By Pamela Mounter.
The conversation went like this:
‘Now we have to find a home for the badgers.
‘Badgers? I thought it was great crested newts.’
‘Oh that’s sorted. We’ve located a potential new home for them, got the landowner’s permission to turn it into a nature reserve, got the environment people and the local council happy with it, now we just have to get Health and Safety permission to build the mini cattle grids across the towpath to stop them returning to their muddy old home at the bottom of the derelict canal.’
‘But the badgers?’
‘They’ve dug holes for homes in the sides of the canal and Carrie likes them, even if farmers don’t.’
This is my husband discussing the work he is doing as chair of a canal restoration group.
There is much more I could tell you about fundraising, designing and building a new bridge across the canal, relationships with local councils along the way, planning authorities, farmers’ land, etc. etc. etc.
But I won’t.
Instead, I will tell you about the CIPR lifeline inviting people to become mentors: something to keep my end up in this household! I applied. Got accepted. Did the training. And so glad I did.
It may have been an ignoble reason but, for me, it has been incredibly rewarding (I believe it has for my mentees too). I have mentees in the UK, Europe and South Africa, thanks to my global experience. They give me a window on very different worlds. They give me their much younger youthful perspective. They listen to me – at my age! – and make me feel valued. And I can see how they have developed so effectively with the one-to-one mentoring which, for me as a former university lecturer, is very special.
So, thank you badgers.