Monday, 14 March 2011
White Squirrel, Black Heart
Yesterday, while walking in a local park, I saw a white squirrel. When I say white squirrel, I mean an albino Grey Squirrel, and when I say Grey Squirrel, I mean grey bushy-tailed tree rat. Very cute and pretty it was to outward appearance, but of course it cut no ice with me. What it did was transport me back to my schooldays, a couple of years of which were passed in a converted manor house in that very park. In those days there was quite a substantial colony of white squirrels in the park. There was some debate over whether they were true albinos or some other kind of sport - certainly some of them had dark, not pink eyes. I remember sitting in a classroom that overlooked a corner of the park, relieving the tedium of the school day by staring out of the window at the squirrels - as often as not white ones. (Much to the annoyance of the teachers, while I was to all appearances far gone in reverie, I was actually taking in every word that was being said and could repeat it back at them verbatim.) The white squirrel population declined in later years, and it's been a long while since I saw one at all, but they are still at large in the county. It is, it seems, a Surrey thing.