Thursday, April 16, 2009

The cat with only two lives

You may remember that not long ago I reported that we were going to take custody of a cat from some friends we know who are having to return to the UK. Well in fact one cat but with three kittens growing nicely inside her!

We got a call over the week-end from them and we thought it was about when we could go and collect Jess, as she’s called, as they are returning in about 10 days time. But the poor wee thing had been run over, again, this time with fatal consequences and they were ringing to let us know.

Our friends and their children were distraught. It was going to be hard enough to leave her behind when they move but at least they’d know that Jess was with some people they and the cat knew, and would be looked after.

We were getting quite excited at the thought of a another house pet. Our thoughts were concentrating on how Bert was going to take with living with another animal. Also of course with the impending birth, where we were going to give Jess a bit of peace and quiet to get her “nest” together. Anyway, that won’t be happening now.

Very sad.

Of course Bert still will have the three community cats that seem to live fairly permanently outside our door. They are really getting on well together. Bert does seem to annoy Clarence sometimes, but he is only wanting to play as you can see by his demeanour towards Clarence. Clarence however, bears his fangs, hisses loudly and flattens his ears against the back of his head and shoulders. I can’t believe Bert doesn’t understand that this means “go away”. But then most times they are lying out in the sun by the door together, quite happily.

Birds, birds, birds.

I was looking out of the window yesterday when I spotted a couple of very colourful little birds flitting about one of the nearest olive trees. I went and got the binoculars to get a proper look. They were Redstarts, a species I haven’t seen here before.

I was looking in wonder at the fabulous colouring the males have and I shouted out to La D, “Come and have a look at the wonderful breasts on these!”

La D came shooting into the room, and without actually looking at what I was doing said, “What are you looking at L’uomo chi fa? You do know that the police can trace all sorts of things on computers these days”

“No dear” I said, “It’s a small bird, the feathery kind, that has a very colourful breast”

“Let me see” she said and took the binoculars out of my hand and stared out of the window. “I can’t see anything” I gently took the binoculars back and turned them round. “Ahh” she said. “Oh yes, it does have lovely colouring. It’s very pretty isn’t it”

“It is. But not as pretty as you my darling” I said.

A little blush arose in her cheeks, but she said “Flattery will get you nowhere. Haven’t you got to do a TPU today?” And with that she left the room with a wistful look in her eye and a little smile on her lips. She loves playing hard to get.

Enough of this frippery, on with the blog.

The Hoopoes are back, and with a vengeance. Their call is heard all day long and we have several daily sightings. Excellent.

We also have Nuthatches flying about the olive trees, as well as Tits, Blackcaps, Woodpeckers, Gold Finches and Blackbirds.

We are hoping the Golden Orioles come back this year too. If they do I don’t expect it will be too long before we hear and see them.

Although there are lots of cats around they do not seem to put off the birds which is good from our point of view. Certainly Bertie won’t give them any trouble. He hasn’t started to chase birds, yet, but of course he might do. His sister does

The Gooseberry Pie is off!

Naturally we expect to encounter natural difficulties in growing some plants. Soil too Ph, not enough Ph, too sandy/too heavy, too sunny/too shady etc., etc..

We have encountered another threat to the growth and longevity of things we are trying to grow to provide food for ourselves.

You’ve probably guessed it …… yes, the Big White monster himself, Bertie, aka The Canine Destroyer.

Last year we identified a couple of our fruit trees that had died and decided to replace them, an apple and a pear. We also fancied planting some soft fruit plants, so at the same time we bought ourselves a gooseberry bush.

After we got them home from the nursery, we watered and left them outside to plant the next morning.

When we came out the next day, the gooseberry bush was missing.

However a quick search revealed this battered, chewed sad looking fruit bush on its side half out of its plastic container which, surprise, surprise had lots of bite marks on it. Now, neither La D nor myself are prone to savaging plastic plant pots with our teeth – unless it’s a full moon – so the culprit was easily exposed. When we tried to talk to Bertie in a very civilised “British” way to admonish him – God knows what the neighbours think of how we treat this mutt – he just looked, well, sort of bored and just wandered off as we were half way through his ticking off.

We persevered with the gooseberry and planted the poor thing, but too much damage had been done. Today it just looks as though three little sticks have been stuck in the ground.

The fruit trees appear to have taken very well and show no signs of having been Bertied. So we live in hope.

Ciao. Mantenere la fede

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