Tuesday, 28 December 2010
OK I have to have a bit of a rant here, I watched the news the other day, and listened to some politician stating that airports must be punished, yup that was the word, if they fail to get people off on planes in bad weather. And today a labour MP was stating that the government was going to be responsible if children got flu. So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the airports are going to be punished because of the weather and the government is going to be blamed for a virus that has been around for donkey's years.

Well I am sorry guys but is it not time that human beings remembered a couple of things. Firstly we are supposed to be the most intelligent animal on earth, although I have to say I seriously doubt it, and secondly if you make plans to fly somewhere in December it might be marginally bright to remember that December is in the Winter part of our year, which historically can mean snow, sleet, ice and so on, it should not come as a surprise, it is a part of our calendar. Its a good thing we have winter, it makes us appreciate the other seasons, and does a great deal of good to the earth, it is natural process, which is more than can be said for going abroad at Christmas. So if you plan to do such a thing, factor in that you might not get there because its bloody WINTER. Similarly if you shove a whole load of children together in one building in the winter, guess what, they are going to get colds and flu, we all do, its a natural process, it is not any one's fault. If you want to get vaccinated, then ask, do it, don't wait to be offered a freebie. Stop trying to blame anyone and everyone for things that happen in life, take some sensible responsibility and face up to the fact that you can't control the weather, and neither can the airports or the trains, or the roads, and you can't control diseases, just limit them.

If you really want to blame someone for something that is not your responsibility or in your control then ask the government one question - why do power and water companies get fined if they hike up the price of their product, but oil companies can do it at the cruelest time they can and get away with it. Then tell the government that the national forests belong to all of us, we do not want them sold off, because if they do sell them off we will lose not only superb and beautiful and ancient forests, but we may well lose the rights to walk our dogs, walk our children, ride our bikes and enjoy forests that are at the moment ours. They do not belong to the government, they belong to us, so leave them alone please. Tell that to the government very loudly or you will lose your local forests and once they are gone, they are gone.

Oh and a word of warning, I bought a Kindle a while ago, I like it very much, it means I can carry a ton of books with me if I go somewhere all on one little machine. However what Amazon do not tell you when you buy one is that you have to make a choice, you can either buy books on Amazon.co.uk, or Amazon.com, not both. Now why this is so, heaven alone knows, it is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard because the damn things are wireless so you can download them from anywhere. Amazon.co.uk does not have as good a selection as the US store, but it may have a book that the US store does not have, and guess what - you can't get it if your Kindle address is in the US. Interesting, and something that Amazon needs to address because they do not tell you that little fact in their advertising.

The thaw continues apace, most of the snow is now gone - hooray! Where we have walked on it regularly, we now have a delightful ice slick! Which makes for interesting forward motion. We have had fog, and then thick fog all day, I was hoping to get the horses out for a ride but it was not safe in the poor visibility. I am hoping that once the snow has gone, so will the fog as it seems to rise somewhat spookily from the melting snow. Simon and I got the trained birds out for a bath this morning and we are leaving them in the outdoor hawk walk tonight as it is due to be only down to 5C which is positively warm! Neither of the two recent Common Buzzards arrivals survived, but Simon released one Tawny Owl last night and we are going to let another go tonight. Which will bring us down to one Tawny Owl with a broken leg and one Little Owl who's eye does not look very good, time will tell on that one. We have two burst pipes, one in the stables, which I knew about and turned off before it thawed out, and one in the weighing room which Simon spotted before it did any damage, and I hope that is it. I would be seriously worried if I had gone away for Christmas and then the thaw arrived when I was still away, I wonder how many people are going to come back to flooded houses, its not a good time to go away.

Well I tried letting go the Tawny Owl, but I don't think he is ready to go yet as he managed to fly into the bottle bank, he is now back in his box safe and sound. And my plans for riding tomorrow are out of the window as Henry has lost the third shoe in a row!! I am going to borrow a metal detector soon as he only has to lose one more and I will have a spare set!

Sunday, 26 December 2010
I have just been watching Countryfile and someone ought to tell the idiots doing the sound editing that if they want us to hear the stags roaring turn the bloody music off. It is getting harder and harder to hear the dialogue in many films and documentaries because of the increasingly invasive music, we don't need it, get rid of it please! I was also annoyed at the shots of the two guys with the four week old Honey Buzzards, they should not be stroking them as they are stripping off their waterproofing of their feathers, and they should not be holding them by their legs, they should be supporting their whole bodies, it is a big beef of mine that ringers hold birds extremely badly more often than not, they need a lesson!!

It is getting warmer, I just came in from getting the horses in and feeding them and it was positively balmy! At least in comparison to this morning it was, this morning was so cold that the hairs in my nose froze, which I have to say is a very odd sensation, and the dogs coats were frozen after their first walk where they had been chewing on one another. The thaw is set to start, although by the looks of things it is not going to last very long. Still thawing the outside water pipes will be a relief, apart from the fact that the ones in the stables have broken apart - again! The consistency of the snow has changed, and it might even make a snowman at this rate, although more snow is possibly forecast as the warmer weather hits the frozen ground.

We have had two more injured wild buzzards in over the last two days, we get more buzzards than any other species, although we have three Tawny Owls in right now as well, but two are ready to go, we just could not let them go in the awful weather, hopefully they will be able to go in a couple of days. However we are rapidly getting over crowded, I really have to do something about a proper hospital this coming year, it is a vital need and an important one.
Saturday, 25 December 2010
Well we did run the Owl Evening last Saturday, the snow was not too bad, at least not in this immediate area, although it was much worse around us, and Jan was stuck in Cheltenham trying to get out for over two hours. About half the people made it and six mad people (but very nice!) drove all the way from Norfolk and then back again just for the evening. I have to say they not only did well, but watching the owls fly with a bright moon on the crisp and cold snow, was particularly special, and as they were late arriving, not surprisingly, I gave them a short guided tour after the flying. It was a good last Owl Evening of the year and those who missed it are going to come to one of the ones we are going to run in February.

Monday it started to snow at about 12.45 so Holly left in case she could not get back, so did Angela as it gets much worse in the Forest. It carried on snowing until about 8.30pm and I know because we went carol singing in the snow, it was very Dickensian, and great fun, although a bit cold by the end of it.

I wanted to have a drinks party before Christmas but did not dare invite people until I knew that the heating oil had arrived because otherwise they would have frozen in the house, luckily the oil arrived, so we are safe and warm, the hay arrived for the horses, and I even managed to go shopping for food, although it was a good job that Jan came with me or I would have taken one look at the overly full car park and driven home again!!

