Friday, 30 December 2011

Betty - Man Up!

Betty and her sworn enemy

On the Today Programme this morning Betty Boothroyd (guest editor) was not happy.  "Ive been pestered with moles for many years" she said.  She proudly showed a dead mole that had been caught in her garden - the biggest one I've ever seen!

A jolly female mole catcher turned up to give advice to those whose lawns are turned into the "Himalayas" by mole hills.  Trap them, gas them or - if you see one - take a pot shot with a gun.  It is open warfare in Betty's garden.  And not just on moles - on rabbits and deer as well.  Hanging the dead bodies on your fence, sadly, won't deter others from taking their chances.  As one old saying goes said the mole catcher, "kill one mole and another will go to its funeral."  Betty doesn't like to see the ferrets do their work down her rabbit holes though - she says she gets into the car and goes to London.  Can't bear the sight of the bloody slaughter.

All this got me thinking.  I've been musing on the meaning of community for a while.  The Dali Lama is among many who feel that a strong sense of community is essential for overall happiness.  Living together with all our strengths, weaknesses, individuality and talents adds to our overall health and well being in immeasurable ways.  A community is made up of different individuals and it is the variety that gives it strength and resilience.  That's not to say that it is easy to live in community - it isn't.  But it has to be worth trying, and making sacrifices and adjustments to let us all be who we are.

Its about time we considered the community as incorporating the natural world too - all the birds and butterflies, nettles and wasps -and yes Betty, even moles.  Of course moles dig tunnels and make piles of earth (the soil of which makes very good as potting compost I am told).  Can't you live with them?  If you are in an area with lots of moles then celebrate that and don't try to get order into your garden as you once did in parliament.  Moles aren't politicians.  Perhaps you had better accept that a billiard table lawn isn't possible where you live.  I have to accept I can't have chickens in my garden because there are so many urban foxes in my part of Bristol.  So be it.  I am happy to make my sacrifices to live with non-human life.

Please Betty, don't be so cosy about exterminating life so you can look at a lawn.  Set an example and garden with the natural world around you, not against it.


  1. Thank you for this Mary - I so agree. A friend who lives in St. Paul's and does keep chickens returned to find that a local fox had had chicken for Christmas dinner, and she and her little daughter agreed that that's fair enough, given that they had had turkey! Love the pictures too.

  2. I, too, completely agree. In recent years I have watched London Borough staff squirt herbicide on anything green that dares to grow. But what really got me on the biodiversity war path was seeing celandines replaced by daffodils within the Brecon Beacons, where my mother used to live. Some people have a sad disability, the need to control everything around them and politicians are prominent members of this group.

    Improving on God's creation is always going to end in failure and often in misery.