Winter always drags, but this year’s been worse than ever. Lockdown 3.0 was imposed just after Christmas, meaning that – other than a weekly trip to the supermarket and an occasional stroll around our suburban estate – we’re confined to Platypus Towers. No chance of a swift visit to a bird reserve on a fine day, and thanks to the regular visits of local cat Milky Bar, only birds with suicidal tendencies visit our garden. It’s a pretty miserable existence, and the lousy weather makes things worse.
But after several days of wintry conditions we wake up on 22 January to a dazzling morning, the sun blazing from a cloudless blue sky. We sit ourselves down in the garden room – which faces south – intent on making the most of this meteorological anomaly, when to our amazement a butterfly appears. It settles on the window ledge, just a metre away from us on the other side of the double glazing, and soaks up the rays for about 20 minutes before moving on again.
The Peacock is a spectacular and unmistakeable butterfly, and takes its name from the vivid pattern of eyespots that decorate all four wings. It’s one of just a handful of British butterflies that overwinter as dormant adults, hunkering down somewhere sheltered during the darkest months in readiness for an early start to the breeding season when spring arrives. However, as we discover today, even in the depths of winter a relatively warm day may rouse Peacocks and encourage them to take to the wing.
I’ve been interested in butterflies since I was a little kid, but have never spotted any this early in the year. And never have I been more grateful to see one of these magical insects: the last 12 months have been tough, and it’s good to be reminded that the beauty of nature will still be there for us to enjoy when the Covid restrictions are finally lifted.
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In 2020 I saw my first butterfly around 6 March, and described it as a “symbol of hope in the darkest of days.” You can read my reflections about the symbolism of butterflies by clicking here.
One of the inevitable consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown is that we’ve spent pretty much every moment of the last three months at home. Planned visits to Cornwall (2 weeks), Norfolk (10 days) and Liverpool (5 days) have all been abandoned, while day trips we would have done to places closer to Platypus Towers have also been impossible. Our horizons have been severely limited by the crisis.
However, it’s not all bad news. Spending more time chez nous has enabled us to better appreciate the wildlife that visits our garden.
We live deep in a suburban housing estate, and our private outdoor space isn’t big – just 90 square metres. Nevertheless, ten species of butterfly have passed through in recent weeks, and despite the best efforts of visiting cats Milky Bar and Malteser to have them for dinner, various birds have also dropped in, tempted by a well-stocked birdtable. A few months ago I wrote in this blog that birds don’t come here anymore, so the return of our feathered friends has been very welcome.
But the very best garden wildlife encounter has been courtesy of a Red Kite, swooping so low over us that it almost seemed we could reach up and touch it. It didn’t stay long, probably no more than 30 seconds, so no chance for photos or video, but the encounter is etched indelibly into the memory. We have been in this house since the mid-1980s, and if anyone had suggested then that one day we’d experience a fly-past by a Red Kite we’d have assumed they were completely out to lunch.
Amongst our collection of books about birding we have a field guide published in the year we moved into this house. It describes the Red Kite as uncommon, with fewer than 45 breeding pairs in the country. The distribution map shows the species confined to the mountains of mid-Wales, around 150 miles (240 km) from Platypus Towers.
But fortune has looked kindly upon the Red Kite over the last 30 years, thanks primarily to a spectacularly successful reintroduction programme.
Red Kites were once found throughout England, Wales and Scotland, both in traditional countryside haunts and in urban settings. They were so common that William Shakespeare described London as a “city of kites and crows.” Kites were welcome visitors to towns, where they scavenged waste discarded by the inhabitants, and this avian garbage disposal service was so highly valued that the birds found themselves protected by an English Royal Charter in the 15th century!
But times changed, and these impressive raptors were transformed from heroes into villains, being seen as a threat to food supplies and to game shooting interests. Intense persecution followed, and around 150 to 200 years ago Red Kites became extinct in England and Scotland, clinging on only in remote, mountainous areas of mid-Wales. Remarkably, genetic fingerprinting tells us that the entire relict Welsh population were descendants of a single female, an indication of how close the bird came to extinction in Wales too.
Numbers of Red Kites stabilised in Wales, but although the bird was given legal protection and some nests were protected from egg collectors it seemed unlikely that the growth in numbers would ever be sufficient to allow successful recolonisation beyond its borders. Further intervention was required if England and Scotland were to re-establish their own populations, and eventually the RSPB and English Nature (now Natural England) stepped up to the plate.
