The farmer and I thank visiting family and friends for coping with cold showers, collapsing chairs and curious possums.
About a year ago we bought eight new deck chairs which, as three hapless guests have taught us, have a design fault.
So far three chairs have cracked in the same place taking three different guests with them. The farmer and I use the chairs daily but none has broken under us. In the interests of our guests, we have had some chairs replaced and are working to resolve the problem.
It was great to have a guest for company when, just minutes after the farmer had gone out, a possum wandered into the dining room.
The startled creature fled upstairs with me in pursuit, but I was too slow to see whether it had left via the terrace or was hiding in a bedroom.
It was, therefore, handy to get a report from the guest when I returned to the dining room. In my absence she’d heard a squeal and opened the back door – a cat streaked inside.
She figured it had been the cat that yowled, but as the back deck was coated in possum fur, we concluded otherwise, reasoning the possum had jumped from the terrace to the ground where it had been set upon by Kate the dog.
The guest, who also turned out to be a handy source of information, said possums can shed fur so they can escape attackers; we never did find a dead possum.
The longer you stay the more likely you are to experience more than one mishap, so this same guest also scored a cold shower.
When one gas bottle runs out, the supply is supposed to flow from the other bottle but, for a reason that’s beyond the farmer and me, this doesn’t happen.
It was jolly unfortunate that the gas ran out when the guest was showering at 11pm. It was also jolly decent of her to insist that I didn’t emerge from my cosy bed to turn on the full gas bottle.
It was also handy to have friends staying when a fisherman snagged a shag in his net. Rather than ask his family, which was nearby, to help, he slashed the net with a knife until the shag was cut free – but it was still entangled in a piece of net.
We watched the action with binoculars – and growing alarm – as the bird struggled to a small sand spit to ponder its fate. Without intervention, this would have been an early death.
A friend and I set off with a towel, scissors and the sort of environmental righteousness which excels in company. The bird tried to swim away, but had no show. I waded out and grabbed it in the towel.
We were settling down to snip it free when it stretched its elastic neck and pecked a chunk out of my forehead.
I was amazed! What was the bird thinking, attacking me when there was a perfectly good guest available?