MOST days a young grey squirrel performs a high-wire act outside our house.
He scuttles across a telephone cable, stops half-way to shake his tail, then proceeds gingerly to the top of a utility pole before descending along another wire to reach the roof of a nearby cottage.
From there he disappears into the trees, usually returning in late afternoon, shooting across the wire to be home in time for tea.
We call him Squidge.
Last week, the squirrel’s routine was thwarted by an extremely obstinate pigeon.
Plumped-up and stubborn, the pigeon had chosen the overhead cable for an afternoon snooze.
As the squirrel dashed across, he evidently thought the pigeon would snap awake and fly off. No chance.
The old bird turned her head lazily, gazed balefully at our twitching little friend, then returned to deep slumber, leaving him with a dilemma. Did he move closer to scare her away? Or did he sit patiently, hoping she would tire of her perch and depart of her own accord?
In the end, he did neither. Evidently intimidated by her stolid presence and dogged insistence on standing her ground, he flicked his tail, did a quick turn, and retreated from whence he came.
In this high-wire showdown - this test of nerve at forty feet - there’s no doubt that Squidge had met his match.
This picture is called Squidge the Squirrel, and is dedicated to our entertaining (but not very brave) little furry friend.
NOTE: This drawing is an example of what is now known as Marquis Minimalism, a name thought up by my esteemed ex-colleague Mike Truscott, the doyen of Cornish journalists. The squirrel appears courtesy of only five lines drawn with a black marker pen.