Posts Tagged ‘ Wildlife ’

Returning from a very long break…

Well, stumbling upon my old friend, BunnyKind this morning, I was horrified to see my last post was in 2012. Two years!? Where have two years gone?

A lot has happened to Ben and me in the last two years; we’ve added two more felines to our collection, got married and even bought a new ironing board cover. So to start, we have two new additions to our home — Lily, who was hit by a car and lost her left rear leg, and Angel (we didn’t name her!), who is a mature lady that came from my mother’s house. We’re pretty sure that when the landlord said we could have “cats”, he probably meant two cats. Now, looking to find another house to rent with the reply “We have five cats… Yes, five.” is, as you can imagine, difficult. But, until we get kicked out, I guess we’ll have to stay put.

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The committee in their morning meeting.

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Lily. This is the friendliest she’s ever been.

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The mature lady, Angel.

 

On Saturday 5th October 2013, Ben and I exchanged wedding vows and rings and got married. It was indeed a very quick day, and I am glad that it is done and gone. Unlike most young women, I was most looking forward to the marriage bit, not the wedding bit. You know, sitting on the sofa watching Traffic Cops and wafting farts over to your husband who is sat in his pants, dying from noxious gas inhalation. I don’t thrive well on stress, and my wedding day was full of it. Trying to be in control of the day was nearly impossible, even though I had spent an entire week writing an hour-by-hour itinerary of the day. I handed copy after copy to the wedding party, of which only Ben and I looked at. I was so worried about timings and the like that after the ceremony, Ben and I dashed out of the building and into the car, forgetting that we were supposed to stop for some photos… Whoops. Anyway, the day turned into night, everyone except me and Ben got pissed and then we left. I suppose I had a lovely day; the best bit was actually getting married to Ben, though. Then the honeymoon.

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Our wedding day — Mr & Mrs Bartolf

Our honeymoon was paid by Father-in-Law and Step-Mother-in-Law and it was amazing. No, we didn’t go to some tropical island or go skiing. We chose a hillside cottage in Acharacle, in very West Scotland. It was a holiday of a lifetime for me. We drove for around thirteen hours to get to our destination (the day after the wedding), getting on a ferry and crawling past demon-eyed sheep on the roadside. Arriving in the dark was probably the best thing we could have done. We had absolutely no idea what our surroundings looked like, and there was no lighting whatsoever to hint at anything. I think we arrived (after knocking on someone’s door and asking where we were) at about midnight and were taken aback at how fantastic our accommodation was. “The Seashell” is a circular house that is open plan and is specifically designed for honeymooners. We bedded down for the night and had a lovely lay-in. I think I was the first to wake, and sneaking a peek through the curtains, I remember being totally awestruck at the views in front of me. A low cloud hung in the air, so it was misty, but all around was a rugged, raw landscape. I’ll never forget that feeling when I opened the curtains.

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The view from The Seashell, Acharacle.

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Ben getting ready to eat our big veggie breakfast.

 We had an amazing time in Ardnamurchan and, being nature buffs, saw lots of fantastic wildlife that we could never had dreamed we’d see. Golden eagles circled above us as we walked through the forests, seals frolicked in the water and best of all pine martens visited us on our last night, feasting on the peanuts we’d left for them. On our last holiday (also Scotland) we went on an RSPB guided walk, where the seasoned guide said she had never been lucky enough to see a pine marten… Ben and I glanced at each other with a knowing smile… We have!

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The elusive pine marten, nibbling on some peanuts.

 So, that’s really all that’s happened over the last two years… Oh yeah, and the new ironing board cover — it was on sale at Sainsbury’s, for £6.00 (how could I walk by?).

But hey, let’s not leave it so long next time.

