Night of the Long Quills

The Ashes series ended early in the evening…my time. England collapsed again…even the captain going down to a bug caught by eating jelly and ice cream at his son’s birthday party.

Hang the selectors!

Hang the England – and Wales – Cricket Board who have sold the game down the river for a mess of Murdoch’s pottage!

Hang the ‘experts’ who ruin every promising young cricketer they get in their clutches by sending them to the gym to produce huge torsos on little legs and then rub every spark of originality out of their game!

Hang the sports psychiatrists and sports nutricionists!

Bring back Geoffrey Boycott! He might be in his seventies but his mind is young and his analysis is spot on.


And with him in charge the old guard of players hanging on to their lucrative central contracts might have to earn the money they rake in or make way for the youngsters. The way things are these days those youngsters might be drawing a pension before they get their chance.

Remarkably, after venting my spleen, I went to sleep as soon as my head had touched the pillow that night. Note to self…vent spleen more often…

Only to be awoken an hour or so later by the thuds as the bulk of Stein – one of the American Staffords – hit the bedroom window.

Not fancying the entry of Stein, who weighs more than forty kilos, surrounded by shards of glass I put on my dressing gown, took up the torch and went out to investigate.

No, he was not keen to join us…he had other prey in mind.

Casting the beam of the torch upwards I saw something clinging to the  eaves…

Putain de merde! A porcupine!


Not what you want to meet on a dark night…and you certainly don’t want your dog to meet them.

When threatened they cast their spines which have tiny barbs, making them very difficult to extract…treat your dog at once if you want to avoid infection.

Too late to do much except to put Stein in his pen to avoid problems…such a good dog, he went quietly despite the attraction of the prey.

Back to bed.

One hour later, it was Bunter, the other American Stafford, kicking up.

The blasted porcupine had moved to the far side of the house and Bunter was at full stretch to try to catch it.

Bunter in the pen likewise..though with more difficulty as he is still – and always will be –  just a huge pup. More than forty kilos of pup.

Back to bed.

More uproar. The porcupine was in the rafters over the balcony and the thugs disapproved.

Thugs locked into the house, and peace finally prevailing.

Slept, dreaming of ECB worthies hanging from lamp posts.

The morning brought counsel.

The porcupine was still ensconced in a corner of the balcony. The dogs stilled wished to have at it.

Danilo arrived and we decided to trap the animal…which is a protected species…and take it to the appropriate authorities.

Dogs calmed with boiled eggs.


Danilo collects an empty dustbin and balances on the wall of the swimming pool.

I take up a long pole and disturb the porcupine…which is displeased. A volley of spines is cast while I try to  encourage it down the electricity cable to which it is clinging.

It is the size of a small dog, its paws can cling well and its tail is prehensile.

Not to speak of the spines. Volley after volley fall about Danilo who is underneath it.

Poor creature…it is terrified, chattering its teeth and grunting…

Finally he traps it…then puts the barbeque grill on top of the dustbin and ties it shut before taking it to the car.

Not a passenger with whom one would care to share the space.

We drive carefully over to the local Environment Ministry Office.The door is locked.

Danilo calls out that we are here.

A woman answers that they are not open yet.

Yes you are. It is past eight o’ clock.

But they are in a meeting.

That’s all right. We have a porcupine here…we can just let it loose in the office for them to deal with later…

The door is unlocked and a chap  comes out with a vetinary cage.

Just give me a hand, will you?

The porcupine is unwilling to leave the dustbin and thus ensues a ballet of its feet and our hands trying to dislodge it without being spiked.

Finally it is rehomed and the cage is placed alongside that of a possum which has been brought in with machete wounds and is awaiting the arrival of the vet…

Both animals, once signed off fit, will be released in the National Park, some fifty  kilometres down the road from us .  Costa Rica cares for its wildlife.

We return home.

Leo is wondering why his breakfast is late…









42 thoughts on “Night of the Long Quills”

  1. Yes, Boycott would be equal to t’task. Aye, an’ Freddie Truman’d not go amiss.
    I have given up on all sport since Rugby Union soiled the game with dirty coin. And I was in England when Kerry Packer stepped on some sensitive old toes.
    So, really, this is nothing new. But I still dislike, MIGHTILY, the grubby way sport is played now.

