Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Last week I had to catch a train on my way to London at an unfashionable hour for an early meeting for the Hawk and Owl Trust. It started at 9.30am, which for me means a very early start to feed and take out the dogs and feed the horse before leaving. The only upside being that the traffic going into Gloucester was almost nil, so I made the train in good time. However I had forgotten just how awful it is to get on a very crowded tube train, I nearly chickened out, but realised that I would only have  to get onto one just as full if I did.

I have an impressive black eye! Karis decided to miss the overhead pass and fly at full tilt into my face, thank goodness he is OK, does not seem to have suffered, but we are giving him a couple of days off before flying him again!

Leaf is growing very fast, she runs all the way down to the café at coffee and lunch time now, and does not ask to be picked up. It has warmed up a little so it is safe to let her out and she is going to be pretty easy to house train I think. Of course as she gets older and stronger she also plays for longer, so life gets interesting in the evenings. Sedge is beginning to play with her and Sorrel is just wonderful, so gentle, although it is a little odd to see Leaf with her whole head inside Sorrel’s mouth.

It was half term week and we were nicely busy with visitors which is lovely to see, the weather so far has been kind, although I am told it is going to get colder again. Its good when the Centre is busy. We had our last Owl Evenings until Halloween the weekend before last, they went well, although on the Saturday night it was -5C by the time we were flying the owls outside!! That made sitting on the benches a little chilly I have to say, but the clear sky and stars made for a magical experience and all had a great time. Talking of owls Ruby frightened us a few days ago, she was not looking well so we brought her in, gave her some fluids and put her on a course of antibiotics, but by the afternoon we were not hopeful, and she is 11 years old this year, however by the evening she thought she might be able to toy with a chick to eat, I put the heating on in the Utility room and she stayed in her box in there for about four or five days, she recovered well and is back out in her aviary again and we were all very relieved.

The breeding season is upon us and Simon has hatched the first baby – a Tawny Eagle, who will stay with us if all goes well. We do have one difficulty, a wild Common Buzzard keeps trying to pair up with one of our captive ones, she is always around the aviary block causing trouble. We did have an interesting thought, she is on view to the public and therefore in terms of the British legislation we are benefitting commercially from her! But we have no paperwork – what a dilemma!

The extension to the top middle lawn in the Hawk Walk had kites on it for the first time and Mark is now struggling with the lower middle lawn – not that I am sympathetic as they wanted to do it!! I told Mark that I hoped that next winter we would have no projects, he did not believe me, I am not sure that I believe myself! Next will be the benches round the walnut tree and then we start to get ready for the various celebrations for our 45th anniversary, which is exciting.

Soon I will have to tell you about the bed saga, it’s a corker!! But in the meantime………………

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The state takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The state takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The state takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The state takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened
by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated
general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island
Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven
cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have 2 cows but owe Santander for 6.
Nobody drinks milk.
You have a siesta and read about the collapse of the Euro

You lease 2 cows and pay somebody 3 times the going rate to milk them using borrowed money.
You refinance the 4 cows to secure the services of Goldman Sachs. They sell the future milk
production of the 60 cows and fund your lifestyle.
You retire to anywhere that doesn’t use the Euro.

You have two cows.
Both are mad but awfully nice.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You don't have any cows.
But you claim sovereignty over the ones belonging to your neighbour
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
There are times when I wish I could look out of the window, or be walking the dogs, or just doing stuff, and it is snowing or raining, both of which are sometimes great to see, and not endlessly worry that it will affect visitor numbers. The snow is forecast again, and much as I enjoy snow, I wish the months had been reversed and we had had all this winter weather last month when we were closed!! Snow is fun in the winter, but not when visitor numbers are crucial. If I knew that the birds were warm, the dogs were comfortable, the house bearable, and the finances not something to constantly be aware of, it would be so much fun just to enjoy what happens out there in the environment. Oh to win the lottery!!

I just watched the news and when I watch politicians answering questions I feel that actually their only real talent is to completely avoid the question and never admit culpability. It pisses me off that the Opposition, in this case the Labour Government, constantly moans and bitches about the financial cuts without ever accepting that they were the cause for running the country into the ground in the first place. Britain, amazingly, appears to be still reasonable OK in terms of our credit worldwide, particularly in comparison to most of the countries on the Continent, and it is mainly because we are actually facing up to our debts and our existing government is trying to mitigate them.

