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Sunday

The badgers had planned to come out just before dusk today, but there was a lot of noise and stamping about in the woods for quite a while.

It seems that a human family had been having a picnic in a clearing in the woods; and then playing a noisy game of hide and seek in and around the bushes and the brambles; and chase the doggy round the trees. The game only really stopped when it was getting dark; and one of the smaller children fell into the brambles and cut his arms on all those prickles.

After a delayed start - to make sure the humans had really gone - the head badger emerged from their sett, even more nervously than normal. The rest of the adults came out next, and the cubs when it was absolutely clear the humans had gone. There was a bit of litter in the clearing - a plastic pop bottle and a yogurt pot. Luckily, the visitors had knocked part of the picnic over; so the badgers had a new treat - three slices of Quiche Lorraine, a mini-Pork pie and a few discarded cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Old badger was lucky. Normally, he'd be eating almost at the back of the queue, along with the junior cubs. Today though, he'd wandered away from the groups a short distance; and found himself in a small car-park on the edge of the woodland. As luck would have it, the visitors had left a metal bowl of water that they'd used to give the dog a drink. He lapped up the water as quietly as he could manage and then returned to the group; and continued to forage through the woodland for food.

Generally though, Sunday could be quite a good day for the badgers. Monday morning was when the village had their dustbins emptied. You just needed to catch a whiff of an unfinished microwave meal inside a dustbin; and you could have a rare old snack. And so it was tonight. Mrs Sutcliffe, wasn't feeling very well today; and she couldn't finish her evening meal. The badger soon overturned the metal dustbin and ripped through the bin-liner to get to a very tasty Lancashire Hotpot. Some nice tender meaty chunks, some soft-boiled carrots and enormous quantities of boiled potatoes in a thick onion gravy. The badgers couldn't really understand why Mrs Sutcliffe had gone to the effort of putting the meal inside a plastic bin-liner, inside a dust bin, with a lid resting on top; but were grateful for the meal anyway.

Of course, Mrs Sutcliffe wasn't one bit grateful. If she wasn't blaming the refuse collectors for making a mess, she was blaming Mrs Thornton's cat. In her own way though, Mrs Thornton was actually quite good to the badgers. She fed her cat on the patio. More accurately, she left food for her cat on the patio. If it was quiet and the badgers were there en masse, they'd soon "muscle-in" and eat the cat food. The cat didn't like the idea of giving up it's supper, but it wasn't suicidal enough to fight with a badger. Poor Mrs Thornton had even taken the cat to the vet's once because it seemed to be "grumpy" and she didn't know why.

One of the badgers had once had a good sniff through the cat-flap. He was tempted to go through, but it was too much of an unknown to be worth the risk.

Then of course, the real beauty of the entire week. Mrs Parris, the lady with the enormous lawn, had her garden sprinkler fitted with a timer, so it sprinkles the garden at night (so the water doesn't evaporate in the sun). Fortunately, the lawn was now very wet indeed; and the silly earthworms actually thought it was genuinely raining, so they all came to the surface. Whether it was good luck or good planning wasn't important now, as the badgers absolutely gorged themselves on earthworms. It was the best feed they'd had for a month.

Baby badger had very nearly died a couple of nights ago, but with all those earthworms to eat he was OK now. It looked like, with a bit of luck, he might survive through the winter after all.

It reminded Old Badger of the good old days of his youth.

"Brocky was eight inches long and weighed four ounces. He was still blind and must have been a week old. His coat was a beautiful Chinchilla grey, except for his tummy and stumpy little legs, which were covered with coarsish shiny black hair. His head was white with two well-defined black stripes running from behind his ears, over his eyes and tapering down to his nose, and ending in what can best be described as a quirk or a squiggle. They gave him a very clownish expression."
From Page 12 of Brocky the Badger by Sylvia Shepherd