Tag Archives: weasel

Musings on Mustelids and the Fault of the Ferrets

This is the result of rooting about in my unused drafts. The “yesterday” I refer to is about three years ago, but I don’t think that matters. I have added a couple of links and a few minor edits but it is mainly as written at the time, showing the timeless nature of my aimless ramblings.

If I’m honest, I spent a bit too much time yesterday musing on the trustworthiness, or otherwise, of members of the mustelid family. It is not really a suitable subject of thought for anyone over the age of twelve. However, if you look at the world wide web you will find that I am not the only one who considers such questions.

It was, as usual, the fault of the weasels. I could say, and was in fact tempted to say “the fault of the ferrets” but that would have been untrue. The train of thought was, I admit, started by me thinking of a ferret in connection with a pedestrian who walked out in front of me as I was driving, but quickly moved on to thoughts of politics and weasels. I like alliteration, but I like accuracy more.

We describe evasive words as “weasel words” and refer to untrustworthy people as weasels. We also use the word “ferrety” about people we don’t like. (This “we” is my opinion of what people generally do, but it might just be me. Please feel free to distance yourself from my pronouncements if you feel I am being weaselist.) We even have the expression “morals of a stoat”. I checked that one up just in case it was just me, but find it originates from a speech in the House of Commons. Polecats are generally only spoken of when a measure of smelliness is required. All in all, they do not have a good reputation.

Badgers, on the other hand, and otters, are generally portrayed sympathetically. I see the hand of Kenneth Grahame in this, aided and abetting by BB. Martens are not generally portrayed in fiction and we don’t have wolverines in the UK, though we don’t have racoons either and that doesn’t stop Disney putting them in films set in the UK.

The original stopped after Kenneth Grahame so I have finished it off and will now leave you with the epitaph from the BB link. The picture is, I admit, not a mustelid, but it is the nearest i have.

The wonder of the world
The beauty and the power,
The shapes of things,
Their colours, lights and shades,
These I saw.
Look ye also while life lasts.

Why Bother Blogging? (Part 2)

Joking aside, (and I wasn’t entirely joking about my desire for fame and fortune), I needed the writing practice. My writing had come to a halt and my brief career as a poet had fizzled out. It wasn’t a concious decision, I had about a dozen poems published, I was just getting into a better class of magazine when I let it all go. It was a combination of children and poverty, as I recall. There just wasn’t enough time for everything and I spent the next eight years writing match reports for various junior rugby teams and hiring myself out as a jobbing gardener.

Then, while I was working on the farm with Julia and the Quercus group I decided it was time to start writing again. The blog was my first step back into regular writing. After two thousand posts and establishing a habit which I am seemingly unable to break, I think it’s safe to say I write regularly.

I also like the company. I know it’s only virtual company but that’s good enough for me. WordPress friends are better than flesh and blood friends as they don’t disturb you in the middle of doing things and they don’t come round and eat your biscuits.  They also let you blether on without telling you to shut up. This is a model of behaviour that Julia could do with adopting. In WP there is also a touch of the feeling you get when you look into people’s back gardens from the train. (Or is that just me?) I’m curious to the point of being nosey.

The other thing with WP friends is that I was till able to visit during lockdown.

Apart from a disturbance in my shopping habits, and a morbid fear of sniffling strangers, I hardly noticed any difference between lockdown and my normal life,  This, I feel, says nothing good about my normal life.

Blogging is also a reason to get up in the morning, go out, observe things and set targets. You can say this about many forms of writing, but if I hadn’t started blogging there’s a chance I wouldn’t be doing any other writing. It’s a chilling thought.

I wouldn’t be doing any photography either, because I started that to add photographs to the blog.

You frequently see people making the same point about writing haiku, and it’s true. If you are going to write a lot of Japanese style poetry of any type you need to keep looking out for details.

If you get into the habit of observing it becomes easier to see things and, this gives you more to write about so it’s a sort of virtuous circle. (Julia saw a weasel today in the Mencap Garden. A real one, that is, not a jumped up school caretaker or a cowardly manager. It must be hard being an animal when your name is used as a term of abuse.

It’s particularly hard on weasels, who are quite affable, and don’t really deserve the opprobrium they get. When you think of the personal habits of the stoat, it’s the stoat that should be the term of abuse. The word itself sounds more like a snarled insult too. Weasel is a bit of a woolly word.

You also learn a lot from blogging – particularly as you browse Wikipedia looking for links for the blog.

I’m sure it does other things too, like keeping my fingers flexible but I’m starting to tire now and it’s time to go and read my new book. It’s a Kindle book about how to be an autodidact, and before anyone asks, yes, it’s a Teach Yourself book…

I’m going to use the penny picture again to tie this to the Part 1 post. I’m not sure if I’ll use any others as it’s too much of a faff on the old editor.


A Walk, a Weasel, but no Wren

If I ever write a novel about Time Travel, and I’m not saying one way or the other, I’m going to need a way of making my protagonist travel in time. One way I’m considering is making him write a blog which gets behind, a bit like I often do, so that he trips over his metaphysical feet in trying to catch up.

It’s taken me three days to write about Monday, and nothing much happened on Monday. If it had been a day filled with incident I’d still be writing. As it is, I’m just about to start writing about Tuesday.

I loaded up the camera, put a handful of bird food in my pocket and set off round the lake at Rufford Abbey.

It was an interesting day and after taking nearly 300 shots I’ve already deleted over 100. The problem is that birds just don’t cooperate. They move too fast, they hide in shadows and they lurk behind twigs (which prevent the autofocus working).

At one time I did consider a post based on near misses – the blurred Goldcrest, the fence rail recently vacated by the Dunnock and the twig where the Wren had just been perching. Fortunately I had second thoughts, or this could have been one of my less popular posts.

The best bit of the day was when I was photographing at the woodland bird tables, and fighting off squirrels. Suddenly there was a flurry in the leaves and the squirrels scattered, closely pursued by a weasel. I was too slow to get anywhere near it with the camera, but it was very funny, and what they deserved after stealing most of the food I put out.