Their ambitious reintroduction programme began in 1989, with birds taken from Sweden – and later, Spain – released at sites in southern England (Buckinghamshire) and northern Scotland (the Black Isle). Other release sites came on stream later in the project, which lasted more than two decades, creating extra hubs from which the rest of the country could be recolonised.
By any standard, the Red Kite reintroduction programme has been a spectacular success. Under the heading “a triumph for conservation,” the RSPB website reports that there are now around 46,000 breeding pairs in the UK.
The birds still face threats, in particular “illegal poisoning by bait left out for foxes and crows, secondary poisoning by rodenticides, and collisions with power cables,” but the Red Kite’s situation has improved out of all recognition since the reintroduction programme began.
Although we were lucky to get good views of a Red Kite flying over Platypus Towers a few weeks ago, I imagine it will be some time before they become a regular sight here: recolonisation is a gradual process. However there are places in the UK where sightings are pretty much guaranteed, particularly in Wales, which is home to around 50% of the entire UK breeding population.
Indeed, Red Kites have become a tourist attraction in Wales, with one enterprising farmer turning them into a major business opportunity. Gigrin Farm’s website says:
We are a 200 acre family-run working farm, now famous for our Red Kite Feeding Centre. Hundreds of Red Kites feed here every day. It is a truly breathtaking spectacle which we hope you will come along and witness for yourself.
They do not exaggerate. I’m pleased to report that Gigrin Farm offers spectacular, close-up views of an extraordinary number of Red Kites, as well as a glimpse of the rare white-morph Red Kite and sundry other birds including buzzards, ravens and rooks. The photographs illustrating this post were taken by Mrs P when we spent an afternoon at Gigrin in November 2018.
Although the farm is currently closed to visitors due to Covid-19 restrictions, the birds continue to be fed. When regulations allow I would happily recommend anyone with a passion for Red Kites to visit Gigrin Farm…you won’t be disappointed! Meanwhile, click on the link below to see the YouTube video I made during our visit.
Last week I wrote about Milky Bar, who for the past eleven weeks has happily defied the Covid-19 lockdown to hang out in our garden whenever the fancy takes him. Milky Bar is handsome, cheeky and full of his own importance, king of all he surveys, but somewhat aloof and distant. Social distancing comes easily to him.
We are also visited on occasions by a second cat, who we call Malteser. There’s a clear hierarchical relationship between them, and although Milky Bar tolerates Malteser, there’s no doubt who’s the boss. Malteser seems wary in the presence of His Majesty, and prefers to visit us when he’s elsewhere. He’s a nervous soul, not given to public demonstrations of affection. Until last week, that is…
… It’s a warm, balmy day. Gazing out of the kitchen window I spot Malteser sitting next to the pond, tail waving gently as he watches flame-coloured fish idling in the shallows. A net protects them from unwanted attention, but Malteser’s not bothered. “Look but don’t touch” is the rule here, which suits him just fine on a sun-drenched afternoon.
I call for Mrs P and together we admire our visitor. After a couple of minutes, with the cat showing no signs of wanting to leave, Mrs P grabs her camera.
We open the door as quietly as we can, and Mrs P fires off a few shots. The shutter clicks and Malteser looks up, head cocked at a slight angle as he considers his options. Should I stay or should I go? he asks himself. I try to reassure him, speaking his name softly, telling him that we are his friends and mean him no harm.
Our eyes meet. The moment of truth. Mrs P and I hold our breath, trusting he will do right by us. We are the accused in the dock, awaiting a verdict, hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst.
And then, unexpectedly, Malteser stands and trots towards us. I fall to my knees, ready to greet him. He miaows, then presents his head and softly butts my hand. I rub his ears and fondle beneath his chin, and he responds with a purr. We two, cat and man, are together in heaven.
I break off, remembering that somewhere we have a small packet of cat treats, tiny triangles of biscuit, suspiciously brown and allegedly flavoured with chicken. They were originally bought for Milky Bar, who rejected them contemptuously as being unworthy of his attention. The treats have languished unloved at the back of a cupboard for nearly two years, but now, as I offer them to Malteser, I can see he’s less fastidious than his friend.
