Friday, 30 September 2011

Blimey it’s positively sweltering!! 31 degrees yesterday and today and tomorrow, good job I just bought some jerseys for the winter!! Now I need to do something about my skirts most of which are a little - OK a Lot - past their sell by date.

Well I collected Rush yesterday early evening and brought him home, I had planned to play tennis with the others on Sally and David’s court, but that went out of the window because Rush could not be operated on until late because of other emergencies. So I have a poorly dog, who is not happy about life, he spent the night on my bed and cried for almost all of it, and so I took him in again this morning and he had some more pain killers, but he still was crying for some of the day, however I think it may be that he is milking it a little. He did manage to force down some ham that Holly and I shared with him and Indigo as we ate supper on the floor last night! Oh and some milk and a very small piece of cake that was
saved for him from lunch time. Angela and Sue looked after him for much of the day today and he is now in the office with me. We hope the mast cells have all been got, the scar is certainly big enough.

I had to order a new Amplifier for the PA yesterday as well, the old one was on its last legs and not likely to last a great deal longer, it arrived today – amazing, probably not by HM post sadly as they could not have managed that. Adam put it in and we are up and running with no sudden increase of sound to scare us all. Another job jobbed, eventually I will have replaced everything and not have to spend any money – or perhaps it is like the Forth Bridge, you just start again!

The Swallows and House Martins usually leave on the 29th of this month and I have seen none today, I wish they would let us know when they are going, it would be nice to wish them good bye and good luck. I can’t believe it is October tomorrow, especially not with this weather, it is almost like being abroad it is so clear and warm. We cleaned the Hawk Walk today, a proper clean, it took almost all day and I think I need a shower what with the heat and the sand!

All the owls are starting to fly well ready for the owl evenings, I am looking forward to them particularly as the lights are now a fixture. We did a Hunting Day today, we have changed the format, and people get here for 8.00am which is much better as hunting in the middle of the day really does not work, and a good thing we did too with this weather. They caught a rabbit in the first session with was good.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What simply gorgeous weather we have had for the last three days (I think it is three!) 25 degrees C, endless sunshine, and the most wonderful clear skies in the evening, there is my favourite blue again. That dress will materialize one day, when I get back to having a figure that is worth a dress.

I have to admit to being a little worried this evening. The day before yesterday the dogs went for their yearly vaccinations along with a little wild male Sparrow-hawk who went for an X-ray. The three dogs are fine, the Sparrow-hawk needs three weeks rest and then should be fine, but Rush had a lump, so yesterday he went back in and had it aspirated – sample taken from it, and after the result late this afternoon, tomorrow he is having it off pronto. It had some nasty cells in it and as it is small and in a good place at the moment, the faster we move the better. But it is never fun to contemplate any of the dogs having something wrong. Here is hoping that the operation will go well and there will be no repercussions.

As I won’t be able to ride early I took Mollie out this evening for the first time in four days, she had a nose bleed on Sunday (livestock!!) and so has had a few days off, apparently her nose is fine, and she managed to get a reasonably good buck in on the way home, and also apparently I am getting better at sitting them out! As I rode through the woods it was marvellous to see the autumn colours, they are stunning already, this morning as Mike and I drove to Birmingham to get the glass for the Hawk Walk doors, ready for the winter, there was a morning mist, the first this autumn, and I suspect we will have another tomorrow.

We had a meeting on Friday about next year’s falconry event, so now, we have a Gladiator weekend the first weekend in August and the Falconry Event the first weekend in September and in May our 45th anniversary celebrations, so fill up your diary!! We also start the Owl Evenings at the end of next month.

Yesterday during the 2.00pm flying demonstration a somewhat ambitious Sparrowhawk, a juvenile female, came steaming in while Fortina the Peregrine was flying, it spent several minutes chasing her, it was very lucky that the tables were not turned! But it was amazing to see.

We are getting close to having the Hawk Walk ready for the winter and cold weather, we are about to ground the last of the summer flyers and be able to concentrate on the winter birds. Simon’s Goshawk has caught 8 rabbits so far, and we are ready for the autumn months now upon us.

The below stuff was sent to me by Linda, it never fails to amaze me that courts, judges and juries are this stupid, perhaps they should all be made to take some sort of common sense test before being allowed to sit in judgment on others………………………….

It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico , where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S.


Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.


Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish Keep scratching. There are more...


Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?


Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Well my bloody computer is not doing well today, it had for some reason moved all my files to heaven knows where this morning, they came back, but we don’t know why and I just lost half of this text here because it is locking up and has to be crashed to get going again. Sometimes I hate them and they are always too damn slow as well!

Another week gone, more than gone, we had our first all day rain the day before yesterday, which was a bit of a shame as we also had a teaching photo day, but actually the people on it were amazing and they did well, learnt a great deal and got some good photos. I always say to the photographers that if they get one good to great photo of each bird they are doing well. The Wild About Photography day on Sunday went well too, the weather forecast was wrong as usual
thank goodness and they managed to get some lovely photos of the birds on the side of May Hill, particularly I thought the Kestrel with the huge visa in the background was stunning.

