Come on in, the view's lovely! That's it, just a little further....

The vegetable grower faces many challenges. The weather can be inclement – too much rain can rot your crops, too much sun can dry them out; seeds can fail to germinate, and unseen germs and diseases can destroy them even if they do.

But the biggest trouble comes from pests. Snails, slugs, birds, aphids have all wreaked brutal – and frankly grossly unfair – havoc on my precious vegetables over the years.

This year, however, I have a new worst enemy. A rapacious and cunning foe, one that has wrought terrible damage on my newly-planted bulbs and stolen the seeds from the bird feeder. An ugly enemy, grey like a rainy morning, face like a rat and tail like a toilet brush.

I call this enemy “Squirrel”. Not your cute adorable little native red squirrel, but the muscle-bound bully from over the Atlantic that has so successfully colonised these shores. In retrospect it seemed like an unfair fight from the start. Imagine Arnold Schwartzenneger versus Ralph Fiennes.

Picture the scene: there’s handsome, waif-like Ralph sitting there under a tree, perhaps declaiming sonnets as he plucks his lute. The sunlight suddenly disappears. Ralph looks up, puzzled. Standing over him, blocking the early evening sunset, is a large and ufly Austrian-American.

“Hey, girly man. Vot are you doing? “

“Why fine sir, I am playing my lute. Would you care to join me?”

“Vot? Lutes are for pansies unt Englishmen. Now give me your food and leave zis land.”

“I say, that’s not fair! You can’t do that! Sir, I challenge you to a bout of fisticuffs!”

Even a Hollywood scriptwriter would struggle to find a happy ending from such a position. You can see how the red squirrel didn’t stand much of a chance.

Until now, that is. You see, I found a wonderful little contraption on the intranet. A humane squirrel trap. A small metal cage, it has a spring-loaded door that snaps shut when there is pressure on the panel at the other end of the cage.

No more will those evil hairballs dig up and munch their way through my herbaceous border! Today we begin the fightback!

I baited the trap – apparently popcorn and peanut butter are ideal – in the evening, left it on the patio and went to bed a happy man. I slept the sleep of the righteous and awoke refreshed.

Like a child at Christmas looking for snow, I flung back the curtains to gaze upon the patio!

Nothing. An empty cage. Hmm. That evening I set the trap again. The next day, nothing. And this time the bait had been eaten. Truly a worthy adversary.

I moved the trap further down the garden. Perhaps they were shy? Again, I went to sleep confident that the morning would reveal a prize catch. The next morning I jumped up and looked down the garden.

The trap was partly hidden behind the tree. It looked empty. I sighed. But wait! Did I see something move inside the cage?

On the ipod while waiting: Buffalo Springfield / For what it’s worth. Stop children, what’s that sound?

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