Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Meals on Wheels


When Tom and I were were wrestling the bike rack on to the back of the Landrover on Sunday evening, Spud the dog, was going demented, trying to leap up onto the bonnet,  after shouting at him several times to ’Gerroff’! We had to see what he was at, as this was unprecedented determination, even by Spuds boisterous standards.  And what did we find? Sticking up from the back of the bonnet were a pair of pink feet.

Turned up toes-2

It was a rat, a very dead rat.

This rat is dead 1-2

It was wedged in the channel between the bonnet and the windscreen.

How did it get there? Well on Saturday, I’d been to a wedding, (all satin, flowers and loveliness, but more of that in another post.) Driving home late through country roads, I came across a tawny owl, it was perched on a gate post at the side of the road, wings outstretched, in a heraldic griffin sort of pose, as I drove past it took flight, slap into the Landrover’s windscreen, hitting it with a chink of talons on glass and a dull thud. The owl rolled off over the roof, into the night; it was not a safe place to stop and investigate how the owl had fared, nor was I dressed for grappling with injured owls (dress, jacket and heels, for goodness sake, not a sight often seen I can tell you.)

This rat is dead-2

So this rat, which had been destined as the owls midnight feast, had instead spent the following day, travelling round Derbyshire, it had been to Tesco’s, to visit my mum and even to Glosssop and back. I think we’d have noticed it sooner, had we turned the aircon on.

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

17 thoughts on “Meals on Wheels

  1. Priceless!! And how brave to actually pick it up, dead or not!!
    I find a large plastic bottle (milk/water etc) cut in half is very effective at scooping up rodent leftovers from the bedroom carpet at 4am!!

    Good old Spud the detector dog – he is certainly 100% aware of what’s going on around him!

  2. An interesting intersection of two lives – yours and the owl’s – that don’t usually mix.

    I had a similar experience (though without a ratty follow-up) the other day when a pigeon collided with the bus we were travelling on. There was a thump, and a scattering of feathers. The pigeon flew on, so I am trying to convince myself that he got away with the odd bruise.

    One of the things that I find most difficult to come to terms with in nature is that some animals that I like (and I like most of them) kill other animals that I like.

  3. Now that isn’t a post you’d see just anywhere. Good job. D’you ever suspect that our dogs think we’re just a little . . . slow on the uptake? A little . . . oblivious to the obvious?

  4. Great story. That’s not what I was expecting to be on the end of the pair of pink feet. A bird, maybe, but not its dinner.

    • Spud the dog took his first sail to go and get a copy of the Telegraph, to read your article; he was very chilled about it all. It seems he likes the seaside unlike our two previous dogs, both border collies who hated the beach with passion. Far too stressy for them, hills and fields were what they thought of as a holiday.

  5. Ah, I hope the owl found another rat – the only nice ones are dead ones as far as I am concerned. Clever Spud, bright dog worth its weight in gold.

    Silvertiger maybe this household saying from times gone by will help you to comes to terms with animals killing animals.

    ‘We are all somebodies lunch’.

    Think crocodiles, tigers, lions we are just lunch to them.

  6. As much as I hate rats, this was a rather inauspicious end for it. First as an owl’s dinner, then as your unseen companion throughout the countryside, then whatever you did with the dead rat after finding it.

    Life is rather odd at times. This was certainly one of those times!

  7. oh my! that sounds like the sort of thing that happens to us!

  8. Yikes, what adventures you have!

  9. ive not seen a tawny owl for ages. what a story. well done spudder

  10. Wow. Excellent tale.

  11. That was indeed an interesting and unusual story you told us here in this post. I don’t hope the rat was the dinner for the whole owl-family……

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