Guest Blog by Roderick Leslie – Terry’s future 2

Terry ducked into the low tunnel, pleased the five people following were so quiet. Twenty metres on, they arrived in the cramped dugout with its narrow slits facing across the glade in the young birch wood. It wasn’t long before a small grey snout appeared, followed by a the cub. Terry felt his companions hold their breath as several more cubs and their mother appeared.

Walking back through the darkening evening, everyone was quiet, reflecting on what they had seen. For Terry, the Wolves really were the icing on the cake – fantastic, wonderful animals he loved to watch – and the animals that had secured his family’s future. This evening he’d earn as much as he’d have earns in a week as an under keeper, and then there was the way his wolf watchers treated him, as a hugely respected expert. A mile away, he reflected, from his cynical boss’s ‘Just do what it takes to put the birds over the guns – and remember you’ll be out of a job if you don’t’. Or the guns – most were real gentlemen, but there was always the money element who judged a man solely by how much he earned – and on that basis an under keeper was worth slightly less than a retriever with a good pedigree.

The Wolves weren’t reliable, of course, but with so much else around there was always something to show people, the Pine Martens, Beavers, Ospreys, Eagle Owls to name just a few.

Terry regretted the decade away after he lost his job – but in that time he’d made the money and gained the skills to build his own eco-house and he scored a maximum on the Government’s privilege scheme to attract people back to the new uplands – and what a change he found ! New woodlands springing up naturally, alongside the few remaining farms, a host of new wildlife, rejuvenated rivers and, best of all a growing, young population.

His wildlife watching business got off to a good start – but he needed more publicity. He remembered that at the height of the battle over grouse shooting Chris Packham had said he’d do what he could to help any keeper who had lost out. Back then, of course, he was the bogeyman and Terry blamed him for the loss of his job. But why not give it a try ? A month later Terry watched the TV crew draw up in front of his house. Coffee inside was tense but as soon as Terry and Chris walked through the garden gate into the woods they clicked: a magical day later, and an applauded half hour documentary later, and Terry was booking a year ahead.

Terry thought about the trout they’d be eating for supper – caught by him that morning, three times the size he remembered thanks to the Alder and Birch and the Beaver pools. His freezer was full of venison and Boar, too – despite the Wolves there was still enough to go round. It amused him that people had thought shooting would eliminate Boar again – some chance ! Alongside his wife’s renowned sausages, they were also stars of his popular night walks – watching bats, Nightjar and Woodcock, but with the little stripy piglets seen through night vision gear the stars of the show.

Of course, like anyone Terry still faced problems: the neighbours were a bit mixed – he got on well with the professional mountain bikers who always respected his advice about avoiding sensitive spots, the sheep farmers still worried him, despite the generous compensation for the rare losses to Wolves, but he really didn’t understand the Buddhist meditators at all – at least they were harmless and loved the environment. And they were all fighting together, against a dozy local authority, to extend the school, which shot from near closure to Portacabin-overcrowding in just a decade.

As Terry thought about the dream family holiday he thought he’d be able to afford at last – an East African Safari – he reflected on the extraordinary journey from the day grouse shooting went – whoever would have guessed he’d be here doing the work he loved more than anything in this new, rewooded environment, better off and happier than he could ever have imagined.

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14 Replies to “Guest Blog by Roderick Leslie – Terry’s future 2”

  1. You should make it a book! You would have 20,000+ to buy it to start with from this blog!!

  2. It's good to have a response to the first 'Terry' which didn't seem very helpful to me. While it's interesting, I don't think the 'story' format is helpful as it's too imprecise. Anyone care to draw a mind-map? Then the individual aspects of the issue can be debated and their relative importance assessed with less heat!

    1. Nigel - you seem fixated with Kentucky - you should read my book, A Message from Martha - Chapter 4 has bits and pieces about Kentucky.

      But I fail to see the relevance otherwise. Or, actually, maybe it is your failure to explain it, not mine. have a go, and we'll see.

      1. Just as a point of interest, there are now more wolves in Europe than there are in North America. They are even present within an hour's drive of the centre of Rome.

