Happily Ever After

Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running

Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.


A Brace of Badgers

by admin - 19:22 on 05 August 2011

We didn't make it to the Black Isle Show. Halfway there, the monsoon fell so heavily that the thought of trudging around a field for the next three hours lost its appeal, so we went to Tesco instead where Matchgirl bought a cafetiere. We're flexible.

This means we don't yet know how well (or otherwise) The Bumper Book of Black Isle Snappery sold at the north's premier agricultural event. Such suspense.

The weather had improved yesterday evening when Matchgirl, Richard and I drove to Aigas Field Centre, filled with hope that we'd see badgers and pine martens from one of their hides.

Badger 2

Our visit began with a talk from one of the rangers about the animals, followed by a three-course meal in the baronial hall or (in our case) the library at House of Aigas. After that we split into two groups and were driven to two hides where we attempted to stay quiet and cool – the premises were unexpectedly warm and with little ventilation since everything was blocked up to deter the pine marten who broke in a while back and trashed the place.

Badger 3

We were lucky. The first badger appeared while there was still some light left – enough for ISO 3200 snappery – and tucked into a feast of honey and nuts. A second arrived after dusk, when external lights had been switched on (no good for snappery, though) and hoovered up all that had been left. An hour or so after that, one of the resident pine martens gave a fine acrobatic display on the food-filled assault course.

The light was useless for snappery but good enough for us to see that his appendages were undoubtedly male. We'll know what to look for when The Rural Retreat's visitors call.

Badger 5

Today featured a late breakfast at Storehouse and a coastal trek from Portmahomack towards Tarbatness lighthouse and back – about seven or eight kilometres. Lack of water (our trek was spontaneous) was the reason for turning back fifteen minutes short of the lighthouse.

No television or newspapers have been seen for the past few days, so headlines glimpsed today of the end of the financial world were a surprise. It's amazing what happens while you're having fun.

Badger 4

Improvements Update: Mr Painter continues to be busy. All undercoats have been completed and some topcoats. The Retreat is beginning to shine. When the rendering's done (whenever that is) and the garden completed our Wee Hielan' Hame will be even more of a paradise.

A new kitchen and bathroom are next on Matchgirl's wish list, but so is her Antarctic dream. Perhaps we'd better scrape up the cash for that before the global economic meltdown reduces what's left of our savings to buttons.

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