Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3137

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The Daily Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3137
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad

  
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This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
*****

I didn’t have time for anything the next morning. It was shower dress and breakfast, check girls in their uniforms and drop them at school using the VW. At my own office I was presented with an article from the Echo featuring our very own Danielle Cameron, footballer extraordinaire. I ignored my usual urge to ask how an evening paper is published in time for breakfast and dived into the story while my main minion made the tea.

To my astonishment, Jackson had treated her reasonably and there were no mentions of anything except football with a lovely photo of her in her England shirt. It was too early to say that it was okay because someone might recognise her and cause a stink, but we’d have to deal with that on an if and when basis.

The problem is that, not too many soccer players can do an overhead bicycle kick and her previous incarnation was one such player. So the photos of that goal, courtesy of the Daily Mirror, could possibly prompt memories; we’d simply have to wait and see.

After a tea induced recovery, I made my way to the labs again and did a rerun of owl pellet dissection and analysis. It was quite good fun. Barn owls again, their pellets are the easiest to find and usually contain a reasonable mix of prey items, which they had to identify from the chart we gave them.

Barn owls tend to hunt over fields and hedgerows so are less likely to catch dormice, which tawny owls, a woodland and garden species, do quite frequently. In the early days of trying to repair damage to corridors between colonies of dormice, such as a path through a wood or a new road, conservationists hollered for some sort of bridge to span the gap. Initially ropes were used and dormice used them, so did the owls—like a sort of dormouse take-away. We eventually learnt from it and built bridges with covers on them.

As the session wore on, and I was asked to help identify bits of bone, we found the usual victims in the pellets: field mice, field voles, bank voles, two bits of mole, quite a few beetles—or their wing cases, some bird bones of unknown species and the bristles that find their way into the pellet from the earthworms that are eaten, probably in their thousands. Worms provide a food source for many species of hunter, from badgers and foxes to buzzards and owls.

In terms of the food chain or trophic levels as we tend to call it these days, the worms come down as pretty well the bottom or resource unless they’re feeding on plants, in which case then the item they feed on becomes the resource and then each step up is a primary, secondary and so on until you get to the apex feeder. Usually that’s a carnivore or omnivore. So the chain could be something like, grass (resource) is eaten by bunnies (primary level) which are eaten by weasels (secondary) which may be hunted by buzzards (tertiary).

If the buzzard is subsequently shot by a man, apart from it being illegal, it doesn’t make the man a quaternary level feeder as he is very unlikely to eat the buzzard. It could be taken by a larger or stronger raptor like an eagle or even a peregrine which would be quaternary level feeders, as they do tend to eat what they catch.

As we dissected the pellets I was trying to explain how this all works and how the food interactions can also be considered a food web, but those tend to be more complex so I won’t labour the point here.

Returning to my office, the sun was shining and I felt quite good. It was also ridiculously warm, the outdoor sensor reading 15°C according to the mini weather station sitting on my desk. Not much wind either, wished I’d come on my bike except I’d not be able to collect the girls with it.

Eating my roll at lunchtime, I spotted another of these supposed supporters of trans people suggesting we aren’t real and more or less regurgitating the male privilege argument that Jenni Murray had used the week before. This time it was in a TV interview with Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Why these people have to air their views I don’t know, unless it’s a way of courting publicity and primarily it upsets the activists who tend to say things equally stupid. The second wave, are the more balanced responses from the more eloquent in the community and are often well worth reading.

I would also reiterate that my kind of feminism doesn’t use labels but tries to be inclusive, seeing everyone as worthy of being equal regardless of age, sex, gender, sex preference, religion or colour. It does appreciate that others have different ideas and opinions but tries not to condemn them because of it, seeing it possibly as either the result of a bad experience or ignorance of the actual facts. Sadly, experiences with some of the more vociferous protestors might be seen as bad ones, but then we don’t know what the protestors experiences are either.

My own have been mixed but I can honestly say that I wasn’t aware of any sense of male privilege for my first twenty years of life, but certainly had lots of experiences which I suspect were quite as threatening as any female contemporary.

Diana who reads the ‘i’ a tabloid format paper which used to be produced by the Independent and is still a reputable newspaper, showed me a photo of Hazte Oir conservative association in Spain, protesting in Madrid against the promotion of gender identity, believing that birth gender is all that should be recognised. It appears that the rise of intolerance fuelled by right wing politics is becoming increasingly worldwide. I’m never quite sure whether I feel pity or disgust for such groups who seem to need to hate minorities in order to feel good about themselves. Actually, ultimately they can’t because sooner or later they discover they belong in some smaller group themselves and as they already possibly hate themselves anyway, it would probably blow them away altogether.

My afternoon was more mundane as I dealt with paperwork and chairing a committee I set up to go through all the policies of the department and decide if they needed updating, rewriting or scrapping. Then we need to see if any areas require policies which haven’t had them before. It is totally mind numbing and very hard work but I was rather glad we had one of support for transgender students when I transitioned and then came to teach at this venerable institution—well I like it.

At the convent, I was asked by the headmistress if I would consider doing an address for the school leavers, as they have a farewell ceremony which precedes a dance in the evening for the older girls. I told her I’d think about it, even when she told me, as a professor, I could encourage them to make the best of their university years as they were great fun. She didn’t elaborate but the faraway look in her eye tended to suggest I didn’t get the whole story.

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