No ‘stebbings’ in Much Middlemarch

We rarely see a policeman in our town until two hours after a crime has been reported, so I was very pleased the other day to see a policeman and woman in the narrow street next to mine. They were peering under a car parked off the road.

‘Good morning,’ I said.

‘Good morning,’ the policeman replied. ‘There’s a rabbit under this car.’

‘A white rabbit?’ I asked.

‘No, a wild one,’ he said.

He was right: it hopped out, and then cowered in a corner, while the policeman took a photo of it with his phone to put on the local police’s website, just in case someone had lost it. But I was a wild rabbit all right.

I found the whole episode strangely reassuring. First it was pleasant to know that there was still enough green space in our town to support wild rabbits, and second that our town is sufficiently law-abiding for the policeman and woman to have the time to concern themselves with a potentially-lost rabbit.

There have been other encouraging developments in ancient the church close in the centre of the town in which I live. Apart from the peregrines atop the church tower, which sometimes swoop and cause a veritable blizzard of pigeon feathers, there is now the nightly sound of the tawny owl, so that:

                     … from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r

                           The moping owl does to the moon complain…

Except, of course, that the tower is not ivy-mantled and I do not think that owls mope.

But why have the owls returned? This too, is encouraging. Someone had the idea of returning otters to the Severn, where they have flourished, contrary to the gloomy prognostications of those who thought the mink would kill them. To the contrary, it is the otters that have seen off the mink, and with their departure the water voles (Ratty in The Wind in the Willows) have returned in number. And owls need voles – six a night, I was told – as diabetics need their insulin.

Why the mink in the first place? After all, they are not native to this country.

It was the animal rights people who released them into the wild from mink farms to save them from being made into fur coats. I am sure there is a lesson here, for example that actions have unintended consequences. But we didn’t need the return of the owls to tell us that.      


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Editor’s note. Salisbury Review readers of a gentle disposition may not know that ‘stebbing’ is the ‘woke’ pronunciation of ‘stabbing’. If you are in further doubt, consult your grandchildren or the Daily Mail.S

5 Comments on No ‘stebbings’ in Much Middlemarch

    • …which reminds me why I rarely buy police and detective films nowadays, as they always feature a man and a woman as joint lead protagonists. I lament the end of ‘Foyle’s War’, where the lead female was relegated to the role of mere chauffeur for DCS Foyle.

      • …however, half a century ago, the lead female characters played by Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg were perfectly capable of seeing off any number of male villains, and nobody seemed to worry about that. Indeed, they were much admired…

  1. Native wildlife?
    In your village?

    You must be rich Theo?

    Our enrichment ATE all of our wildlife, despite numerous signs pleading in 32 different languages “Do not eat the swans”.

    Our coppers took lots of photos of our signs but alas, no swans.

    Do you think that we’ll be treated to pictures of ex Prime Minister May selecting sports socks from the bargain bucket in the press this summer?

    Of course we won’t. Public humiliation is reserved only for ex Prime Ministers who fail to deliver the Establishments commands.

    May will be well rewarded.

  2. “…May will be well rewarded…..”

    The usual EU reward is a sinecure inside the ever-expanding EU bureaucracy.

    However, I cannot see how the EU can reward the PM of a country which has left the EU with EU employment.

    Perhaps May will take on Dutch citizenship?

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