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I live in the new city of Milton Keynes, the much-maligned concrete jungle, famed for placing concrete cow sculptures in the fields adjoining the railway line, thus ensuring that a reputation for (shall we say a lack of authenticity) spread throughout the nation.

I fact, our visitors are regularly surprised to find that the amount of open space available for public use, together with a wide variety of wildlife which has made its home in it, is counter to the image that the city is seemingly forever saddled with.

Within a two-minute walk of my front door is a splendid lake, much loved by local walkers, lunchtime joggers and anglers alike. It teems with numerous species of waterfowl, including herons and egrets and one can often spot kingfishers along the neighbouring stream.

Late on Friday evening, the 31st March, my wife had retired to bed to continue reading her book and I elected to ‘catch-up’ with some recorded TV in the quiet of our living room. At around 11.30pm I heard a definite bump, outside the window. The garden was in total darkness but such was the noise that I felt someone must surely have been trespassing outside.

I discreetly got up and walked through, into the kitchen, again in total darkness and positioned myself next to the back door to await the intruder. We have a large wooden deck, raised some twelve inches from the perimeter pathway and as I waited, hand on the door handle a dark low shape moved, skirting the decking.

Relieved and a little disappointed so see that my intruder was of the feline variety, I relaxed as the dark shape disappeared under our side garden gate. I decided it was time for me to turn-in and, as is customary for me, I went to the front door to glance out the adjoining window to survey the cul-de-sac. And then!..........

Straight outside the front door, slowly, inspecting the low wall, proudly strode an otter!

Not a cat, weasel, polecat, stoat or anything else remotely similar (my head running through all these possibilities in a moment) but a rather large otter!

I called to my half-asleep wife to come and look but needless to say by the time she appeared by my side the ‘intruder’ had dropped from view and out into the night.

The following day, still intrigued by seeing such a secretive animal in a domestic garden, I was informed by my wife that another MK resident had reported on a local social media platform, seeing an otter close to our nearby lake, a far more typical environment.

I decided that I should do the same, only to realise after posting my entry that the date might have given the wrong message being April 1st!! So, a serious affirmation to the contrary was hastily required.

Whether the intruder will reappear is anyone’s guess but I hope that this time I will have a camera at the ready.


Graham Sherwood

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