Over the summer I’ve been cultivating parts of the veg patch where soil has not seen the light of day since probably WWII. Today I tackled a stony section leading up to the wall and next to one of several compost heaps. My faithful Molly was almost by my side all day, transfixed by something inside the dry stone walls; the sun was strong and she was panting but even when I went to the house and fetched her a bowl of water, she would not pause her gaze for fear she’d miss the moment.
I was glad she was preoccupied when the earth before me started to move; not an earthquake but a mole whose snout broke surface and quickly retreated. I watched its progress as it tunnelled the few feet to the compost heap. A few minutes later it returned going the other way and the dry crumbly soil above it subsided, briefly revealing the black moleskin boiler suit. I nipped up to the house to get a camera ready for any next appearance.
But alas the mole did not return and I worked my way up the garden removing chunks of a rotten tree stump. As I pulled away at a large bit of root a male slow worm fell onto the bare soil; just as well I had the camera – beautiful.
After lunch, Molly still staring into the wall, I was removing some weeds beside the old tree stump and noticed a lizard in the wall. The camera was recharging up at the house but my mobile phone recorded the moment. And shortly after that, there was another lizard, possibly called Swampy, which stared me down, intent on preserving its homelands.