The Beetley Ferret


This morning, Julie and I were sleeping in, after a late night . At 8.45am, We were awakened by the sound of the doorbell. This may not sound like a big deal, but this is Beetley. There are no Jehovah Witnesses visiting on a regular basis, and we were not expecting a parcel, so the doorbell is always a surprise. I donned my dressing gown, and went to the front door.

There was a neighbour, from the ‘back’ (Spinney Close), accompanied by his grand daughter. I recognised him from a brief meeting, whilst walking Ollie in the nearby meadows. His opening line was, “Have you lost a ferret?”. Now in my former flat in London, this would have been answered with a guffaw, so I had to remember that I was now in Norfolk. ” We have just seen a ferret in our garden, heading your way. It was this big”, he continued, opening his arms in the way of a boastful angler, indicating a size approximating to a slender fox. “You will have to be careful that it doesn’t attack your dog”, he warned, adding that he remembered Ollie from the encounter in the meadows.

I assured him that I had not seen a ferret, did not own one, and knew of nobody nearby who did. He left, with advice to keep my dog in, in case the said mammalian carnivore should appear on my patio. His bemused grand daughter was texting on her mobile phone throughout, no doubt updating her Facebook status as ‘hunting a ferret’. I went back inside, and told Julie what the excitement was about. We decided to get up and prepare for the day ahead. As I was enjoying my morning drink, the doorbell sounded again. After hearing a commotion, and loud Norfolk accents nearby, we guessed it concerned the ferret.

Julie answered this time, and there was another neighbour, also from Spinney Close, warning us of the roving ferret. This neighbour also recognised Ollie from the meadow, where he had enjoyed a play with her dog, Winston. When Julie told her that the other man had previously warned us, she made her apologies, and left. We later heard loud conversations, and quite a few people out and about (for a Monday), presumably in search of the hapless ferret. To the best of our knowledge, it was never seen again, so presumably made good its escape. (See below, for an update)

This led us to reflect on how different life is in Norfolk. Less than a year ago, in Camden, we could well have had a Police helicopter hovering a hundred feet above our flat, searching for an escaped gunman, or there might have been a door to door inquiry, following a fatal stabbing two hundred yards from our front door. Since living in Beetley, nothing has happened. The incident of the ferret has been the biggest cause of animation among our neighbours, and caused us to receive our only unsolicited callers, in seven months.
It makes me feel glad to have moved here.

Here is an update to the above post. The ferret has appeared! When I was out walking Ollie the next day, Julie spotted the big beige-coloured animal lurking around the back of our leylandii hedge. She went outside to take a photo of it, and it ran towards her. Scared it might bite her, she retreated inside the house, and the ferret went into the shed to investigate. When she had seen it leave the shed sometime later, Julie locked it, and stayed inside the house until I returned.

So there really was a Beetley ferret, and it turned out to be an escaped pet.

41 thoughts on “The Beetley Ferret

  1. Even though we still live in the London commuter belt life is very different here too. Recently our community Facebook group was alive with the horror of a crimewave as 3 sheds were broken into. Even when I lived in leafy Wandsworth there were weekly stabbings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do get some ‘country crime’. Tractors, Farm Machinery, and even livestock animals are regularly stolen. But the closest stabbings have always been in Norwich. Beetley has the occasional litter problem though… πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Oh the excitement of country living! No one knocks I my door either Pete – unless perhaps if a gator was spotted in the neighborhood! I should write about the 6 foots snake that got into my lanai last month. Unfortunately I was to unnerved to think of taking a picture! Besties.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A delightful adventure. Yay Julie! The ferret is so cute. I’m sure he was relieved to be reunited with his family. Ferrets are much better than roving gunmen. We have those too in Nashville–the former and, unfortunately, the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did. Now you may not like this but–It reminded me a bit of That Darn Cat and Murder, she cried. I mean the wholesomeness of it. I can anticipate this scenario: Julie sees the allusive ferret disappearing into the brush. She runs to investigate and finds a dead body…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Julie would only ever run away from a ferret, (or a spider, or bat) never toward it.
          Unfortunately, your ‘thriller’ premise fails due to her natural cowardice, Pam. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. They do smell really bad. I believe it is the anal scent glands, used to attract a mate, or to announce their presence to other ferrets. They have never really appealed to me as a pet either, Maggie. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. They are adders, and very shy of people. They mostly live in the long grass over on Hoe Rough, though there are some in Beetley Meadows too. I doubt they would cross a road to get into the houses, and there are mice and other small things for them to eat where they tend to prefer to live.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking you must live in the South and kept reading, saw you live in Florida. I grew up in East Texas and snakes were a common sight, not too scary except water moccasins. We were rightly afraid of them. Also lived in NW Arkansas and that’s where I couldn’t walk in the woods without seeing hordes of snakes, even hanging up in the trees. Now live in Pacific NW and encounter the occasional rattle snake. They can be dangerous bastards!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had one stupid water moccasin set his sights on me while I was fishing one day!! I was on land and I could see this guy aiming for me, like some torpedo coming!!
        I agree about the rattlers. We have them, but what gets me are the pygmy rattlers, it’s hard to hear their rattle sounding off.

        Liked by 1 person

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