Wednesday Mark and Adam with help from John, Zoe and Josh, and all the rest of us did the new (yet another replacement for something taken down) shelf perch on the eagle side of the indoor Hawk Walk, so that it is ready for the heating elements to be put on. It was great teamwork and we got finished just before dark, Mark and Adam finished off the finer points on Thursday morning. The only disappointing thing was that the snow at no time was any good for making a snowman, it is very fine and does not stick together, I guess because it is so cold.

Simon's Goshawk caught its first rabbit this week, not sure who had the larger grin, him or the Goshawk, although we were amazed last week when Simon admitted that his supper had been 18 chocolate penguins'!! That has to be a record, even Adam thought he would not manage that many!

My drinks party went well I think, at least everyone said they enjoyed it, although on reflection I guess it would be unlikely that they would have said they hadn't!! Anyway thanks to Nick Swan all the radiators worked, so the house was warm for a change (and only for that evening!) and I lit the fire in the sitting room as well as the wood burning stove in my office, so it was toasty warm in both rooms. I put the food in the dining room and the dogs were very good and did not steal any! It was lovely to see the house full of people, all the mulled wine went, I was even nice to the children who came, although we did throw them out in the snow for a short while! The Christmas tree looks lovely, the house looks lovely, oh and guess what, the Piano is fixed, no longer ivory, but plastic, but it looks so nice and its great to have it back, and it is tuned and I have a piece I want to learn on it.

All staff are off now until early January, although Simon insists on feeding the birds which is very nice of him, but I suspect it is because he wants to watch and see who is thinking about nesting. He said that Athena (Tawny Eagle) was sitting on the nest which is very good news. He and Joan are here most of the time, so I bump into them occasionally.

I have had a lovely Christmas so far I went to midnight mass last night, it was really deep and crisp, although not particularly even! It is lovely to sing carols, they are my favourites. The horses went out early into the field, they play in the snow! And the dogs and I went round the field, we ended up on the ice on the pond - it is ssssssssssoooooooo thick now. Alice and James Lowe invited me to Christmas lunch which was wonderful, although I may never have to eat again!! I still have to remove a splinter from my thumb, the only problem with this weather is that cuts don't heal, they just crack, and take much longer to get better. A very very merry Christmas to all. Oh and whoever sent me the Lily of the Valley stuff, thank you so much, but I have no idea who it was!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010
Hummmmmmmmm dilemma, do we run the owl evening this evening or not. The road here has traffic going up and down, if we do run it it will be very magical as we have about 1/2 an inch of snow on the ground and the flying will be amazing in the new lighting and snow! I think I will take a short drive and see what it is like and then decide. Its very beautiful outside and not as cold, although not exactly warm, a thinnish covering of snow on the ground and trees and hedges, very lovely to see, particularly from my office window! If there is no more snow we will go ahead with the owl evening.

The birds are coping, they seem settled, we have grounded more than usual and are flying just the bare minimum, and all the owls will be fed up after tonight and stay fat over Christmas, and then come back into work in the middle of January, ready for opening in February! The timber is here for the heated perches in the Indoor Hawk Walk, so they will start to go up on Monday. I had to buy two new deep freezers to have some back up of food in case the weather got like this for long, and they are now full, I have enough dog food until February, more hay is coming next week (by tractor so that should not be a problem) I have horse food, the only thing I seemed to have forgotten is human food, so there is no butter, bread, or much else, but there is loo paper and bubble bath, so that is OK!

We went through all the photos for the photo competition last week, all the runners up are on Facebook, so have a look, and you will see all the photos, which I have to say were lovely, it was very difficult to choose. If you don't know where to go Linda has put a link on the Links page of our website, that will take you there. Of course I can't get on because as usual I have forgotten how to! Oh and I think on the entry form it said that there would be a 2011 calendar, that will be a 2012 calendar as we would not have been able to get the 2011 done in time. The winners will be contacted next week. And have a look at the advent calendar today (18th) its Holly's Birthday and Linda has put up a surprise picture for her!

I was hoping to go out for a ride today as Joan is here for a stay and we could have gone out together, however that is out of the window with the snow, the roads are not good for horses with iron shoes, and it is not fair on the drivers either. So it will be a walk with the dogs, a walk with the Goshawk, and an Owl Evening! Talking of which the dogs go down to the cafe so that we don't have to clear up the floor, however last night they were all put back in the house except for Rush who was missing, I said not to worry I would look for him after the flying and everyone had gone, because he would be around, well could we find him, Jan and Holly refused to go, Adam was out looking we looked everywhere and finally after Jan and I were off the site and walking round the fields next door, he was found shut in Charlies Room, looking very sheepish. Dogs who would have 'em!
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Well the cold has gone for a couple of days, it has been pleasant not to have to wrap up like a michelin man for a while, although the day before yesterday the morning was a white frost again, its due back any minute now, if we can just get away with no snow for the last two Owl Evenings, I will be pleased. The ones over the weekend went fine, all lights worked, all owls worked and the dogs did a lovely job on the floor keeping it clean of bits of roast pork!

I managed to borrow a trailer from a good friend on Saturday and went and collected Dante, who was ready to come home, I had ridden him the day before at the Riding School and so was a little more confident. He loads so well, he is very good and Henry was delighted to see him back. John and Josh came for the day and gave all the birds baths, it was the first time they have been able to bath safely for about two weeks. I did have someone ask what we did about the water and I pointed out that unless the local wild birds could find running water, which I had none of that I knew around here, they were stuck with ice. We leave our baths frozen because I don't want the birds to bath in this extreme weather and as it was after the Saturday Owl Evening we had to collect up Gypsy King and keep him in over night as he was soaked and on the ground.

On Sunday I rode Dante out, I was very pleased, he was good as gold, and I then took Henry out who was also good, but fractionally less so, I rode Dante again on Monday and he is really amazing for a four year old. He will come on I hope as we get to know one another better. They play first thing after their breakfast and run around and rear and generally make a horrible mess of the field, but it is good to have them both together again.

My Christmas tree has made it into the house today, but that is about it, the rest of the day went haywire and I did not get half the things done that I meant to. We did manage to move the owls around in the Owl Courtyard though. They are all where I want them and the Tawny Owls are now moved up, so they should have a better time and not get terrorised by the wild Tawny Owls that live in the Leylandii hedge behind the Small Falcon block. And hopefully they will breed this year.