    1. And so do I. No concern for the sport at the grass roots..mad business ways of having grounds compete for Tests…
      And then I see the currentTest team..a captain who canot control Broad and Anderson….the last one to do so..Pietersen…sacked…

  2. I’m thrilled there was a happy ending for the porcupine but perhaps it may enjoy a holiday and a visit to an ECB meeting where a few barbed comments may not come amiss.
    xxx Massive Hugs Helen xxx

  3. The issue with cricket is that it simply isn’t cricket anymore. I have aged relics turning in their graves all over the planet, I am certain. I gave up watching many moons ago. I haven’t the stomach. However, I do think a good vent of the spleen is cathartic so perhaps I should reconsider! I’m extremely glad the porcupine was saved by your good, stoic and stubborn intervention, that the pups were placated with eggs and that the tale has ended happily. But did Leo survive the late breakfast?

    1. I was given to understand that breakfast takes precedence over porcupines. I respectfully beg to differ. An enraged porcupine in a dustbin takes precedence even over kippers.
      We had to catch the animal…loose it could have caused the injury or death of any dogs in the area…including mine if not quick enough to act.
      What has happened to English cricket makes my blood boil…but there is compensation…the Afghans seem to have got a team together which is doing well so I will enjoy their progress before Murdoch finds out about them.

      1. I’m not sure what it is about men and breakfast but it IS universal. Kippers be damned, the porcu was much the most pressing issue. I am intrigued by this Afghan team and will seek it out … otherwise I suggest we all invest in Kabbadi which I find highly entertaining though, it must be noted, not Cricket, exactly ….

  4. Ha Leo!
    My mouse is nothing to compare with your visitors. You meet such interesting locals.
    What would you do without Danilo?
    I thought such beasts just roamed about the earth, I didn’t realise they could hold on to cables etc.
    Nice to know the people care about wildlife, even if only after you threaten to let it loose in their office.
    Have you thought of letting one loose in the TCCB office by any chance…?

    1. We could not run thngs without Danilo, full stop. Leo is just not up to things any more and I have my hands full as it is.
      We coud swap your mouse for my porcupine….and the idea of letting one loos in the appropriate office is very inviting…perhaps on my next trip to see mother I could bring it on the ‘plane as ana emotional assistance animal…

      1. I have sealed the mousehole with steel wool and placed a picture of a porcupine beside this and this has annoyed him greatly. He might be remaining inside for a while.
        I’m not sure mother would appreciate a porcupine…

        1. It’s not for her…though I think she could face it down after a couple of gins.
          It is for the England – and Wales – Cricket Board. Very good suggestion of yours.
          I am not quite sure what emotional support that I could claim that the porcupine gives me in order for an airline to accept it…especially in sardine class…

  5. Hi there, and belated Happy New Year to you both. We have both been so ill since returning from the UK that I am well behind with everything. At last we are both feeling a little better but a long way to go to 100%.

    Thanks for the laugh it did make me feel better as i pictured the whole episode in my head. Glad to know that CR cares for its wildlife but guess, they do not have the poaching problem there that has hit Africa by storm.

    Re English cricket, have you noticed that each time they do something a bit better there is a South African or Rhodesian player in the team!! The latest being Tom Curran, who’s father was Rhodesian (Kevin Curran).

    Keep well and take care, look after Danilo he is a gold mine. Diane

    1. Yes…Leo refers to the England team as Little Africa….
      I am sorry that the lurgy hit both of you again…is it something about that house being so cold when you go on visits, or is it just the usual thing of meeting strangers and having no immuniy?
      The poachingsitution in Africa is a crying shame…there is poaching here, but obviously on a much smaller scale.
      We could not manage without Danilo now that Leo is hors de combat…we are so lucky that he is such a nice, capable man.

      1. I think mainly it is the house, it is cold and damp but FIL, in body thrives in it. Never a days illness at 96. Sadly though his memory is going fast so we have a bigger problem to contend with!

  6. I hate it that Geoffrey Boycott irritates me so much… but that his take on things is so spot on. I think, the wild life adventures must have been marginally more annoying than Geoffrey’s banter , particularly as they clearly affected the timing of Leo’s breakfast. I’m enjoying picturing the antics with the dustbin.

