Nefarious and Secretive Goings On

Not for the first time, I found some weird old shit going on in the darker depths of my reserve this week. At least this time I didn’t have to step in and remind people that there were kids about.

I was minding my own business (OK, I was minding some else’s business, but that’s alright, they asked me to) when I practically fell in the below hole:


It’s about 5 foot cubed and yes, that is a rugby tacklebag in the bottom. At the bottom, there was a platform constructed out of wooden boards nailed together which had been broken through and someone had dug down about another foot beneath. It was all a bit Oak Island.

So what was it? My educated guess is that this is exactly as dodgy as it looks and someone has recently recovered buried treasure (yeah, actual buried treasure!) using the tacklebag as a kneeler. I like to imagine it’s where they stashed the Brink’s-Mat loot because…well, why not?

Just goes to show, it’s a sinister world full of criminal types all out to get you or take you for a ride some how – hang on, no, sorry. I’ve just been reading the Tory Manifesto. Sometimes I get confused.

But how many times do you hear about some particularly nasty goings on and the words ‘a secluded patch of woodland’ come up? Yeah, well, have a little sympathy for us guys who manage those secluded patches of woodland! It’s not all sunshine and bluebells, y’know!



A Loss

It’s under sad circumstances that the blog returns from its 6-month baby-induced hiatus. I found out this week that one of my old collegues at the London Wildlife Trust died in a cycling accident in Oxford. Claudia was 31.

We met as volunteers at Camley Street around 2008, a time that anyone who worked there will remember with a great deal of fondness. There was a tight-knit group of graduates all in their early-to-mid twenties and we probably spent just as much time in the pub as we did working on reserves.

I was usually the older, grumpy one but even I couldn’t stay grumpy around Claudia. Her enthusiasm was infectious. Everyone loved Claudia and everyone was inspired by her. I envied her energy for activism, her ‘fuck it’ attitude to just getting out and throwing herself into things.

She was a smart cookie, warm, caring, progressive and generous. In short, she’s exactly what the world needs more of right now. She’s exactly the kind of role model I would have chosen for my daughter.

Claudia was about to complete her PhD when she died. She was working with indigenous tribes in Bolivia (yes, I was stupendously jealous!). I hadn’t seen her for about 5 years. That seems an impossible length of time. Almost as impossible as the idea that I won’t see her ever again.