I sent off all my Christmas cards on Monday, so hopefully most will get there before Christmas, although I suspect that the foreign ones will be late, however its a dual purpose one, with photos on both sides, so it will be in time for the New Year!

The new Christmas Shop button is working well and the idea now is that even if people buy a present on Christmas Eve we will email them or the recipient a nice document stating that they have a present of a special day (or whatever it is) and it is in the post to them! That way people don't have to worry about it not getting there in time. Give is a go if you are stuck for ideas!!

Took my Goshawk for a walk with the dogs today, he was busy eating the front leg of a rabbit, and so was not worried, he is very good particularly as I have not spent that much time with him. The dogs were good too. Henry was good when I took him out today, its Dante's turn tomorrow, I am hoping to get the others to come and ride on occasion as it would be nice to get them out together.

Today you have most definitely been able to smell snow coming, its very odd it has a particular smell, very fresh and cold and something else, - snow I guess!
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Yesterday was even more beautiful and even more bitterly cold, the haw frost had increased over night until every blade, every leaf, every tiny twig and all the cobwebs were blanketed in sharp white crystals of frost. We have covered over half the aviaries now with builders plastic sheeting and it is helping. We are still working on the heated perches and they are coming on and we are managing to keep things going. My staff are wonderful as they continue on in the freezing cold and get things done. The food drawers are well over half way in the aviaries, so my target of Christmas looks like being met. They did deviate yesterday because we made two more bird tables, one for outside the shop and one for my courtyard, the small birds are really suffering in this and we all wanted to help. So now there are three feeding tables and several of those plastic feeders. We will be disinfecting all of them once a week as that is really important for the health of the wild bird populations.

We had no water in the flat over the shop, or in the clinic to start the day yesterday, so Holly and I managed to thaw it out and get things moving again. We have had no water at the stables since Saturday, and as I was taking buckets down for Henry I must have spilt some, because I realised that after mucking out his stable, my skirt felt stiff - the water had hit my skirt and it was frozen solid!! Interesting!

The place does look lovely, half the frost has gone - it is a balmy -4 today, much warmer than yesterday. The insane thing was that on Saturday night after the Owl Evening, Simon, Adam and I were finishing up and we all said 'isn't is warm, much better!!' and as Simon looked at his temperature gauge, it was three degrees!! That is not exactly warm, but it certainly felt better! We are due for a thaw at the weekend, I hope we have no burst pipes, its a shame that thaws come at the weekends because it is always more expensive for everyone.

Oh I saw a new Andrex advert last night - no real puppy!! What is with that - animated Labrador Puppies - yuck! And as for the Coca Cola advert, one does wonder if any of these large companies have actually got the brains to understand about their carbon footprint. The amount of lights and electricity they show being used in their adverts is criminal and totally irresponsible.

I went out for a short trip and bought a Christmas tree yesterday afternoon, completely forgetting that a photographer was coming to take my photo for a portrait in Cotswold Life Magazine, (of course it may have been a mental slip because I loath having my photo taken, I always look god awful). And yes I got a real tree, and yes it is good for the environment, they turn into compost at the end of their time, and while growing they provide an environment for wildlife and produce oxygen, so don't get a fake one, they are very bad for the environment and only produce waste that takes 20 years to break down - if ever. The background for the photo is beautiful though, our curly hazels covered in haw frost.

We had a beautiful juvenile Merlin brought in yesterday, it seemed OK, but quiet, however this morning it was not looking well, and very sadly died, we don't know why as yet. John was here yesterday and today, and so with him and Dick and all the staff minus Robin who is not well, plus Neil and Anabel, we got four of the owl aviaries in the Owl Courtyard re meshed with Zoo Mesh, they look very good in comparison to the other side. But I was very disappointed to see that the people who make it in the US had patched it in several places. I think that is very very poor, so Hey you Guys, we don't do that sort of thing over here and sell it to people, it is not good enough. We can't do the other side as two of the pairs of owls have laid eggs!! So we start again with the breeding season far too early.
Footnote: I had to go onto the birds of prey center website in Awendaw SC yesterday as I could not remember the address and I needed it for some records, it was interesting to see as usual they are using Linda Wrights photos - AGAIN - without permission, when they have been asked more than once not to do so, you would think that by now they would have some decent photos of their own, but I guess not!
Monday, 6 December 2010
I have the nicest smelling soap, it is Lily of the Valley, which is absolutely my favourite and one of my favourite flowers as well. In fact I want them at my funeral, so I had better die at the right time of the year, which is going to be tricky as I also want carols, hummmmm there is a dilemma!!

Beautiful and Bitter would describe today, it has been bitingly cold, mind and knee numbingly cold, with fog and a haw frost. The haw frost has been interesting, it is white spikes of frost on everything, grass, plants, trees, fences, the lot, and over the day the spikes have grown. At coffee time (10.00 am) there was about an eighth of an inch of everything and Holly and I took photos. By lunchtime, it was longer and now (it is dark) some of the white and frozen spikes of frost are nearly half an inch long.

Prototype number 2 is now in the Indoor Hawk Walk, and sure as hell today is a test as it was - 7 outside for most of today!! The hot spots have risen to 25 C, and the cooler spots, barely feelable heat, so Richard came over, he also very very kindly stopped off at Robin's in Ludlow to collect more fuel for the pellet burning heater in the Education Room, which was amazing of him as I was dreading the drive over there. He has put the heated perch, prototype 2 on a better power supply and we will see how it does over night. If it holds, we go into production. Everyone, staff and volunteers alike have been amazing in this cold, they have got the front of Barn 3 including the secretary birds covered with plastic and today the King Vulture and Turkey Vulture, who were looking miserable in the cold. The feed trays are in Barn 2, Barn 3, the small falcons and owls, both moulting aviaries, with more to come, I think we will get it done before Christmas, which is amazing considering what we are having to deal with in the weather.

Actually it is better to stay outside in this cold, I find that if I have to go in and do stuff inside, going out is tough and it takes about half an hour before your body temperature starts to cope with the cold. I have to thank Jon from LA zoo, he left his gloves behind - and they are great - not a chance of getting them back Jon!! Sorry about that! possession being 9/10ths of the law and all that! I have never had such warm hands before.