He tucks in greedily, taking treats direct from my fingers while giving me gentle love bites. After many months of social distancing, Malteser’s evidently concluded that we can be trusted. He’s thrown caution to the wind. Our relationship has moved to a new level, offering comfort and companionship to both parties.
So, Milky Bar, you need to “up your game,” as the football pundits are wont to say. You have a serious rival for our affections…Malteser’s just a handful of strokes, a few purrs and a couple of cuddles away from being our new Best Friend Forever!
The UK media has been ablaze in recent days, ordinary folk – of whom I’m one – furious that people who should know better have apparently re-interpreted the lockdown rules to suit their own needs. Resentment at the cavalier behaviour of an individual in the Prime Minister’s inner circle, and the latter’s decision to condone that behaviour, are seen by many as proof positive that “there’s one rule for them, and another for us.”
For god’s sake, we deserve better than this.
But of course, there are those amongst us who have made no secret of the fact that it is their intention to defy the lockdown at every opportunity. Take Milky Bar, for example.
Milky Bar is a cat who lives on our estate, a cat who believes that our garden is in fact his garden, a place to hang out, booze and snooze whenever life gets on top of him – which is nearly always, it would appear. It’s also where he can hunt dragonflies, a distressing habit that I wrote about last year.
From the day that the UK’s lockdown was announced, Milky Bar has made it abundantly clear that as far as he’s concerned it’s business as usual. The Prime Minister limited citizens’ exercise outside the house to just 30 minutes per day, but in a brazen demonstration of contempt for those who claim the right to regulate our lives Milky Bar has opted to defy the lockdown. He continues to visit whenever he chooses and for as long as he pleases.
The perimeter of our garden is defined by a wooden fence on two sides and a brick wall on the third. Milky Bar’s arrival is invariably announced by an almighty clatter as he leaps up on to the wooden fence from Jim’s garden next door. From this vantage point he surveys his domain, checking out our garden for dragonflies, unwary birds or other opportunities for mischief.
He often drops by for a drink. We have two ponds, and he likes dipping his paw into the water, licking it dry, then repeating the sequence. Sometimes he does this for several minutes at a stretch. It’s not a very efficient way to drink, but it gives him – and us – ample satisfaction, as well as ensuring he has the cleanest paw in the neighbourhood.
But there are times when he prefers his drinking water flavoured with birds rather than fish, on which occasions the birdbath comes into play. Standing up on his back legs, with his front paws on the edge of the bowl, he can drink contentedly while at the same time keeping a beady eye on the birdtable, just in case…
One day, the local blackbird makes a near-fatal error of judgement. He can’t have missed Milky Bar, lapping water from the birdbath. Perhaps he’s calculated that the birdtable’s very high and no self-respecting cat would try climbing it. Whatever the reason, he decides to drop in to fill his face. Foolish blackbird!
As soon as the blackbird lands, Milky Bar’s on high alert. He immediately stops drinking and creeps stealthily towards his intended lunch. Suddenly he charges, launching himself at the birdtable, scaling it frantically like a furry Edmund Hillary. Feathers fly, avian curses shatter the suburban calm, but happily no blood is spilled.
It’s unclear who’s more embarrassed by this episode, the blackbird or the cat. However, Milky Bar is not one to dwell on a momentary loss of dignity and having conquered the summit he quickly decides that he should be rewarded for his endeavours. Shrugging off his mistake, he proceeds to eat bird food instead of blackbird … he’s a very, very strange cat, but cute as hell.
It’s been hot and dry here for several weeks – last month was the UK’s sunniest ever May since records began – and watering the plants has become a nightly ritual. Unfortunately the hosepipe is knackered and the lockdown has prevented us replacing it, so we’ve had to resort to watering cans.
But one person’s misfortune is another’s pleasure, and Milky Bar has just discovered the exquisite joy of drinking direct from a watering can. Maybe the water, fresh from the tap, tastes even better than the fish- and bird-flavoured alternatives? Whatever, since we started leaving the watering cans full overnight he’s been in heaven.
But of course, drinking, chasing birds and eating dragonflies are mere distractions. Milky Bar’s main reason to visit our garden is to snooze. He’s very good at snoozing. There are lots of places that are just right for forty winks, plenty of bushes offering shade from the midday sun while still giving good views of the birdtable…if he can be bothered with his feathered friends, that is.
