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Country diary: a gang of outlaws roam the garden | Environment

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‘In some lonesome shadows she will greet ya / Billy, you’re so far away from home,” sang Bob Dylan, and Billy the Kid rises from the grave in our back garden. Scuffing the soil in the shadow of a flowering currant, a tiny human shape catches my daughter’s eye. She picks it up and rubs the subterranean years off to discover a little brass figurine, an inch or so tall, of Billy the Kid. His rifle is broken but his cocky pose and battered sugar-loaf hat are as distinctive as the 1880s photograph taken not long before he was shot dead aged 21. How he got here goodness knows, but Billy shines in bright spring sunshine.

He may be far from home but he’s not the only outlaw in this garden. Watching from the hedge is Robin Redbreast; as quixotic a mix of charm and violence as Billy, Robin

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