      2. Terry Future Part 3,

        Terry stood in front of the mirror he was looking a very worried man as he fumbled around with his tie knot. He had made a bad judgement call at the local manufacturing plant where he was now a manager and had to face the CEO and the management team in two hours. The CEO was a man well known for his short fuse and one not to mince his words, Terry was sure he would get his marching orders. As he stood there looking at himself in the mirror he wondered how for the third time in his life when all seemed rosy, how could it go so terribly wrong. Terry had been a gamekeeper at first and this is the life he had chosen for himself. Sadly with the banning of driven grouse shooting he had to give this life up. This caused Terry to lose control of his life and turn to the drink and spent the next decade in alcohol and depression, amazingly parliament had decided not to help those affected by the ban as the largely urban based Politian’s in parliament at the time only ever saw the ban as sticking one over on the toffs, that ordinary working class folk were also affected was of little importance, they were seen as nothing more as lackeys to the wealthy. Matters were further exasperated when Terry learnt the campaign to achieve a ban had been hijacked by more extreme elements, those with strong sociopathic traits, charming charismatic folk, high intelligent but who talked rubbish but in some strange way it all sounded believable. These folk were willing to deceive at any cost even using corrupted data to deceive the public and members of parliament. A constant round of parliamentary parties ensured they could get the ear of Politian’s to pass on this corrupt data with no interference and the funding of parliamentarians in their constituencies certainly helped their cause. Terry was also astonished to learn the fair minded Mark Avery the man who had initially started the campaign had been side-lined well before the ban on grouse shooting had been implemented. Mark had remained fair and given air time to those supporting grouse shooting, this did not fit in well with the new extremist mind set. They thought this very unhelpful and had pushed him out to the side. Terry smirked in the mirror at the irony.

        His thoughts then moved to his second job, the chance to own a business in the uplands were he once had longed to be a gamekeeper, he smiled at how well this had started. Within a few years it had all gone horribly wrong, the wolves they had reintroduced into the upland areas had gone into a local village and killed two young girls. Fortunately the government at the time were very sympathetic to the conservationist and had started a campaign of disinformation in an attempt to cover up the killings. This Government was no stranger to this behaviour, decades before in two separate incidents men lamping foxes mistook folk out walking late at night for foxes and shot them dead, at the time the Government support for lamping foxes never wavered and they pushed through a ban on the basis lamping could be used instead of hunting. However the killing by the wolves never issued the coup de grace to Terry`s second job, it was the governments spend thrift ways. Although millions were pumped into the uplands to rejuvenate initially it became apparent to re-wild an area you have to limit the number of humans wanting to visit, simply you could not get enough folk in the area to make it economical viable and local businesses employing local people went out of business. This folly along with other failed expensive projects ensured this particular political party were not going to see power for a good few years, they were voted out as the next election came around.

        Terry felt very alone in the boardroom stood in front of his fellow managers and CEO, sweat pouring off his brow. He thought of the hard work that had earned him a rapid rise through the ranks and on top of the work the long arduous hours studying for an Open university degree, to achieve a manager’s position in such a short space of time was unheard of. He began to explain to the CEO of his mistake that had cost the company dear, fellow managers winced and moved away from the table half expecting the CEO`s to go bounding down the table at the unfortunate manager, the CEO just sat their staring ahead in disbelief not saying a word, Terry finished saying what had to be said and waited for the inevitable. The CEO rocked back in his chair, this Terry though was the sign for him to propel himself forward and start shouting his marching orders, the CEO rocked back to the table and said “Gentlemen, I think I have the best team in the country sat this table to resolve this problem, let’s get to work”

        Hint Hint! Surprisingly non-fiction BTW.

        Terry’s Future part 4

        Terry won the lottery a year later and now lives in Spain.

  3. Hello

    I think you have hit the nail on the head with this blog. There is a huge amount of potential in grouse moors to be converted to nature reserves. A few weeks ago I commented on this blog about doing just that.

    I don't know how many visitors reserves like Minsmere get every year but imagine the interest that ex-grouse moors would get if they had breeding hen harriers, peregrines or short eared owls. Plus black grouse, merlin and a variety of other birds, not to mention the interest generated from plants and invertebrates.

    Visitor centre cafes, which in my experience get lots of birders chatting, eating cake and drinking coffee in them, would benefit. Think on it moor owners.

    Meanwhile, see you all there in Derbyshire tomorrow.

  4. Nigel - is the thought of a few wolves such a terrifying prospect? People live with them in other European countries so why can't we?

    I wouldn't worry too much though, as the recent official response to a family of beavers living in Devon suggests that reintroducing our lost mammals is a long way away.

  5. You'll find a lot of background I my June 14 book 'Forest Vision' from Summerfield books - based on the real experience of changing the Forestry Commission - draw a straight line through FC's rate of change and my ideas aren't so crazy !

    And if the Netherlands can do it, surely we have the space ?

  6. I'm not convinced it's going to be practical to re introduce wolves. Unless we do dogs can be an ideal substitute in some circumstances.

  7. I was in Halsingland Sweden a couple of weeks ago which has the largest individual wolf pack in that country, with eleven members. I didn't see or hear one but one of the largest complaints about them is that they take hunting dogs.

    To my mind this just increases the value of reintroducing them. Dogs off the lead can be a real pest for ground nesting birds, anything that limits their numbers would be helpful.


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