Plans for yesterday morning required a reset after I discovered a very alive and kicking pademelon joey in the pouch of a roadkilled mum shortly after setting off on my morning walk with Della dog. Mum was still warm so clearly hadn’t long been hit, and although joey was still very pink and unfurred, she was strong and extremely reluctant to leave the safety of her mother’s warm pouch.
A swift turn around, (luckily on this occasion I was in the car and driving to one of our regular weekend walks), and back home to contact the state’s wildlife rescue service, now coordinated by Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in the south. I was unsure if the carer to whom I’ve previously taken orphaned joeys over the years was still operating. Amazingly, after what has to be 40-odd years, I learned that she is. I interviewed her at least eight years ago and she’d been caring for wildlife then for about 30 years.
Like all wildlife carers Lorraine was a volunteer and the time and commitment required to help minimise and ameliorate the ghastly toll on our wildlife from interactions with vehicles is just amazing. Joeys as young as the one I rescued need four-hourly feeds – so similar to human babies in their demand for food. And due to their intolerance to cow’s milk a special marsupial formula has to be given, which only registered carers are allowed to access. It’s a product that doesn’t come cheap and it’s likely some carers sometimes pay for supplies with their own money, especially at peak breeding season when the number of animals needing care escalates.
Back home joey soon snuggled into my beanie, topped with a scarf to make it as cosy as possible, while I recorded the details with the WRS. This included identifying the species, weighing the joey, and taking a photo (not easy!) while waiting for Thomas, the designated wildlife-collector-of-injured-animals that day, to come and deliver her to a carer in my area able to cope with one more animal in need.
Spring is a particularly busy time for injured wildlife, a sad indictment on the number of dead animals and orphaned joeys that are a result of speeding vehicles, or careless driving.
This blog post is therefore also a reminder and a request to everyone reading it to PLEASE slow down on our roads, especially between dusk and dawn. It truly is beyond distressing to find injured and deceased animals that would still be alive and hopping if everyone just took a little more care, left home a few minutes earlier, and reduced their speed, especially on those regional and rural roads that are also shared by our precious and iconic wildlife.
When it comes to watching television it’s either ABC or SBS. Commercial television doesn’t rate in our household. I can’t stand ad breaks interrupting a program I’m just getting involved in, or a film that’s just successfully managed to capture my attention. I find the ads infuriating, and the way they seem to both speed up, and increase in length as the show gathers pace, the more infuriating I find them. Totally ruins the experience so far as I’m concerned. Obviously I have to hold my nose a bit when watching SBS, but at least there is a mute button on the remote. The only other time the TV is tuned to the commercials is for John to watch sports programs, and they’ve been few and far between in this brave new world of COVID.
But there’s only so much COVID-related news we can stomach, and after a day when pandemic stories seemed to have saturated the airwaves even more than usual, John turned in desperation to the TV guide we – unusually – had that particular week, and said Oh gosh, you’ll never guess what’s getting a re-run on one of the commercials – Heartbeat!
For those unaware Heartbeat is a UK drama series first broadcast in the early ‘90s. It’s set in a North Yorkshire village during the ‘60s and was hugely popular, running for several years. It certainly became essential Sunday evening viewing for us. I clocked early on that the location of the fictional village of Aidensfield seemed remarkably similar to the actual village of Goathland – a detail my UK-based mother was able to confirm in one of our weekly exchange of letters when I posed the question. Goathland and its surrounding North Yorkshire Moors is an area I was very familiar with from spending so many holidays there with my closest friend and her family, who had a cottage close by when we were growing up. Mary has since returned to live in the area.
With UK visits off the agenda for the foreseeable future – and this year’s planned trip already a COVID casualty – revisiting Heartbeat’s Aidensfield, looked like the closest I was going to get to soaking up those moorland vistas again for some time. An opportunity to watch episodes again therefore was a no-brainer, even if it meant watching the show irritatingly and regularly punctuated with mind-numbing ad breaks.
So for the duration, Heartbeat is on Monday night’s viewing agenda, an unexpected opportunity to remind myself of the familiar and comforting Yorkshire dialect, and those windswept moors, while enjoying some comparatively undemanding stories that unfold against a background of the uncomplicated energy that was popular music in the ‘60s.
It’s also a relief to inhabit a COVID-free zone for an hour or so.