THE garden of my Costa Blanca home is not short of wild life - particularly in the summer.
OK, I can do without the eerie twilight flapping of bats around the turrets of neighbouring houses. And I wasn’t best prepared for the three baby hedgehogs my grandson rescued from the hedgerow as they tried vainly to suckle milk from their lifeless mother.
But the suction-padded lizards that scurry up and down the walls fascinate me. So does the incessant chatter of the crickets or whatever they are (I wonder if they ever play Test matches against the bats?)
Back in September, I felt I was in the Garden of Eden when a litter of tiny feral kittens took temporary tenancy of the bamboo gazebo in my garden. Nevertheless, I have yet to see anything in Guardamar to compare with the urban beauty of my furry friends Grace and Samantha.
Grace Quirrel and Samantha Fox (cringe cringe) took up semi-residency in the back garden of my UK home in Manchester - and while I only saw them on my increasingly rare visits to Emgland, there are few more beautiful creatures on earth.
The hunting fraternity would no doubt dismiss both species as vermin...and happily rearrange Samantha’s fur into a natty Manc coat. But urban foxes and grey squirrels have become as much a. part of life in the northern ferretlands as flatcaps and black puddings. Even four miles from Manchester city centre.
They get an unintentional helping hand from local councils, too. And the ayuntamiento under which authority my home is unfortunate enough to be sited -- is among the unwitting leaders. There are none of the slick nightly refuse collections we all marvel at in Spain -- it’s once a fortnight if you’re lucky. Providing, that is, you can work out the complicated sequence in which the queue of grey, brown, green and blue bins are emptied. I swear the local bureaucrats have a terrorist supervisor called Bin Over- Laden supervising the colllection crews, who simply don't empty bins whose lid is not fully shut.
Anyway, the council's tardiness means that Grace and Samantha will have bags and bags of goodies for Christmas...courtesy of a garbage-emptying cycle which leaves enough overflowing bins to fill the bellies of an entire colony of wild foxes and squirrels, feral cats and a rat or two-ee.
My only fear is that Grace will become too fat to chase cats (yes, I have witnessed it - you should see her doing her nut!).
Ms Quirrel is already a bit of a pudding, legacy of the unending supply of peanuts chucked out to her through the patio doors by my grandkids. But did you ever see a more beautiful piece of vermin?