Sunday, 8 January 2017

No Surprises Living In Devizes:

No Surprises Living in Devizes

Getting Foxy

Darren Worrow

The year of our Lord, 2010; I find myself amidst an impenetrable crowd of buoyant rural folk hither our nation’s capital, contemplating this city hath never seen such a horde of bumpkins descend upon it since the Countryside Alliance march of 2002. Misfortune the outcome of both affairs; this occasion Paul Robinson scored at the end of the first-half, leading Millwall to a one-nil win against Swindon in the League One play-off final, whereas, rightfully, The Hunting Act was passed as law in 2005.

Although there were various mini-issues to the protests; protecting British farming, rising fuel costs and the right to wear green wellies on a dry street, it was and will always be a method to boost numbers rallying for the right to brutally slaughter innocent mammals in the most bloody-thirsty means possible.

Thanks to the “Countryside Alliance,” city-dwellers believe the countryside is united under one flag; one fox-blooded flag proudly waving against the winds of change. However, while most approved the mini-issues, no other subject has divided country folk more than the notion we have the god given right to tear animals to shreds for the mere thrill of it; can you guess which side of the fence I stand yet?

Start the year as you mean to go on; I’m on a wind up because, despite its illegality, thousands gathered on Boxing Day, no better than heroin addicts, to blatantly flaunt the law and, just like their children, they rub the blood in the face of anyone who might feel it slightly unfair on the fox by unveiling their crime in the native newspaper, as if what they did was acceptable behaviour; shame on the Gazette for passing such conceited pugnacious dribble off as an innocuous pageant.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no tree-hugging, bunny-loving beatnik, I just don’t understand the attraction in the barbaric and pompous act of fox hunting. So you’re not flabbergasted by their articulate defence upon meeting snobby barbarians, which is inevitable around these parts, I wanted, not to pledge my case against, but merely outline the facts regarding hunting foxes, so you don’t get weighed down with their timeworn but privately educated excuses; fair enough innit?

Foremost, the average hunter will tell you what they do is legal and on the surface they’re correct. The flushing out of wild mammals as vermin and humanely shooting foxes are exempt, coupled with the laying of an artificial scent for hounds and heroes to pursue. Who are you trying to kid? Who stops them should the vague law “accidentally” be encroached? Like the enemies of Michael Knight, these criminals operate above the law.

Fox hunting is not about culling a pest. Why would you breed a pest? Yep, blowing this pathetic excuse out the water is simple, for foxes bred in captivity have been discovered on many hunting estates. Even worse than hunting a wild fox, they release their unwanted pets and for just a brief moment the fox has a taste of freedom, a freedom it’ll never know. Then, it’s chased in the most terrifying technique conceivable until, nerves shot and physically unable to proceed, hounds leisurely tear it shreds. It is not, as suggested, killed quickly. After the petrifying hunt they withstand abundant bites and lacerations, so too do the hounds.

“The fox has a fair chance,” they drivel. This one interrogates its term “sport.” Sport is competitive; look it up in the flipping dictionary. If I bricked up my goal prior to the football game you’d accuse me of cheating. A Fox’s natural means of escape is to hide underground, why then are burrows and badger setts deliberately blocked up prior to the hunt?

“Foxes are vermin,” because the simple erection of a secure electric fence has never been conceived until just now; I need to patent that. Besides the fox’s favourite tucker is rabbit and they breed like, well. Eliminate the fox; you got yerself a rabbit problem. We share this planet with other species; get used to it or tally-ho to Mars.

The most hypocritical excuse, “foxes kill for sport.” They bury excess spoils for consumption at a later date. Should you have to hunt to feed your family and were fortunate to break into Ginsters one night; you’d take all the chicken and mushroom slices rather than only what you need for a quick snack, for Ginster’s security guards will be on the prowl tomorrow. Chicken carcasses are left in coops when the fox is scared off; unable to pop down Morrison’s for a chicken chow-mein ready-meal for one.

Certain this week’s column will face heated debate, which is dandy; but please, don’t try to convince me otherwise. This is my opinion, an opinion shared by the majority, that is why it is law; democracy yeah? Nothing you can say will cause me to change my opinion and therefore your time spent spouting manure will be pointless; capisce? 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Introducing Sheldon!

Introducing Sheldon!

When I started my milk round I’d have to check through my folder every few minutes to remind myself of the following customers who required milk, as each day is different. Now days I don’t need to refer too often, memorising parrot fashion. I was on Church Lane, in the village of Woodborough when I checked, noting I had only one house called “Sheldon” before the stop at the garden centre. As a quick reference I said to myself “Sheldon, shop.”

Well, the phrase rang a miniature bell in my peculiar bonce, thinking it sounded catchy I dreamed up an idea for a children’s book; in a pet shop, a bulldog called Sheldon is under the illusion he is the boss. By the time I reached the house the character was foggy in my head and a minute later, upon reaching the garden centre the plot had unfolded before me; I even remembered to deliver the milk too!

I wrote the story in rhyme; it’s fun, cheeky, with a moral. I pondered the idea but put it on the back burner, aware children’s books are tricky to self-publish and market. I read it to my daughter, probably my toughest critic; she liked it. I passed it to authors Heather Osborne, Sarah Hill and Robin Rowles; the feedback returned positive.

Now I am delighted to be at this stage, the original mailed to the publisher’s editor and I have convinced the most amazing and talented local artist Clare Brookes to illustrate it. Here is a secret sneaky exclusive peek; a mock-up of a page, a prototype of how I’d like it to appear, with Clare’s beautiful rendering of Sheldon and friends.

A new direction for me then; I can write adult junk till I’m blue in the face, but really, deep down, a children’s author is my dream. Kids love stories and books, they influence their imaginations, in a mechanism most adults have sadly lost.

I’d like to thank everyone involved with the project so far within this announcement; fingers and toes crossed for us.

Until the next update please check out Clare’s Facebook page: And if you are around the Bath area she has an exhibit running for a month from 14th Jan at Bathford cafĂ©/gallery. 

2017 here we come!