Hello, people! It’s been a long time since my last post. There’s a reason for that: I took a vacation! Raymond and I tore ourselves away from beautiful Queensborough for a few weeks and made a long-hoped-for visit to Scotland. It was absolutely marvellous, and at the risk of being one of those people who bores you to death with their travel photos, I’m going to share a few before I tell you my welcome-home-to Queensborough story. Here’s how we spent much of July:
As you can see, we had a pretty great time, learned a lot of Scottish history, and saw some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. It was a wonderful trip.
And now, as promised, here’s my story about what happened when we got home to the Manse.
We pulled into the driveway just under 24 hours after we’d got up that morning in Edinburgh. Exhausted but hungry, we were sitting down to a plate of spaghetti topped with Raymond’s Famous homemade spaghetti sauce (always on hand in the freezer) when I happened to look out a front window.
“Look! A bunny!” I called out in delight. A wee brown bunny with storybook white cottontail had hoped into the front yard for a nibble on our grass.
A second later, it was joined by another one.
And then another one.
And then another one!
Four little bunnies! They only stayed a minute, then hopped away in a southerly direction. We’ve never before seen bunny visitors on our lawn. It felt like they’d come just to say welcome back to Queensborough.
(Though I did learn the next day that it’s a banner year for bunnies – I believe Eastern Cottontail is the proper name – in Ontario. Well, so much the better!)
A little later, as we were putting away dinner’s residue and outside darkness was beginning to fall (along with our eyelids), I glanced out the kitchen window. To my astonishment, I saw a bird that I am fairly sure was a bat zoom in the jerky way that bats do over the south section of the Manse yard. And then there was another. And another. Wow!
When I was growing up in this house, bats were part of every summer evening. As my siblings and I and the neighbourhood kids played softball or tag or hide and seek in the Manse’s front yard, there would always be bats swooping overhead. Aside from the scary (false) stories that some of the big kids would tell about them getting caught in your hair, we never gave them any mind. But ever since Raymond and I bought the Manse, I’ve been struck by the utter absence of the bats. Of course, it’s not just in Queensborough; thanks largely to something called white nose syndrome, brown bats are considered an at-risk species in Ontario. Which is bad news not just for the bats, but for humans who live in places (like Queensborough) where summertime means mosquitoes. Did you know that a single brown bat can eat up to a thousand mosquitoes an hour? (More amazing facts on bats here.)
For years I’ve been hoping for a bat sighting at the Manse. Unless my eyes deceived me, we got it on the very evening we returned from three astounding weeks away.
The bunnies and the bats are a long way from the castles, lochs and mountains of beautiful Scotland. But there couldn’t have been a better welcome-home gift.