out of the front garden about three yards in front of me however, the guard-deer seemed to change its mind, and instead of attacking, chose to abandon its post, bolt across the road and dive into the undergrowth on the other side. Interestingly, the house from whence it came is the only one with a bird bath in the front garden, which I'd previously assumed was for birds to take a bath (the clue's in the words 'bird' and 'bath'). I now realise it's actually a feeding station for large antlered beasts of the night.

(Admittedly this particular deer didn't have antlers, and was really quite small, but the point remains).

And as if this close encounter wasn't enough, walking down the main road twenty minutes later, I was accosted by a barn owl. The little chaps are close to extinction, and it's not surprising - this one had to fly to within ten feet of me before it realised I wasn't a mouse.