Mollie is going well, learning a great deal from her lessons, still very bouncy on occasion out on a ride but I think she will slowly learn that gates, bikes, people, dogs, drains, pheasants, pigeons, squirrels and a number of completely invisible things are actually not going to kill her!! Oh and sheep, apparently they are particularly dangerous!

The three merlin's are doing well, Simon is getting his going and the other two are flying nicely. We have got Lady Isabel out, the female Barbary Falcon and Simon is going to fly her, he is also flying his goshawk and already catching stuff again. Mine has gone on loan to Mike Cordell as I have a nightmare of an autumn with stuff to get done. Also I really want to get a couple of books on the go this winter before I forget all that happened!!

Adam and Robin were filming this week and it all went very well, a film called the Wedding Video, the birds were excellent and got the shots very quickly, it’s nice to be professional, which is more than I can say for the restaurant that I have just come back from. The Olive Tree in Ledbury is not a place I would be able to recommend because I can’t stand bad service. We got there at 8.00pm, there were a large number of us but that should not be an excuse for bad service, in fact the other way round. I had to ask them to come and take the orders, several tables got served before us although they had come in some considerable time after we had got seated. Finally after waiting an hour I told a waiter that if I did not get my meal in five minutes I would be leaving and not paying for my order, they just about managed it, but it was in fact probably more than five minutes, so I will not be going there again.

Emily Shepherd from Swansea University and Rory and Xavier came today to do more research on bird flight, it is very pleasant to work with these scientists and they are fun to be around, and interesting. I feel privileged and lucky to be able to be involved in things like this.

Autumn is very much here now, the leaves are turning fast and the mornings can be chilly, I even lit the fire one evening. I do so love the autumn, and we are now getting ready for the Winter Owl Evenings so look on our website for details, they will be fun again this year.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

OK I have a beef today, I rarely buy clothes which is probably pretty obvious to anyone who sees what I wear. I loath buying clothes, cloth shopping is my worst nightmare and I go through shops like the proverbial whirlwind. I am not even that enamored of buying stuff online, because I am always worried about sending it back. However I did buy a couple of really nice jerseys from a company called Woolovers. So when I saw their stand at the Bath and West in June, I bought a couple more, but they did not have the ones I wanted in stock so they promised to send them on their return after the show. Needless to say I sort of forgot about them with the rush of life here. However they rather stupidly email me adverts on a regular basis, so that reminded me. Eventually after 6 weeks (!) they arrived, actually I don’t like one of them! Unwisely I ordered some more. I ordered them in July, not one arrived in what could be called a minorly reasonable time and I am still waiting for the last one. I think they are trying to catch the bloody sheep to make the things. So take my advice, they are nice jerseys, but unless you don’t mind dying of old age or pneumonia with winter coming along, waiting for the damn things don’t buy from them!! Oh and apparently they have not heard of apologising either!!

I just had an interesting email from Amazon too, they occasionally send me recommendations of things that would interest me, not sure they really have my measure, but I was amused this morning to be offered two books written by – myself!!

The local hunt met here yesterday and parked in our car park, at about 10.00 am they were loading up horses to leave but one chap had a horse that would not load, we all offered to help but he said no, two hours later the bloody horse was still standing half way up the ramp. He asked if he could leave it in one of my fields, and so he did, however he needs to learn to shut a gate properly, because about ¾ of an hour later a lady came in and said there is a horse walking down the road – on its own. So about four of us rapidly went to look, as it saw Holly it started to trot, so Adam and Linda got in his van, I grabbed Mollie’s head collar and John was ahead of me in the road. I was tearing down the road – OK not tearing as I can’t exactly tear these day, but a reasonable trot I would say, and a very kind lady offered me a lift. We drove about ½ a mile before we caught up with Adam behind the horse, and a nasty corner followed by the town coming up. So I encouraged Adam to push on and over take the damn thing, and he brilliantly did so and then swerved his van across the whole road and stopped it! I got out and managed to put Mollie’s head collar on the beast, although it was far too small and would not do up and John and I walked and trotted it back to the Centre and tied up the gate with various bits of rope so it could not get out again. The owners arrived late afternoon and had Jan not by chance been in the Car park we would not have known they were taking the horse, and then can you believe it the chap’s mother led the damn thing 11 miles home!!! It would not be my horse for very long I have to say!!

What with the very strong winds that we have had for about four days now, which sadly have ripped off a quarter of my beautiful Liquid Amber tree, the hunt meeting close by, and the wayward horse, Mollie was extremely wound up and our lesson was done with no rider and on a lunge line, and still she was pretty firey!! The wind has dropped today and I am teaching in the afternoon on the five day course. Our American guest has arrived and is still sleeping off the jet lag, the weather is glorious and I am going to take Mollie out now and see if she is a little calmer before her next lesson on Friday. At least today we should be able to fly the young falcons as we have not dared in the last few days. Oh and the Steller’s was amazing on Monday – above tree height and looking great in the wind!

