I have just read in today’s Independent that the Government has announced the areas where pilot schemes for badger culls will go ahead.  Trained marksmen will be employed to dispatch badgers in an attempt to combat Bovine TB in Gloucestershire and Taunton Dean, Somerset. I do not know enough about the subject to make any informed comments on whether or not this should go ahead.  However, I have seen badgers in the wild and ( like foxes) I felt really privileged to observe them in their native habitat when I was pet sitting up on Exmoor last June.

4th June 2011

Well its been another glorious day on Exmoor.  I’m feeling the effects of all the fresh air and exercise that I’m getting as my appetite has increased!

I’m living an unusual lifestyle for the moment.  I sleep and have most of my meals in one of the properties I’m looking after, which doesn’t have a working tv and is on water restrictions, so I shower at another cottage in my care where I can also use the computer and watch the television if I wish.

The other night was lovely, far too beautiful to be indoors, so I went for a walk without Gwyn and Bracken, the springer spaniels.  They had a good run earlier and were sprawled out on the sofa without any intention of moving!  I was ambling along through the woods up behind the hamlet totally absorbed in my surroundings when I came face to face with a badger, it was only a few feet away from me!  I’m not sure who was more startled.  We stood staring fixedly at each other for several minutes, me hardly daring to breathe and only doing so when I began to feel a little faint! I thought the badger, a male judging by his size, was going to come even closer, instead he snuffled about in some roots and then made his way down an overgrown track to the left of me.  We walked a parallel route for a while before the sturdy, grey figure disappeared into the undergrowth.  I really don’t believe I would have seen him if I’d had the dogs with me,  especially as the younger spaniel, Gwyn, thunders up and down the banks through the brush like a pocket rocket!  We had a very close call one day when she bolted after the retreating tail end of a deer! Thankfully I had her favourite squeaky ball with me to use a distraction in case of such events!