Well, it is 2012 and there is a sort of grand School Sports Day in the offing, so why not jump on the athletic bandwagon?
Yesterday morning, our merry team of fencers assembled once again, ostensibly to pit their wits against various trespassers and their numerous incursions into the reserve. In reality, our reflexes and ingenuity were given a sterner test by the reels of barbed wire, brambles, hawthorn and some rabbit burrows hidden in the vegetation. Honestly, swords would've been safer.
Having identified which tracks were made by legitimate users (and here I'm referring to Badger, Fox, Rabbit and Muntjac, not over-zealous permit holders) and those which obviously belonged to bipedal boozers and bonkers, we set about brandishing some cutting edge technology in selected areas. Unerringly, this area is usually about groin height, but that's probably just coincidence.
If someone is determined to illegally gain access to the reserve, then without a stout barrier and constant vigilance, there's not much we can do to prevent that. However, if, for example, the German or Italian or French or Japanese fencing team want to spy on our training camp, we can endeavour to slow them down a bit, by limiting their movements with a few sharp barbs.
(Is it just me, or is there something about that list of top fencing countries that strikes a chord?)
So, with a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts, we set to work, a happy band of volunteers with an average age of... well, I'm fifty and probably the most junior member. And the song might've been the theme tune to Dad's Army.
Barbed wire was uncoiled, staples were hammered, a few choice oaths were given an airing and another section of perimeter fence was enrolled into the cut and thrust of our counter attack. Whether we can foil the transgressors or not, the real winners were teamwork and camaraderie. These traits will stand us in good stead for all the challenges that lie ahead in the parry and riposte of habitat management and local politics.