Friday, May 8, 2009


Some very sad mews. Mum’s kittens were getting on for two weeks old. We let her get on with it in the old laundry room under the external staircase.
We popped our heads round the door every now and then and made sure she had fresh water and sometimes a bit of food just for her, not to be shared by the other cats.
We looked in last Sunday evening and they were in the little basket. La D even picked one up. It seemed very comfortable.
The next morning La D heard Mum mewing in the laundry room. When she opened the door, only Mum was there, all the kittens had gone. It was obvious that Mum was “looking” for them. Poor Mum was frantic, we even let her come into the house so she could have a good nose round, but of course they weren’t with us.
All this brought back last year and Sisi and the “wolf” that had got her kittens, funnily enough at almost exactly the same age, just under two weeks. Clearly there was no wolf involved this time.
We did some research on t’internet and found that tom cats can often take kittens away. We were unable to find out why nor what happens to them. This to us is the only explanation. We have seen one of the old toms coming out of the access hole, an old black thing, called Lucifero – you can probably guess the English equivalent! As I said there certainly wasn’t a wolf involved, nor, we feel sure, a fox. A fox couldn’t get through the small access hole high up in the wall. Also Bertie would have heard it and smelt it, in the night and would have gone berserk with barking.
All we do know is that the toms are again on the prowl, harassing the poor female cats, just like last year. So there will be some more kittens soon no doubt.
We were wondering whether the taking of the kittens makes the females more receptive to the overtures of the toms. We have seen one poor female cat surrounded by four of them. It’s looks like a form of feline gang rape.
We already had a home for one of them. Two of the others had creamy fur very like Clarence’s, and we were going to have one of those. Anyway. C’est la vie.


Unlike last week, the weather is now Yes. Lots of sun and warmth. Fabulous. Lots to do in the garden now it is drying out a bit and we can get out without galoshes and umbrellas.
However, at the week end we suddenly heard a lot of noise, a bit like pebbles landing having been thrown in the air.
It was a hailstone shower. The noise was incredible. The hail was pinging off the metal guttering and smacking onto the ground. They were about the size of broad beans. Bert went out to have a look and soon came back with his broom-head-size tail between his legs as he obviously felt pretty uncomfortable being hit by bits of ice.

A Bird In The Wall

You know the old saying “A bird in the hand, blah, blah, blah”? Well this is nothing to do with that adage.
At the back of the casa are three large stone/brick buttresses, which are part of the back wall. Like the rest of the house they have been sort of pebble-dashed. We will be taking this off in the next 20 years or so to expose the lovely stone and brick work beneath and then have it re-jointed. Anyway, we have started the taking-off process, well, mainly one of the sons continued the work started by La D. So there is already an area that has been exposed. Being pretty old, there are many gaps between the stones and this time of year some of then are used by the “Lidards”. Now Lidard may not be a word you have come across before However, our favourite three year old granddaughter calls Lizards, “Lidards” and therefore Lidards they will remain.
However, we have noticed little blue tits going in and out of one of the gaps, taking in food. Sure enough once they go in, if we are close enough, we can hear the little chirrups of the babies. So that’s rather lovely, isn’t it? Helps make up for the kittens, in a small way.

Bertie Is Famous!

Bertie’s story appears in the May issue of Dogs Monthly. Go round to your local newsagent and get a copy and you can read all about him and also get a glimpse of La Duchessa - -a good photo actually. Or if you are too tight or in desperate financial straits, nip round to your local vets and pretend to have sick animal. If you don’t have an animal, borrow one. Sit in the waiting room and rifle through their waiting room reading matter. Once you have found the magazine and read the piece, just say to the receptionist that your animal has made a miraculous recovery, and leg it.
It’s an extremely well written piece even if I say so myself. In fact the editor said he had to make no changes at all to the text before sending it for print.

Bertie Celebrity Status Brings Bizarre Behaviour

I think we have gone wrong somewhere in our training. All the books etc say never your dog into your bedroom and don’t feed him titbits. What do we do? We let him into the bedroom and give him a bit of our biscuits in the morning.
But, and this is really taking the biscuit – pardon the pun. Since his celebrity status has been confirmed, it seems to have gone to his head.
He now looks at La D’s tea , only La D’s not mine, and starts to bark and shake his head up and down, until La D gets up and takes what left of tea, normally almost all of it, and puts it into his dinner bowl for him to drink. He absolutely loves it.
During the warmer weather there is also a spin off benefit for me when La D has to get up out of the bed, but I am too much of a gentleman - stop laughing – to go into any more details. Suffice to say it brings a smile to my face. Enough said.

Bertie Confirmed As A Water Baby

Bert, as you know from previous entries loves the water. Well on Monday he had his first proper swim. He so enjoyed it, we had difficulty getting him out of the river. We were throwing sticks a little further every time and he suddenly launched himself into the deep stuff and doggie-paddled round and round. When he came out he seemed to enjoy the act of shaking himself from head to tail so much that he did it over and over again. But when he first came out and his coat was stuck to his body, you could see the real size of him, without his fluffy coat. He is a magnificent, big dog.
Here’s a of pictures of him standing guard.

This is a bit of a Bertie Blog!

Ciao. Mantenere la fede

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