Sunday 13 March 2011

5,000 Volts

I have received a few tuts from blog-readers about my apparent indolence at weekends, to which the only possible plea is a resounding "guilty". I take no credit in admitting a deep-seated horror of domestic chores of any kind and especially DIY projects. I'm not sure that I am necessarily bad at these jobs but I simply cannot muster the necessary Zen-like patience and application; in fact quite the reverse and I have been known to abandon small tasks for over a decade when some irritating obstacle wrecks the plan. For example there is a sawn plank sitting accusatorily in my shed which should have graced my "study" (a.k.a. second bedroom) as a neat bookshelf but fell foul of a rawl plug-related incident in 1997. One day I may get over it and try again.

However, sometimes needs must or, more specifically, Mrs Blog requires something to be done. In the safety of mid-winter I agreed to check out on Google how we might thwart Mrs B's arch-antagonist - the badger and his family who over the last three years have devastated our root vegetables (a row of carrots in particular attracts these nocturnal nuisances like a line of Bolivian attracts Charlie Sheen).

My preferred option was to borrow the neighbour's Russian 4-10 and stake out the veg patch at dusk fortified by a thermos of sweet tea. But, you've guessed it, it's illegal to blow away cuddly Mr Badger who appears to have cleverly got himself covered under the European Human Rights Act - not necessarily an insuperable hurdle but it is in this case as there are undoubtedly people in the street of the urban, animal-hugging tendency who would summon Dyfed-Powys' best as soon as they heard the surprisingly loud report of the light-weight Baikal pop-gun.

A long shot was to invite the Assembly Government's Minister of Agriculture Elin Jones to choose my garden for her notorious cull which was revived this week (see the story here) but she says she has her eye on Pembrokeshire.

So, the answer gleaned from the Internet is a 5,000 volt electric fence which I spend the day erecting. I avoid major expense by borrowing the fence materials from my brother and adapting an old set of car jump-leads to connect it up. The physicists among you may be interested to know that the fence only works if you literally earth the return connection in the soil (in my case using an old poker) and the current, being of such a vast voltage, can travel for a mile or more through the ground to complete the circuit and scare the sh*t out of the marauding mammal as he targets your precious crops. At least that's the theory.

For now at any rate the fence has done the trick: Mrs B gratefully shakes a mean Margarita which I enjoy while watching Wales whip the Irish against the odds as the sun goes down on an unusually industrious Saturday.

The least useful link which I found on Welsh badgers may be seen here.