Sunday, 11 May 2014

A Badge of Honour.

Walking past the giant Oak tree on the way up from the river this morning I noticed that it was almost covered in very tender young oak leaves and on the other side of the field I could see several Ash trees still very bare, showing no leaf what so ever. Armed with this information, once home I threw open the kitchen door and shouted this old country saying through the house, “Oak before the Ash you’re in for a splash,” which roughly translated means, that we are in for a good summer.  Very settled with little rain.  The reverse of the saying is, “Ash before the Oak you’re in for a soak,” which translates into a very squalid, wet summer. 
This week we have seen the great Sir David Attenborough reach his 88th birthday.  Someone with whom my generation grew up with and the educational value from a wildlife point of view through the sixties and seventies up to this present day has been immeasurable. A very belated Happy Birthday to you Sir David.
Again, this week, the judgement of our Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been brought into question with the revelations of three members of the Take That pop group who invested £26Million in to a music industry investment scheme with the sole aim being potential tax avoidance.  Millions of pounds so say being lost in these new venture companies being set against the money being made elsewhere.  The comedian, Jimmy Carr was brought to our attention in 2012 when he apologised for using the morally wrong but perfectly legal K2 scheme in Jersey to cut his tax bill with which the Prime Minister was appalled, disgusted and disappointed stating that all members of society should pay their share of income tax.  An OBE was awarded Mr Barlow in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last week and Number 10 Downing Street has defended this honour.  All well and good but it strikes me as being the same type of judgement which we all witnessed with the Andy Coulson appointment and the standing by of another close friend of the Cameron’s, Rebecca Brookes. 
Judgement that was very much left wanting in both cases and when this government still proposes to go ahead with another Badger cull later on this year it doesn’t instil one with confidence that their judgement on this matter is as water tight and as categorically accurate as it jolly well ought to be, because, as I have stated many times before, a Badger sett that has been harmed or destroyed, Badgers seldom recolonize.  The Badger culls of 2013 have destroyed those setts forever and our natural Badgers are not great enough in number across our countryside to suffer these ill thought out, policy on the hock, ill-judged decisions.  With the Badger culls of 2013, it has opened up the flood gates in some areas to brutalise and attack our Badgers to an extent that has not been seen since the seventies.  Badger baiting is on the increase.
The Coopers are once again on full guard up at my Badger sett.  Their invalidity buggy once again is proving invaluable.  Its silence and camouflage colours make it the ideal surveillance vehicle. 
This year’s Badger cubs are nicely rounded and fat thus proving that the mother Badgers have plenty of milk to sustain them. The food supply is plentiful.  They are now coming into the easiest months in the Badgers’ calendar.  The play fighting from the cubs is now much more energetic and robust giving the Coopers and myself endless entertainment.  All is going very well for the Badgers in this part of The Cotswolds.
It is very interesting as to how the name of the Badger first came about.  The mammal was first noted for its defending of its burrow like a Knight of old and has probably come from the Badgers knightly emblem.  The creature’s white head with a broad black stripe on each side of the snout may have brought to mind a badge hence Badger.  Evidence supporting this theory is that an earlier name for this animal was Bauson which comes from the old French word, Baucenc, usually referring to a white patch on a horse and also meaning Badger. Bauson is first recorded by 1375, Badger in 1523.
Now with the lighter mornings and lighter nights we must all be ever more vigilante.  Our Knightly Lord Protector of our woodlands needs all the help he can get.

Watch my short film of my Badgers around their sett. 

Mother Badger doing a spot of cleaning in and around her sett.

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