in Everything Else

Arson at Ellington Nature Reserve.

Bird hide on fire

Yesterday, as I sat in my study finishing off some work, my wife called me into the lounge to look out the window. She and my two young children stood transfixed as black, billowing clouds of smoke drifted over our back garden. It was clear where it was coming from: the nature reserve close to our house.

Tragically, someone (or some group) had decided to set fire to the bird hide on the end of a jetty that goes out into the pond. By the time I’d called the fire brigade and got down there, all that the steadily-increasing group of concerned onlookers could do was watch as fierce flames consumed the wooden structure.

I overheard, but have not had confirmation, that the bird hide was doused in petrol before being set alight. In the end, the firefighters put out the fire and knocked down the hide. All that’s left are some wooden stumps.

My reason for writing about this is merely, at this stage, to document that it happened. I’m not sure who did it, nor why they did so, but feel sad that it happened. All my five year-old son asked yesterday was “Why would they do that, Daddy?” I didn’t know how to answer him but encouraged him to draw the picture at the top of this post to let out some of his emotions.

The nature reserve was opened last year after a community group secured National Lottery funding to transform the space. It’s a beautiful space within which to walk in this usually peaceful village. My children used to enjoy peeking through the windows in the bird hide.

Not any more. :-(

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to my newsletter and explore my ebooks!

  • http://twitter.com/herrdoktorc Ian Cooper

    Such a shame that people take such pleasure in destruction. And makes me even more worried about the local youth who were walking around with a petrol can yesterday.

    Not really appropriate but the response to your son is probably something along the lines of “Alfred”‘s line in Batman: “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

    • http://dougbelshaw.com/ Doug Belshaw

      Thanks for the comment, Ian. I grew up in the area so know the mindset of those who live solely in the present. That’s why I taught History (or tried to) in deprived areas. :-(

      • Andy Okoroafo

        A sad state of affairs which unfortunately is becoming all too common. As you suggest Doug those who live solely for today will have no tomorrow.
        Andy O.

        • http://dougbelshaw.com/ Doug Belshaw

          I’m not angry with them, I’m sad for the situation that led to it. :-/

          • Craigtaylor1974

            You’re a more understanding soul than I am Doug. I’d be looking at banging some heads together at this stage.

            Anyways…. please let Ben know that I’ve shown his picture to my 3 (nearly 4!) year old and he wants to draw a picture of our house tomorrow – inspiration!

          • http://dougbelshaw.com/ Doug Belshaw

            Thanks for the comment, Craig. I was angry, of course I was, but the overall feeling is sadness.

            As hard as it is, and as corny as it sounds, we need to approach people who do this with love and kindness. I honestly believe that people who understand the consequences of their actions would not do something like this.

            Are you going to put your son’s picture online somewhere? My five year-old would love to see it!