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  • Writer's pictureLiz Charpleix

Delft again

No, this is not Delft, this is the sunny isle of Muck, in the Inner Hebrides in Scotland's west. En route to a conference in Delft, I spent 10 days exploring the Small Isles, four islands off the southern tip of Skye. Anyone following the Scottish news will have noted that the first crime in 40 years was committed on the isle of Canna during my stay there, but I can honestly say that I neither knew anything about it, nor had anything to do with it.

It was a great pity that it happened - a robbery of 200 pounds worth of chocolates, batteries and hand-knitted beanies from the shop which runs on an honesty system. Look at the delightful purity of Muck. With only 22 (or is it 26? I guess it depends on whether the kids are away to school or not) should they be worried about the likelihood of their goods walking, too?

What is it about humans that they have to soil their own nests?

After a full two weeks of walking throughout the gorgeous green hills of Scotland and the Lakes District of northern England, finding beaches jam-packed with rubbish, coffee cups and chocolate wrappers stuffed down rock crevices, even a nice neat plastic bag of rubbish plopped neatly on a fence post for someone else to take away - I get to wondering: why are humans so careless of our beautiful planet?

The beaches of the Small Isles are covered with sea-borne rubbish. What do boaters think when they toss their plastic overboard? Of course, some of it is bound to be an accidental loss - all those gumboots can't have been jettisoned deliberately, and I guess fishing boats don't really want to lose metres of netting on regular basis. But that is small comfort for the health of the animals that live in and from the sea, the turtles and fish and whales and birds that get caught up, ingest and become wrapped in our garbage, until they drown, starve or are rendered incapable of free movement.

It's a red-flowered tree, which the possums will love (this is a good thing, for a possum carer). All my other native blossoms are yellow, so (assuming I can keep Parvi's tree alive; my gardening skills are less reliable than my animal husbandry skills) it's going to be a glorious burst of brightness in my house paddock, just as my gorgeous Parvi had been for the 15 years we've lived here together.

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