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Quorn sausage rolls are on the menu for Rab’s pond newts

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Did I ever tell you there’s a pond and an old swimming pool in my garden? That probably makes things sound grander than they really are, and the idea of there being a swimming pool in a place renowned for its awful weather must sound right odd.

But there is indeed a pool, and I’m sure it’s the only one in the entire region. I didn’t know anything about it till after I bought the house, and typical of me, never questioned the peculiar pipes and equipment lying about the place.

On inspecting the property, in an odd moment between saying hello to the flowers, birds and trees, I must have told myself, ‘Oh, look, there’s peculiar pipes and equipment lying about the place’. But I never gave it another thought.

The pool has been filled in and grass grows on it now, but it’s stunted, rough and patchy stuff making the best of gritty soil from a builders’ yard. I don’t know what to do with it.

All my instincts are against paving over grass, but I thought it might look pleasant with plants in pots tastefully placed about the place. At the top end would be the imaginary summerhouse that’s never going to become reality due to a lack of willing skilled local labour.

Someone suggested buying turf, which I might investigate. I wonder what the birds and insects would prefer? I really shouldn’t care. I’m forever creating habitats that they’re supposed to like, and they just ignore them.

It reminds me of a canal where I used to like walking. All the local birdlife congregated in the places that had the most litter. That’s wildlife for you: they don’t care about nature.

From the pool to the pond is just one small step for men, one giant leap for Rabkind. If the weather isn’t too wet, I take a wee dander doon there while the breakfast coffee kettle boils. I painted the fence beside it bright yellow, as is my wont, and leaning on that I peer into the pond.

I don’t know what to expect. Someone said there were newts, but I haven’t seen any. I’ve tried enticing them out with Quorn sausage rolls, but I suspect they just hide under rocks, saying to each other: “What’s the beardie galloot doing noo?”

In a fit of ingenuity, I removed some weeds that I thought might be suffocating the place, only to discover that these were essential for oxygen or some similar nonsense. In a thrawn, self-defeating manner, furthermore, I’ve resisted looking up online the care and maintenance of ponds, as I’m trying to kill the instinct to watch YouTube videos for everything: “How to tie your shoelaces”; “Best way to cook oven chips”.

That said, I should have looked up how to erect a fence. Result: the whole thing is right wonky. I played it by ear and now I can’t face looking at it. I’ve since decided to invest in hedging to keep the deer out. Expect to see results by around 2052.

As for the pool, I’ll stick to the tried and trusted method that has got me where I am today: prevarication. And, to ensure I’m doing it right, I’ll look up YouTube for a video on “How to prevaricate effectively”.

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