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I am presently writing a novella or a cycle of short stories which has the working title of “Up At The House.” I would like to ideally serialise it on Tychy over July, but it may be too much of a squeeze to get everything edited and proofread before the Fringe. I want it to be published in a glut.

I was returning from my favourite Edinburgh library last night, a little shy of two in the morning, when I witnessed a bizarre altercation outside the front door of my tenement. It was intimidating to say the least.

A seagull was hopping about wonkily on the air and dipping forward to stab with its beak at somebody who was concealed in the shadow of the tenement doorway. As I approached, it rose rapidly, looking decidedly dangerous. It was now soaring low towards me, leaning over the air with total concentration, rather like a heron glaring over a fish pond. I have been attacked by seagulls on two previous occasions and this one had lost the advantage of surprise. I took off my messenger bag (which is filled with books) and swung it around me to warn it away.

I do not know if you have ever paid any attention to a seagull before, but this creature basically has a cutlass for a face. When they attack, it is like knives being waved over your head.

I made it to the tenement door and found a hedgehog hunched into a ball, with its snout bundled away amongst its legs. They are called “spines” but they are just thick fur, I thought sadly, looking down at my new ally’s pitiful protection. If somebody’s hands were moving in the right direction, they could stroke it as you do a cat.

I brooded upon the feasibility of arranging some of the tenement recycling tubs in such a way as to shelter the hedgehog from the seagull. Yet when I glanced back at the hedgehog, there was nothing there. I was so amazed that it was like a fairy visitant had slipped through my fingers.

Further up the road, the seagull was now in a new fight. A young fox was sliding about in terror, with its jaw swinging open, whilst the seagull hopped in front of it, taking stabs and croaking in indignation.

The seagull must have a chick somewhere in the vicinity. The hedgehog, the fox, and I had all got on the wrong side of its parental feelings.

Since this is the only violence and danger that I have encountered during the last few months, it will no doubt exert a profound influence over many of the dramatic episodes in “Up At The House.”

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