I looked out of the kitchen window this morning to see a blue heron on the fence gulping down breakfast. Another of the neighbours' five Christmas-present fish is no more.
It was only a few days ago that they found that five fish had become four. Or rather that they didn't actually find five fish but only four. Um, I mean they could only find four fish instead of five - oh never mind. That is, not counting Finnygan. You will remember my goldfish Finnygan? The resident thief brought him home from who knows where and we all saved his life by sliding him gently into the neighbours' pond. There he has become quite at home, made friends with the resident turtle, and grown plump and, it is to be hoped, grateful.
At Christmas, five little fish (a breed I can't remember but it rhymes with pumpkin) were added to the pond and, a couple of weeks later, one disappeared. The neighbours thought their turtle or Finnygan had seen to it, and I thought just a little bit less of Finnygan as a result. However, it now seems possible that the blue heron was responsible for fish #1 and this morning returned for fish #2. (The neighbours have not yet got around to naming the new little fish individually but give them time.) Five fish have become three. But at least Finnygan was not to blame.
This morning I stood watching the heron – such an elegant bird, a beautiful, smokey blue – swallowing the last of its breakfast. I was wondering if there was time to get the camera when the neighbours' children erupted into their garden like a SWAT squad. One of them was hollering and brandishing an angry looking water pistol shaped like an AK47. The blue heron floated gently away.