Monday, October 04, 2004

Things that go munch in the night..

'Rustle, rustle, rustle' went the Tesco carrier bag. Why was I dreaming of a carrier bag rustling?

'Rustle, rustle, rustle, RUSTLE!, RUSTLE!!' it went again. This time louder.

I woke up with a start, so did CJ. It rustled again, it wasnt in my dreams, it was really happening.

We were both asleep in the tent, the tent was inside the caravan awning. Also inside the awning was a ground sheet, some shoes and a Tesco carrier bag.

"What's that noise?" CJ said sleepily.

"I dont know" I replied.

"You'd better find out, it sounds like someone is in the awning"

"I'd better find out?" Couldn't you have just stopped talking after 'what's that noise'? At least then I didn't feel inclined to check for bogey men in the vicinity"

Being a man is no fun sometimes.

"Ssssh, you'll wake my parents up"

"There's potentially a bogey man in the awning and you're worried about waking your parents up? I'm guessing that the screaming and flashing lights of the ambulance might do it if we dont"

It took me about 2 minutes before I'd quietly undone the two zips on the tent door, silently projected myself head first out of it, rolled around on the floor and then been in a position where I was in control of my balance. Enough time for any resident bogey man to have had a wander round the camp site, picked 4 or 5 clubbing options and then finalised his selection of a very big stick (with a silencer) to hit me over the head with, either that or be long gone.

The third option was that there was a slight chance of me overpowering him whilst he was bent double laughing at my camping pyjamas: Ron Hill jogging bottoms, a stripy jumper and a bobble hat.

I was secretly hoping for the long gone alternative though. Just as long as he was quiet about whatever he did.

I switched the torch on and shone it round the tent. The rustling had stopped a few minutes before, at about the time our voices had started.

"Can you see anything?" Came the cry from inside the tent.

The bag was still in the position it had been left. Other than a slightly disturbed ground sheet there was nothing untoward at all.

"Not really"

I switched the torch off, nipped outside for a pee and had a think. A rustling carrier bag and a slightly disturbed ground sheet? What would Morse do? Hmmm... I'd better check the carrier bag.

I went inside and shone the torch in the carrier bag.

"CJ, come and have a look at this"

Inside the carrier bag of bread rolls I could make out the spiky back third of a hedgehog. Not that I'm not very familiar with a hedgehogs anatomy but it's what I imagine the back third of a hedgehog would be like.

It looked like it had heard us coming and thought 'right, stay very, very still. If I cant see them, they can't see me'. Almost like a young child in a really rubbish hiding place in hide and seek.

"Aaah, he must be hibernating" said CJ.

"Well he cant have picked a much worse place if he is. Can't he go and sleep under the big bonfire like the rest of them?"

I left him where he was, straightened the ground sheet out and began the process of getting myself back inside the tent. Quietly.

About 10 minutes later the rustling started again, only for about 20 seconds, the followed the tip, tapping of tiny footsteps on the ground sheet, then the heavier material sound of the awning sides being moved.

We peered out of the tent and shone the torch. Nothing was different except for a large mousehole shape gap in the bottom of the awning where the intrepid explorer had made his escape.

The trail of crumbs suggested that he'd had one last big munch of what he could and then made a mad dash for it.