Sunday, 23 February 2014

Badgers Applaud the British Athletes at Sochi

My daughter ran her very first half marathon this morning at the very first Hampton Court Half Marathon. When she had finished, she gave me a tinkle on the phone saying she had beaten her personal best for this distance by a whole 10 minutes and clocked in at an impressive 1h30. The excitement in her voice was palpable.  She had done it and the medal I feel sure, will be a reminder of the day for ever. All money that Sophie raises through this half marathon is to be donated to Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, so let us hope she raises pounds. Sophie is in her second year at King’s College London studying medicine, a fact which her mother and I are extremely proud of.

Also this week, my son Samuel has received an offer to study agriculture at The Royal Agricultural University of Cirencester.  This also makes his mother and myself very proud. 
I did not feel able to attend the half marathon as leaving the badgers would have been as unsettling for me as it could be dangerous for the badgers. Badger baiting has been known in the area and their protection is top priority so alas, I had to stay home. You can never be too careful in the cubbing season. They are so very vulnerable and will not move from their setts. They guard their young in a vice like fashion, making their digging out all the more easier once detected by the dogs. 

The Sochi Winter Olympics was a fantastic success to anybody’s measure. The professionalism in it all has been quite breath taking, truly an amazing job of work and our own British success beyond their wildest dreams. But the blood on the streets of Kiev in the Ukraine did an awful lot to knock the shine off the whole issue for me.  A hundred years has passed us by since the Great War. The war that was supposed to end all wars and in its way made the atrocities in Kiev all the more disturbing. A smile on the face of the Russian Bear, the day Ukraine got its independence.  Now half of the country looking towards Europe and the other half looking back towards the old Motherland, Russia. The old Russian Bear now grimaces. Ukrainians spilling the blood of their brothers on the streets in pitched battles while the rest of us watched one of the greatest winter Olympic show cases of all time. And, of course, how can one possibly think of Sochi without being reminded of the country’s abominable LGBT policies. Yet another taint on the otherwise shining winter Olympics.

Matt Frei of Channel Four News showed us all the new palatial home of the former Dictator President along with his personalised Zoo. You can readily see why the great George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, was banned by the Soviets for so many years. MPs voted to impeach Viktor Yanukovych while another former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko was being released from prison where she had been treated for cancer after being imprisoned on corruption charges. Statues of Lenin continue to be toppled throughout the old Soviet Union but until the powers that be put to bed once and for all that ‘all people are equal but some people are more equal than others,’ then quite simply, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is as relevant today as the day it was written.

The phrase of the Great War, ‘The War to end all wars’, reads very shallow when you look at wars continuing on a month on month basis: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and the African Congo. Life is being lost, measured in their thousands. The lessons of yesterday have just not been learnt. The Cotswold badgers, however, remain in a very harmonious state.

The badgers have missed the snow this winter, so their skeleton skills are no longer up to speed. No Sochi for this sett.

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