Deborah Ross: Family values are safe with 'Springwatch'

If you ask me...
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The Independent Online

If you ask me, I thought it high time I wrote a fan letter to the Springwatch presenter Kate Humble, and so I did: "Dear Ms Humble, I'm writing this to say I'm a great admirer of yours, not just for being able to exclaim 'we have live beaver!' with a straight face, which isn't as easy as it looks, but also for your tremendous enthusiasm. 'Wow, what an absolute treat!' you say every time yet another brown bird is shown, and you know what? Not everyone could do that. Indeed, as I myself often want to say to you: Kate, love, my garden is full of brown birds. They are as nothing. If I went mental every time I saw a brown bird, I wouldn't do anything else. I certainly wouldn't have time to wait about for your beaver – 'we've got beavers coming up, live!' – although when I put this to my husband, he said he'd always find time for that, would drop everything instantly, which was interesting as usually he takes an age to get round to anything. Kate, I wish he felt the same zeal for putting up shelves! I really do!

"Thanks, anyway, for getting him hooked on wildlife, although he is turning out to be quite picky. Otters, for example, don't seem to do much for him, and he gets peculiarly irritated by pine martens. 'Bring on the beaver,' he always says. I guess you could say he's a beaver man, through and through. I may have to buy him a book on them for his birthday.

"Anyway, tell me, are you as much the enthusiast at home? I've been wondering if you get up in the morning, feel the carpet between your toes, and exclaim 'wow, carpet, how absolutely gorgeous!' and then put the kettle on ('Wow, what an absolutely delightful little kettle!') and then have a cup of tea: 'Wow, what beautiful tea! Fantastic! Absolutely stunning!' Is that what you're like, Kate? I told my husband you might be quite hard to live with – on opening the post: 'Wow, the Berghaus catalogue! Early this year, but absolutely adorable!' – but he wouldn't have any of it. He even hopes beaver numbers will increase in this country until you can spot one on every corner. 'That would be nice,' he says.

"So thanks, Kate, for making Springwatch the sort of wholesome show the family can enjoy together which, in these vulgar times, is quite something. I applaud you but do have to say you're wrong about one thing: beavers don't cause flooding. Or, at least, I've never known it."