Sunday, 23 August 2015

Writing - Looking after our environment

I don't pretend to be a ranging environmentalist but I do recognise the value of our planet. Having raised three children, a rat, guinea pigs, a rabbit and several cats, I do have regard for more than just humans.

Image result for hedgehogs
hedgehog

In amongst the more familiar pets there were also hedgehogs. My daughter was mad keen on protecting the creatures and we became affiliated to a local rescue person. We never had more than a couple of the beasts, they were usually orphans, but they were duly cared for, fed and then returned to the hedgehog lady when large enough for release. Apart from being a bit smelly they were easy enough to care for. No fleas as is often the perceived problem and quiet. 

Image result for squashed hedgehogs

You may have noticed that there aren't so many dead hedgehogs on the roads these days, well there is a good reason. There aren't as many hogs about. In the 1950s there were around 30 million in the UK and now that figure is about 1 million. The reason is mostly down to pesticides, and fences (not cars). It is important because there needs to be a balance in nature and creatures have their predators and are the predators of other animals. If humans 'fiddle' with that balance then things can go wrong. Yet over the period of my life I know of two or three situations in the animal kingdom that have gotten out of hand because of the interference of homo sapiens. I'm thinking of rabbits in Australia as one example.

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But hedgehogs have often appeared in literature. A Greek poet in the 7th century wrote, 'A fox knows a great many things were a hedgehog knows only one big thing'.

In the 9th century, Chinese poet Chu Chen Pu wrote
"He ambles along like a walking pincushion,
Stops and curls up like a chestnut burr.
He's not worried because he's so little.
Nobody is going to slap him around"

Image result for mrs tiggy winkles
Mrs Tiggy Winkle

One of the most famous literary hogs has to be Beatrix Potter's Mrs Tiggy Winkle. She is described as a washerwoman with a little black nose, eyes that twinkle and beneath her cap, PRICKLES. They are a seemingly gentle, quiet and slightly comical characters and ideal for children's stories of which there are many. Check out all major booksellers.

The point is that we humans enjoy our world and what occurs naturally thereon and if we are to share that pleasure with subsequent generations we need to protect every one of those creatures that have made us feel good over the years.

Further Hog Reading

'Barry the Hedgehog' by Colin Thompson
'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Caroll
'Prickly Pig' by Gillian McClure
'The Tale of Anabelle Hedgehog' by Stephen Lawhead
'The Hodgeheg' by Dick King-Smith

There are many more.

God Bless