Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Road Works

Another walk along the A3057 this afternoon. I was struck by the perfection of this unusual piece of road kill:

By and large, creatures killed on fast main roads are complete but rapidly reduced to two dimensions. This detached wing (a pheasant?) has the 3D still life appeal of a taxidermy specimen. I once had a thing for such discoveries, but it quickly becomes its own cliche, and others have done it better. Clive Landen has a book Familiar British Wildlife composed entirely of roadkill specimens. Some mad cove has also made himself into a minor celebrity by singing the praises of the roadside meat larder as a food source. Apparently badger is tastier than you might think.

The same roadside hedgerows from my post two weeks ago are now beginning to burst into life with catkins and leaf buds. It's a slow motion explosion. Not long now and the leaves will conceal these mysterious deep views into tangled thickets, and bring darkness to the woodland floor.

Of course, it's not only wildlife that finds itself artfully composed on the roadside. This is another kind of wing altogether: a Nissan Micra, if I'm not mistaken.

And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls."

T.S. Eliot, Choruses from The Rock


Martin H. said...

I'm constantly dodging hen pheasants around the lanes here at the moment. The casualties appear to be higher than usual this year. More pheasants, faster traffic or is it just the maths?

On a recent trip to Taunton, we counted nine dead badgers along a stretch of just a few miles. Seems the cull is happening anyway.

Mike C. said...

You'd think some sort of Darwinian process would be at work here, wouldn't you? i.e. all the critters with the "let's stand in the road" gene would have been removed from the gene pool over the last 50 years. Clearly not.

Badgers do seem to be falling victim to cars more frequently -- presumably an index of their greater numbers. As I say, they're supposed to be tastier than you might expect...


Bronislaus Janulis said...

Ahh, if only it was the pestilential "Zombie Raccoons"

Are rural English Badgers akin to fearsome Wisconsin Badgers? Whoa, Kenneth Grahame, "Wind in the Willows", answered my own question. Nevermind!

Gum wasn't diminutive enough, gummette is now the word of the day.

Mike C. said...

No, English badgers are noble creatures with cultured baritone voices, and a profound sense of fair play. Or, at least that's what we seem to want our children to believe.

Farmers, on the other hand, are convinced they spread bovine TB, and gas the buggers illegally in their sets (= borrows) which, left to their own devices, can turn a hedgerow into something resembling the Somme in 1918.

"Gummette"? Explain, Bron!


Bronislaus Janulis said...


In order to Post a comment, one needs to fill in a word for "word verification". Thus: gummette.

"Badger" in Wind did seem to have a noble and cultured Baritone. I am a particular fan of Earnest Shepherd, as illustrator for both Grahame and Milne.

Word: quisba ??

Mike C. said...

Ah, right -- you do realise those are made up by Blogger, not by me? It's an elementary safeguard to filter out those annoying non-human comments ("pretty Thai girls just love your site! Click here to see how much!").

I've often been intrigued by them myself, when posting on other sites: the software seems to make a combo of the front and back of two randomly chosen words, but like all random things made out of meaningful things, new meanings often seem to result.