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The Day I Lost Faith In Humanity

I recently witnessed something horrific. I thought that I should write about what I saw a) because I can’t get it out of my mind and b) I don’t believe people much care about this issue. I am, of course talking about roadkill.  Now I am no stranger to the red mush in the middle of the road. I live in the countryside and unfortunately see too much of it. Often it’s dead rabbits, pigeons, hedgehogs and rats. These poor little fellows have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and have paid dearly for it. When I see them I often think, who is missing them? Offspring? Mates? Someone must be. And then there are cats. Too many times I have spotted tabby stripes laid out along the kerbside. My partner recently picked up  very young cat from the side of the road. He knocked on doors to find the owners, but to no avail. Someone was missing that little cat and probably still is.

Now I understand that it’s difficult when you’re driving. I am a driver. I came across a squirrel on the A14 early one morning and he was in the left lane so I moved over and slowed down. He then ran into my path and I felt a bump. I was horrified but I couldn’t see him behind me and on checking the next day there was no body. In this instance I wasn’t able to stop, so I can understand why there are many dead animals on busy A roads and Motorways. It doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking though when you see a beautiful fox ripped apart and strewn across the road.

A few times I have stopped to move dead / injured animals from the road. Once was an injured hedgehog whom I took home and twice I have removed dead badgers from the roadside. It still amazes me that people fail to notice such large animals. Ok, Ben tells me they might suddenly dart out in front of the car. Yes that’s true. But I would say that can’t always happen. Badgers with facial injuries… Clipped as they stood at the roadside? And I would admit I pay more attention to the verges sometimes than I do the road.  I’ve etched every detail of the roads to my house into my mind so I know if there’s something different on the road.

So back to the reason I’m writing this post.

It was approximately 6:40am and I was on my way to work. I was travelling through a 30MPH village when I saw a lump in the road. It was half-light but I saw him clearly. A Muntjac Deer. I slowed up, drove carefully past him and turned around so I could stop on the other side of the road. He appeared to be dead as his neck was twisted in such a way it looked broken. I put on my hazards lights and found my rubber gloves. I also had a Hi-Vis vest that I put on. I exited my car and stood next to it, waiting for the traffic to pass. I’d assumed that they too would see the deer. It was fairly large, about the size of a dog and in the middle of their lane. To my disgust the first driver drove over him. Their tyres bumped over this animal’s fragile body as though it was rubbish in the way. The next thing I saw will haunt me forever. As the first driver went over him his legs began to kick out. He was still alive. I cried out as the next one went over and flung him nearer the centre of the road. I ran out and stopped the oncoming traffic and scooped him up. He seemed only small but he was incredibly heavy. Blood was pouring from his back-end as I laid him on the grass. I was shaking with anger but I checked for a pulse. It was so fast and erratic but he was indeed still alive. I needed to call the RSPCA so I went back to my car and called. She asked me if he was still alive; I told her he was but I’d go and check. But when I got back to him, blood had started coming from his nose and his pulse had gone. He was dead. I told her he was gone and she said their was nothing they could do. After that I couldn’t catch a lot of what she was saying on the other end as I was choking back my tears. I admired how beautiful his big, dark eyes were, gave him a stroke and said my goodbyes.

As I got into my car I started to cry at the callousness of people. I genuinely couldn’t believe what I had seen human beings do. That poor animal. I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain he must have felt when those huge cars crushed his delicate body. The image of him flailing around in the road didn’t leave me all day and I still can’t forget it now. I asked Ben to call the council that morning to collect him which they have done now.

There seems to be a lack of responsibility when it comes to hitting an animal with your car. If you hit a dog, you are required to stop by law (Road Traffic Act 1988)  and I would presume that most people do. But many people hit animals and forget them. As with my deer and my hedgehog, they could still be alive. Wild animals are sentient too and don’t deserve to be left suffering on cold tarmac. What dignity is left for that animal when it’s remains are spread across the road in a mush of fur and innards? We wouldn’t do that to a fellow human.

If it’s safe to do so, stop your car with your hazard lights on,  put on a high visibility jacket and some rubber gloves and move the animal to the verge. If it’s alive, stay with it and call your local wildlife rescue or the RSPCA emergency line: 0300 1234 999. I always carry some old towels in my boot just in case I need them for an injured animal. And obviously, don’t compromise your own saftey, but please give a second thought to whoever or whatever will be waiting for that creature sprawled out in the road.