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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Eleven Plus, a Fox and a Cat.

We have had a fox at the bottom of our garden. This is not an unusual occurrence as urban foxes are plentiful in England. We became aware of the fox when one night the neighbour’s cat took the fox on at around two in the morning.

We have a cat – called `Cat’. Cat, a mature female, joined us just before Christmas. She was thin and very cold. We did not feed her for two days – but could not take the pitiful looks she kept giving us. We took her in, fed her and rubbed her down. She purred on the third day. We hawked her particulars around our neighbours but Cat was not a local.

The vet did not charge to see if Cat had a chip. The vet knew we would return. Last week Cat was diagnosed with a slight heart murmur. She has objected to the twice a day tablets in an almost human manner.

On Friday our fox disposed of a fat juicy wood pigeon. We have been casting food onto the lawn to feed the birds. It looks as one bird looked for breakfast a bit too early in the day.

At the bottom of the garden we have a garden shed. Just a common or garden variety of garden shed. The paint is slightly faded. Right beside the shed is a wooden compost heap. This is a one metre cubed wooden structure – filled with rich looking compost. The fox dug a hole under the front of the compost heap – and then under the shed. We could see the progress because of the amount of earth that the fox had to dispose of. This was a hardworking and diligent fox!

Just before the weekend we cleared the earth away and covered the ground in front of the compost heap with a layer of fine sand. We wanted to see if the fox was under the shed – or was simply preparing a lair. The rain came – but we added a further layer of sand. There were no paw prints for three consecutive nights.

Foxes have their cubs in March. We did not want to disturb the lair if there were cubs under the shed. We needed to do something about the fox because Cat was becoming rather neurotic about going into the garden. Cat would only walk on the side furthest from the lair. At this stage it needs to be mentioned that Cat is having a little trouble jumping – she scrambles to climb onto a bed. Cat would have no chance against a determined and maternal fox.

We ran a hose down the garden and poured water into the lair for twenty minutes as we wanted to board the hole up – but not if the fox or any potential cubs were underground. The hole filled and nothing came out.

Foxes have a right to live in gardens. Foxes have cubs in March. Foxes dig lairs for their cubs – and we think that the fox was preparing the lair for a litter of cubs. It can be argued that the fox has a right to a lair in our garden.

Our cat is called Cat because she is the ultimate cat. She sleeps for long periods during the day. She purrs and is a lovely little cat. She has rights of access to our garden.

Now follows a completely inconsequential statement. Next door has five cats. There are two further cats on the other side of our house.

Further background detail may be germane. Foxes used to live on common ground behind our house – but civilisation and progress has meant that a modern estate has taken the place of the fox’s natural habitat. The common has gone.

ELEVEN PLUS QUESTION

A young fox is called a:

Nuisance
Cub
Asset

FACT:

There are, at the moment, no foxes or cubs in the newly prepared lair.

QUESTION

Should the entrance be boarded or do we leave the lair? In other words does the fox have rights to our garden?

Please ask your child for his or her opinion. We will go by majority rule.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sir,

I enjoyed reading your 11 plus blog about your Fox and your Cat. I have some questions of my own to pose.

My child will soon be sitting his 11 plus examination. I am concerned that he does not always ‘think the questions through’ and rushes into the first thing that come to mind. His teacher has informed him to read the examination questions carefully because the required answer is sometimes hidden therein. I’m not sure about this approach as my son is only 11 and quite na├»ve!

In view of this I have devised the following mock 11 plus test which I plan to give my child in preparation for the real thing. I hope to shock him into ‘reading the questions more carefully’ and NOT to read too much into the way it has been phrased. I would welcome your comments as to the wisdom of this approach by trying out my test paper on a group of your pupils to see the results. You need only get 4 of the questions right to pass the 11 plus!! Here it is:

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI's first name?

8) What colour is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?


Check your answers below ...

ANSWERS TO THE 11 PLUS TEST - HOW MANY DID YOU GET RIGHT?

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

… 116 years !!

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

…… Ecuador !!

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

……. Sheep and Horses!!

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

……November !!

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

…… Squirrel fur !!

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

….Dogs !!

7) What was King George VI's first name?

…..Albert !!

8) What colour is a purple finch ?
…. Crimson !!

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

….. New Zealand !!

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?

….Orange !!!

Let me know how your sample group performed and how many expect o pass the real 11 plus test!