He also enjoys laying out underneath the washing that we’ve hung out to dry, the sheets that waft in the breeze gently fanning him as he dreams of dragonflies. And recently he’s discovered that, behind the shed, I have an old dustbin (translated for my trans-Atlantic buddies, that’s a garbage can!) in which I store compost. Sleeping on top of the dustbin, hidden between the back of the shed and the fence, offers all the comfort and privacy that this idle cat covets.
So there we have it. The lockdown has brought misery to some, irritation to many, and inconvenience to just about everyone. But for a select few it’s simply an irrelevance. For those lucky souls life’s going on just as it always did…Milky Bar’s doing just fine.
Postscript: Milky Bar, blogger extraordinary. New followers of this blog won’t be aware that around six months ago, when I was busy preparing for Christmas, Milky Bar stepped in to write my weekly post. He had a lot to say for himself in his Guest Blog, and took great pleasure in hurling insults at me. However, I’m a generous soul and have forgiven his youthful indiscretions. You can read what he had to say by clicking here.
February was foul. It was the wettest February the UK has ever seen, and the fifth wettest UK month, of any month on record, ever. Large areas of the country experienced unprecedented floods, and although Platypus Towers escaped this particular fate – living halfway up a hill helps! – it was pretty damned miserable. But as George Harrison famously reminded us, all things must pass, and around 6 March the sun finally shows up, giving it large in a dazzling, clear blue sky.
To celebrate our change in fortunes, I decide to treat Attila the Bun to an enormous carrot. I’m standing at the door to his hutch, fondling his ears while he tucks in greedily, and out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of my first butterfly of the year.
The symbolism isn’t lost on me. The transformation of caterpillar into butterfly is one of Nature’s most dazzling tricks. It speaks of redemption, the possibility of change, and the enormous potential that lies within the most unpromising of subjects. Nothing is so ugly that it cannot re-fashion itself into a thing of beauty, nothing is so damaged that it cannot be made whole again, nothing is so stained that metamorphosis cannot restore it to purity.
The butterfly in question is a Small Tortoiseshell. She sits atop some pure white heather blossom, sucking up the nectar, soaking up the rays. Intent upon her business, she allows me to approach and stand so close I could reach out and touch her. The predominant colour of her wings is a foxy reddish-orange, decorated with a scatter of black and yellow splodges and an edging of tiny, bright blue spots. She is so delicate, so beautiful.
My butterfly has overwintered as an adult, hunkered down somewhere sheltered, perhaps a garden shed or a farm outbuilding. For months her metabolism has barely ticked over, but today she’s awake and has a job to do. Now is her time, and with temperatures rising and the days growing longer she must find a mate, and a patch of stinging nettles on which to lay her eggs.
Her children will take to the wing in June and July, and they in turn will produce another generation in late summer. It is that generation, the grandkids of the butterfly before me, that will emulate her by seeking out a sheltered hiding place in which to hibernate through the winter.
As with pretty much every species of butterfly in the UK, Small Tortoiseshells have declined massively in recent decades. Growing up in suburban London half a century ago I used to see them in abundance, and although not rare these days I wouldn’t describe them as plentiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one this early in the year so today’s sighting is definitely a bonus, as well as being a welcome indication that spring is waking from its slumber at last.
Eventually, my butterfly decides it’s time to share her ethereal beauty with another lucky soul. Sorrowfully I watch her leave, and wish her well on her journey. I will miss her. Butterflies are a symbol of hope, and god knows we need hope in these, the darkest of days.
Bleary eyed, I stagger into the kitchen shortly after sunrise to make the first of around seven mugs of tea I will drink today. While the kettle’s boiling I stand at the window, scanning the garden for signs of life. Attila the Bun dozes peacefully in his hutch, and elsewhere things appear equally tranquil. And then I spot a commotion in the pond. In one corner the water’s churning madly, wavelets rippling out from the boiling epicentre to the edge of the pool. This can mean only one thing: the mating frenzy of the frogs has begun.
This is an unexpected development. Croaking is a sure sign that the mating game is about to begin, but so far this year I’ve not heard any. However, after a wretched few weeks the weather’s got milder over the last couple of days, and maybe this has persuaded my amphibian friends that it’s time to do the business.
On closer inspection there’s already one clump of spawn floating listlessly at the edge of the pond, and several frogs are clearly intent on making more. There are at least two pairs, the males clinging on tightly to the backs of their chosen ladies – a condition known as amplexus – as they paddle and skitter around. Both parties are waiting for just the right moment.
