Gary and Neil are working in our garden, laying the base for a potting shed.
When they arrive in the morning, I mention last night’s excitement. What was that?
Well, at about 9.45pm, with the light fading, I saw a hedgehog by the wood pile – and my wife has always longed for a hedgehog.
(Like, totally gone on about it…we even have hedgehog food on the premises, just in case.)
And so for her to see it waddling along (it was quite fat) was like the visitation of an angel: extraordinary thrill and wonder coupled with a sense of her own unworthiness.
‘That I should have a hedgehog in my garden!’
But after the vision of glory, the practical concerns.
We’re a walled-in garden which is no good, because hedgehogs need to get out. They roam for about a mile at night in search of food.
But Neil, on hearing our concerns, is on the case.
‘We need to go online,’ he says, reaching for his phone. ‘We can know how large a hedgehog hole should be.’
‘You think you can find that?’
‘You can find everything on the internet.’ And within thirty seconds, he has. ‘They’re called “hedgehog highways”, apparently.’
We look around at the options open to us, where a new highway might run. But all our ideas involve neighbourly cooperation…which is like planning permission, and can be problematic.
‘I think the best plan is to take down your garden gate,’ he says. This is a large door in the wall, formerly in the quad of a public school, before we found it restored and ready for new adventures. ‘We can cut a “highway” into the door.’
And this is what they do. They unbolt the door, heave it onto the lawn, lay it down flat, carve an eight centimetre entrance at its base – a perfect Norman arch – and then bolt it back.
Voila! Prickly access!
Sometimes in life, the potting shed has to wait.
Sometimes, there’s a visitation… and a highway which just has to be built.