I was out walking in our local park yesterday with family in tow. We were chatting about the lovely decorations on the high street and a huge Christmas tree we had just passed, when all of a sudden we were surrounded by countless grey squirrels on the prowl for easy food.
It was a cold wintry sort of a day and they were everywhere all at once, darting about looking cute and begging for titbits. It didn’t take long for them to work out that we weren’t the best prospects in town and they soon moved on to more promising folk.
But in that short period, my young daughter (“I’m a big girl daddy”) was unbeknown to me creating an entire back story for the squirrel horde and filing it away for our return journey.
Our destination was the revitalised Glen Pavilion in Pittencrieff Park, famous for its connections to Andrew Carnegie but more importantly home to the Peacock Rooms, a notable cake emporium.
We were soon enjoying the bustling confines of this popular café (as one does on a Sunday don’t you know), made even busier than normal by the presence of our local chess club who were on their annual outing (honestly you can’t make this up) and as the queues died down, we were able to sit back and enjoy the scenery outside as the sky slowly darkened and dusk approached.
Eventually, fortified by steaming hot coffee and a decent slab of homemade lemon drizzle cake and satiated by ‘chess player’ people watching (there is a type you know), we decided to head home, retracing our steps through the darkened park… which is when it happened.
“Daddy” said my daughter in an inquiring tone, pointing at a discarded takeaway lid lying on the path, still bearing the marks of last nights curry, “Daddy, look at the naughty squirrels!”
“Naughty squirrels?” says I, looking slightly confused.
“Yes squirrels, Oh DEAR, making a mess and leaving toast and butter on the floor (in a Scottish accent of unbearably cute proportions), MAKING a MESS daddy.”
I grinned; I may have giggled a little bit, which prompted daughter to continue
“Squirrels leave mess there (pointing) and there and there, oh DEAR!”
Visibly indignant now, she marched off up the path to where we had last seen the thirty strong grey squirrel mob shouting
“SQUIRRELS! Where ARE you? Oh dear, naughty squirrels making mess and hiding!
Stops to look at sky
“AND (very indignantly indeed) putting the lights out to make MORE mess!”
By this time the laughter was deep within my belly, my wife was wiping tears from her eyes and any squirrel’s still in the vicinity were no doubt cowering in shame.
“Squirrels Clean up mess NOW!”
Her subsequent rant took up much of the rest of our walk home and was on the agenda again this morning within minutes of waking up to greet the day. A girl on a mission, absolutely confident, sure of her facts and determined to give the squirrel community a piece of her mind. It’s priceless.
Aged only 2 years and 9 months she has an imagination I envy, conjuring up her very own utterly implausible yet hugely entertaining explanation as to not only why our beautiful park was covered in litter, but why it had gotten so dark too.
Then telling us about it in such great detail that I wondered if we should be writing it down and sending it to a book publisher.
I cannot wait to hear what she will make of Christmas this year; so far she is set on the idea that there is a big Santa (for big people) and a little Santa (especially for people like her). She is also demanding a “pink tree with bubbles “and has been brushing up on her Bruce Springsteen influenced “Santa Claus is coming to town” rendition.
I hope she never loses that creative spark; I hope that she goes on to write great books or become a genius or something, but in the meantime I will always love her for what she is now, a gorgeous, sweet and an incredibly funny wee person.
This was my weekend highlight, how about yours?
- Up Close and Personal With a Grey Squirrel (csafotography.wordpress.com)
- Squirrel invasion? Try the chilli defence (thisismoney.co.uk)