Henry is so good, he is missing Dante who is not back yet, the frozen ground is causing us problems, so I mucked him out this afternoon, he goes out in the morning, and I left the gate open for him. When I went down after dark to get him in, groom and re rug him and feed him, he was standing in the stable with the door wide open waiting for me, he is a love. Dante is well and I hope to go over and ride him soon, Sunday did not work out.

Mozart is in again, he does not love it, but I dread to think what the temperature is going to drop to tonight. The tethered birds seem OK and the falcons and juvenile Harris Hawks are in the heated room. I wonder how many people will have huge problems with their birds because they do not recognise the dangers of this extreme cold.

I was invited to a drinks party last night and amazingly I went, I tidied up, and changed and got in my land rover and drove round the lanes to my neighbours, it was a christening party. I managed half an hour and then as more and more people arrived, 90% of whom I did not know, I chickened out and quietly departed. The drive home, which was only minutes, was magical, partly because I will never stop appreciating being home again and partly because as I drove, very slowly and carefully, because it was treacherous, the lights of the landrover caught the frost and icy road and turned it into a ribbon of tiny diamonds glistening until the lights faded in the distance.

This December we creep forward on a weekly basis, getting jobs done and dealing with the weather, but we are getting there and its satisfying to see the changes regardless of what is thrown at us, although I have to say, I will not be sorry to see the back of this cold, it is hard on our birds, so imagine what it is like for wild birds.
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Prototype number 2 on the heated perch task seems to be working so far, we are reaching temperatures of 35 on the hot spots, but that is indoors, the test will be when we put it into the indoor Hawk Walk and see if it can hold reasonable temperatures there, which I hope we will do tomorrow, although it will depend on who I can catch to help me move it as it is bloody heavy!! We are now on closed hours and so apart from Simon who insists on feeding round in the mornings, everyone is off over the weekend, apart from one of them coming in to help with the Owl evening on Saturday.

The one we had last night was amazing, it was very cold with a bitter wind, so once we had done the two guided tours Holly and I were more than ready to warm up in the cafe. We did the indoor flying in Charlie's room because we are using the Education room to keep tethered birds warm. The Bio Tekno Air heater made by Vanertekno of Sweden is doing a stunning job warming the whole room, and we have had to turn it right down so its not too warm in there for the birds! However it does mean that the public can't go in there for the indoor part of the owl flying. It is going to be a squeeze in Charlie's room tonight!! After than we went out into the lit up field and it was snowing!! It had been snowing for about 15 minutes and it looked absolutely amazing in the columns of light coming from the ground all around the flying area, it was just magical. The owls were not sure about the snow, I think because the flakes were so big and they were huge, it made visibility for them difficult, however Holly and I managed to get all three to work, and we kept it short because you could see the guests were worried about the drive home. I saw them all out, sent Holly home and then went to finish off outside. I have to say the snow was slightly less magical when trying to unscrew the electrics and put them away out of the wet in a blizzard!! However it all got done, I checked round, turned off all lights and locked up and then took the dogs round the field and checked on Henry before going in for a hot chocolate!

I had been a little concerned about Mozart in the cold so I went out again at about midnight and he was not looking that happy, so I brought him in, which made me feel better. I am so very glad that all my aviaries are fully rooved over, I know I say this time and time again, but I really feel for all those birds in open and exposed aviaries in this sort of weather. Once we put the plastic up on the north and east facing aviaries they are really very cosy, and no one is wet, which they would have been today as it has been warmer but raining. And that is dangerous for the birds if they are wet and then it freezes.

I had my first peaceful day for a very long time, I even watched a movie! The dogs are not pleased it is December as they have less to do in the day at the weekends, but I had a wonderful time, apart from all the phone calls wanting to know if the Owl Evening is on tonight!! Tomorrow I think I am going over to ride Dante, and then if all goes well I hope he will come home as Henry is lonely without him. Although I was not to pleased with Henry, he was only home about two hours before losing a damn shoe!
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
I have had such fun this evening, its been very cold and I mean very cold over the last few days, the snow that came a couple of days ago, only about 3/4 of an inch is still here, I love the crunchy noise it makes when you walk on it. We have been very worried about the birds, particularly now we have a freezing north wind, and so we have put up plastic sheets over all the north facing enclosures. It makes a huge difference inside, I went into Delectable's enclosure and Hemp's, and the temperature difference is amazing, so we are going to do more tomorrow.

Richard has been working very hard on the heated perches, we tried one system with a mat that is supposed to heat floors, but it was not man enough for the job. So now we have cable that Anabelle has laid down to strict guidelines (!) on a four metre bench made by Adam and Mark, Tom made the first one! Now we are going to do a couple of other things to it and then plug it in and see if it give us the temperature we want for the tethered birds. If it does we go into production.

I seem to be spending money all the time at the moment, which is a little scary. I have had to order two new deep freezers, which seems a little odd in this cold, but we don't have enough space for back up food supplies if the snow increases. I also had to order a new oil tank because getting oil in time for heating is increasingly difficult and we were down to the last dregs over the last two days - Cold weather is expensive! We had one pipe burst in the stables and I caught that one, although not before we had an ice slick on the concrete, why the people who had this place for four years put down concrete instead of the perfectly good gravel yard I will never understand, in this weather it is lethal.

The birds seem to be coping, we are closed now and have grounded all those that would be vulnerable to this unusually cold weather, but the others are flying really well. Although it is not much fun flying them in the field!! The pond is full, completely, thanks to the mains leak in the field opposite. However the down side of telling the water board that they had a leak is that we ended up with no water for about 15 hours!! That wonderful saying I learnt on my first trip to Africa came into play with the loos. 'If its yellow let it mellow, if its brown, flush it down!!' A wonderful saying and very apt at times like these.

Henry is coming back on Friday, a little before I expected him, but his stable is ready, and Dante will be back the following day I expect.

I seem to have a huge number of appointments this month, I hope I can find the time to get some writing done as well.

But to go back to this evening, there were a few people in the village I needed to invite to an Owl Evening. So I hopped into my Landrover and drove up the snowy road in a crystal clear night in December, what could be more wintery and Christmassy. My first call was some
people I did not know well, but whom had supported the Centre, they were in and so I invited them to come, and I hope they will, I was given a glass of wine and a Corsican Beer to take home and try. Next call was up the hill and through the snow which was starting to fall, to a friend who used to do my accounts, as I walked up to his house with Christmas lights in the trees, he arrived home and I was invited in for a glass of wine! I invited them to come and after a chat left for my last port of call. This was to a house I have known since 1966, and now belongs to the son of the old old friend who lived there, it was lovely to go there again and good to see John and his wife. So a Sherry later and an invite from me and a bottle of wine to take home, I drove the Landrover down the track towards home, with crisp air, snow on the ground, and the right feeling for the time of year and a grin on my face, it is so very good to be home.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Sunday night - It is cold, very cold, in fact it would be fair to say that it is extremely cold! My knees are not quite at the stage where they are raw, but getting that way. And I know I should cover them but I only really like wearing a skirt. I will have to do something however if it is going to stay like this for long.

