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14th August 2020

Go Wild in the Country

Wild in the Country

Beavers and Bears and Bow Wow Wow

It's been a while!  I apologise for my absence over the past few months. No excuse really. Compared to so many other businesses, all has been relatively well with The Wool Company in these strangely changed times but I did take the opportunity for an overdue break from the office. I am now back at my desk, somewhat less often than before due to other calls on my time.

"Wild swimming" (formerly known as "swimming") has been one of our frequent exercise routines. Cold water swimming has many benefits is well known to be good for arthritis and also hypertension (as long as it doesn't kill you in the process) and the pain is very temporary. 3 minutes of cold-pain then pure exhilaration, followed by guilt free tea and cakes or better still cakes and ale.

Managing our woods has been our more frequent exercise and Sarah has been busy out in the wilds with some new furry friends. 

And nearby, we are pleased to welcome home our friend and Bodmin Moor neighbour, the 84 year-old veteran explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison

Robin Hanbury-Tenison

who recently triumphed in his dramatic battle against Covid-19.  After 5 weeks in a medically induced coma and with the help of the wonderful staff at Derriford Hospital and its new intensive care garden he is home and working on re-wilding his corner of Bodmin Moor, involving the not uncontroversial introduction of beavers.

His latest book "Taming The Four Horsemen", published this February, reveals prescience. One of the "Horsemen" is Pestilence, which in modern parlance is of course pandemic. For a brief but  fascinating interview listen here.

Taming The Four Horsemen

Well on his road to recovery now, he is sensibly working with Cornwall Wildlife Trust to increase their chance of happy integration with local species. We are as eager as Robin's new tenants are for their success.

We've been looking carefully where we tread in the woods and although social distancing isn't too difficult down here (how very lucky we are), there are other risks involved in our own mini re-wilding project. 

Unbearably controversial?

There has been some discussion about the re-introduction of bears as part of re-wilding in the UK.  Controversial yes: there are many nay-sayers and there may be some serious arguments against introducing such large and dangerous animals so close to livestock, people, tourists. But bears are well known to use beaver dams for fishing so we have been bold and gone ahead with our own little project. In true Cornish fashion we have bypassed the 'necessary' bureaucratic consultations and permissions. 

We've introduced a sleuth of seven GM bears to woods near Cardinham and are pleased to say that they are all doing well and no tourist casualties have yet been reported.

Adult Brown Bear

Ours are not yet fully grown and, being youngsters they can be rowdy and  get somewhat out of hand. They've not been too easy to photograph either (we don't want them "imprinting" on humans so have to stay out of sight) but we were pleased to get a couple of shots when they were gambolling in the early evening sunshine a week ago.

Henley Teddy Bear by Merrythought from The Wool Company

Spy them better by clicking the images.

Merrythought Teddy Bears handmade in England from The Wool Company

Edward Bear

Take a bow, Bow Wow Wow

Our wild times in the country have changed a bit over the years. These days our talk is of bears and beavers and yellow rattle, but writing this has reminded me of a different kind of wild. In the Eighties the late impresario Malcolm McLaren produced this crazy little number with Bow Wow Wow. Yes, it was controversial, especially the single cover, but I had forgotten until a recent listen with older and larger ears quite how close to my heart the lyrics were.

Bow Wow Wow Go Wild in The Country

McLaren: homage, plagiarism or just bare naked commercialism? (We have a confident guess.)

Manet's Déjeuner sûr l'herbe

Edouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe (1882-83)

 

I don't like you
I don't like you, town
I don't wanna like you
I'll shop around

I don't want you
I don't want you, town
I don't wanna want you
I'll shop around
Yeah, I'll shop around

I can get a train
I don't need no hamburgers
No take-away
I want my own game
No bake and take
No strawberry milkshake

I want a picnic
I'm sick! Sick of seeing signs to eat
Walking down these dark, lonely streets

Wild! Go wild! Go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free
Wild! Go wild! Go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free
I don't know you
I don't know you, town
I don't wanna know you
I'll shop around
I'll shop around

I can get a train
I don't need no hamburgers
No take-away
I want my own game
No bake and take
No strawberry milkshake

I do better
Hell! I'll do better
Swinging from the trees
Naked in the breeze
But I got no boiled chicken
I wanna go hunting and fishing

Wild! Go wild! Go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free
Wild! Go wild! Go wild in the country
Where snakes in the grass are absolutely free

I can get a plane
I don't need no suitcases
'Cause truth loves to go naked
Songwriting credits: -
Dave Barbarossa, Leigh Gorman, Malcolm McLaren, Matthew Ashman
Note that the main image is a chance shot in local woods of a hitherto unknown hybrid of beaver and bear.
Stay safe. Swim safe. Beaver safe. Bear safe.
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