Saturday 6th May 2006

What a day it turned out to be yesterday. When squirrel and I got to the edge of the wood I wasn’t really expecting to find any of the other animals there given how much they don’t like hedgehog. Somehow the fact that squirrel and I care so much whether he is ok seems to have had an effect on them. It may have been because I had explained the story of how he hadn’t had much chance when he was small and how much he wanted for the first time in his life to settle somewhere and start to put things right but there they all were, waiting for us. There was deer and his mum and brother, and one of the magpies and police badger out of uniform and three of the rabbits and one of the prison warder weasels in his civilian clothes too. For a few minutes I just stood there speechless. Squirrel had tears rolling down her face, it was amazing. When I pulled myself together I thanked them all for coming and explained where we had got to yesterday. As the scent was going cold it was going to mean more of a search than a sniff and then I led them all to the road and we all crossed carefully before going into the wood on the other side. We all spread out into a line across the wood and started working our way forwards. It took about three hours before I heard a shout from one of the rabbits further along to the left “I think I’ve found him” he called and we all stopped and went over to where he was standing. There was a pile of leaves at the foot of a big cedar tree with a little notice next to a makeshift front door saying ‘Do Not Disturb’. I sniffed around and sure enough it smelt of hedgehog. I called out “Hedgehog” but there was no answer so I called again. I heard some rustling and then realised I could just make out a little eye looking at me through the leaves. So I cleared my throat and gave a little speech. “Hedgehog, well obviously the first thing I need to say is sorry but then” and I continued really excitedly “all the animals here today want you to come back to live in our wood and they all want you to have a chance of a new life and to be your neighbours and your friends. We have spent the last three days looking for you and we are so glad we have found you. Please come out and see us.” Nothing happened. So squirrel nudged me and said “Maybe it will take a bit of time for it to sink in, why don’t you leave the letter for him and say we will come back tomorrow.” So that is exactly what we did. I thanked all the others on the way back and they tried to reassure me that everything would be ok and rabbit asked if he could come with us tomorrow, which of course is today, which was lovely. So that is where we are going now.