Lesser men would have broken by now.
I don’t want this to be a sad post, I will just tell you what happened.
Yesterday I shrunk my hat. I had been out three times that day and when I finally got home I thought that my very old and much loved hat was a bit sweaty and dirty, so I threw it in the washing machine.
I should have read the washing instructions, “Wipe clean.”
This might not seem very important because I have two hats but only one of them has character.
These two hats are identical, they are both the same make and style and they were once the same colour. One of them is my hat and it has lived a life of adventure and has become a bit bleached by the sun.
Two years ago I was out shopping with a friend when I saw a copy of my hat in an end of line sale. “You must buy it,” she said, “One day you may lose your hat and I can’t imagine you without it.” So I did.
I kept it in my wardrobe and planned to wear it to weddings and funerals and maybe for the occasional court appearance but since then, well, I haven’t been arrested for ages and nobody has died, I have never worn it. I don’t really want to.
The good news is that today I defiantly wore my shrunken hat out. It was very windy and I found that it was quite an advantage to have a tight fitting hat.
I don’t know where this will end. Perhaps I am letting go of an old friend, gently.
My shoes are looking a bit shabby too.
I expect that you would prefer to hear what Fizz and I have been up to for the last few days. We have been hunting Boars mostly.
Wild Boar have arrived on the farm. I knew that they were getting closer but a few day ago I stepped outside and came face to face with three of them at about two o’clock in the afternoon. They had just walked through my neighbours front garden and were standing in front of our house.
My landlord tells me that it is ten years since he saw a Boar on the farm but they are here now.
They always have been all around us but I have suspected that they were closing in for several weeks now. About three weeks ago I noticed fresh rooting just across the road from the house.
I didn’t really make anything of that at the time, we see a lot of that around here.
Then there was the extraordinary business of an animal eating all of the Arum Lilies.
Just when I was thinking, “What sort of an animal would do that,” I stepped out of my front door and bumped right into them.
They have been here for a few weeks and I am pretty sure that they are here to stay now.
This is a superb opportunity for the naturalist in me, I can actually lie in bed and watch for them in the fields across from me. The trail camera is out.
It is not so good for everybody else. The Boar are not dangerous and they will always try and escape us unless..
A: You corner an animal and leave it no escape.
B: You or your dog attack their babies. They will defend their young and they are powerful animals.
In the wood that I owned in East Sussex a Rottweiller was killed by Boar just before I bought the land. It was an aggressive dog and the owner had taken to walking it in the wood at night to avoid other dog walkers. A Rottie is no match for a female boar with young. I don’t know what a Rottweiller normally weighs but my GSD was forty kilos and a mature female Boar would be about a hundred and twenty kilos and they are not pussy cats.
I have never considered them to be dangerous but then I have never tried to eat their babies. I am just not that stupid.
What it does mean is that there are places now where I cannot walk Fizz off lead (she is that stupid). The farm fields are still good as I can see everything around, tight and overgrown country lanes are out of bounds for a bit.
Fizz does a really good job of protecting me from Bears and Wolves, the very least that I can do in return is to protect her from herself.
Is it still safe in the garden?
I can walk her amongst the Boar on a lead. They will not attack me and if they come too close I will just pick her up. So we went up to the Bluebell woods to hunt for them.
At this point some sort of trained tracker dog would have been useful but I just had to go with what was available. In the video that I am about to show you (when You Tube has uploaded it) Fizz is really trying to find a Boar for me but she has never seen one and doesn’t realise how big they are. She keeps looking under leaves for them.
I am looking at how Boar relate to the Bluebells. One of the arguments put forward by their detractors is that Boar uproot and destroy bluebell woods and that they eat Bluebell bulbs. My old wood was a Bluebell wood with Wild Boar in it and I have been watching them for fifteen years. They have no interest in Bluebells.
They root up the tracks that run through the Bluebells but they stay on the tracks and avoid the flowers. If they wanted to eat them these woods would be a feast for them. (This is where we filmed the young Boar recently, there are plenty of animals in this wood)
Bluebells are actually poisonous to most animals but then so are Arum Lilies.
We didn’t find any Boars but we did see some nice flowers.
This characteristic one sided droop is often given as an identifying feature of our native Bluebells and it is but…
It is important to note that the flowers grow from all sides of the stem and this elegance is only a stage in their lives.
When the flowers first emerge the stem is completely upright and later as the flowers go to seed it straightens out again.
This next flower is a genuine native Hyacinthoides non-scripta but just at a slightly inelegant stage of it’s development and that happens.
On the edge of this wood the Arum Lilies are giving a fine display.
Either the Boar here have no taste for this poisonous root or they just haven’t found them yet. I like this flower, I think that it is very beautiful and it is a shame to see it singled out for destruction but animals have to eat.
One of the nicest things about this wood is that the walk up here takes us through the farm fields. There is no danger of me being surprised by wild animals here and Fizz gets plenty of opportunity to run and play.
I will leave you with a few images of Fizz preventing me from photographing a beautiful little Speedwell and otherwise doing what she does best 🙂
There is nothing in my pocket!