Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
9th February, 2007
THE REINTRODUCTION of the wolf into Coxley Valley Woods seems to be going well. The countryside should suit them as the name of the nearby village of ‘Woolley’ indicates that in Anglo Saxon times this was ‘the clearing of the wolves’. Coxley, by the way, means ‘the clearing of the woodcock’.
Not surprisingly, the locals are now worried about taking a walk through the woods; especially one local girl, Annabelle from South Ossett, who has been given the errand of setting off, wearing her favourite red hood and cape, to her Grandma’s house with a bunch of flowers and a basket containing a large meat pie.
Alarmingly for conservationists, rumour has it that a brigadier of dubious reputation has booked into the King’s Arms intent on bagging some big game. All this can mean only one thing; my brother Bill Bell has written and produced another pantomime for the St Ignatius’ Thespians. Tonight there’s an enthusiastic audience; almost a full house despite the snow.
The Wolf turns out to be an urbane charmer who does a remarkably good rendition of Frankie Vaughn’s Give me the Moonlight, somewhat marred by blood-curdling howls at the end of each verse.
In his defence, although the wolf did swallow up Annabelle’s crotchety Grandma and one officious woman police officer, both victims have now fully recovered following an emergency operation at the scene of the crime.