I know other people's dream are boring and often when I reach that point in any novel, should the author have deemed it essential to the whole, I might glaze over a bit, but I'm sorry I need to share my latest dream with you and be assured, it's very brief.
I had no idea that it is all of 800 years since beavers roamed wild in the English countryside. I'm not sure I ever really knew they'd been here at all, I just assumed they preferred the US and Canada. But hunted to extinction in England and Wales in the 12th century someone's obviously identified a 21st century need, and the cunning plan is to reintroduce them to Scotland, where first time round they survived another 400 years.
Clearly we are not to be trusted to keep our hands off the critters south of the border in these tough economic times especially if there's a Hudson's Bay blanket involved in the deal. In the Middle Ages a dead beaver was worth three years' wages after all and I'm sure there's a recipe here somewhere for Beaver Bourguignon and if not it's probably just a case of adapting the Squirrel Fricassee and upping the quantities, plus frankly in these parts we'll crimp anything unusual into a Cornish Pasty.
But there's still money in them critters and an enterprising farmer a few miles up the road here in Devon has been sensibly breeding them in readiness, except there's been a breakout and we now have the case of the Tamar One. A little solitary chap is gnawing his was through the river bank, though we are told reassuringly that he won't be able to dam the Tamar on his own because it's too wide. Fur-raising facts abound on the local news, transparent eyelids which act like goggles, front teeth which never stop growing, a family of beavers can fell 300 trees in a single winter, beavers could be eaten on Fridays by monks because the tail was sufficiently fish-like to fit the menu.
Now, having suffered frequent ferret breakouts of our own this year I can truly sympathise and so we've been following developments with interest, in fact, yes, I may have developed a little bout of Beaver Fever. So out of interest, and in that 'feed a cold to starve a fever' approach, I typed 'books about beavers' into google and I discovered Grey Owl.
I don't think I'd ever really paid much attention to Grey Owl aka Archibald Belaney born in Hastings, Sussex in 1888 who emigrated to Canada, became a legendary fur trapper, lived at Beaver Lodge, adopted First Nation identity and wrote books like King of the Beaver People. Things fell fractionally apart after his death when exposed as the man from Hastings, but there's even been a Pierce Brosnan Grey Owl film, all intriguing and I'm on the trail.
And I'm hoping you will all be able to tell me much more.
So what of our own little Grey Owl beaver moment here in Devon and my dream?
Well at six stone the Tamar One is hardly little which all goes nowhere near explaining my dream, because the beaver was here, yes really in the kitchen, and he shot out through the cat flap. I told you it was brief, it was all over in a flash but it really happened, honestly.
I woke up in a hot sweat and with a crashing headache worried sick about this beaver in my kitchen and whether it might have chewed my nice maple units (I'll bet they love maple, reminders of home and all that) and if we claimed on the insurance would it be Act of God, or third party beaver damage?
And would the insurance man believe us?
It was bad enough trying to convince him that there really had been a greenhouse in the vacant space left behind the day the whole thing dessicated itself and took off for Plymouth in the teeth of a south-westerly gale.
I could just imagine it...yeh right...a beaver.
Could you reassure me this happens to you too because I fear it's happening to me, the thin veil between dream and reality is getting more gauze-like and indistinct with age and every time I even glance at the cat flap I can see this six stone beaver flying through it clear as day.