I was watching the evening news last week and thought of The Mom. Not because Something Awful had happened, rather because there was a man, in hip waders, in a river somewhere in Devon, exclaiming, beyond himself with jubilation, that beavers had finally returned to these shores after not being seen for hundreds – Hundreds! – of years.
I nearly spat out my tea.
Hastily, I emailed The Mom to tell her of the news.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” she exclaimed.
“And… they’re letting them stay!”
My heart was swollen with national pride because the beaver, that most noble of strange rodent -like animal, is Canada’s national animal. We are, in some respects, a beaver-like people: resourceful, industrious, and though we have been seen in these parts more recently than the beaver, what with immigration in the UK where it is, and foolish men like UKIP’s Nigel Farrage shouting (whilst also drinking pints and smoking cigarettes) about what a blight immigrants are to this country, we are slightly wary of any officials.
The reporter, it transpired through the course of the piece, had spent the better part of the day waiting patiently for the beavers – two adults and three kits – to appear so that they could be filmed and beamed around the country to people – obviously – waiting with baited breath to see the wee creatures.
“They’re letting them stay!” The Mom shrieked. “They’ll rue the day!”
The Mom is no stranger to what a beaver can do to a piece of land. In fact, as children, our first forays into the world of beasties and critters was to our property outside of town where my Grampy would stalk about with a shotgun (unloaded, for safety) skulking through the bushes, looking for the stupid things. I don’t know if it’s legal or illegal to kill beavers in Canada, but thankfully he never got close enough to do anything any lasting damage. I believe it was only his pride that ever took a beating.
Our dogs however… The first dog we ever had, Flower, who was part dauschaund and part trained killer, was the only beast ever to ride with us who had the wits and talents about her to successfully hunt the damned things. According to The Mom, for every one she got, they put another notch in her collar. Most of the time she was a sweet wee thing who just wanted snacks, but when she got to our property, she sprung into action.
The English beavers will be allowed to stay. Someone official will study them and learn their ways. Everyone, well, most people think this is a delightful turn of events.
The chap they had on the news, some well-intentioned man from Nature England or whatever they’re called, the English Beaver People, was gushing. He told the news reporter something about how exceptional it was, especially since normally the reports are of animals leaving, never to return, that something – anything – had actually Come Back. I felt for him, I really did. And I’m pleased that the beavers are allowed to stay.
And they won’t be in any danger from The Mom, who upon hearing the news, told me she was happy to provide any advice to the English Beavers People in case they wanted to know how to get rid of them once they’d learned their lesson – the people, the not beavers, mind. Which is of course because The Mom has no intention of visiting soon – certainly not while there are beavers about. Me, I’m glad the houses here seem to all be made of brick.