The Incubation Workshop is over, the participants worked very hard and I hope had a good time as well as learning a great deal, I was rushing around with Mark to make sure that the rest of the stuff here at the Centre got done. Simon rushed around making sure that the birds were fed, we were OK and the workshop had a seemingly endless supply of incubated eggs to study and take apart.

Paul had put in a new Swedish heater, it eats pellets of sawdust and it is staggeringly efficient. It was not working on Wednesday, but fired up on Thursday and kept the Education Room toasty warm. We used it yesterday for the Half Day because it never got above freezing at any point, so they did the handling inside, which made it much more pleasant.

We have grounded Gypsy King as he is not dealing with the cold well and I don't want to push him. We are having to keep a really vigilant eye on the smaller birds such as Katana (barn owl) and Eager (Long-eared Owl) because they are losing weight very fast in this cold. We have also had in two injured birds with another one due in tomorrow. Dusky Emperor seems to love the weather though and she is flying superbly, which is great. The falcons are coping and all are inside almost all the time now. Richard is looking at the heated perching again, we sort of got caught on the hop with this very early cold snap.

Most of my guests leave tomorrow, some are gone and Susie and Pat are being driven to Gatwick by Adam, leaving at 6.00 am tomorrow, with Jon leaving the following day. We have two days left of this month and then we close although the experience days and owl evenings continue until Christmas.

Jan is off to New York for a short trip, she is going to see my sister Dinah and have lunch so she will miss our first closed day breakfast!! Anabel is still with us and working hard, she was very helpful when Holly, John and Adam were doing the course and has been painting the new feed drawer - ad nauseam!

I went over to ride Dante last Monday, it was interesting!! He is not yet ready to come home, and I think he may be a little too keen for me, he is blissfully comfortable to ride, but he has so much potential and I don't think I am going to give him what he needs which is lots of work and lots of jumping. We will see. I miss Henry, but have been very glad not to have to worry about him in this last hectic week.

The two Owl Evenings just gone went very well, lovely guests, and although very cold, the birds flew brilliantly and looked wonderful.

Its been so weird to see a sprinkling of snow with autumn leaves falling on top of it. We are supposedly due to have more snow this coming week, but I could do with it waiting until after the 18th really. Oh well I guess it is winter after all said and done!

Monday morning - talk about frustrated. I got up early to see off my american friends, and then walked the dogs around the field in the dark. I heard water running, which with the amount of frost we are having I should not have heard. So I put the dogs back inside and walked up the road first to see if it was anything to do with my water supply, then I walked down the road to check. On the road at the end of my field I could hear the water and as I neared the corner, I was slipping all over the place on the ice. So I located the leak, which has to be a water main as it is gushing out and walked or rather slipped home to report it. Ah you might say, how very responsible of you! Well yes, but you try doing it! At before 7.00am there is no one to report to. Now Severn Trent Water Board do have an emergency number, or it is laughingly called that, however first of all you have to hear how to thaw out your own pipes and a whole load of other non emergency information before they give you yet another emergency number, which has the same bloody answer phone message, and then finally puts you through to a number which is not answered - well done Severn Trent, first class emergency service.

So then I looked up Local Police online, well that was about as flaming useful as the damn water board! I got a list of phone numbers of police stations that were all closed, and eventually I dialed 999, which is not something I wanted to do, however it is dangerous down there and there is going to be an accident unless there are some warnings put out. Well! The bloody woman who answered needs shooting that is for sure, she put me through to the police, which is what I needed I guess and one can only hope that they will do something about it before there is an accident. One does wonder why the emergency services complain about too many 999 calls when they don't give you any numbers that you can call something like this in 24/7. I seem to remember that at least one local police station was manned 24 hours a day, I guess that does not happen now.

One thing is for sure, my new bottom pond will be full for the first time - pretty damn soon!!
Saturday, 20 November 2010
I have always wondered why someone could get as famous as Anne Robinson by being as unpleasant and rude as she is, its a sad reflection on public taste! A good friend of mine for some insane reason best known to herself, decided that she wanted to be on the Weakest Link show, I am delighted to say that I turn it off as soon as I see it come on, however there is no accounting for taste!! But I was seriously horrified when she told me what the programme researchers had asked her when she was invited for an audition - 'They said they are going to be absolutely horrible and can I cope and they asked if I have any physical attributes that Anne might make fun of'. Can you credit it, the woman would make fun and rude comments to you if you had any physical problems - nice!!! Just confirms my thoughts that she is a particularly unpleasant example of humanity!

We had our staff/members/volunteer Owl Evening on Thursday, it was all going well, we finished the day, I collected Nettle's medicine - she is now a lot better - well enough to join the owl evening hog roast anyway! I also took the fifth sick injured wild bird to Argus Vets, another buzzard with the same mouth infection, its getting worrying I have to say. Anyway got back, all the staff were having a cuppa in the cafe and I made the mulled wine, then fed and groomed Henry, did some emails, checked the dogs, and as I was just putting on a clean jersey I heard Adam say there were problems with the lights. Well to cut a long story short, and three runs up to the house to get all the power back on again, I phoned Richard, who's comments were not repeatable, and who said he was on his way, I think he broke some Landrover records from Malvern to here!

All the guests were given guided tours by Robin, Holly, Mark and Adam, and Richard and I sorted out the lights. Two of the underground pits were swimming pools, you could have kept damn goldfish in there! So with bailing and revamping the connections, it was sorted and yesterday Richard came and with working on the pits hopefully has solved the problem.

It was a lovely day yesterday, sunny but brisk, I had a great ride, and Henry was very good, he has now gone to stay with Micaela for a few weeks while we get the Incubation workshop out of the way next week and finish off the season. It means that when Dante gets back I will be able to give him some time before they are both together again. I am going over to the school to ride Dante on Monday, that might be fun! The Owl Evening last night was amazing, it was one day off a full moon, and there was a slight but intensifying mist, so the lights caught the mist of water droplets in the columns of light that rise across the flying ground, that and the moonlight made for a very special if somewhat cold evening. But then Winter Owl Evenings are supposed to be cold. Tonight it is raw and damp, but the lights are on and looking good and Mark and I have it tonight.

