Last night, just after nine thirty, with the children in bed, I was making my way downstairs to my room when I heard unholy squeaking-twittering noises from the backyard. As I went out to investigate, Sarah was already on the decking having been disturbed by the same noises. Dark shapes were lumbering across the lawn, too large for cats and too hump-backed to be dogs. It turned out that the twittering is a contact call between the parent (mother?) and the two young ones. They climbed on to the shed roof and disappeared into the Black Acacia. Without my torch, we wouldn't have seen very much, and would almost certainly have missed the ringed tails. If you want to know what we had in the backyard last evening, look here.
Apparently the children heard and saw things too from their bedroom windows upstairs. At breakfast this morning, Sophie announced that ours is the scariest and most dangerous neighbourhood in America, Harry said he was afraid of nothing except ants, and Kiki finished her crunchy cereal (having, of course, removed the raisins).