Introducing the badgers

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Picture: five little badgers sitting on Richard, huggin' and a-kissin'...  well, sitting there, anyway.

I have lots of badgers. Well, eight badgers, which I think is rather a lot. You can only see five of them on the photo, because since that photo was taken there have been three new additions to the badger clan: Quilp, Oscar and Holly; and if you came round to visit me, you'd only see 7 of them because Quincey would almost certainly be at work.

So who are these badgers?

Scully was the first badger to come and live with me. (There was also a Mulder-badger, but his pet human doesn't talk to me any more so the badgers have been separated. What can I say? Life sucks sometimes.) Scully wears a ragged little tartan necktie which was given to her by Ernest, a handsome young teddy-bear of her acquaintance; so although the necktie's seen better days, she wouldn't lose it for the world. Scully's getting to be quite an old badger now, and I think she gets a bit tired out by all the bouncy younger badgers; but she's patient and kind enough to just bear with it.

Quincey arrived next; I found him in a shop in Whitby, when I was staying there (for entirely non-goth-related reasons) with my dear friend Kit Dawe. Quincey is named after the American in Bram Stoker's Dracula; I wanted him to have a suitably Whitby-ish name, but he is only a very little badger so I felt that the name of a major character would have sat uneasily on his tiny little badgerish shoulders. Do badgers have shoulders? Well, you know what I mean, anyway. Kit (who, incidentally, belongs to Scully's friend Ernest) has a near-identical badger called Bartholomew; he and Quincey haven't seen each other for a long while either -- circumstances can intrude even when people and badgers are trying to see each other.

Mr George Eliot Badger came to live with me on my birthday this year. He was introduced to me as a birthday badger by Juanita Foster-Jones, with whom I used to work before we both escaped from Templeton College Information Centre. The naming of this badger (I mean his known name, not his ineffable name) involves some complicated circumstances. You see... Andy Priestner, another Templeton escapee, had a habit of turning all the faces in the picture round at the Folly Bridge Inn pub quiz into pictures of George Eliot, with scraped-back centre-parted hair. Then... when we were all sitting in a different pub for my birthday lunch, while this as-yet-nameless badger tried to pilfer my pint, one of the bar staff walked into the eating area and said "Is there a Mr Eliot here?" Well, of course, he had to be referring to the badger. However, the badger couldn't simply by "Mr Eliot", he had to be "Mr George Eliot" in gender-bending homage to Andy's artistic talents. Then, of course, blame Harry Hill for the unnecessary appending of 'Badger' to our charming young mustelid's name. I bet you wish you hadn't asked, don't you? Mr George Eliot Badger has a bit of a crush on Jammi Dodger, but she seems to just want to be friends. Ain't it always the way?

Jammi Dodger arrived on the same day as Mr George Eliot Badger. She was another birthday badger, this time courtesy of Elizabeth "Blob" Baldwin. The circumstances of her naming (Jammi's, not Blob's) are somewhat lost in a haze of beer and birthday cheer (at the sadly-missed Gardener's Arms in Oxford, the one on Plantation Road, not the as-far-as-I-know-still-there one on North Parade), but I can tell you that it is emphatically Jammi with an 'i', and should really be written with a big girly round dot on that 'i'. Maybe even a big girly heart. Yes.

Bad Acid Maurice arrived just after I finished my finals, as a congratulatory badger. He was originally called Pothead Maurice -- Maurice being one of the middle names of the friend who sent me the badger, and Pothead being, well, one of said friend's attributes. It was later commented, however, that the badger looked more like he'd taken some bad acid -- and so a legend, I mean, a badger, was born. He does have a rather disgruntled look about him, but it's just his way; he's lovely when you get to know him. He's easily recognisable not only by his frowning features but by the silver ear-cuff which he always wears. Incidentally, Bad Acid Maurice recently came out as gay, and has admitted to being rather taken with Mr George Eliot Badger; Mr George Eliot Badger, however, is really very straight. Another badger romance which is, I suspect, doomed never to flower.

Quilp is the newest of my badgers, and the only one who's arrived since I moved to Cambridge. Quilp is a gender-neutral badger, and sie was given to me by the lovely Lucy Kennedy. Sie always wears hir red bow-tie; one little flash of flamboyance from an otherwise gentle and quiet badger. Quilp is pictured below with Sion Arrowsmith, who has a badger of his own, called Dennis.

So stoned I didn't realise I had my hand up a badger's arse

Oscar arrived on New Year's Eve 2000, a present from Owen Dunn. He's named after Oscar Wilde, because according to Matthew Vernon (who is, after all, a vet) Oscar is definitely bent. Oscar himself has nothing to say on the subject.

Holly's full name is Holly Bush, First Badger of Bondage. She's named after a school-friend, a president, and a tree. She looks quite similar to Quincey, but she's easily recognisable by her collar and lead (whereas Quincey still insists on wearing the silk bow-tie which was made for him for a party). She likes Quincey, but she feels she's hardly had time to get to know him properly -- he's always at work these days.

Dennis is Sion's badger. He's named after the badger in "Dr. Snuggles" (an 80s-ish kids' cartoon series). I don't really know much about Dennis; I introduced him to Sion before having time to really get to know him, and some of Sion's natural reticence seems to have rubbed off on Dennis; he's a fairly quiet little badger, and spends most of his time perched on one of Sion's speakers. Dennis recently had to have a minor operation, just stitching up a wound in his back; Sion's powers of hypnosis were used instead of an anaesthetic (much less danger that way, to a small badger) and I did the actual suturing.

Picture: Dennis the badger, in his usual place on Sion's speaker