The Hound of Herne Hill

The other morning, when I woke up Child One to get her to school (now no easy process, as she bought her one-way ticket to adolescentville some time ago, and sleeps like a gorgeous hibernating bear) I threw back the curtains with my usual gusto. And stopped. And stared.

On the lawn was a ghastly, hunched, black shape. Not moving.

My first thought was little Jiffy, our lovely little bunny. Could she somehow have got out in the night, and squished herself into a weird – very weird – position? Had Mme Bovary, our catty, finally got the better of the jumped-up snack, something she has been casually threatening for some time?

As the sky grew less grey, and I peered anxiously out, I could see that the shape, while still mysterious, did not, thank goodness, resemble eviscerated bunny rabbit. I moved on to waking Child Two, chivvyed both downstairs and did my utmost to forget the whole thing, assembling breakfast, nagging about lunchboxes, finding gym kits and generally distracting the treasures from the potentially grisly object, which, I decided, I would investigate much later – if at all. Maybe it would just go of its own accord! Then True Love sauntered downstairs (I do love him so) and said, ‘What the hell’s that out on the lawn?’ Before I knew it he was out there on the grass, poking the object with a stick and then bringing it back in triumph.

It was, dear readers, an enormous blackened old gardening glove – ripped to shreds. By some very big teeth.

Since then, the Creature with the Big Teeth has slashed its way through one Croc shoe and an Ikea cat tent and then, yesterday, the lawn was covered with big white blobs when we woke up. Cotton wool? Gulp – feathers??

It wasn’t until I’d taken my courage in both hands (TL was not with us. Don’t say a word please!), several hours after the school run was done, that I discovered the white stuff was, in fact, the innards of a particularly fine softball we’d bought in Sweden, which had been shredded by, yes, you’ve guessed it, some incredibly big teeth.

The strange thing is that the Creature never disturbs me at night, though I am the lightest sleeper since the Princess of pea fame. Who is it? What is it? And what does it all mean for Jiffy, who has firmly been declared a Garden Bunny and is scheduled to winter outside?

I don’t have the answers. All I know is that Jiffy is looking anxious – and Mme Bovary is smiling her lovely furry catty smile.

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