Written Material

Written Material submitted by contributors.

cat and fox


A few days ago while when I just got back home, in the parking lot I saw the neighbour’s cat. He (at least I believe its a male) being brought up as a well trained house cat was as friendly as ever and approached me, after a while in the sun he got bored and decided its best to go back home, so did I. However as I was about to enter the building I saw in the corner of my eyes something orange and moving, its a fox and the cat saw it too. Its quite strange to see a stand off between a house cat and a wild fox. Things was about to get heated as they both started making noises, the fox is quite obviously bigger, and suddenly the cat made the first move trying to intimidate the fox, with no success though. I liked that cat, so was about to step in for him, thats when my neighbour saw the fight and without putting on his shoes, jumped straight out the window and chased the fox away and grabbed the cat back. I suppose pets always have their owners to rely on.

Grand Canyon “wilderness”: nature, culture, tourism


Most folks who visit the Grand Canyon stand along the rim and look down and across is awe. I wanted to do a bit more and physically immerse myself a bit in nature, so I convinced my reluctant wife to hike a few miles down into the canyon to a scenic spot. Having survived the hike and seen some good views, we turned back, but it was hot and we were pretty tired. My wife starts blaming me for this loony idea of hiking into nature. She is munching on dried fruit and nuts for some energy. Then, a small desert squirrel appears on the path. Rather than mind the obvious rule of not feeding wildlife, for amusement my wife tosses the squirrel a few dried fruits. Okay, this squirrel most likely has never tasted dried mango and pineapple before. We are in a desert far from these tropical fruits. He bites in. A rush of sugar. All of a sudden he looks up. He comes bounding toward us as if to say, give me more. Amused at first but then realizing he is coming directly at us at a swift clip, we run for it. Wife tosses some fruits and nuts to distract him. We scurry on by. The encounter kept us energized and humored to the top of the canyon and back to our car and civilization.

Ron Broglio

Oh Deer


Recently whilst working at a summer activity center.  A group of children doing a low ropes obstacle  course spotted a Deer having an afternoon snooze in the middle of a swamp next to the course.

Most, having never seen a deer before, pointed and screamed “look a Deer, Look Loooookk! ”  much to the disgust of the snoozing mammal.  Now the poor thing has not only been disturbed by a dozen over zealous children it has the unfortunate problem of trying to get out of the swamp in a semi graceful fashion – we all know how much Deers enjoy their image of grace.  And so with a disdainful look and a snort the disturbed Deer wandered away, picking its way carefully through its own obstacle course, leaving the children to get on with their own.

Toni Rutherford

Lady Bird


I woke one morning and I felt something inside my pillow. It felt like a shell. I opened my pillow case and it was a lady bird. My pillow had been washed the day before so it must have flown into the pillow while it was on the washing line. The pillow had been ironed and I had slept on it all night and when I took the lady bird out of the pillow, shockingly it was alive and started crawling.




I was in the kitchen in the evening and saw something move in the garden out of the corner of my eye. It was a little field mouse collecting the sunflower heart seeds on the ground below the bird feeder.

Also last winter, there was snow and frost on the grass and at night I walked on the grass (I like the crunching sound!) and there was a little mouse down by my feet and it was shaking. Poor thing.




One day this summer a baby sparrow flew into our front window. It was on the ground on its back and after about 20 minutes it managed to get up. I sat next to it and it just stared at me. It wasn’t scared. It wouldn’t eat or drink anything, it just wanted a rest to recover. I sat with it for about 15 minutes and then it hopped off and flew away.


Sparrow Hawk


We have gold finches, green finches, sparrows, doves etc in our garden that come for bread and seed and last year we had a female and male sparrow hawk and I saw one of them fly away with a baby sparrow in its claws. Almost like we were feeding the sparrows up for the sparrow hawks to feed on.


Sparrow Friend


This year we had a sparrow in our backgarden that we fed bread and sunflower seeds and it used to come to our kitchen window and pop its head up to see if we were there and if we had the door open it would jump onto the door step and look in for us to give it food. One day we were sitting in the living room at the front of the house and I noticed something by the window in the corner of my eye and it was the sparrow peering in through the window to find us to give it some food. It was like a pet.




I’d just left art school and I was fortunate to have secured a bijou wooden hen house with rotten walls in which to live, deep in the perimeter hills of the South Lakes. I had to climb up through a farmyard and cross a sheep dip to get home every night – the young farmer (who within a year of us leaving) died falling off a ladder whilst repairing a gutter) used to keep his dog Jen shut up all day in a hut with no windows – even in the height of summer.  Despite the fact that that dog loved, respected and would do anything for him, I still winced each time I passed the man, in the knowledge of his such obstinate and ignorant behaviour.

My shack had low windows, flaking black paint and an outside toilet. With winter coming on,one of the most important things I did to the place was install a wood burning stove and so although the wind blew unchecked between the planks, I kept warm in that one room at least.

