We have a rabbit (I may or may not have mentioned this before, I know I did mention ‘a’ rabbit – the one that got wrapped in an orange towel and thrown down the railway embankment by means of a funeral but this is a different one, obviously).
Anyway I never wanted another rabbit but a desperate neighbour wanted rid of him (I can't for the life of me think why?....) so I felt obliged to give him a good home. And before anyone gets worried he does have a good home – he is very well looked after indeed, however much of pain in the backside he is.
He is a French lop and as mean and moody and brooding as a rabbit could get.
For example, when it rains he doesn’t go and shelter in his pen or his hutch. No – he just sits in a flower pot outside my backdoor, fixing me with a steely glare and giving me dark looks as if you say ‘you theeenk thees rain bother me? Non. Nothing you can do veel ever touch me. Vor I am zeee dark rabeeet and if I sit here and get damp and seeeck, it veel be you picking up the vets beeell…ha ha ha’.
(I don’t know why I’ve made him sound German. As I said , he’s French but I always was crap at accents).
Anyway he is very cunning this rabbit and regularly leads us all a merry dance.
This morning my eldest son came down and went 'OH! There's a rabbit playing with my toys!' and oh yes, so there was. THAT rabbit. The one that lives in the GARDEN. Where rabbits BELONG.
Last night I thought the rabbit was safely ensconced in his hutch but no, it appears that whilst running free yesterday afternoon, he cunningly crept in the back door and concealed himself behind the washing machine, only to burst out at daybreak and make everyone believe that the Attack of the Mutant Rats was back for a second showing.
Because our garden is totally enclosed he regularly gets let out for a run around (I'm a soft touch aren't I? I should really entomb him in concrete and throw him in the canal but I feel like he needs to stretch his legs so day after day I let him out, in the hope he's changed....) and if he's OUT that means at some point he needs to be IN. And it's the IN that's the problem.
Over the years (and my husband and I have now gathered YEARS of experience in this field) we have identified several methods which we can employ to get the rabbit back in his hutch. Without exception - they all involve some kind of semi-public humiliation.
Basically you start at:
CODE GREEN: Code green means you find him on the lawn, flap your arms at him whilst saying 'COME ALONG NOW' and he hops into his hutch. Code Green is a VERY RARE EVENT and makes you feel very happy (and yes, somewhat smug) but be warned. IT IS A RUSE. He complies with Code Green for a few days so you get nonchalant, let him out more often and then he can reward you with a 10 minute high speed chase (with weapons) culminating in him kicking dirt in your face and spraying piss at your eyes. You have been warned. Still a Code Green is nice if you get it.
CODE AMBER: On a Code Amber he is normally to be found underneath some dense shrubbery and you will have to employ various brooms/litter pickers etc to try and coax him out. When I say 'coax' it usually starts with you saying 'come along BED TIME!' in a sing song voice. This results in nothing. So you start bashing the bush with your weapon, sorry, 'coaxer' of choice. This may or may not result in a raised eyebrow from the rabbit. It has never (yet) resulted in him moving but still you try. The next step it to start prodding him with whatever you have to hand. Very VERY rarely this makes him move. Normally it makes him shift about an inch and give you a withering look. If it does make him move then he normally goes round the garden like a squash ball and then , you've guessed it, back under the bush. If this is the case them you might have to go for broke and enter Code Red zone.....
CODE RED: If you've been out there 15 minutes and achieved nothing but twigs in your hair, scratches up your arms and all the neighbour's children gathered at the windows for their nightly installment or 'what the neighbours did next', as you pursue a small furry mammal round and round the garden uttering lines like 'I'M WARNING YOU - THERE'S A POT IN THERE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT!' then you enter Code Red. Now back in the old days (about 4 years ago) Code Red involved fetching the umbrella from the patio table and, with the help of your partner, performing a sort of Singing in the Rain style danced crossed with rugby, whereby you had to swoosh the umbrella from left to right and run in a zigzag whilst uttering something akin to a primal scream. However - either the rabbit got wise or my husband got fed up of the neighbours laughing at him (I can't remember which) and now Code Red involves reaching for the hose. I'm sure everyone on my street knows when I'm having a bad day because they can all hear me shout 'THAT'S IT! YOU'VE PUSHED ME TO FAR! IT'S TIME TO GET WET!'.
The hose usually works - even better is the Bazooka Super Soaker but we're probably entering RSPCA advert territory with that one so best not (que sad looking wet rabbit sat in a flower pot, the Moonlight Sonata playing in the background.....'could you give just £5 a month to help a rabbit like this?'......I'll tell you what - for £5 a month you can have the little sod delivered to your door in a gold plated basket with a velvet ribbon round his bony little neck), but just occasionally he likes to remind us that rabbits ALWAYS have the upper hand and pull the old 'leaping out from behind the washing machine and scaring you half to death' trick.
Do you think when we move house I can include him as one of the 'Chattels'?