Sunday, 19 February 2023


 Sometines when I read something in the paper memories come flooding back as they did the other day when I read of disgraceful breaking of the laws governing wildlife protection and the breaking of them by folk who should know better.

There was The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981

The Hunting with Dogs Act of 2004

and even earlier The Protection of Wild Birds Act of 1954 and yet still crimes against the countryside persist. 


The local hunt came over our farm land every season for as long as my farmer could remember but they rarely caught anything - even when it was legal to do so - and then of course the rules changed and they did trail hunting.

We did have an old dog fox.   I don't know how long foxes live but he must have had the life of Riley because once the worst of myxymatosis had passed our land had a good crop of rabbits.  He didn't know the rules and I suspect he had a nice rabbit supper most nights.   We often used to see him going 'home' at dusk, keeping largely to the hedgerow and only crossing the field where necessary.   Our farm cats (Blackie and Creamy) never needed feeding during the rabbit breeding season - each morning the farmer just needed to clear the barn floor of baby rabbit skins (only the skins were left - the rest was eaten, bones and all).  The farm dogs (including Tess) used to chase them but I never saw them catch one and on the rare occasion that myxy struck again, the farmer would quickly despatch any rabbits with it - they were all too easy to catch and it was necessary to put them out of their misery (a terrible disease).

All a far cry from the days of my childhood when it was all too common to see a string of all the gamekeepers had caught strung up for all to see: moles, rats, mice, stoats,  weasels, rabbits, crows, raptors - all dead and strung up:  awful.

And amongst my earliest memories are those of the annual Rook Shoot which took place in the Rookery opposite the house I grew up in in a Lincolnshire village.  Rooks often fell dead in our gardens and when I was around three my mother caught me sitting on the lawn sucking the beak of a dead rook! (maybe that accounts for my love of them now!)

And to end - still on the subject of wildlife - when my carer made my bed the other morning she moved the pillows and underneath the bottom one was a gigantic spider (from the way her hands indicated it I suspect she was exaggerating its size!.)  In horror I asked what she had done with it (hoping she would say she had used what Ronald Blythe called the 'glass and postcard method) she said she had used the toilet paper and loo flush method.

My mothed used to say

'If you want to live and thrive, 

Let all spiders run alive.'

But I must say in this instance I was relieved that it had completely disappeared from under my pillow when I went to bed the next night.  The only spiders I am happy to live with are what we used to call 'money spiders'  I haven't seen one for years but then they are so small I suspect my eyesight isn't good enough any more to see them.      


Derek Faulkner said...

Trail hunting is far to often a smoke screen for illegal fox hunting. Here on Sheppey, both the fox hunt and the Beagles pack chasing hares, are both active illegally, aided and abetted by the two farmers on whose land they hunt.
I've never understood the reasoning behind rook shooting, unlike crows, most of the rooks food comes from invertibrates in the soil, much less young birds or eggs.
It has been a glorious day here on Sheppey today, with unbroken and warming sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stories, albeit very sad and distressing to hear of shooting rooks and so on. Different times, although it is still legal here to shoot crows and a few other birds, plus, horrifyingly, SANDHILL CRANES! The later is supposedly sport shooting. Not a fan.

But your story of sucking on the rooks beak is priceless - I can only imagine your mother's horror!

We are catch and release spider people; my sister has a large terrarium that she puts insects found around the house into if its too cold out for them, except for marmolated stink bugs, which are an invasive pest.



Susan said...

In the US hunting is highly regulated. People must have a hunting license. Hunting season is clearly defined. Typically, the number of species hunted is limited for each hunter. Some towns only allow bow hunting. A spider under your bed pillow is unusual. At least you were not bitten. Spring is near and insects are starting to move about.

Tasker Dunham said...

Too many people think they can do what they want, ignoring laws and rules, taking more than a fair share, and if it is to the detriment of wildlife or other people they don't care. It spoils things for everyone.

the veg artist said...

Susan, in the UK 'hunting' usually refers to horseback riders with packs of hounds. They would hunt a fox, chasing it over farm land with the farmer's permission. The law was changed so that a live fox should not be chased, but a man-laid 'trail'. It is a very touchy subject, with many people turning out to object to the hunt as foxes do get killed although that is no longer the aim of the hunt.
As far as spiders go, we put them out with the glass and card method as well, although I'm quite happy to cup my hand around them if there are not too big!

DUTA said...

I was also told 'for your own good, let spiders run alive'. However, the spiders I came upon were running away from people, not trying to find refuge under people's pillow.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it terrible that as a species, throughout history, the human race as always gone out of its way to kill something that is not of necessity ie food, and then, with that, not honouring only the quantity necessary. We are a species of excess and greed and have much to learn from those who tread lightly on the earth - becoming rare themselves!
I'm a cup and postcard person with spiders, and continue to protest, along with a growing number, to make the state of South Australia match other states in banning the annual duck shooting season. The government seems to influenced by the Shooters organizations in keeping it going - not the only place in the world where Shooters influence political decisions. - Pam.

Heather said...

I have never liked hunting of any sort, particularly hare coursing. During the war one of my uncles would provide extra meat with the odd rabbit or pigeon, but he never killed for pleasure. When I was a small child I found a dead mouse in the garden and kept it in my little quilted sewing basket, until my mother finally discovered the reason for the awful smell in my bedroom! As fir spiders, I am now brave enough to dispose of them myself with the glass and paper method.

Ana Dunk said...

As a 3-year-old child, I found a nest of baby mice, hairless and squirmy, like little larva.
I delightedly brought them into the house to show my mother. She was not thrilled -shrieked and grabbed me, my arm and hand outstretched, and ran into the yard, shouting DROP THEM! DROP THEM! I, afraid I would hurt them if I dropped them, held onto them even more tightly. One does not hold baby mice tightly. Their little baby mouse bodies are not meant for that. Needless to say, the story did not end well.

Sue said...

Glass and paper for spiders too, and not averse to leaving cobwebs in the outdoor area.Try not to kill insects although I am not in love with cockroaches.


Cro Magnon said...

In France there are Flies; lots of them. I once said to a neighbour that back in England you could leave a raw steak out of the fridge, and in the morning it would still be Fly-less. She asked if we didn't have Flies in England, I replied 'yes', but as soon as one was spotted a rolled-up newspaper would deal with the situation. I think that is still much the case today.

Librarian said...

Ugh! I don't mind my eight-legged tenant creating and re-creating its beautiful web outside my bathroom window, but I would not want her or him in my bed... and if I happen to come across a spider in an unexpected place, I do really have to control myself not to shriek (especially if it's a big one).
As for laws and regulations being in place but people not giving a fig about them, well, this applies to all areas of life, doesn't it. Just look at how the majority of car drivers today seem to think indicating is beneath them, or the ban on using mobile phones with their hands while at the steering wheel does not apply to them.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Love all your memory blog posts and my Mum would say the same about spiders. Ronald Blythe was probably catching the same spider all the time as I'm sure the large ones come indoors again!

Frances said...

Oh my goodness...under your pillow!!!Guess what I shall be doing before I get into bed now!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone for your comments

Barbara Anne said...

Your posts are always so interesting, Pat! As a city kid, I have no frame of reference about hunts other than in books and movies. I've always been glad for protections for wildlife and dismayed by those who ignore those laws.
I use the glass/postcard method most of the time but ticks get the "burial at sea" loo disposal.


Melinda from Ontario said...

I love your mother's jingle, 'If you want to live and thrive, Let all spiders run alive.'
I gently relocate household spiders if they're, (for example), dangling over my bed ready to drop on my head. Otherwise, I feel we're both better off living in harmony.

Alexander Viktoria said...

Jag delar mitt personliga vittnesbörd för att hjälpa andra som kan gå igenom en liknande situation som jag. Jag heter Sarah Alexander och jag fick nyligen tillbaka min ex-kärlekspartner med hjälp av Dr. Oduduwa, en kraftfull trollformel.

Jag och mitt ex hade varit i ett förhållande i nästan två år innan vi bröt upp på grund av vissa missförstånd och olikheter. Det var en svår tid för mig eftersom jag var djupt kär i honom, och jag kunde inte föreställa mig att leva utan honom. Jag försökte allt för att få tillbaka honom, men ingenting verkade fungera.

En dag när jag surfade på internet kom jag över Dr. Oduduwas hemsida och jag bestämde mig för att prova. Jag kontaktade honom via hans e-postadress, och han svarade snabbt. Han bad om lite information om mig och min ex-kärlekspartner, och han försäkrade mig att han kunde hjälpa mig att få tillbaka min ex-kärlekspartner.

Dr. Oduduwa kastade en kärleksförtrollning åt mig, och inom några dagar märkte jag några positiva förändringar i mitt exs beteende mot mig. Han började ringa och smsa mig regelbundet, och vi gick till och med ut på en dejt. Det var som om vi aldrig hade gjort slut. Jag var överlycklig och tacksam mot Dr Oduduwa för hans hjälp.

Nu är jag och min ex-kärlekspartner tillbaka tillsammans, och vårt förhållande är starkare än någonsin tidigare. Dr. Oduduwas kärleksförtrollning fungerade som magi, och jag är ett levande vittnesbörd om det. Jag rekommenderar starkt Dr. Oduduwa till alla som går igenom en liknande situation.
Hans e-postadress är
Jag är säker på att han kommer att kunna hjälpa dig också, precis som han hjälpte mig.