The tribbles, meanwhile, continue to thrive. Meal times, of which there are many, are especially fraught. There was a time when we could put their bowl on the dresser, stand back and fill the bowl at arm's length - knowing that the tribbles could swarm up your legs and back but at least the bowl was safe. Not any more. Kinky, the female tribble, has perfected her speed climbing to such a degree that she's up your legs, over your shoulders and down your arm, swinging towards the bowl in under two seconds.
Countermeasures had to be employed. Current favourite is the arm switch. I start forking out the food with the right hand, wait to see which arm Kinky goes for then pull that arm away from the bowl. Switching tin and fork if necessary. A tad theatrical as I windmill in front of the dresser juggling a fork, a tin and a tribble but it works. And, who knows, I might have an act I can tour with.
A word about Kinky's climbing technique. It's frightening. And the nearest approximation to the butterfly stroke I've seen outside of a swimming pool. She looks up at you, determination written all over her little face and then throws both front legs over and up, claw and pull. I'm reminded of a scene from one of the Dracula films. The one where the hapless hero looks down from the castle window to see Frank Langella using a similar technique to climb the castle walls.
But just to prove that tribbles do sleep. Here's one of them sunning themselves in the last evening rays.
And here's a tribble nest I discovered under a Rosemary bush. This is their favourite spot. They can spend hours playing under, sleeping under or climbing the Rosemary.
And, finally, we have Xena holding Targ down so she can clean his face properly. Can't have the neighbours spotting a dirty tribble, can we?