Following is a little treat from the EU!

All You Need To Know About European Bureaucracy.

Pythagorean theorem: ...........................................24 words.
Lord's prayer:........................................................ 66 words.
Archimedes' Principle: ..........................................67 words.
10 Commandments: ............................................ 179 words.
Gettysburg address: ............................................ 286 words.
US Declaration of Independence: .................... 1,300 words.
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: .......... 7,818 words.
EU regulations on the sale of cabbage:....... 26,911 words.

And worst still WE paid some flaming idiot to write it and even worse, could we survive without it – I suspect we could! Let’s get out of the EU!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Well my field is very quiet, all the stands are still up but empty, the wind and misting rain is blowing them around. A huge branch has blown off the smallest Walnut Tree, the wind has been strong. The Biffa Bins have gone, the loos have gone, the bar has been sorted out and all the spare drink organised to go back, or gone back. The deep freezer will be moved back to the freezer shed, the fridge has gone back to the clinic, the signs have been taken down, the car park returned to a field next door, the temporary fencing is down, the horse field is clear and Mollie is back, we are almost back to normal, just the tents to go on Thursday, and that will be that.

The two days of the Falconry Event went really really well, we were busy, lots of visitors, of course we could have done with more, but considering it was the first time for this event we were very pleased. The weather was great, grey to start with both days, but soon the sun broke through and it was sunny and warm throughout the day, all the birds flew well. Gary Bidiss did a great job on both days, with his little hybrid flying superbly on the first day and although mucking him around on the second, ended up doing its usual excellent stuff. and a great kite demonstration (material kite not live one!) with a training kite and his peregrine. Terry Large was only with us for the first day as he had a prior engagement, but did his usual excellent demonstration with a number of birds. Nigel King flew his Aplomado on the second day which was a treat. He could not fly it on the first day he said he had just given it a snack on the first day but the rest of us think it must have been a whole flaming pigeon it had a huge crop for hours!! However he and Mark flew it together on the second day and she flew nicely to the two of them .

Our original dog demonstration had let us down, but Howard Kirby stepped in at the last minute on the second day and what an excellent demonstration, the best I have seen and a joy to watch. I hid my dogs away for it.

Needless to say my staff did a first class job with all the demonstrations and not one bird let us down, they all did brilliantly. The dogs were in heaven, we should have taken bets as to how much weight they would put on over the two days!! They were convinced that the whole thing had been put on for their benefit, but they did have fun and on the first day we tried out a motor to pull a rabbit and Sedge, Sorrel and Indigo showed people that although fat, they could still chase the rabbit! However for most of the day they either cruised the Centre helping people out with their picnics or food, or sat by the two food stands looking starving (well trying to!)

We had some great stands and artists, and all the exhibitors were really nice, and seemed to have a good time. The atmosphere over the whole place over the two days was really friendly and pleasant and it was good to see old friends that I did not expect to come. The UKFC cooked the BBQ and an excellent job they did and Mike and my staff manned the bar. Everyone on the stands and in the camping area came, Richard had organised the lighting for us and it looked great, there was a band but most people were enjoying chatting so few went over to listen. The BBQ finished on time as promised at midnight, although by the time I got to bed it was closer to 2.00 am – way past my bedtime.

All in all it was a great weekend, with lovely visitors, a wonderful setting, a good joint effort, and my staff and volunteers did a fantastic job making the place look wonderful beforehand. Charlie Heap put in enormous effort for the Centre to get the thing up and running.

Here are some of the comments

Good event, very well organised ,some top displays ,nice to put a face to some of the forum members and catch up with some old friends, i first visited the centre in 1977!!!!! been back a few times over the years, great setup, clean and tidy, brilliant, mark.

I also had a great weekend with the Mrs. met some awesome people, deffo will be going next year!

I’m glad me and Mrs went, had a good time, enjoyed displays, and David Foxes talk with wez:s input at the end ,Good seeing u guys, hopefully this will become a yearly event

I just have to say well done to Charlie and Mima + team for persevering with the event and putting on such a good event. It’s obvious from the comments how well received it has been.
I had a terrific day on Sunday, even the Mrs enjoyed it. Loved the art stands and was a pleasure to meet Mr Rampling and hope Birmingham wasn't too painful for you! Great to meet various other people and see a variety of birds flown so well.
Finally I have to admit in my opinion Howard and the dog show stole it for me, I don't know a great deal about the subject but I found it fascinating and entertaining and a really nice chap to chat to afterwards and all at the 11th hour! Even Mima commented on it being the best dog display she's seen! Thanks Howard!
Roll on next year maybe!? Make sure your there to support it!

ARE we going to do it again - probably yes!!! Watch this space!


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.

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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