There’s this field of poppies; a couple of fields in fact but one is particularly vibrant. The fields are adjacent to a busy road – part suburban, part rural: a commuter artery, functional and hectic. From a moving vehicle the poppies are briefly visible as a flush of colour beyond the hedgerows; a distraction in a place where concentration is at a premium. The small sacrifice of turning from the main road and pausing for a few minutes is one that most seem reluctant to make; this is simply a place where people hurry by on the way to somewhere else.
“There are more foxes in the towns now than there are in the countryside”. Totally untrue – rural foxes outnumber their urban cousins by a ratio of about six to one.
“Foxes and seagulls – the numbers are just out of control”. This in a week when the RSPB reported a worryingly steep decline in the gull population.
Probably best (worst?) example of all was the supposed expert whose clumsily inept attempt to alleviate concern took the form of implicating a completely different, and even more maligned, species – the wolf – with the reassurance that “Foxes are not like wolves; they don’t just set out to kill people”. Well, what’s one more piece of posthumous bad P.R. for an animal already misrepresented to the point of annihilation in these islands?
A little self awareness wouldn’t go amiss sometimes: if we persist in discarding half-eaten food onto urban pavements we will continue to attract the foragers who at least have the merit of cleaning up some of our mess. More to the point though, as we overspill the boundaries of our towns and cities, we need to recognise that it is we who will be moving into their neighbourhoods at least as much as they do into ours.