Among those who post or have posted to the Village, some of them residents, we have a Guinea-Pig, a Moose, a Beetle, a Singing Squid and a Mule. Non-posting entities who are definitely resident are known to have included at one time and another Igor the Mad Scientist's Cat (who has been reported as conversing with his ally and abettor Toby the Mad Scientist), Hudson, Delly the Belly, the Giraffe, Patricia the Learned Pig, and the Shop Cat and Shop Parrot.
A minor infestation of Woodlice is also in evidence; there are, they inform us, more than fourteen of them, but since they are shy and retiring creatures no full count has been made. They know that there are more than fourteen of them because they know that there are more of them than each adult woodlouse has legs -- which is why they have never been able to count each other reliably.
The Ford where the Drakewater crosses the High Street was originally home to a colony of fresh-water electric eels, but these seem to have been displaced by the shoal of piranha imported by Maister Bines, who owns the house overlooking this feature of Village life. Whether the eels have migrated or been eaten is a moot point. It seems likely that they have been displaced by one means or the other, since no electrocuted piranha have ever washed up onto the road. Residents on foot use the footbridge to cross the Drakewater; furriners who have misjudged the depth of the ford or were driving too fast and miss the road may occasionally vanish from their cars before these can be towed clear of the water, but this seems a small price to pay for such a picturesque addition to Village life. The piranha have not so far expressed their collective opinions in writing, but if they form an alliance with the eels (to provide power for their computers) anything may yet be possible.
The semi-resident Village Nuisance are the bats, who occasionally post in a confused manner, sometimes using other people's .sigs because they are utterly incompetent though apparently well-meaning. At present they are occupying one of the caves in the Firedrake's Cavern Complex to the North-West of Abthite, up the hill, second on the left, mind the heaps of armour. The evidence suggests that there may be something in the region of 42 bats, but they can't count and never hold still to be counted. They tend to panic, and when they panic, they flap.
Over to the South of the Village, Diem has charge of a very fine collection of Gargoyles, who first appeared, sitting inconspicuously on the Squoire's dwelling, in October 2001. Beetle pinpointed their origin:
I thought everyone knew that baby gargoyles are found in the Dreaming?
and Firedrake R elaborated on their appearance:
And occasionally wrapped in the silver foil off milk-bottles. This makes them very popular with bluetits, of course, but rather less so with villagers who (not unreasonably) dislike finding small crying lumps of stone in their milk...
whereupon Diem accidentally volunteered.
I wouldn't mind finding a baby gargoyle on doorstep. It'll go well with the one on my speaker (the one that looks like Spouse but no one likes to point out the fact)
and by October was definitely lumbering herself with a lifework:
Have given this some thought and decided there is an opening here for sharing caring person to scale the heights of edifices as protector of protruberances aka Guardian of Gargoyles.
After an unfortunate lapse of time caused by a trapped nerve in her shoulder, on 26th October 2001 Diem posted a progress report:
As GOG, I wander the byways of Abthite, looking upwards, always upwards and wondering as I wander if it's time at last to ascend.
Test shoulder gently, then a little more urgently. No more than a wince ensues. A little climb, I thinks, a little crime against the doctor's orders.
Consider the possibilities.
There is the belfry, of course, with the friendly bats and the indoor stairway at least two thirds of the way up. Yes. What's wrong with the easy option when the muscles are not quite recovered? And it's not as if I'd be alone up there.
The climb is steady and dark, hard on the legs but easy on the shoulder. Trapdoor to belfry well-oiled and easy to open. Bats are sleeping, gently swaying as they hang only a handspan overhead.
Shutters open with tiny scream, matters not to belfry bats. Scramble out, onto the parapet and round to find a foothold, a handhold. Up!
And here they are, my charges.
Let me introduce you. On the north face is Gleful, eyes wide and protruding, all the better to see the world, to drink in the colours and shapes of the landscapes. No one sees more than Gleful, but he never tells what he sees - except to his companions, and sometimes to me.
He seems intent, I lean closer, gaze outwards, then downwards and note the neatness of the paths below, the seeming softness of the grass around the headstones. What would it be like to lean further, to spread my arms and let go of the structure? I could do it too. Inside, a voice says 'Do it! Let go and feel the air about you with no solid mass to weigh you down or reign you in'.
Small stony hand takes hold of ankle. I look down and there is Elegace. She sits on the westward face and tastes the wind as it passes, her tongue wide and protruding, all the better to savour the flavour of the world.
I notice she has a growth inside her tiny, coiled ears. I haven't brought my cleaning toothbrush with me. What I need are tiny creatures, able to get anywhere and organise themselves to anything, to help me take care of my gargoyles. Now where could I find such creatures? And what could I pay them to help?
Her rhetorical question was answered:
<perks up resonant exoskeleton>
Don't suppose that might be... plant matter... might it?
The (always-hungry) Woodlice
and a deal was brokered. She also looks after the Woodlice, who in return de-moss the gargoyles at intervals. Eventually the gargoyles migrated en masse and took up residence on what had previously been her greenhouse, and now the South end of the Village leads a life punctuated by the occasional CRASH as a baby gargoyle, just learning to fly, plummets out of control. Sometimes that is SPLASH, if the Drakewater, the Ab or the Abon happens to be at Gargoyle Ground Zero, in which case the sweet little mite has to be wrapped in a tea-towel and comforted, then put in front of the Aga to dry and get warm.
The Earwigs are the most notable Village Infestation, however.
So who is Hudson?
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So what's with all the earwigs then?
Text by a Beetle; hosting by the Sinister Firedrake Conspiracy
Last updated: Sat, 15 Jul 2006 22:11:23 +0100