Three hundred and fifty five plants were put in by us and Peter Dowles team on Monday and Tuesday, they look a little sad at the moment, as plants generally do not normally look their best at this time of the year, but if all goes well the gardens are going to look great next season. I am looking forward to it. Already the Snowdrops are showing tiny shoots in various places. Having said that I still have some roses hanging on. Plants are such amazing things.

Oh and as an end note, well done Dell, for some reason my new computer keyboard would not work a couple of days ago, all I got was a black screen with the words Keyboard Failure, press F2!! A little tricky if the keyboard won't work Dell, you might want to look at that command!
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
The carpet is now clean - well it was before the rain that came today, and I have finished rearranging the furniture! The stove glue arrived today and in about three years I might just find the time to glue the bloody rope back into the door. In the meantime, what has happened. Dante went off on Monday to be backed or re backed more correctly ( that means broken in to ride) he walked into the trailer like a dream I could not believe it, he was good as gold and I have since heard that he is doing well, has been ridden is very good, does not buck or misbehave, and is good near the road and apparently does not mind pigs!!! However they said he was quite keen and forward going, at which point I said that would be a change because when Henry gets upset he is very backward going - at speed!!

Henry was upset to be left alone so I gave him a very good grooming on Tuesday, I had meant to ride him, but as usual things conspired against me, not the least that Nettle was ill. Alice from Eden Tanners came out to vaccinate Henry and so was able to look at Nettle as well. It looks like it is the same thing as last time, being sick and a very high temperature. She is a little better today, but I think we will take a trip to Ledbury with her tomorrow as I am not happy yet about her improvement.

Yesterday was also a very odd day and very properly autumnal, it was dense fog early in the morning, but an hour later it went and we had lovely clear sunshine (Monday was perfectly glorious), then the fog rolled in again, pretty much at every demonstration time, and it was thick enough that we could not see the hedge at the bottom of the field, so no falcon flying happened. It was one of those days where you can see your breath steaming in front of you, the air has a sharp damp bite to it and a strong scent of autumn, you know the sun is there, but the fog densely hides it like a present. I love those days. It was bitterly cold on Sunday, Monday and most of Tuesday night until the rain came. Today has been fairly miserable weather wise, poor Henry was very damp by the time I brought him in. However a couple of carrots cheered him up.

Our elderly female Eleonora's falcon died last night, she has been slowly fading away over the last few days, we kept her in and warm and she seemed content, but last night was her final one. For many years she laid, but never a fertile egg, which was a dreadful shame as they are wonderful birds and superb flyers. They are the only raptor that summers and breeds on islands and then migrates to another for the winter. I will miss her and her extremely loud voice.

We now have our own personal face book page, so if anyone wants to be a friend, it is Icbp Newent, and already people have shown interest and there is a lovely video of Greeves hovering last summer. I want to find the Utube one of Sedge small enough to fall down the burrowing owl holes! Talking of which the young burrowing owls have all fledged, she managed five babies!! And their enclosure has just had a good clean and more sand put in, so they are very pleased about that! And they all look very smart in there. We move to cleaning, painting and rewiring the owl courtyard next in the scheme of things.
Its all a bit hectic for the next week and a half, with three owl evenings, then Susie and Pat arriving from the US on Sunday, as well as Nikita from India, all staying in the house. Two more arriving on Tuesday and the course starting Wed - Fri, followed by two owl evenings!! Wow I am going to be exhausted. But its all worth it to be home again.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Six years ago today, I was packing up birds with 30 or so friends and volunteers, the CITES team were down here, two vets were here, we had just really got going with boxing up 190 of my best and most beloved birds to make the mammoth trip to South Carolina to start up life anew. Six wonderful black Labradors came with me, and Annie Millar came for the first month and a bit to help me get sorted and settled. It was an exhausting and stressful day, and it ended with even more exhaustion and stress the other end as we unpacked the birds. But that is another story and one I plan on writing this winter!

Suffice it to say that I met and renewed some stunning friendships in South Carolina and elsewhere in the US, and those will last my lifetime, I also met or renewed aquaintences who treated me appallingly badly and those too I will never forget! However I will always be in huge debt to the various friends and colleagues who helped and supported me to get back to here. As I write I look over my property, knowing my staff are getting ready for an experience day, Jan has come in to get some biscuits for the dogs, the sun is out, the pond is glistening at the bottom of the field, the remaining leaves are blazing golds and browns and yellows, the field is still a vivid green apart from the myriad holes the damn horses made in it yesterday and coffee time will happen at the appropriate time.

Although my ill-fated sojourn to the US failed it has made me appreciate all the more what I had, and what I have now, so regardless of the hard work and the stresses and strains, today is a good day memories and all!

The owl evening went very well last night, the weather was kind and the rain and clouds left, the stars came out, Robin did one guided tour and I did the other and Adam and Robin and I did the flying demonstrations. Richard moved on a little more with the electrics and the lights worked brilliantly. Cool Ground, (Snowy Owl) looks amazing as he crosses them!

I am now going to shampoo my office carpet as the wood burning stove is in and there are marks to prove all the hard work that Mike Turner did to make it all work safely and securely. Now talking about the wood burning stove, I cannot recommend the people I bought mine from, they may do good stoves I have yet to discover that, it seems OK, but their customer service afterwards is appalling, so watch out. Woodburning Stoves Limited.Com is the company to look out for. My stove arrived, all fine and dandy, we followed the instructions to put it in, and doing the first fire to the flaming letter! I had a little nice dry kindling, some bits of wood from the old quarantine quarters (three years old at least) and one nice dry two year old oak log, that I had known the tree it was from! We turned the airflow down so it did not burn too hot as instructed, so imagine my concern when I opened the doors after about 1.5 hours into its first lighting and just about 24 hours after it had arrived to find that all the rope that is around the doors as a seal had stuck to the inside of the stove and pulled off. Not surprisingly I phoned the company to ask if this was usual. I was instantly and I mean instantly blamed for burning green timber and thus tar had pulled it off. I pointed out that I knew all the timber I had burned intimately and none was green plus the damn thing had only been alight for less than two hours. I was told I would have to buy stove rope glue, I asked why I would have to buy it, why would they not send it as this presumably is not supposed to happen on day one. I was told they don't have it, I pointed out that they manufactured the stove and so must have the glue around, I was told yes they did manufacture it, so why no glue I asked - because they are made in China I was told, so you do not manufacture it then I stated! You can see this was not going well and at no time had there even been a smell of an apology.