However, the right moment can be a long time coming – amplexus has been known to last up to 24 hours – and to help them maintain their grip, male frogs grow special nuptial pads on their forelegs during the mating season. It locks the lovers together like organic Velcro. Inseparable, insatiable, their lust renders them oblivious to the world around them. I watch, transfixed, like a punter at a seedy porn show.
Finally the female is ready and expels her eggs, which the male swiftly fertilises. When spawn is laid it absorbs water rapidly, causing it to swell. In its expanded state spawn is 99.7 water, which helps regulate temperature and oxygen supply to the embryos.
Having laid and fertilised the spawn, the frogs’ work is over for the year and they can start enjoying the good things in life, like snacking on worms, slugs and sundry creepy-crawlies. My work, however, has just begun. We have two ponds in our garden. The larger of the two – where the spawn has been laid, and further spawning is imminent – is home to shoals of goldfish and golden rudd, which will make short work of the tadpoles when they emerge.
The smaller pond was put in with the specific intention of serving as a tadpole nursery every spring. However the “taddy pool,” as we like to call it, has attracted a population of Common Newts. While it’s thrilling to have these critters in our garden, they too will make mincemeat of tadpoles in the confined space of the taddy pool. So, if the spawn is going to produce any frogs, I will have to remove it to raise in a place of safety.
In a corner of the garage is a large fish tank, half buried under a pile of rubbish that I really should take to the local tip before Mrs P starts giving me grief. I fight my way through the detritus of 21st century living, retrieve the tank, dust it down, then fill it with water and assorted vegetation from the pond. Within minutes it is transformed into a safe haven where the tadpoles can hatch and grow, happily out of the reach of the predators that patrol our ponds.
When their legs start to develop and they’re able to look after themselves I’ll release the froglets back into the taddy pool and let them take their chance. Hopefully some will survive long enough to join the mating frenzy in future years.
I’ve always been fascinated by frogs, and have become increasingly dismayed by their plight. Frogs are currently in big trouble, thanks to a combination of climate change, habitat loss, pollution and a fungal disease known as red-leg. They need all the help they can get and I’m pleased that, within the limitations of our modest suburban garden, we’re doing our bit to ensure the survival of these wonderful little creatures.
When I started this blog one of my first posts was about Milky Bar, a cat who visits our garden most days. I’ve been quite busy since we got back from New Zealand, what with Christmas coming up fast and me not having bought a thing yet for Mrs P, so I invited Milky Bar to write this week’s post on Now I’m 64.
But just to be perfectly clear, I take absolutely no responsibility for anything he says.
Hello everyone, my name’s Milky Bar. At least, that’s what Old Man Platypus calls me, but what does he know, eh? Him an’ his missus are weirdos, that’s for sure. They gives names to all the cats what visit their garden, call ‘em after types of chocolate! That’s why I’m Milky Bar, see. An’ then there’s Malteser – he’s a good pal of mine, knows who’s the boss – as well as Minstrel, Oreo an’ Mars Bar. Not to mention Toblerone, of course.
Toblerone! I ask you, what kind of person calls a cat ‘Toblerone?’ Poor little mouser, no wonder he don’t show his face round ‘ere no more.
But what’s in a name anyway? Old Man Platypus thinks callin’ me Milky Bar gives him power over me, thinks if he shouts out my name I’ll come runnin’ like some lapdog. But I won’t. Cats don’t do that sort of thing, not this cat anyway.
Like I care about him, which I don’t, obviously. I just sit an’ watch him makin’ a fool of himself. Laughs at him I do, all this “Ooh, what a lovely cat you are, Milky Bar” an’ “Ah, what a little cutie you are, Milky Bar.” Yuk!
I think he secretly wants me to move in with him at Platypus Towers, like some mistress or his bit on the side. No way, José. I mean, if he’s serious about this relationship he needs to work at it, buy me stuff an’ all. You know, he’s never once opened a tin of tuna for me, or bought me a packet of Dreamies! The man’s a total waste of space, that’s what I say.
One time he accidentally drops some pellets what he feeds to the goldfish in his pond, then watches to see if I’ll gobble ‘em up. Maybe he reckons I won’t even notice, that I’ll think them pellets was meant for me. Me? Fooled by some lousy fishfood? I don’t think so!
