More than 27,000 animals are now the legal custody of the city of Arlington, Texas, following their seizure from U.S Global Exotics following a judgement on the 30th January.

I have been kept in touch with the goings on in Arlington, Texas, thanks to the wonderful folk at the Hedgehog Welfare Society, as well as friends on Facebook.

Just over three weeks ago I posted the story – about the company U.S Global Exotics and its exposure as a desperately cruel enterprise thanks to the enterprising investigations of an undercover operative from PETA.

And now, homes are being sought for the 600 or so hedgehogs. One of my facebook friends (Vicki McLean) is on her way to Texas to get as many as she can and help re-home them. She has already been busy helping care for them.

Yet again, I admire the dedication that hedgehogs attract – whether it is the amazing hedgehog and wildlife rehabilitators here in the UK, or those who expend enormous resources on vulnerable hedgehogs in the alien space of the USA.

Why do hedgehogs attract such love and attention? Partly it is because they are the only wild animal that we can easily nurture – they ‘allow’ us by dint of their behaviour when threatened to care for them. But there is something else (other than the fact that they are darn cute) – and that is the gateway they provide to a touch of the wild. So this is my concern about the domestication of the hedgehog. What makes a hedgehog so special is its wild heart … so please – when these ones are rescued – can some thought be given to allowing them to keep what makes them so very very special.

This afternoon I have had a treat. My first experience at The Red Hedgehog. Now it is hardly surprising that I would be excited by a venue by that name – but there is so much more to it than the name. Set up by Clare Fischer as an act of rebellious love (rebelling against cash flow mainly …) on Archway Road, just a few steps from Highgate Tube, The Red Hedgehog takes its name and inspiration from a famous 19th century coffee house in Vienna, Zum Roten Igel. This was the regular haunt of many famous musicians, including Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn and especially Brahms (who stubbornly refused to eat or drink anywhere else.)

I wanted to get a little bit of red on my hedgehog tattoo as a link to Brahms, but they only had black ink.

So now I hope the Highgate incarnation becomes the regular haunt of musicians and music lovers – perhaps one day even to rival the reputation of Zum Roten Igel?

So, I get two of my great passions met under one roof!

The concert was surprisingly wonderful – and I say that by way of kicking myself. A dear friend had been telling me how I had to see and hear the daughter of an artist she models for (Josie Spencer). And I was reluctant … partly because I was not expecting much and partly because I was worried about having to treat that fine line between honesty and protecting feelings.

The reason why I am kicking myself? Because I have had chances to see Tamsin Waley-Cohen play on many occasions, and now I know what I was missing. She is only 23, but plays her rather elegant Stradivarius violin with a sublime maturity and poise. Her partner for this wonderful concert was cellist Gemma Rosefield who possesses an instrument of even finer heritage than Tamsin’s – being once a gift George IV from the King of Spain.

And both of them made these instruments, coming up to 300 years old, sing like angels. I was left wondering what the artists who created these instruments would make of the noises Tamsin and Gemma were coaxing from them? Even the Beethoven duet they began with might have been a bit racy for the craftsmen.

The piece was originally for bassoon and violin, but worked wonderfully in this new setting. But I was not won over – the performance was definitely good, but did not hit me.

That came next – a Ravel duet, an homage to Debussy, was striking, powerful, scary and beautiful. It would have shocked an 18th century musician.

After the interval came my shock. I was expecting some Handel – expecting something more in keeping with the age of the instruments … but found myself transported into world of passionate dances, mingling folk-themes with flourishes of virtuosity. At times there must have been at least another two people playing to make such a beautiful wall of noise. Afterwards it was explained to me that this was the Passacaglia, and while credited to Handel is as much the work of Johan Halversen, a Norwegian violinist who was composing at the beginning of the 20th century.

The two women finished with another piece of more modern, and demanding (on themselves) music, from Kodaly. They proved themselves far more than exceptional technicians, imbuing even the most complicated of passages with passion.

As an encore they treated us to a delicate contrast to the Kodaly – a duet by Gliere that was as light as a Spring walk.

These two young musicians made my day – and then I found that they had already performed to 20 children in the morning … I must try and get them up to Oxford.

So – keep an eye out for them. If they are playing near you, go.