LESLEY KEATING: Fighting back against our devious and fearless heron

Mike decided to extend the pretty little fish pond under our pergola, which is shaded by plants, climbers and hanging baskets.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 10th April 2017, 6:01 am
Lesley's got heron trouble
Lesley's got heron trouble

It already had a tinkling fountain, coloured lights and a filtration system. But now it’s virtually double the original size and projects right out into the garden with a clear swimming tunnel running between levels. A real fish adventure playground.

Only now it is appears to have also become a fast food outlet for the local heron, who’d previously never worked out that we actually had a fish pond at all because it was so well covered.

We lost six fish in one sitting. Milly, snoozing on the landing, had no idea we’d had a feathered intruder.

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I also missed it, but Mike luckily disturbed its feast and saw it take off from the decking like a small Exocet missile, leaving just a few fish scales and a clump of tail feathers in its wake.

He wasn’t small either. In a world of average herons, this one was definitely super-sized.

Probably because of all the free meals he’d been having…

The next day Mike was out there with small-gauge fish netting to cover the new pond and lots of extra water plants to give added shelter to the remaining fish.

That evening, our not so friendly neighbourhood pterodactyl didn’t appear. So far so good and the head count proved we’d thwarted his plans.

The following day, confident we had seen the last of our predator, Mike bought around 20 new fish to join the decimated tribe.

He even came back armed with a scarily lifelike plastic heron with beady red eyes to stand at the water’s edge as a deterrent.

Yesterday, the heron took 10 more fish….but this time from the original pond under the pergola!

How the hell did he get under there with his wingspan?

Devious and fearless doesn’t even begin to describe it. He soared away over the rooftops, legs dangling like a rubber chicken as he cleared our fence.

So now we have covered both ponds with more fishnets than a dance troupe at the Moulin Rouge. Wish us luck.


I had an interesting conversation with my daughter all about when I was 15. I said that dating was so different then.

We’d arrange to meet a boy at the cinema days in advance and may not even speak to them again before that.

Then we’d wait, hoping they’d show up.

If they didn’t, we’d been ‘stood up’.

She found this hysterical and demanded to know we didn’t just text to see where they were.

But mobiles hadn’t been invented back in those ancient days, so any calls were limited to ringing home landlines (which their mum would probably answer).

She said she didn’t know how anyone kept a relationship going in the ‘old days’.

Believe it or not, us old fogeys managed some


I usually get a random stranger next to me on a flight.

There was Massive Lady, so large her sides spilled through the armrests. It made getting past her to go to the loo a little tricky. I actually managed to sit on her lap once.

There was Coughing Man, with a travelling pharmacy of medications who kept ramming a Vick inhaler up his nose – when he wasn’t sneezing.

There was also Myopic Man, holding magazines literally two inches from his nose. His wordsearch puzzle had me stifling giggles – he was circling things that weren’t actually words at all!

Once, I was really lucky and sat next to a lady who has become a friend, but that’s rare. Fingers crossed for next time.