    1. Thank goodness that it was Danilo handling the dustbin…I should have toppled to my doom in very short order! Once it was in the dustbin I had to watch to make sure it did not escape again while he fetched the heavy grill…it eyed me and I eyed it. It took on a certain resemblance to Leo’s half brother…but not to Geoffrey Boycott!
      Isn’t it annoying when someone whose mannerisms one dislikes happens to say what one is thinking oneself!

  7. Living on the verge of city and country, I’ve had my share of “wild” animal encounters and re-homing. They are so unpredictable, and due sanctuary. Fortunately I’ve managed without Danilo, but I’m getting old.

    1. In th past it would have been me tottering on the edge of the swimming pool with the dustbin while Leo did the removal work with the pole…but he is no longer able to perform circus tricks…so yes, we are very glad that we have Danilo here. He is a gem.

  8. Whoa…quite the commotion. Glad all’s well that ends well, right? Staffies are one of my favorite kind of ‘thugs’ and loyal trusted pets. I happen to own the ‘curly-haired, non-shedding’ (and stubborn) versions otherwise known as poodles. 😊

    1. We took these two as pups when neighbours of the original owner started a campaign against ‘dangerous dogs’. Dangerous, indeed…three month old pups!
      I do have a couple of pens for them to use when we have visitors who don’t know them…blasted kids who want to flap their feet, etc., you know the thing…but otherwise they do as they please, in Bunter’s case very enthusiastically. Still the pens came in handy re porcupine…I did not fancy extracting spines in the middle of the night…

      1. Wise move on your part. I’m sure Elsa would have been bonkers. Sam would probably just roll over and snore. That stupidity of breed specific legislation still baffles me. People are so dumb. I LOVE those pits, pibbles, staffies…whatever you call them…they are such great dogs! Blessings to you for taking them in. ❤︎

  9. I’ve caught many a critter, but a porcupine is not on my list, nor do I hope it ever is. Interesting, yes, but from a distance. And why is it always the things that can inflict pain are the protected ones? I would have done like you and “rehomed” it, but it’s like running up against a wolverine – they already have the advantage, do they need legal protection?

    1. Brought up on hedgehogs..fleas being about the worst thing in their armoury… I was not prepared to find something that could climb and cling!
      There were moments when enacting the pole and dustbin pas de deux that I felt less than protective toward it…

  10. Well, that’s certainly more animal excitement than we’ve ever had in this house. I’m glad I haven’t encountered a porcupine and its dangerous spines. The neighbourhood cats are all we ever find in our garden (or house), hoping for extra food on top of what they’ve already had for breakfast. Glad to know the porcupine was released in the National Park and not finished off.

  11. “Dogs calmed with boiled eggs.” What a beautiful statement. 😀

    I’m wondering whether you keep a stock of boiled eggs at the ready to calm the dogs whenever necessary, or whether they can be equally calmed with anything edible.

    We really, really, really do need a book.

    1. They all love boiled eggs…if boiled freshly each day. Older eggs get the disgusted sniff and the dirty look.
      So I boil eggs every day ,ducks willing.
      Fat chance of a book….if I get the peace to do necessary admin it is a wonder…though I suppose I could always sacrifice watching Spiral…no, on secod thoughts, no I coud not.

  12. I suppose I’m letting the side down, not being particularly turned on by cricket – though I am proud of often visiting the Bat & Ball pub in Hambledon, when I was younger. How do your dogs get the shells off the eggs? Fascinating image…

    1. They have trained me to do this for them….I know my place in this pecking order…

      I have enjoyed cricket since being taken to The Oval by my grandfather when young….my grandmother thought that that way he would not spend the day in the bars, nattering to his friends.
      Not a chance. I was given into the charge of the tealadies and issued with a pork pie, lemonade and the scorecard while grandfather disported himself.
      The Northern Line tube and the Green Line bus from Morden was held to be sufficient time for the tubes of mints to sufficiently sweeten the breath before arrivng home.

  13. I knew that porcupine quills are dangerous, but I didn’t know they could release them in that way – ingenious!

    I don’t follow cricket, so I can’t really make a useful comment on that but I do know that other sports have changed to chase TV ratings. It’s all about the money these days. 😦

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