At the back of the farmyard, tucked in against an old piece of equipment, was an upside down bucket. It had always been there as far as I could remember, and Grandpa always said that there was a ferret inside it and on NOoooooo account was I to look under to find out for sure.
One did not question Grandpa’s word or the size of his left hand, which he held up like a sword, should anything need brought into order, adding the words – See this hand – to ram home the point. So the bucket was ignored, and the ferret led an lonely, dark life, if there really was one.
Hindsight and decades have made me think differently; Grandpa was a cautious, not to say crafty old codger, and I now believe he hit on the ferret scheme to distract attention away from where he’d stashed a bottle of whisky, or something similar. He had his own private water closet biffy just across the yard from the bucket. How handy was it then to snatch the bottle and retire to the loo to sit in solitary state, to think and drink a dram or two.
It makes some sort of sense; pouring a drink and sitting down with it in the kitchen was not done. The evil drink was not for anyone to know about, except those who were having a quiet nip. Grandpa wasn’t an out-of-hand drinker. In fact I don’t imagine he bothered drinking much, except perhaps on days when old age had become painful and the bright memories of his boisterous youth needed putting out of focus.