One of the problems of living in the area is that so many people like cats. And I’ve just got a cat, so I can’t complain too much. But when you go out in the garden, or particularly when cats are on heat, it’s an awful lot of squawking of cats going on out there, and then you realise how many cats are wandering up and down. Because they’re maisonettes, and they’re quite small and close together, if just one in four people has a cat it’s an awful lot of cats. And it can be a problem for a gardener, as any gardener will tell you.
Martin, Lloyd Road
People kept chickens, we had chickens for a little while, as a kid. And a man a few doors along from us had pigeons. And supposedly as well, you were supposed to get permission if you wanted to have a dog. But no one ever did. Now, I mean this is a story that my dad told me. My dad used to live in Northcote Road, as a kid, at number 32. My dad and Sylv’s mum were friends when they were kids. And Sylv had an uncle, her mum’s cousin, Stan Bilbo. Now Stan Bilbo as a kid, when my dad was a kid, and my dad lived in Northcote Road, Stan Bilbo lived at number 9 Warner Road, a downstairs with a long passage. And my dad, til the day he died, always swore the fact that Stan Bilbo kept a donkey in the passage. My dad would always insist, that just down the road there, number 9 Warner Road, Stan Bilbo, who later lived opposite, didn’t he, in Warner Road, he kept a donkey in the passage.
Bob, Keith Road
She’s a Persian, and when she gets up from there she’ll be miaow miaow miaow, and she’s very vocal, very vocal. She was a stray, I found her at work. I took her straight to the vets in the evening when I came home, they checked her out and said she was 3 then, but she had no chip in her, and he said what do you want to do? And I said oh I’ll take her home, she looks lovely. I took her home and said if anyone enquires about her, you know where she is, and she’s been here ever since, for my sins.
William, Coppermill Lane
The guy who lived here before used to keep open home to all the local cats, because it is like Longleat out there sometimes, or a miniaturised version of it, sometimes, I even occasionally get them at the bedroom window, trying to get in. He obviously did let them all in, but the flea ridden old things that they are round here, a lot of them are feral, although a lot of people do own cats down here. There’s a lovely couple that live further down that way, they’re the ones who painted the front door, they’ve got two dogs, and two cats, and they’ve got a one bedroom flat as well, it must be ever so cosy in there, because it’s the two of them living there, and four pets, as well, bloody hell.
The woman who lives upstairs next door, she’s got a couple of cats, but when they come out they treat my garden as their lavatory and adventure playground. I mean I love cats, I always used to have cats when we were children, we always had cats, but now, I want to get one of those high powered water pistols and fire it at them, because I just think you aren’t welcome here, not any more. They’re all flea encrusted old felines out there.
Paul, Leucha Road
There are so many cats, it’s cat corner. And yeah you definitely hear the foxes, it’s mostly cats, I think with the brook there are a lot of birds. I’m not someone who can recognize many different species but I think there are, if not an unusual amount, then a high amount of different birds species and I think that is because of the marshes, but I think the brook probably helps.
Claire, Hibbert Road
M: there’s no houses behind us because of the railway, and the land between us and the railway is waste ground, you know? We sit out on the balcony and watch all the different birds, don’t we?
W: Yeah, we feed the birds, and we get the foxes, which helps to keep the rats down. When we had our cat, he used to play with the babies, and he was near enough the same colour!
M: We had a Siamese cat, and you used to see the mother fox go, and then you used to see three little baby fox cubs, and our Siamese cat following them.
Wendy and Michael, Warner Road
Yes I’ve got at least two foxes, and three squirrels, mum and dad and a baby, they come over. And I’ve got a couple of jays, and some robins, of course. They all come over, because I feed them, they say let’s go over to Maureen’s for breakfast. They all think I’m silly, my family, but it’s what I do, I enjoy it.
Maureen, Fleeming Road
When I stand on my stairs to go into the garden I can see everyone’s gardens, it’s amazing, because the gardens are all really big, and they all join on to each other. There’s masses of wildlife out there, there’s loads of foxes and hundreds of cats, and loads of birds. I was watching the parakeets in the garden this morning, I think a little pair moved in a few weeks ago, so I see them almost every morning on my way back from school, I see them flying over. And then yesterday I saw three, so there’s obviously an extra one now. And I watched one of them in the tree this morning for ages, doing proper parrot things like hanging upside down and stuff, it was really cool! And they squawk like.. they really do sound really jungly, it’s amazing. The gardens are fantastic here, because they’re so big. A lot of them are totally neglected, so there’s a lot of places for foxes to go and live, and stuff, so yeah, it’s pretty special.
Jennie, Thorpe Crescent