Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hare, there and everywhere

“They’re the size of foxes,” said my friend as we sat on our horses watching a pair of hares gallop away across the field. Not only are they large in size, this year’s crop of hares are large in number. They appear to have been breeding, ahem, like rabbits…

Hares are the stuff of folklore and fable. They are touched by magic. People used to believe witches transformed themselves into hares to escape capture. In Precious Bane, Prue Sarn’s mother believes her daughter was born with a harelip because one ran in front of her while she was pregnant. At sea, fishermen consider the word ‘hare’ unlucky. In The Wicker Man, the grave of the supposedly missing Rowan is occupied by a hare …

They are shy and secretive creatures. Like partridges, they wait until the last possible moment to flee - which can lead to some very hairy moments when they suddenly bolt from beneath your cantering horse’s hooves. Once the Grey Mare and I were idling along, neither of us with our minds in the here and now, when I was transfixed by a large, unusual stone. Suddenly, it shot off across the field, rudely jolting us both out of our reverie.

Elegant, enigmatic and supreme athletes, hares are amazing to watch. They are speed and grace, bodies designed to sprint. Apparently, you can now buy pet hares to keep in a hutch. I find that rather objectionable: it would be like locking Raphael Nadal in a broom cupboard.

30 comments:

mountainear said...

They are the most wonderful vibrant creatures - we see them occasionally but not often enough. Rabbits though, this year, are everywhere.

Anonymous said...

..although not as bad as being in a broom cupboard with Boris Becker...

I love the word 'leveret' as well, often used in Wales to describe a young bimbette

Brom said...

I one saw a hare caught on the inside of the track at Silverstone trying to cross the road. It was fast but not formula 1 fast. I think it got away OK in the end.

(I refrained from the obvious hare today gone tomorrow quip)

DJ Kirkby said...

Hares as pets, how absurd! And how cruel... Mind you I think it is cruel to cage any pet. Which would explain why I only have cats and tortoises! I love reading your posts, your writing is very vivid.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Mountainear, we too are overrun by bunnies...

Anon, I forgot about that... oooh er...

Why hold back Brom?

DJK, thankyou, you're very kind. I too have cats - and of course, a horse..

Gill said...

What a strange coincidence! I had just decided to wear my hare brooch today as it felt important. My agent has just sent out my first novel (not the faery one) and the hare is an important symbol in that. I think I might do a picture of it...so take a look on my blog later!

My mum has been taking great delight in watching the hares in the field next to her house, she said they seem exceptionally large this year.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Yes, leveret's are all over especially when it's harvest time, it's amazing how they don't get caught up in the header bar of the combine.

debio said...

The size of adult hares always surprises me - in my imagination I think of them as rabbit-like with longer legs. In reality that's not true at all - to see them flee is a magical experience.

Mopsa said...

I am just so envious - I haven't seen a hare in years although I'm told they are around. They may be as elusive as the local otters. One day.....

Karen said...

I saw a lot of creatures be they baby hares or rabbits (I am not sure what they were) in the fields and grass sidings near Tesco last night.

Lovely to see a bit of wildlife in the city. Tesco is on the outskirts so a little bit more rural!

The Grocer said...

Oh M&M, you were dreaming about that broom cupboard. I know you wrote this whole piece to get that last line out in public, hahahaha

Stay at home dad said...

If I were playing Nadal I would find the idea of him being locked in a broom cupboard very attractive..

Anonymous said...

eminem, this post, and Gill's follow up has raised a question of vital national and strategic importance...

When I was growing up, there was some hype in the 'Sunday Supplements' about a book with really detailed and beautiful illustrations, which was a 'clue' to 'buried treasure' in the form of a 'gold hare' encrusted with precious jewels.. This was going to be buried somewhere in the British Isles 'for the solver of the riddle or for all eternity' or something like that.

Please tell me I didn't just dream that up ? I can't remember the name of the book, or if the 'golden hare' was ever found ? Thoughts ?

Gill said...

anonymous- it was by kit williams and called masquerade and you can read up about it on wikipedia under masquerade(book)

ziggi said...

They are very beautiful aren't they? It's because it's very true about the witch bit!

Anonymous said...

gill - wow ! that 'masquerade' book caused a bit of a stir ! fraud and sexual shenanigans.. understand that the book is a bit of a 'collector's item' now as well..

lady macleod said...

look at those ears! I agree "hares in a hutch" just cruel and heartless.

Makes me think of "Watership Down".

Gill said...

ooh is masquerade a collectors item that is worth money anon? I think some friends of mine may have a copy.

Anonymous said...

gill, I can only go by what I read on this 'unofficial tribute' site...

http://www.bunnyears.net/kitwilliams/faq.html

However, although I never use Amazon, I suspect that these days it is possible to buy almost any second hand book with less of a premium than used to be the case in the days when people had to spend time trawling round second hand bookshops.

That said, I would advise your chums to hang on to it, as I suspect that there aren't many 'spare' copies around.

Anonymous said...

gill - sorry, but I forgot to say that no one knows the whereabouts of the original golden hare either !!

On a lighter note, I couldn't even work out 'The Riddle' by Nik Kershaw so there's little chance of me ever getting my paws on a golden hare..

dulwichmum said...

I never heard of Raphael before, but I would love to lock him in my broom cupboard!

Arthur Clewley said...

shy and sensitive; we are so alike, hares and I...

Omega Mum said...

I have yet to work out whether it's a hare or a rabbit - but it's the lack of a white flash at the back when they run, isn't it.

@themill said...

Please could I be in the broom cupboard with Pat Cash?
And yes, the hares are HUGE this year. Must be the rain.

Gill said...

Nadal no a broom cupboard! No way,if you're going to fantasise about him a quick shag in a broom cupboard will not suffice!!

debio said...

Watching Rafael Nadal right now - would only store him in my broom cupboard - to make most would require much more freedom.

Pleased to see he has broad fan base - thought I might be the only one!

You are joking, dulwich mum?

Sorry to use your space for this, m&m.

Gill said...

hey eminem did you see the horse crossed with the zebra?

Anonymous said...

eminem - maybe you should have a spin off 'NSFW' blog to cover your readers 'fictional fantasy' requirements ;-)

muddyboots said...

hares are wonderful creatures. we seem to have a bumper crop of leverets this year. they are amazing,when chased they always run in a large circle. l think kit williams designed & made the bubble fish clock in one of cheltenham's shopping arcades.

Karen said...

The bubble fish clock! I love that! I used to go and chase the bubbles even when I was a teenager and all the other kids were about 6 :)