There is no gardening pal more celebrated than Nigel the dog. But I just thought I would share with you a photograph of my current companion - the little fella who plays Robin to my Batman out there in the big space. We call him Ib.
A pheasant makes a great companion. As many of you will have found with robins, familiarity breeds.... well, a lovely sense of togetherness. Nothing is guaranteed to send the wood pigeons into a spin like Ib's squawking cry from the heights of an informal compost pile. I'm not sure what he's up to - maybe it is mating time, but I think he is a retiring pheasant, more interested in the nesty warmth of some rotting stalks than the skirt-chasing instinct.
So why do we call him Ib? Well many years ago, I was joined in my horticultural endeavors by a tame pheasant we called 'Fozzy'. Fozzy got very familiar. To the point where he would hop up to the kitchen window sill and tap with his beak on the glass until someone opened up and fed him breadcrumbs for breakfast. Fozzy was a devil for the breadcrumbs. I am not sure whether the breadcrumbs were doing Fozzy any good, but as time went on, he became an increasingly dissolute pheasant - feathers all akimbo and a bit greasy looking. Eventually, another pheasant decided it was time to put Fozzy in his place - a strutting, pompous pheasant it was, full of Gallic pride. We called him Cantona (that's how long ago it was). Cantona would chase poor old Fozzy round the garden, and on more than one occasion, we felt compelled to intervene with some improvised clapping and a sharp 'shoo'.
Fozzy stayed with us, which was probably a clever thing to do, given that beyond the garden, the pop, poppety pop of the rifles was forever going off, as the tweed-and-welly classes amused themselves by killing things. But he did get very scruffy. And then he just disappeared. About six months later, clearing out some shrubs, I found a pheasant skeleton. I think poor old Fozz died of old age, or maybe the in-breds shot him and he went there to die quietly. Or maybe breadcrumbs are bad for a pheasant's internals.
And Ib? Well, he seems to have Fozzy's loyalty, but a fair amount of footballer arrogance too. And I am reliably informed that 'Ibrahimovich' is the cockiest fella on the international pitches these days, so Ib it is!! He is already a bit scruffy round the scarf area, where he has been pecking his feathers out. So maybe a few breadcrumbs couldn't do any harm?
Anyway, I thought it would be nice if we could have a thread where people could put up a picture or description of their gardening companions, pets, little people or local characters like Ib - would be nice to see who we share our outdoor space with!