Charity, chaps and dead squirrels

I’m not a great fan of riding weekends – it’s always busier – but the forecast is grim for the coming week(s), so it’s a case of grab the chance while you can.

I rode past two cycling charity events going on today, and the aftermath of one charity run. I respect and admire the people taking part – especially when I catch sight of those that are visibly doing something that’s hard for them. Some of the riders looked like it was a real effort.

The same goes for those helping to make it all happen. One of the rides was being marshalled by Rotarians and those chaps – for they are chaps, not blokes – were out there spending an awful lot of time in very mediocre weather to ensure it all went smoothly, and for everyone time’s so hard to come by these days.

Once again it makes me think about our collective, public values. Once again, I find myself suspecting the world would be far better if these charity supporters were the ones being lauded the most loudly; their motives and deeds trumpeted as being truly admirable; their attitudes and actions held up as genuinely desirable. I rather suspect the average charity-helping Rotarian would be far better company for an evening than any two-bit ‘celeb’.

And that different set of values would be to the good of all. After all, the things that make us happy aren’t things. Now things are so widely available, and now there is so much discontent, we badly need to learn that lesson.

Not far out of Reading, on the edge of Emmer Green, there was a freshly dead squirrel on the road. I don’t know what had killed it – it wasn’t squashed. Perhaps it had just fallen out of a tree. Nature does make mistakes.

A dead grey squirrel

Fertilizer? A meal?

When I drew close, I noticed a woman coming out of her house with a shovel. I looked back to she her scooping the corpse up. I could only speculate as to what she was going to do. Did she just want to bury it out of some notion of decency? Was that an act of charity too? Are dead squirrels good fertilizer? Did she simply not want an unsightly dead squirrel – doubtless soon to be squished by a car tyre – outside her house? Did she feel burying it was decent thing to do in some unspecific but deep-seated way? Was there some kind of religious angle to it? Do squirrels make a decent meal? I have no idea. I think I hope it was for fertilizing.