Susan Morrison: Nature is lovely '“ but not when it's on the road
Are deer becoming the new menace on Scotland's roads? Are there loads more of them, or are they developing some sort of suicidal tendency?
I only ask, because as I made my way home on a perfectly calm, moonlit night, I walloped into one. While driving, I should point out. Had I just gently jogged into it, I suspect I might have come off worse in the encounter.
Since we are talking car versus deer, I think we all know how this is going to end.
One expects that in rural districts – an area of country I try to avoid due to the lack of retail opportunities – deer can be a hazard.
One does not expect to suddenly be confronted by a large mammal directly in one’s path on the M8 – although technically, it wasn’t the M8, but that funny little bit that curves up and has Edinburgh Park on the right hand side, you know the bit I mean?
I know I sound flippant about the whole encounter, but nothing could be further from the truth. There was really nothing I could do, although I did find out how good my car brakes are (answer: savage), but it didn’t prevent the impact.
As I looked in my rear view mirror, I realised I hadn’t killed it outright.
Influenced by too many years of childhood exposure to Blue Peter and hokey American TV shows featuring cross-eyed lions, I leapt out of the car thinking I Could Do Something, because when I was a kid, people on telly rescued injured animals and they became bestie pals forever. Even lions.
Now it’s all Bear Grylls and straight on the barbecue for you, Mr Badger, after being sideswiped by a passing Eddie Stobbart lorry.
I raced back to the injured deer, clutching my mobile phone. Why? What on earth did I think I was going to do with it? Snapchat? Take selfies? “Hey, Me And The Dinged Deer”? Phone? But who exactly? Sir David Attenborough?
She didn’t seem to have broken a leg, which was my big worry, because then she might have made a break for it and spent days wandering. I’ve seen way too many wildlife programmes. She’d be easy prey for a roaming wolf pack, I figured. Then I remembered the only wolves nearby were snoozing gently at the zoo, and they get room service.
I did what I could, and by that I mean I ran back and forward at the side of the road crying like a baby and howling “I’m sorry” – not a good look for a woman of my age.
She fell over. There was blood coming out of one ear. She had a head injury. She died minutes later.
I burst into tears again, realising that I had killed Bambi’s mother, and thus in the Disney universe that made me the Wicked Witch of the West.
Still blubbering, I got back in the car.
Feeding the foxes is all well and good, but what about my car?
In the undergrowth, at the edge of the headlight beam, two brilliant yellow eyes were watching me. It was a fox. There was something moving beside it. Cubs. I had just provided mum with dinner for the kids. Circle of life and all that.
I was still sentimentally sobbing as I got home. Until, that is, I saw the damage to the front of my pretty new car and suddenly I came over a bit Bear Grylls.
So, does anyone know? More deer, or depressed deer, hanging about Scotland’s motorways to fling themselves in front of passing automobiles?
Small acts of kindness in a troubled world
The world feels like it has gone mad. The news bulges with so much horror that sometimes it’s easy to believe we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. People seem to be moved more by rage than love.
On Leith Walk on a peaceful afternoon, a young man, probably about 20, had collapsed in a doorway. Busy people were just walking past.
A tiny old lady stopped. She shook his shoulder and he opened his eyes. She said: “Are you alright, son?” He struggled to focus, but then he said: “Aye.” She helped him up and patted him down. She told him to go home and have a wee sleep. Did he have a home? Aye, he said. Grand, she said. Away ye go, son.
There is still kindness in the world.
Space may be a better place right now...
Hello Tim Peake! So, welcome back! How was your trip? Since you’ve been gone, things have been a bit, well, weird down here.
Yes, that’s right, we’re having another referendum, no, not that one, a different one (but we might be having THAT one again pretty sharpish, depending on the result of THIS one). Bob Geldof got involved in a boat battle on the Thames with Nigel Farrage. Donald Trump could well become president of the United States.
What’s that? Well, yes, I suppose you could go back up into orbit…