The fog was dense, thick, cloying and damp, so that the ground, the grass and the soil, exposed by many boots and paws, all around the sett, had become a sticky, slithery trap for the unwary.
I had set the trail camera up in its usually place and refilled the bowl of water. Handfuls of Peanuts had been placed under the usual rocks, and I was almost finished. The dogs watched all this, their leads secured to a branch, with a mixture of boredom and agitation.
I tried to launch a handful of peanuts into one of the entrances but as I brought my arm back I slipped and as I frantically tried to stop the slide the peanuts fell scattering obviously on the mud while I was falling and flailing and ended up landing on my backside and then slide down the smooth slope of the badgers body channel, coming in gloriously to a halt at the entrance.
Bloody badgers, the first thought that came to mind. But of course this was totally unfair. I had trespassed albeit for all the right reasons, the great peanut god come to scatter the sweet nuts, on their home. I had damaged with my clumsiness and carelessness the carefully smoothed channel that led to the sett, I was an imposter, an invader, an unwanted guest I did not belong, and I was lying turtle like on my back.
It was getting dark and soon the stripy folk a few feet beneath me would be looking to come out to begin their day and at the moment I was in their way.
Getting upright was a struggle, a slippery slow climb to my feet and using my hands to gain purchase on the sides of the run I levered myself upright and stepped gingerly and carefully away from the muddy slide.
I collected the dogs who were still tied to the same branch had observed this with a mixture of alarm and distain, alarm for the grunting and swearing that accompanied my toppling, distain for the wasted peanuts.
We crept out of the clearing carefully trying not to add to the obvious trail that human feet and badger paws had made over the many years and headed back to the car.
Back in the car, the dogs settled in the back snuggled among the old pillows and duvets and I in the driver’s seat muddy and damp I was comforted that at least the badgers would be enjoying the nuts, unaware of the trauma involved in their delivery.