I was told that I would have to get the glue because everyone had to maintain their stoves and this was a part of it, I said I had not expected to have to do maintenance work on a stove that was 24 hours old!! I finally got an apology, of sorts, but no help. After the owl evening I wrote a complaining but polite email stating that I thought their customer care needed to be looked at, among other things! I pointed out that I dealt with probably more customers than they did and that if something I was involved in went wrong in less than 24 hours, the very first thing I would do would be to apologise and in my case I would have told me (I know complicated) that I would send a pack of glue in the post.

But not a bit of it, apparently I was complaining about something entirely insignificant, although I now cannot use the stove until the glue that I have to buy arrives, and they can't understand why I am upset. I wrote back and said forget it, and perhaps their customer relations was a scottish thing - well I know, but I was pissed off by this point, and still am!! So be warned, don't use them if you hope for any sort of customer help in after sales as you are doomed, they don't know what the word means!!

OK, back to the carpet!
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
It was a glorious day yesterday, I managed to get a couple of hours off and take Henry out for a ride, and it was lovely, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Today was supposed to be very wet, so it was good to take the opportunity. All birds are well and flying fine, and the five day course is going well, they had a lovely day to go hawking yesterday morning which was lucky. Of course if we were very mean we would have sent them out on the telemetry search in the rain that was supposed to happen today, but it didn't rain so we did if you see what I mean.

My office looks like a bomb has hit it, I am having a wood burning stove put in at my sisters instigation as she does not like to think of me cold which is very nice of her and I am or will be eternally grateful. This is a pretty cold house I have to say, and it does get very cold even with the heating on. However I had a very nice wooden fireplace in my office, and so putting in a wood burner would have probably set the house on fire, and as I love this house beyond reason, however cold it can get, I did not want that to happen. So a stone fireplace is going in, but needless to say it is not a clean job! The wood burner arrived today and I am praying that all will work well as there are people coming to stay on Sunday week. I am hoping that I can get the office painted as well, before they come - nothing like a bit of pressure I always say!!

My lip is getting better, Dusky Emperor decided to bite a lump out of it a few days ago, I had a word with her about it, but had to ask Adam to finish the demonstration that day, as I was bleeding profusely. Lips seem to heal in a rather odd way and drinking hot tea has been an interesting experience, however gin and tonic is not a problem, thank goodness! And on that note my Plum Vodka and Plum Gin is looking and smelling delicious, and no I have not tried it yet, I am saving it for Christmas - at least I am trying to.

I collected the second lot of eggs for the incubation workshop the day before yesterday and Simon is working really hard getting all the correct incubation done so everyone learns as much as they can from the course, shame more zoos are not coming (I might harp on about the lack of interest from zoos for some considerable time to come I think!)

Of course Simon does get upset when Richard is here because invariably the power goes off - not his fault I hasten to add, but the fault of years of electrics being added over time and the whole thing needed a huge sort out. But it is quite funny to see Simon's expression when Richards Landrover arrives! Talking of which, my Landrover is going well and I love it, although the CD player is not impressed as I suspect the suspension is not what CD players like.

We moved the damn Burrowing Owl mounds, so they are done and the grass seed that we planted - OK Adam planted on the friday before last is coming up, who says you can't plant grass in November! The new plants for the gardens are supposed to be coming next week, oh goody, more digging!
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Its been an eventful week, the mammogram was as delicious as ever, various female friends not only agreed at my (stolen) description but suggested that if men's testicles were treated in the same fashion a different approach would probably have been adopted by now!

My new Landrover had some interesting behaviours, a whining noise when I turned the engine of and at one point it lost power, I was informed that was quite normal!! Not sure about that, however it has been behaving ever since. The autumn is definitely in full swing and we have leaves everywhere, it always seems like such a pointless task to collect them when there are so many more to come, however it is fun to scuff through them, even at my age.

On thursday I started the day with a lovely ride in the morning on Henry and got lost in the woods, but we had had a good time and it was amazingly warm although windy. My Barbary Falcon who has been flying superbly was even better the day before and Linda took some cracking photos, however on Thursday when it was hellish windy and we were all looking forward to her flight as she loves the wind, we all watched her rapidly disappear. Simon, Adam and I leapt into the Landrover and off we went down wind. We followed her to Gloucester and then lost the signal, we drove around for about another hour or so and then decided to get back, finish off the day and regroup. So back home, moved horses, put birds away, finished feeding the owls, put the dogs in the house and locked up. Adam and Holly drove off towards Ledbury, Malvern and then Worcester, Simon and I went M50 Evesham and then towards Oxford, Mark and Robin did Tewkesbury and then towards Stow on the Wold. We probably started out at about 5.30pm and none of us had a signal by 8.30, we were all a bit miserable. Then Simon and I had chosen the Cirencester road out of Bourton on the Water and as I was driving and he was map reading and the receiver was on the seat, there came a bleep, it is the most wonderful noise when you have not heard one for about six hours. We phoned Holly and Adam and told them to go home, we asked them to phone Robin and Mark and we started to track her down, it was extremely dark and still very windy. We finally ended up at Farmington Quarry and Robin and Mark caught up with us. As we were standing in the road checking the signal a truck pulled up and a very nice chap asked (not surprisingly!) what we were doing, we explained and he said it would not be good to go on the land in the direction we were looking as it was full of Partridges, so he kindly called the keepers and owners and the keepers met us (by this time it must have been close to 9.00pm) they took us a little closer and we reckoned that was about all we could do that night, the signal was saying she was up in a tree, so we agreed to meet at 7.00am the next morning and home we all went.

