Every Saturday my children make a mad dash for one particular stall at the East Oxford Farmers’ Market … and are aiming for one particular prize. The bread hedgehogs made by the Natural Bread Company. They are soft, tasty and eaten while they play and I shop for vegetables. I love the market – last week I supplied an impromptu lunch party with Brainy Bread from NBC (stunning stuff) along with a pot of tahini and veg topped with chilli heaven. The milk sold by the North Aston Dairy is the only milk I feel happy having in the house – as I know that they love their animals. The same goes for Willowbrook Farm’s eggs.
What a weekend … again … and this time, not all about me! Two amazing experiences, both very different, but both deeply connected in essence – one a gathering of naturalists and artists in Stamford at the New Networks for Nature, the other, a flashmob of protesters at the British Museum. To be at both was a delight and a privilege – and made me consider the connections in new light.
I was introduced to the New Networks for Nature – and their event, Nature Matters – by the otterly wonderful (sorry) author, Miriam Darlington. Mim is the otter-woman from The Beauty in the Beast, and has written her own amazing book, Otter Country. The New Network describes itself as ‘a broad alliance of creators (including poets, authors, scientists, film makers, visual artists, environmentalists, musicians and composers) whose work draws strongly on the natural environment.’ And was formed from the dissatisfaction in the low political priority placed upon nature in the UK.
There are few people who have the capacity to antagonise me as much as Jeremy Clarkson … and it was with real delight that I happened upon him receiving a custard pie in the face a few years ago …
Fortunately I had my camera ready. So it was with very mixed feelings I found that he was to be presenting Have I Got News For You on BBC 1. They were going to be featuring the newsletter of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society in the ‘missing words’ round – but how would our wonderful creature fare at the hands of this objectionable buffoon?
The iPlayer copy of the show will not be up for ever, so have a look now … and if pressed for time, skip along to 25 minutes in – and find that not only did the hedgehogs get a good mention (along with Ann Widdecombe, who, coincidentally, I also caught on camera getting a custard pie in the face)
Ann is a great champion of hedgehogs, the pie came 12 years ago following some rather unpleasant commentary she had given about asylum seekers. Having met her I have been impressed by her deep love of animals – and it would not be hard to imagine her donning a balaclava and heading off to the nearest abuser with ‘reconstruction’ in mind.
But that is an aside … one of the missing headline clips they used was from an article I had written! Which was essentially based on this blog from last year. “How can we get hedgehogs and whisky into the same thing?” I asked … with a blender, Clarkson retorted … I smiled, felt guilty about smiling, and then remembered his moment with the custard pie and felt better!