Sunday, 21 July 2013

It won't surprise you to know...

the NW coast of Scotland gets a lot of rain.

This is a tale of a cotton-tail
called Rabs who was a victim
of a very sustained period of rain.

Walking up to the phone box,
 I saw a dead baby rabbit in the water swollen ditch,
beside which a tiny shivering
baby bro/sis was huddling.
I gently lifted the little mite up 
and scuttled home.

This is Rabs in a half pint 
Coronation mug

How to raise him was the next question?
I guessed he wasn't even weaned,
so I started the long process of
gently dribbling from my hand, tiny 
amounts of goats milk into his hungry mouth.

He against all odds survived,
better than that, he thrived.

A house rabbit who strangely
thought he was human.

Katie, the Westie, took to him; 
they were great pals playing hide and seek
around the sofa.

Rabs was potty trained in an evening.
I lined a cut down plastic container 
with newspaper, every time Rabs looked as
if he was about to produce poo of the currant kind,
I plonked him in the rabbit commode.
By the end of the night, he knew what was expected of him.
The next day I put the container under the sofa to
give him a degree of privacy,
even a rabbit needs a modicum of decorum.
He had the newspaper, so the job was a goodun.
He could take so long as he liked.

He quickly became part of the family,
even to the extent of jumping up onto the
arm of the chair and helping himself to
salad on the side of my plate.
On one occasion sitting writing a
letter in the armchair, he jumped up
and pinched the top off my pen.
The word flew off the page...
'You'll never believe why this has 
happened!' I wrote to my coz!'
Visitors who came to call,
would stop mid-sentence as they 
caught a fleeting glimpse of a grey
furry creature disappearing behind the chair.
'Was that a rat?' writ large in their eyes!

He would sit in the tiled surround of
the old thirties fireplace, stretched out
basking in the heat.

We made an ark for Rabs 
so that he could enjoy the garden.

Once a month I would drive the 110 miles
to Inverness for building supplies etc.
On one occasion I returned to
find him very badly injured quivering in the
covered area of his run.
His front leg looked as if it had been
broken and the skin on his tummy had been peeled back.
I can only think a weasel had attempted to get at him.
With careful nursing he survived.

He would sometimes be reluctant to come in,
who could blame him?
He would escape my clutches and run off.
Always allowing me to catch him.
Well that is until the last time...
Time to go!

The sad thing is, he didn't make it going alone,
he was found, dead under the bee hive.
The question this begs is,
 did I do the right thing?

Us humans think we know best...
I'm not so sure!

This was Minty, one of the pet lambs.
Life is tough being truly self-sufficient and yes 
we did eat him.  

On a happier note,
this is the croft in Achnacarnin
overlooking the bay of 

 Rowan, the goat is sat on her favourite
rock watching the world go by.

Aaron, Katie and me

Aaron is wearing a hand spun jumper
made by me from beautifully soft 
Shetland wool.

These memories were deep 
in the old grey matter, long forgotten.
Until the lovely John Grey told us 
about Roland.

Thanks John.


  1. Great post! Rabs, Minty - and those wonderfully evocative photographs. (We lived on a croft in the Western Isles.)

    1. Wow Elaine, where? Perhaps a post might be in the offing from you? So many funny things
      happened during my time there, it was an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world.


  2. p.s. Where can I buy bile beans?

    1. No idea what they are. I've often wondered? There is a huge house side in York painted with an advertisement for Bile Beans. Perhaps they are upmarket Senna pods, who knows?


  3. It is a wonderful story. If I had to choose between being Rabs and a rabbit with an average life, I would choose Rabs.

    1. Would you be happy to do the necessary under the sofa though David?


    2. Actually I would prefer that to a public display. :)

  4. Oooh - lovely memories (1980s?)
    I became aware, years ago, that rabbits could be house pets like cats - easily trained to use a tray. Since then I've noticed that poor rabbits, stuck in hutches for hours on end, are desperate for company and attention. I think all pet rabbits should be house guests - not sure about wild ones, but he looked happy!

    1. How did you guess Nilly? Spot on!

      He was a character, whose name wasn't Rabs orginally, I gave him some high falutin herb name which escapes me now. He quickly became Rabs, seemed to suit him.


  5. What a lovely story Lettice and an interesting question towards the end. There was something of the Irish colleen about you when you were younger. A mischievous twinkle which I am sure remains if your habitual remarks are anything to go by. And you knitted that jumper? Amazing!

    1. Darling boy, brace yoursen... I was born in..... Dartford! My only claim to fame is... I'm a quarter Yorkshire!