In the Sticks: Luck and the lost lizard

YOU KNOW those September storms you get some years when the clouds erect a modesty board between you and the sunshine, and you think: "Oh no, that'll be the summer going then." I got the same feeling about Offa's Truck smacking our car. "Oh no, that'll be the good luck going then." I felt a chill, the sort of draught you get from guardian angel wings when they nip off to the beach for a couple of millennia of celestial surfing. And for a few days it looked like I was right: here came the first little ripples of an advancing weather front of Bad Luck; a season of lost keys, exploding boilers and vengeful ex-husbands.

It started with Buster's geckos, Carol and Borborski - pebble-patterned lizards about the size of a padded dessert spoon. Normally, they are slaves to habit, and visit the features of their little universe - rock, bowl, log - in a sequence as strict as the beads on a rosary. Their tank world is as sufficient for them as a flat planet to a medieval priest. They are not the natural Magellans of this world. Until last Tuesday when Carol hit some sort of reptilian mid-life crisis ("Why wasn't I a crocodile?" "Does my life have a meaning without eggs?"), and got out in to the big wide world of Bedroom and Upstairs. Boborski was distraught. He did the rosary - rock, bowl, log, rock, bowl, log, rock, bowl, log - until he was so tired he just lay on the bottom of the tank like a dead leaf. Buster was in an even worse state, as Celtic Melancholics are no good in a crisis and within 20 minutes of Carol's disappearance he was collapsed on his bed:

"Nothing ever goes right. My whole life is going to be like this!" Yeah, that's right: never mind marriage, jobs and children, it'll just be one long round of lost reptiles. While he wailed, Doug, Bunny and I looked under, behind and in everything. We could have been Special Branch looking for a murder weapon. But Carol had clearly found no dragons at the edge of the carpet and gone to find the North West Passage.

Then, while Buster and Boborski were still in a state of shock, Roz's terrier Lil went missing. Usually, Lil limits herself to days out at the Girl Guide Camp acting like a dog in high heels and getting paid in bacon rinds. But this was serious. Lil had gone on a major fact-finding mission down a badger sett up the road, and badgers don't care to be interviewed by terriers. They take it rather like a Brooklyn Mafioso would take a social call from an FBI stooge.

By the time Roz rang, Lil had been gone for two days, and we suspected the badger equivalent of a concrete overcoat in the East River.

We all took it in turns to call down the holes for her and even took Dog up there to sniff her out - as Dog and Lil are long term lesbian lovers. We spent a rather embarrassing morning yelling "Li-il" into every hedgerow between here and Scrungeton, but she didn't turn up.

And then, just when I was thinking that Lil's loss was the third bad thing and we might now be safe, Bob and Dolly called to discuss Doug buying the field. Buster's melancholic pessimism had got to Doug.

"Either they want another 20 grand, or they've got planning permission to build a nuclear reprocessing plant on it," he said, predicting the coup de grace to his plans for a poly tunnel empire. We tensed, ready for a fight, crashed cars, escaped reptiles and lost dogs. Hah! We were hardened; we could talk tough.

We didn't need to. Bob didn't yell once, or tell us anything about mole- killing. He let Dolly do the talking. In 20 minutes we had agreed the price, the fencing and the access. Bob's only contribution was to offer to bulldoze us a new gate. Shocked, we toasted the deal in all we had available - Russian brandy (which doubles as paint stripper) and pink grapefruit squash.

After they'd gone, we sat in the kitchen, stunned, poly tunnel dreams reinflating above our heads like balloons. The phone rang. It was Roz. "She's back. I went up to the sett with a chocolate digestive and she crawled out. It's a case of Border's Bottom Bitten By Badger. She'll live."

So maybe the surf at the eternal beach wasn't up, and the angel was returning with a dry board, and time to kill.

We went to bed after we finished the pink squash and the brandy. Flicking on the bathroom light, who should I see on a voyage across the bathroom floor but Carol. With my consciousness nicely uncoupled by the alcohol, I did just the right thing. In one movement, my T-shirt was off and wrapped round Carol's protesting little body. All my attempts to impress Doug, from shaving my legs to answering questions on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, were as nothing to the effect that gecko catching had. "Wow," he said, putting his arm around my waist, "that was amazing."

Funnily enough, Carol's new, adventurous image seems to have done wonders for her sex life. I noticed three eggs buried in the tank this morning.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee