The Plop Thickens - part 3
Steve, my builder, fixed my front door so that the latch would connect without slamming. He then kindly said, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Well, as a matter of fact,” I said with a sly grin. I led him out to the garden where Billy Badger had made clear his intent to take over my world. “This just happened, about a week ago, and then when I got back from taking care of my grandkids, it grew from a small structure to this.”
What I was showing him was a badger sett packed neatly into the corner of a raised flower bed in my small garden.
“Have you actually seen any badgers?” he asked.
“No, and I rather hope they have abandoned it as some of that ground elder has sprung up in front of
the hole, and if they were going in and out, surely it would get trodden on.”
“You need something that would have to be moved for them to get in, so as to determine if they are
around or not,” Steve said. He had a look around my very untidy paved area, and came up with a few plastic flower pots. “If he pushes these out, you'll at least know if he's still using this place.”
“Oh, that's a good idea. I never would have thought of that,” I gushed.
“I've got an idea,” he added, pushing the bushes aside. “Just look at that.”
And there before my eyes was a huge hole completely hidden from view – as big as a culvert, if you know what that is. (My daughter didn't.) And it was angled so that it seemed to disappear under the road outside.
“A child could fall down there,” I said. “And what is that doing to the roots of my big tree and bushes? If their roots are disrupted like that, they could fall over, I would think.”
“Certainly a small adult could get through that hole,” he added. “I wonder how many of those tunnels are undermining that road.”
“That all makes it so much worse,” I said. “As if an army of badgers could sneak up that hole at night and do their worst. But let's hope they have decided that this isn't a good place and have moved on.”
Feeling very relieved with Steve's support, but also very depressed about the big hole, I talked to my eldest daughter later that night.
“You did what?” she exclaimed. “But if there was a badger in there, you would have cut off his supply of air. You don't want that hut to become a grave. Go and take them out right now.”
Stunned and depressed, and very much not wanting to go back into the garden now it was dusk
and the time when badgers rule the world, I weakly added, “But there are holes in the pots, and they are very flimsy.”
“You won't sleep from worrying about this if you don't. You don't want that on your conscience too.”
So I had a decision to make and I'm afraid that Steve's logic won over my daughter's plea for mercy. Rather rich that, as it is mainly her small inquisitive son that I am protecting in all this.
I didn't sleep well, I must admit, and could almost smell the rot of the corpse when I got up the next morning.
Before I left for scrabble group, I went to the badger set to see whether the pots had been disturbed.
From a distance, you couldn't see the rims, but likewise there was no evidence of them in
The grass nearby was very flattened as if a struggle had taken place, and the pots had been shoved and wedged into the hole. So I did what I felt was right, and pulled them out – two of them, and felt my conscience ease when there wasn't an accusing eye looking out at me.
I took the pots back to where they belonged, and then I noticed it. The plop. The calling card. The evidence that I had been visited. To me it seemed as if Billy Badger was saying, “You mess with me, and I'll leave my mess for you.”
Badger poo isn't a nice formed sausage shape like most animals produce. To say it looks a lot
like rocky road ice cream is to mean that you will never eat the stuff again without thinking about badger poo. But is is greyish brown with rounded bits in it and of a soft consistency. They even had a sample of it on Spring Watch the other night if I needed more convincing.
So this war isn't over yet, and I greatly fear it will be a long and difficult one.