Originally uploaded by Points North.

I turned on the back porch lights, and AAAAAAARRRRGHHHHHHH we all screamed. Well, a slight exaggeration; they screamed and scurried; I swore. Two, no three, five? just how many of those little buggers are out there anyway?! I ran to get my camera while they looked for a hiding place. The tree, they told each other.

When I got back, I could hear them rustling somewhere. I got out my torch to hunt for them. Ah ha! They're in the tree. Where else would they be?

For some reason they decided to get down out of the tree. I think the water spray encouraged them on. And they headed for underneath my porch, except they couldn't squeeze in, so they huddled by the side until they realised they could be seen. They had designated one to peek over the edge to see if I was still looking. Yup, I'm still looking guys. Flash. Still trying to get a shot of you too! He didn't like getting flashed every time he poked his nose out, and I just wouldn't leave, so he gave the signal: Run!

They made a break for it and scurried to the other side of the tree, out of my sight, unfortunately for me. I followed them with my ears until they settled down to see if they could bluff me away. But my handy dandy torch found them again. Waaaay up high.

One finally had had enough of our mutual staring contest. As much as they growled at me, I just wouldn't go away. And between camera flashes and torch light, he was losing his night vision. He scrabbled down. The next followed spread-eagled and upside down, landing in the lower branches. The last holed out for many long minutes. But I bluffed him, pretended to look for him somewhere else with my torch, and finally he came down to, rapidly scratching the bark and grabbing the tree with his vicious claws, until he too disappeared off the tree and out the back.

Peace. It only took an hour and a half.

Satisfied they really were gone, I went to bed. And slept until... What was that?! Oh, the raccoons are back screaming at each other. At this wee hour, who cares? I turned over to grab some more shut-eye. Fortunately my porch is still intact this morning.