Simon and I got up early and got to the quarry at about 6.35am, we still had a good signal and we triangulated the bleep so we were happier about exactly where she was and phoned Olly the keeper, however at 6.45am she moved! So off we all went tracking again, and luckily the roads went where we needed to go. Olly left after a while, he was really helpful in telling us the lie of the land and Simon and continued about half a mile, we got a signal on near and took off over the fields and there she was on a house in a steep valley. I walked towards her swinging the lure, whistling and tripping over pheasants! As I stood there on the hill outside a lovely house an upstairs window opened and a chap called Richard asked me very politely what I was doing, I said I have a falcon on your roof and I am trying to get it down, 'Oh' he said, 'that must have been what I saw fly past when I was on the loo!' yes I agreed! Why were you flying it here, he asked quite rightly, I wasn't I replied, I lost her 30 miles away yesterday and she came here on the wind. Luckily she came down at that point and so we parted and I and Simon went back to the car with a huge sigh of relief and big grins on our faces, tripping over yet more pheasants on the way, it would be a great place to fly my goshawk!! We worked out that we had driven 250 miles and used up 39 man hours to find her, but it was worth it.

I was glad to get her back as it was Bonfire night and we were having a small firework party, so we needed to get organised. Plus we had a Hawk Experience Day as well as the normal daily stuff. I made a Guy in the afternoon, Simon donated the jeans, and I added a jersey which was a vile colour and made his head out of an old T Shirt. Adam built a stunningly good fire with all the rubbish wood from the workshop and yard, John helped as did Simon, it really was a great bonfire. I made mulled wine and put some sausages in the oven. Over the week there had been talk about marshmallows being toasted and we had a great idea that we could clean up an rake and cook 16 at a time!! However the fire was so good we could not get close enough to do it! At some point chocolate coated Marshmallows had been mentioned and Sue had a chocolate fountain, which she lent us.

The recipe said you have to thin the chocolate with water or cooking oil and Adam had the bright idea of using Baileys, which I thought was brilliant, so I had got lots of Galaxy chocolate, and a bottle of Baileys. Well he and John and I were in the kitchen getting it ready, Adam took over the chocolate melting as he said I was doing it wrong, it was very thick, so he duly added the baileys, however that did not do the trick, so we added a bit of cooking oil as instructed and that was where things started to go wrong! The chocolate sort of curdled, it went a very dark brown, the oil refused to mix in and it was never going to work in a chocolate fountain, so we started again! Then Adam had a bright idea, he would roll the now very thick and somewhat oddly textured chocolate in something and make truffles, so did I have some hundreds and thousands, well, surprise, no I didn't, I offered him bisto gravy powder, but he turned it down, luckily we found some cocoa powder! He put the mix into one of my T Towels and rung out the oil!!! The T towel looked like nothing on earth, at least nothing that I can repeat, after he had scraped the chocolate out! He and John made about 12 and I then called it a day and asked John to go and throw the rest in the hedge and perhaps a badger would enjoy it later that night. I managed to drop most of the truffles in the deep freeze, we tried one and I have to say that you could taste the Baileys, but there was not an inkling of Galaxy taste left!. Adam made a second batch with just chocolate and oil, you have no idea how much oil you have to use to get it to flow, it sort of puts you off.

By this time staff and neighbours were arriving, so we took out the mulled wine, sausages, chocolate fountain and put them under Adam's gazebo in the car park, turned on the lights that Richard had put up to light the trees, it was of course by now raining non stop!! Holly brought Marsh Mallows and Maceroons - they were very good, John and family brought pizza and already cooked baked potatoes, and so we celebrated Guy Fawkes night in the rain, with a stunning fire, great food and good company. The fireworks were good and lasted all of three minutes!! It finished in time for me to go to sleep in the new David Attenborough series that I really wanted to watch!
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Well the first two owl evenings have gone very well. Richard's wife Janet help with the hog roast, thank you Janet! Richard made sure that the new lighting that he built worked and it did and the birds looked wonderful in it. I did the guided tour on the Friday and Holly and I did them on the Saturday. Adam's owls and Adam did very well, Holly's owls and Holly did very well, my owls did very well but I fell over the bloody Burrowing Owl's mounds - twice! Consequently they are going to be moved this week, they make life too tricky and we are all constantly worrying about tripping over them and not concentrating on the commentaries. Cool Ground, the Snowy Owl looks particularly wonderful in the new lighting, but it works well on all of them. Thanks a million Richard!! Shop next!!!
I have to go for a mammogram today, oh goody, my absolute favourite thing, only a cervircal smear fills me with more joy. Someone once said that to experience a mammogram all you have to do is lie on a nice cold hard (smooth) concrete floor and gently roll the front wheel of your car over your breast and leave it there!! And they were right! Actually I would much rather go for a ride on my horse - much much rather!
I have my new (secondhand - who in their right minds would by a new car that is instantly worth less as soon as you get in it) car. It is blue, very nice, goes well, has three seats in the front and two in the back and we have carpeted the back for the dogs, two steps to get in and its a Landrover Defender 90, what a surprise. I love it, next we have to get the trailer sprayed the same blue to match it and have logos and stuff put on and we will be ready for the show season next year. Although I have to say I am always a little dubious about putting my phone number on there in case someone wants to complain about my driving, not that that has ever happened of course. We still await the Range Rover..........................

Sunday was a good day, most of the school children had stayed away, we were very busy with them during the week, but back to more mature visitors on Sunday. Holly had the day off to give her father a nice birthday, and Adam and Mark were off, so John came in and helped with the demonstrations, I could not have managed without him, he and Josh and Zoe did sterling work, and we go a fair bit done too.

I had to drive to near Witney yesterday to collect 180 eggs for the incubation workshop that starts on November 24th ( and that is only the first batch, there are two more to collect! I have to say I have been very disappointed by the lack of interest from most of the zoos, all of whom I might add could probably do with a course like this, and no interest at all from the bird of prey world, who obviously know it all already! This is an amazing workshop with huge opportunities to learn, I sent Simon on it to Spain last year and he raved about it. Ah well there is none so queer as folk as they say. I put on a pair of shoes to go as I was not sure the hatchery would appreciate my wellies, now I have hardly worn them at all, OK I have probably had them about 15 years, but I have hardly worn them - they fell to bits, literally! I had to throw them away can you believe it. I have to do something about my clothes in the next year or so, Charlie, don't say a word, the problem is that I hate, loath and detest shopping for clothes.
Barn Three is getting its major clean and paint at the moment, and it is looking great I have to say. Nest to do is the Zoo Mesh on the Owl Courtyard, and a repaint, then Barn 2 to clean and touch up. I hope to get most of the barns finished and with their food drawers in (thanks to Tom and Mike) by Christmas, but we have decided to clean and repaint the Kites Barn on February 28th, and it should last as nice and clean and tidy until about Valentines Day, by which time the walls will be covered again!


I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

Blog Archive

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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