Farthing Watch – 1.09

‘Whistler’s Quarry’

Last Time: The animals plodded on, and showed some pretty callous disregard for Moley as he lagged behind. Meanwhile, Fox and his new squeeze Vixen got into a spot of bother with some foxhunters. They all found each other eventually, and Adder stepped up (reared up?) to save Vixen. Fox and Vixen paired off, and all was lovely.

You know those characters in series who arrive and suddenly you can’t think how the series ever worked without them? Whistler is one of those characters for me. To a lesser extent Vixen as well, but I was a massive Whistler fan. I’m not 100% sure why. Let’s see if the love kickstarts again on the rewatch!

Moley is squawking about how happy he is. ‘Oh Moley,’ says Badger, ‘If only your tears weren’t salty, none of us would ever be thirsty again!’. Killjoy. Insensitive madman Toad is cawing about how he promised they’d all get to White Deer Park. ‘Not quite all’ reminds Owl, standing above the mourning mice and their mates. Toad really is off in a world of his own. That rock being dropped on him in the first episode can’t have helped, the poor love.

Vixen helps an embarrassed Adder by suggesting that in rescuing Vixen she actually was saving her own skin. Fox is very proud of his new paramour.

Kestrel has found them a quarry, and Toad is excited about the ducks and waterbirds and all manner of other treats he knows to be there. ‘He’sss off again!’ says Adder. He’s off something, that’s for sure. If Toad thinks it’s going to be fun it probably means he’s leading them into a deathtrap.

Badger is being all introspective about his decision to let the mice stay behind (you know, the decision that led to their babies being brutally slaughtered). Fox is barely listened – he’s too busy mooning over every little thing Vixen does. ‘HAHAHAHA our leader’s in love!’ cackles Weasel. Well yeah, they basically got married at the end of the last episode. Catch up Weasel!

Toad is happy, but the political predators are back to moaning. ‘Toad’sssss getting above himsssself!’ says Adder. They admonish each other for saving a fox each in the previous episode. Make your minds up, girls! Are you evil or not??

There is a fence surrounding the quarry, which poses problems for the bigger animals. ‘It’s alright, Badger, we can all hop through’ says Toad, the absolute idiot.

Moley, being useful for once, suggests burrowing underneath. ‘Moley, what would we do without you?’ says Badger. ‘Die of thirsssst, I ssshould think!’ hisses back Adder. For some reason, yet again, the digging task is left to the tiny mole, rather than being allocated to the massive badger. Fox takes the opportunity to throw a bit of shade on Rabbit who, in case you’ve forgotten, almost got him killed by that MASS OF DEBRIS way back when.

There’s a heron in the air, accompanied by an odd whistling sound. ‘A fine display of flying technique, don’t you think Owl?’ asks lovely, complimentary Kestrel, our absolute fave. ‘Needs oiling if you ask me’ replies horrible, bitchy Owl.

Mole is still digging. ‘Wait a minute,’ he says to one of the squirrels, ‘I’ve got to widen the tunnel for Fox and Vixen’. How much bigger than a mole is a fox? About twenty times as big? Why the hell is Badger not digging?!

‘Come on mateys!’ shouts Toad, ‘Water’s cool and sweet!’

Mr Rabbit got buried by the mud Moley threw up, and his family leave him buried to teach him a lesson. How charming!

Fox and Vixen do a little commentary on the gang whilst they all enjoy the quarry. Mrs Hare suggests that they might stay there, but everyone sensibly points out that such decisions usually lead to horrible death. They’re learning!

That whistling heron flies down to say hello and introduces himself. Steven! No, not really, it’s obviously Whistler! Yayyyy. Fox, with the usual Farthing Wood tact, immediately asks why he whistles. ‘Someone mistook me for a pheasant’ the bird explains, ‘Took a potshot, winged me’. Probably that bloodthirsty farmer!

Owl finds Whistler a bit ostentatious. She would! The other animals are either seriously impressed by his mad fishing skills, or a bit terrified. It’s nice to see Adder get a bit shaken up! Mrs Hedgehog balls up and falls into the water. ‘She’s frightened of the heron, you see’ explains her husband, ‘Always rolls up when she’s frightened; we both do’. Ooooh – we haven’t had that sort of FORESHADOWIIIING for quite a while!

Toad decides he wants to learn to fish, and goes off to chase some tiddlers. Obviously there’s a monster fish in the quarry. Obviously. A carp, apparently, but it looks more like some sort of barracuda. Toad gets dragged under and half-swallowed.

‘Toad’ssss too fat to ssssswallow’ observes Adder. Whistler comes to the rescue and snatches the carp from one of its rather un-carp-like victory leaps.

Toad is looking a bit worse for wear. Weasel steps up for her usual rescue move. ‘Don’t jump on him Weasel!’ warns Badger, ‘You’ll squash him!’. I love that jumping on drowning victims and being sarcastic are Weasel’s only character traits so far! She gives him a shake instead.


Toad asks Whistler to throw the fish back. ‘He’ssss out of his ssssenssssessss’ explains Adder. Well, yes, undoubtedly, but actually he can’t bear to see it gasping. So that’s how Toad’s ethical lines are drawn! Whistler does so without much question, because he’s a lovely heron. Fox tells him about the oath, suggesting that it has changed them all. But obviously Whistler didn’t make the oath, he’s just a decent old bird. Again things are a bit confusing. Badger sums up the oath as ‘live and let live’. Well, maybe Badger feels that way but their esteemed leader and his girlfriend were murdering rats willy-nilly a couple of nights back!

‘I do find you animals rather intriguing’ says Whistler. Well, that’s one way of putting it… ‘He’ll be asking if he can come with us next!’ squawks Weasel. No Whistler, don’t do it! Stay in quarry and torture that nasty carp for the rest of your days!

Sadly, the pull of female herons is too strong for Whistler to resist. He’s been a bit lonely down in his quarry. ‘You might be lucky and find a mate,’ says Fox, ‘I was’. Oh shut up, Fox.

Whistler is forced to take the oath, and Owl points out that Vixen needs to do it as well. Oath sworn, they are part of the gang.

Everyone wanders on, pretty happy. ‘KEEE! KEEEE!’ warns Kestrel, ‘You’ve wandered right into the middle of a pheasant shoot!’. Haha, of COURSE they have.  A pheasant falls from the air. ‘Oh dear,’ says Mrs Hare, ‘I can’t help thinking about poor pheasant and his wife’. No, funny that! One of the young rabbits hops out and gets shot down. The parent rabbits tell each other what good parents they were. Don’t worry, guys, the young animals tend to suffer the most in this show! The little babbit didn’t die in vain, though. The hunter seems satisfied with his kill and heads off. The animals decide to bed down for the night and leave at first light.

See you next week for more horror and hi-jinks!


Wild Wisdom of the Week– ‘If love’s blind as they say it is, it’s a fine state for our leader to get himself into!’ – Owl.

‘A wise leader is never influenced by mere show-offs!’ – Owl.

‘Only he who is without hope is without anxiety, but he who is without anxiety is at peace’ – Owl. Understandably this is followed by a chorus of ‘oh shut up!’.

Deaths – Tons of fish that Whistler gets for breakfast. Some worms eaten by Toad and Mole. A random pheasant. One of the baby rabbits, which really is pretty cold. It is done so casually, too, with none of the fanfare the baby mice got.