The Hound of Herne Hill

September 17, 2008

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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  • jennysmith September 17, 2008 at 4:19 am

    Gosh sounds a bit spooky. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

    Glad i’m not the only one who struggles to get things done in the morning eg lunches, clean school jumpers. The biggest hinderance is Husband who like some burley adolescent demands the fridge to himself to make his sandwiches and then dominates the sparse “working” area i have in the kitchen.

    Got a horrible feeling that if it wasn’t for him, things would go more smoothly.

    Interesting point about greasy hair. my daughter is now 12 and has started year 8 and her hair seems twice as greasy as it was. Like mine was too. You forget about these things with teenagers

  • jennysmith September 17, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Sorry, another comment – was drawn to your blog because I always get a bit sentimental about Herne Hill and Dulwich. My friend bought her first flat there on Rosendale road and had some great parties and shared good times there. She moved later to Battersea (st john’s hill) wasn’t nearly the same!!

    just a little wallow for me.

  • Lindsay September 17, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Some big cat (panther type) escaped from zoo? Look after that bunny!

  • DulwichDivorcee September 17, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Hi Jennysmith, yes, the hair is a shock, isn’t it? Remember when they had that fluffy baby hair? Sigh. Glad your friend had fun on Rosendale – there’s a rather nice pub there now so still good times to be had if you both ever wanted to come back and see! Battersea is absolutely not the same, you’re quite right!
    Lindsay, I do hope not! Am going to reinforce the cage somehow, though DIY is not my strong point. Hope you are doing ok after your sad loss x

  • Matt September 17, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Hi there.

    I really enjoyed your blog entry.

    I work for a local newspaper- the Streatham Guardian – and we are always looking for more light-hearted tales we can use in the paper.

    The idea of “The hound of Herne hill” is something we could explore and have abit of fun with I think – if you would be interested in doing an article.

    I was obvioulsy hoping to get a local nature expert to predict what the beast might be etc….

    I know its probably just a fox (or is it?) – but its a really fun story – especially considering th e concerns for your rabbit.

    Let me know if you would be interested in doing a story.

    Kind regards,

    Matt Watts
    Streatham, West Norwood and Crystal Palace Guardian
    0208 330 9538

  • rosiero September 18, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Sounds like it could be a fox to me. Greg left one of his shoes out in the garden (don’t ask) and saw a fox making off with it early one morning. Particularly if the bunny is in the garden, it may be attracting the foxes. Hope the bunny cage is fox-proof!!

  • DulwichDivorcee September 19, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Hi Matt, yes, I think your readers should definitely be alerted to the danger stalking their streets! Rosiero, I’ve done my best to fox-proof Jiffy but not sure the cage is puma-proof ….she could be coming inside I fear …

  • tartetartan September 19, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Fantastic! Why don’t you set a trap or take it in turns to keep watch every night. Can’t wait to hear what it is. Imagine how disappointed we will all be if it is a fox. Sounds like it might be time to bring the bunny in.

  • Hadriana's Treasures September 26, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Keep the bunny safe! Thinking on – it might be a very large version of Glenn Close? (You know…Fatal Attraction and all that!) Sorry couldn’t resist it. Bring in bunny and bar the back door!!