FL12Sept - Page 156



Made In England
Anthony Hardy not on THE Royal Park lake.
small clearing in the undergrowth
that was dappled by the sun coming
through the trees.
Posh pointed to the right, to the
edge of the clearing, and at first Smiffy
saw nothing, bar a small, green bush.
Then something moved behind it and
he could see a leg and bottom of
something. Posh held his finger to his
lips, and they remained motionless.
For no reason he could discern,
Smiffy’s heart was beating faster than
when he’d run the hundred metres at
school. He peered intently through
the few branches in front of him, then,
as if arriving through an invisible
door, a deer appeared in the clearing,
sunlight sprinkling yellow flakes
across its back. Its nose twitched and
sniffed before it lowered its head and
took a mouthful of moss in its teeth,
chewing in a strange, rotary fashion.
Smiffy was transfixed, then whispered
‘What is it?’ to Posh.
Before his friend had had a chance
to say, ‘Roe’, the deer’s head came up
fast and it bounded off into the
woods, leaving just a swaying branch
in its wake.
‘Smiffy, you gotta be quiet. I told
you,’ Posh admonished.
‘But I only whispered,’ said Smiffy,
154 FREE LINE
in futile defence, but he was unworried. What a sight. He’d never been
that close to a wild animal in his life,
except at the zoo, but that was different; there were bars and reinforced
glass in zoos. They might as well have
been on the telly. This was so bloody
real.
‘Yeah, well,’ said Posh, ’They got
really good hearing, and sense of
smell. We were upwind so that was
alright. She was a roe deer, a doe,’ he
confirmed.
‘What? A roe, a doe; what is this,
bloody Sound of Music?’
Posh laughed at his mate. ’No, you
plonker! It’s a roe deer and it’s a
female, and a female is called a ‘doe’.
There’s also fallow deer and red deer,
although you only get the reds in the
forest, normally.’
‘Right,’ said Smiffy, chagrined, ‘but
how do you tell ‘em apart then?’
‘Well, with the does it’s mainly
colour. The fallow have loads of white
spots on the back but the roe deer are
just plain brown. The male fallows
have got big antlers, but the roes are
like short, spiky things.’
Smiffy stared, open-mouthed at
Posh before exclaiming, ‘Bloody hell,
is your dad David Attenborough or
something?’
Posh just laughed and said, ‘Nah,
Smiffy, it’s something you just know
in the country. Can you hear that
bird?’
Smiffy heard a strident call echoing
through the woods and nodded,
‘Yeah, what is it?’
‘Green woodpecker,’ answered his
friend, nonchalantly,
Smiffy shook his head, ‘I thought
they went ‘tap-tap-tap’,’ he said, disbelieving. Posh just smiled and
pointed and, sure enough, through
the trees flew a green bird with a red
head, dipping and swooping before
landing on a distant tree. Then came
the distant ‘tap-tap-tap’ as it
searched out a tasty grub for tea.
Smiffy just shook his head and
walked away through the trees, his
smiling friend ambling along behind.
And…
As he lowered the bottom bait into
the margins, ripples came back from
the island, indicating that there were
still fish present. He’d had the foresight to sprinkle some baits in the
area the previous evening, so was
happy just to break up three or four
baits and drop them around his hookbait. Setting the alarm fairly loud, he

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