The Owl Pellet! (Yes.. really)
Yet another crazy adventure of a Yorkshire lass in constant hot water!
Please allow me to introduce myself.. (sure there’s a pop song in there somewhere?) My name is Anj.. married to a wonderful man, middle aged, mostly happy, with a zest for life, a passion for my family, my two cats, village life and a decent glass of Sauvignon blanc or twelve! I live in the sleepy Yorkshire countryside where, it seems, I attract much to interrupt the equilibrium of my existence?? Why me? You’ll soon find out. Dear reader enjoy my silly stories. I hope I make you smile.
After everything that happened in the world over the last few years, the husband and I regard the banality of our daily exercise with an incredible gratitude. We set out for our customary daily walk through the sleepy Yorkshire village that we call home, heading for the paper shop to buy and digest the daily wind-up of world headlines. We are, as always, hand in hand. It’s a chance to breathe. Focussing on the security of other’s company, a ‘nod’ to a passing villager walking their dog in the opposite direction, a wave through an open window to a cottage resident, no need for anything more grateful for our lungs filling with sweet meadow fresh Yorkshire air reviving our jaded souls.
We meander through the beautiful countryside that surrounds our home towards the heart of the village. The warm weather silence interrupted briefly by someone’s lawn mower in action in the middle distance. We are permitted to concentrate on the majestic beauty of nature around us, interrupted only by curlews warbling overhead, lapwings twittering in aerobatic display, and swallows and lambs calling in the surrounding fields. The sun is shining and there is the scent of a sweet meadow. An occasional rabbit and a lone male pheasant dart into the hedgerow disturbed by our footsteps on the track. We are so lucky.
The husband holds my hand, we are happy, content, and grateful. The cats, two beautiful Burmese, have been left behind of course, snoozing together in their basket positioned kindly by the husband in the hallway for maximum warmth and safety where the sun streams through the window warming the tiles. There is bacon to grill on our return, a pot of coffee to share and the papers to read.
On the path ahead, I can see something of interest ..’oooooh look’ says I .. ‘An owl pellet’ ... ‘A what pellet??’ asks the husband with that ‘Here we go again’ look on his face. I turn in to Sir David Attenborough and regale the internal digestive system of the English Little Owl explaining in detail how all the indigestible bits that it consumes are neatly regurgitated by means of a pellet. When broken open the pellet would reveal bones and fur and... ‘stuff’ that owls don’t really like much.
The husband wonders if that would have been a good option for human beings not that keen on their wive’s pastry? I say nothing and bob down, resting on my haunches for a closer look and to collect this treasure from nature.
I gently scoop up the hard brown lump with a tissue and carefully pop it in my pocket to take home to dissect and continue the biology lesson for my husband to prove my findings, discovering what this owl had eaten. The husband strides on non plussed his attention on the papers and maybe a small bag of chocolate coated toffees from the newsagents to keep in his jacket pocket. He’ll be so impressed when I break open the pellet on the kitchen table to reveal one of nature’s wonders. I like being a country girl. I like being able to impress my husband. I like bacon and chocolate toffees. I like my life.
We get back home and with the thoughts of breakfast to the fore of my mind I set to work with a frying pan and forget all about the pellet in my jacket pocket for a bit and concentrate on the bacon. The house is warm with sunshine, the cats wake on our return and linger in the kitchen their pink noses twitching at the perfume of streaky smoked and ears twitching at the sound of frying. Soon we demolish our bacon sandwiches, soft white bread from our local baker, lashings of salty yellow butter and a blob of brown sauce. It’s ‘the law’ . Wiping a smear from the corner of his mouth with a napkin, the husband remarks that there is a ‘funny smell’ coming from the chair under the kitchen table where my treasure laden jacket is safely securing my biology lesson in embryo. My heart jumps at the memory of the owl pellet and how educational the next half an hour might be?
After the breakfast pots are cleared away. I spread out the horoscope page from the newspaper onto the table and excitedly tip out the pellet ready for dissection and head for the kitchen drawer in search of a sharp knife.
‘You’re not actually going to use the cutlery are you??’ .. The husband’s face suggests that’s not the best idea I’ve ever had. Well, in for a penny and all that. It’s only a pellet. I’ll use my hands. He’ll be so impressed!
There is suddenly a dreadful smell and I’m beginning to regret my enthusiasm for the wonders of nature. Cor, owl pellets don’t half pong. Eeeewwwwww. The husband stands back a step or two out of nasal distance and both cats have bid a hasty retreat looking at each other to see who will be taking the blame for this phenominal stink.
Interestingly the dark brown owl pellet is somewhat softer than I would have imagined to be honest, but intent on teaching my husband the ways of nature, I plod on in my quest for evidence of beetle bits and mouse bones. I squish my fingers into the pellet to pull it apart and tear it to pieces to reveal....... NOTHING!! ...Sweet f*ck all! Zero resemblance to owl regurgitation, because…. it wasn’t actually an owl pellet at all . It was, dear reader, a lump of bloomin’ dog poo!
It’s all over my fingers, it’s up my nails, it’s embedded into my very finger prints. The husband has turned a funny shade of purple and is making a sort of gagging wretching noise coupled with hysterical laughter. There are tears rolling down his face. The cats venture back to see what all the fuss is about, wretch a bit, chuck up a fur ball each, and clear off to continue their hysteria in the hall out the way of the smell.
So, this week I have learned...
Stuff left behind by owls and dogs is not to be messed with and is best left alone on the path.
The internet has it’s uses to either watch an owl pellet dissection from a safe distance and to learn how to remove poo from your finger prints.
The village society newsletter did not include my article headed ‘Scoop The Poop ..You B*stards’
With all the windows open and a Diptyque candle burning for the rest of the day coupled with the lingering smokey bacon smells from the kitchen, the dog poo smell persists.
A quick swipe of perfume over your top lip also doesn’t mask the smell and leaves you with a big red moustache burn mark
I no longer care what owls or dogs can’t digest or eat
On a brighter note, the husband has offered to cook dinner ... and has suggested I don’t make pastry for a week or two! Sadly the cats are continuing to take the mickey and keep pointing at their litter box to ask if I fancy digging around in something of theirs?
If I have made you smile. Do follow me for more? There’s lots of adventures coming and some lovely village characters to introduce you to, a smile, a giggle and a momentary step off the real world with tongues firmly in cheeks. Stay well. Stay safe. Thank you for reading and for your support. Love Anj and the kitties