Night after night with rain lashing at the windows I’d sit in comparative comfort huddled close to the heat listening to the storm outside. One night above the hubbub of the gale and the whipping of spray on the glass I heard a noise – a scratching scrubbing sort of noise on the window behind the sofa on which I sat. Between the gloom and the sharpness of my own reflection, at first I saw nothing. Then I jumped back startled, as a pair of eyes met my own. It began again, and this time I made out a diminutive figure standing on two legs and tapping on the glass with a paw…

I froze. Not only was I not expecting a visitor in that storm, even less was I prepared for the arrival of a stranger banging on the window, demanding to get in. The fact that this figure appeared to be feline did little to settle me. A creature unknown to me possessing such clarity of purpose could surely be no ordinary cat. My whole being chilled as against all rationality, I sensed a violation – that I was being singled out as the subject of a visitation of portent – even malice.

My skin crawled. In retrospect I recognize that there was something profoundly gothic about this – the storm, the lashing of the rain and the arrival at the window of another being intent on attracting my attention. At the time I surprised myself by my own fear and it took several more minutes for me to pluck up the courage to consider inviting my guest in.

But I did and although I continued to be cautious I found that he was indeed a cat, a wet cat at that and that it seemed he wanted nothing more than to be stroked initially, and subsequently, to pace about the premises with great curiosity,even  asking to go beyond the closed door into the cold bedroom beyond.

This pushiness continued to disturb me and before long, though it was still blowing a storm outside, I put him back out and went to bed.

Days later he came again and as the month of October unfolded he came with increasing regularity and although his familiarity continued to unnerve, I let him in with less and less argument.

I happened to mention his visits to a colleague of mine who lived further down the fell in the village and within days having aired it with some other locals, he came back to me with the story of how Brandy (for that apparently was his name) came to be such a persistent presence at the old shack.

Prior to my arrival, the building had been unoccupied for three or four years and although there’s no doubt that in that time the place will have gone downhill a bit, it is still hard to believe that the previous occupants, a family of two adults and five children had dwelt there for a period of five years. Towards the end of their stay the mother who had for some time been seriously ill, became bed-ridden and the father took increasingly to drink. One night as was customary, he declared his intention of going to the pub, but on his way out he asked his wife if there was anything she would like him to bring back. She asked him for a small bottle of her favourite tipple and off he went. At the end of a raucous night at the Red Lion, and a mile or so into his three mile walk back home, it occurred to him that he’d overlooked his wife’s request. Ridden with guilt began to despair.

After some further walking in the light of a half moon he became aware of a shadowy figure behind him. Turning to take a better look he recognized it as a cat. He knelt down and coaxed and cooed and stroked and before long, there on the road he befriended the animal who was apparently not at all shy himself.  Tucked inside the warm overcoat of the still sozzled gent he was soon on his way to meet his new keeper who upon being woken from sleep and being presented with same cat was assured that this was the very Brandy that she herself had ordered.

None of this made me feel any better about his visits however. When they left, they’d abandoned him and like Argus he must have waited , night after night, month after month, season after season (unlike Argus he would have had to hunt, scavenge and find whatever way he could to survive) until at last, one cold and stormy night in September, three years later… the lights came on again.

The Buzz


The Buzz July 26
Outside our house the North Sea slips past; back and forth – the tidal pull of fish and men. The bank – on their side – slips with silt and ships and, further down, fishing boats. Our side is a fertile bed of razor grass and sea beat. When the July sun is high, heat beating into the dried grass and shimmering above the boat house, a symphony is commissioned along the bank that seems to drive the daily turning of events. The Buzz.

The board walk clatters beneath my feet over throngs of electric clock-work hoppers. They oversee the fishermen: three old-timers that crouch at the edge of the rushing tide. One stands to reach for his line – the sun flashes blind on his silver braces buckle, pressed to the centre of his back.

The Buzz is the perpetual state of the sun on the river bank.

The gulls are washing past in ribbons – the tide spinning and twisting them in streams. They cannot hear The Buzz, but it commands them all the same – drawing them in, tempting their curiosity. It expands into new ground: where fruit factories have given way, finally, to tall waving sun bleached grass.

LN57, a sky blue and vanilla cream fishing boat casts past, heading open-sea-ward on the high tide. The day-glow orange jackets of her crew fade into rust as they pass the docks. They are pulled by The Buzz, pulled along the bank, past the church spire topped by the ever watchful cockerel, straining up skyward to overlook it.

Cormorant green in the fishing trawler wake, lamenting gulls above the telegraph hum. Timbre banks itself, washed from the wood yard amongst it. Seals on the outgoing tide. Razor grass blue. Greyling butterflies flick their warning eyes at hoverflies and bees. All, rotary to The Buzz.

I am pulled down the bank. Around my feet they jump and fly, dry grass pricking at my toes – a deformed specimen catches my eye; one leg curled like a withered leaf. He cannot buzz. He is pale, sea bleached, green and brown – almost translucent. Almost.

Two of the fishermen wade their way through to retrieve their stashed bicycles – tucked into the sea beat under the board walk. They leave their friend – white haired, brown skinned, surrounded by The Buzz.

Eventually, as the temperature drops and the breeze lifts off the water, a subduing wash is thrown over the opus. It knocks it back, into the subconscious. The Mary Angela draws another wake – a white butterfly beats frantically against the broken surface relief and plummets headlong into the dormant drones.

In the end it is inevitable – as the foot ferry putters in I join the lifting buzz – the tern twist and dive. White gulls still spin high above – soap suds in a blue whirl pool: clockwork cogs – driving on.

Helen Bullard