It's always a highlight of the autumn when the HOGOLOGUE, the Christmas* catalogue of THE BRITISH HEDGEHOG PRESERVATION SOCIETY (BHPS), drops through the door as it did last week. Not so much for the merchandise - there are only so many hedgehog stickers, keyrings, mousemats and soft toys one can take** - but as a reminder of one of the country's most idiosyncratic, but effective, green pressure groups.
With it comes the newsletter, and there is nothing quite like it. "How hedgehogs can save the world!" shouts one headline in the current issue (though the secret is never divulged). There's the story of a rescued but "incredibly grumpy" beast called Jaws,*** "possibly the stinkiest hedgehog we have ever met", and a letter from a member who has nightmares about baby hedgehogs being stuck in loo pipes.
I still cherish a poem in a previous issue about the agonies of releasing an orphan into the wild: "Worried that we'd overfed him/When he went into the forest?/Would he look for avocados?" Sadly, the animal, called Sausage,*** perished.
Eccentrically British? Possibly. But, the society, just 12,000 strong, is a giant killer. It forced McDonald's to spend a fortune changing the shape of its McFlurry dessert containers (hedgehogs got their heads stuck in them) and stopped the Scottish authorities mounting a cull (to protect rare wading birds) on the island of Uist.
It's latest campaign is to persuade people to cut small holes in hedges to let the animals through. That is a nice reversal of the one - liner with which comedian Dan Antopolski won the prize for the funniest joke at the Edinburgh Festival:"Hedgehogs, Why can't they just share the hedge?"****
SOURCE: From an article in the Daily Telegraph.
* The HOGOLOGUE though only produced once a year is not, in fact, a Christmas catalogue - goods are available all year round.
** Who says there are only so many keyrings etc one can take? Every hogologue sees new items as well as old favourites.
*** Who chooses these names, Jaws, Sausages - I ask you, what next?
**** No, I didn't get the joke either.
PETTY WITTER SAYS: For those of you new to the blog, I'm a huge hedgehog fan (have been ever since I was a little girl) and have been a life member of the BHPS for a long time now.