Gazing out of the kitchen window today, my boyfriend's mother said: "Did you see the squirrel?"
No, I didn't, and neither had she. But we used to see a lot of squirrels. It was only at that moment that I realised how long it has been since I saw one.
It was a hard winter (let me remind you). Maybe it did for some of them. But we always used to see a mother and a couple of youngsters in the spring.
The squirrels use our garden as a rat run between the trees at the front and... Grahame Park open space. It is not far from our house, over the back. What's changed recently? As I reported in an earlier blog, the rather wonderful Grahame Park open space has been dug up in the interests of regeneration. It's not fanciful to think that the squirrels might have lost their habitat.
The large, grassy area with trees and a small lake that included swans is being replaced with a lot of flats and houses. I can see the cranes building them through my kitchen window.
Peeking through the hoardings around the building site, I think they are going to retain some of the lake so that they can sell the flats as waterfront apartments. What a joke! Pied a terre or toe in the water?
The residents of this area are promised an 'enhanced recreational space' in the new plans. It will be the size of a postage stamp by the look of things.
It is rightly popular for people to say that they want to preserve Barnet's green belt. I wish that people equally gave two figs about the small parks that make life down this end of the borough liveable. There is not even room for squirrels here now!