I’m tellin’ you, Old Man Platypus ain’t got a clue. If I was writin’ his end-of-term report I’d put “Must try harder” an’ give him a D-minus. But only if I was feelin’ generous, like.
What makes it worse is he can be a good bloke when he wants to. There’s this rabbit what lives in an ‘utch at the bottom of the garden. Ugly thing it is, ears like a donkey. But Old Man Platypus thinks it’s wonderful, calls it Attila the Bun. Attila the Bun, get it? No, neither do I.
Anyway, Old Man Platypus is always out in the garden talkin’ to that rabbit, tellin’ him what a fine fellow he is. Like the rabbit can understand him, I mean rabbits ain’t clever like cats, are they?
An’ every day he gives this Attila a massive pack of fresh food. I tell you, that rabbit eats like a king … if kings eat carrots an’ kale an’ cabbage an’ cauliflower an’ celery an’ spinach an’ sprouts an’ watercress an’ lettuce an’ beetroot an’ broccoli an’ rocket an’ apples an’ pea shoots an’ pears. Not to mention mixed leaf salad, whatever that is.
So that’s why I don’t come on too friendly with Old Man Platypus, ‘cos he ain’t serious about me. I mean, if he was serious like, he’d cut back on stuff for that wretched rabbit an’ give me a nice big bowl of tuna. Or salmon, of course. At a push I’d even put up with cod, but no, even that’s too much trouble for Mr Parsimonious Ratbag Platypus. Fishfood, that’s the extent of his generosity where yours truly’s concerned. Huh!
Madame Platypus ain’t much better. Always creepin’ up on me and pointin’ her camera in my face she is, tellin’ me not to move an’ to look straight into the lens an’ to tilt my head on one side so I look extra cute, an’ never, ever to blink.
Sometimes her camera lens is clickin’ away like a flamin’ flamenco dancer playing the castanets. How’s a cat supposed to sleep with all that goin’ on? I tell you, if I had any credit left on my cell phone I’d ring up the cops an’ get her arrested for disturbin’ the peace.
OK, I admit it, she said I could have some of her photos for this blog. Good job too, means you can see what a fine lookin’ feline I am, most ‘andsome mouser in the neighbourhood. So Madame Platypus has her uses, only don’t tell her I said so. I mean, we wouldn’t want gettin’ above herself, would we?
An’ to be fair – me, I’m always fair, of course I am – Old Man Platypus has his uses too. He likes watchin’ them Mice-With-Wings, puts out food for ‘em on a special table, even has a water bath for ‘em.
Typical, ain’t it, food’n’drink for his little feathered friends, and nothin’ for yours truly. But I forgive him ‘cos I loves drinkin’ from that water bath, I do. On a good day you can taste ‘em in the water, them Mice-With-Wings!
Old Man Platypus don’t do much gardenin’, says he’s got a bad back, but really it’s just ‘cos he’s an idle bugger. So, ‘cos he don’t cut back the bushes there’s places for me to hide an’ watch the Mice-With-Wings. Luck me, eh?
I caught one once I did, big as a rat it was, more like a Rat-With-Wings. I tell you, there was feathers everywhere. Tasted OK too, though ‘cos I’m a cosmopolitan kinda cat I prefers tuna. But that day I felt real great, goin’ back to my roots, showin’ the world just how it’s done. Milky Bar, King of the Urban Jungle, that’s me.
Anyway, I’m gonna stop now. This bloggin’ business is hard work, so I needs a snooze. An’ some tuna. Are you gettin’ this Old Man Platypus, do I have to spell it out, I needs tuna. That’s right, T-U-N-A … TUNA!
An’ I needs it now, so be a good chap an’ nip down to the shop an’ buy me some. About a dozen cans should do nicely. Until next week, that is.
Postscript: If you’ve enjoyed The World Accordin’ to Milky Bar, please click on “comment” and tell Old Man Platypus. If enough people tell him they like what I’ve written maybe he’ll let me have another go! With love from your new Best Friend Forever, the cat what always gets the cream (but never any tuna), the one and only Milky Bar. 😺
And now, a message from Old Man Platypus: Milky Bar isn’t the first cat to claim ownership of our garden, although he is the rudest. Old Man Platypus indeed! Click on the link below to find out about Sid, a much politer cat who used to visit.