I’m sitting in my favourite shady spot at Ferny Hill Retreat, sipping a coffee. It’s peaceful and still in the garden. The afternoon is hot and there’s not a breeze in the air.

A rustling sound catches my attention. It’s in the garden, at ground level. There it is again, closer this time. An azalea sways slightly, followed by some nearby grasses. It’s moving even closer. I freeze. Watching. Listening. 

Clearly whatever this creature is, it doesn’t know or care that I’m here – it’s heading straight towards me. Then I see it, or at least part of it. A long nose. A beaky kind of nose snuffelling around in the leaf litter. The nose is soon followed by a prickly, oval body. It’s an echidna. How cute! 

Onward he snuffles, or rather downward because he’s on a slope. I wonder if this not-so-little echidna knows where he’s going? He’s precariously close to the edge of the retaining wall.

But no, he turns 90 degrees and heads towards to the pond. It’s a tiny pond. So tiny it’s more like an overgrown puddle. Maybe he’s thirsty? I stare, mesmerised, as he slips into the water and rests his nose on the rock ledge. Only his nose, eyes and the top of his head can be seen. He’s not thirsty, he’s just plain hot. Now that is cuter than cute!

I sit for a while watching this clever echidna cool off in its perfectly sized, puddle-ish spa.

“Hi Eddie,” I whisper. (I know, he could be an Edwina. Details, details.) 

Yep, the day I first met Eddie was definitely a special one for me. Fond memories!