However my major beef today is the bloody Royal Mail, who do not deserve the title Royal as they are not living up to that honourable title. Jan posted our signed accounts into the main Newent post office the Monday before last. Now bearing in mind that one’s end of year accounts are relatively important and I don’t want to get fined, it was with horror that we learnt today that NINE days later they had not arrived in Hay on Wye, which incidentally you could have walked to probably nine times in that time frame. So being the sort of person I am, I thought I will just give the Post Office a ring and mention that considering they have just put the cost of post up, is it not time they actually gave a reasonable service. OK, admittedly I might not have put it quite like that, however I did not get the chance anyway. Why, because you can’t get through to a human being if you ring to complain, you get a constant barrage of menu items that you can press 1,2, 3, or whathaveyou, the first being, go to our website where there is plenty of information (none of which is relevant or of any use) and you yell down the phone – where the bloody hell do you think I got the damn phone number in the first place – sadly the phone does not reply, I am not convinced that they actually employ any human beings anyway, I think it is all a huge con and there are just hundreds of different messages all directing you somewhere else until you hang up in fury and just manage to stop yourself from throwing the phone through the window as you scream ALL I want to do is speak to a HUMAN!

Ah well…………………… The new puppy is called Leaf, and she is charming, come and meet her. Its half term next week, so hopefully we will be seriously busy. The hedge laying in the lower part of the wood is looking amazing, but take care if you walk in there as we have not finished clearing yet, lovely for country photos though! Richard is cutting the hedge/wood(!) between us and our neighbours and John and Matt have been clearing for two days, with help from Adam today. It is going to make a difference and open up the flying field which is the aim. Mark has finished the extension to the upper lawn in the Hawk Walk and now I have been ‘encouraged’! by my staff to do the lower one!!

We went to the Spring Fair yesterday – exhausting!! But I think we have found some really nice stuff for the shop this year, now we have the fun of waiting for it to arrive and the less fun of paying for it! The cold persists, the birds are flying well, my staff are as amazing as ever, Angela is going to do oven chips in the café and they are rather good, we have of course been testing them. Come and say hello everyone. Oh and I hope you are all enjoying Mozart’s Story.

Thought some of you might like this! 
The Dog's Diary:
8:00 am - Dog food! My favourite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favourite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favourite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favourite thing!
12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favourite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favourite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favourite thing!
5:00 pm - Dinner! My favourite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favourite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favourite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!
The Cat's Diary:

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Jerks!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage. Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now.

Saturday, 4 February 2012
Its snowing, so the forecast was right for a change, and as the ground is frozen it is settling, although I have to say I doubt we will get four inches. We were wondering why some snowflakes are really small and some are huge, most of these are really small, is it to do with the temperature, or what I wonder.  Adam just flew Cool ground, the snowy owl in the snow which was fun, although it is a little cold to stay out in the flying field for long. 

I had to go to Yorkshire on Thursday, drove up with Anabelle and we went straight to Duncombe Park where we are starting a branch of the ICBP, Charlie was working away doing fencing around the tree protection areas. The planning conditions have come through, I have to say that Charlie is a lot nicer to the planners than I would be, particularly as there are a whole load of conditions that they did not refer to prior to the month late discussion of the planning application. They are insisting on a yearly Bat survey, although they have a letter from the most respected raptor scientist in the world telling them that our birds will not affect the bats, they have been told that we have an increasing populations of bats living on site at the Centre here in Newent although we fly upwards of 40 birds daily, often into the evenings and then do owl evenings as well. They do no bat surveys nor does Natural England on the sites that they own or run, or on our site in the past, but they have asked us to do it, which I have to say considering the letter from Professor Ian Newton which told them that the bats were quite safe, shows how very ignorant they are; in terms of what I have told them about our bat colony here, is sheer stupidity; and taking into consideration that they don’t do surveys themselves is sheer hypocrisy! However Charlie is much nicer than I am and so will probably not tell them this!!

I did a lecture in the evening for the Yorkshire Group of the BFC, what a nice bunch of people and they were really interesting in our starting the Yorkshire branch of ICBP at Duncombe Park. So hopefully they will get involved and be a part of it which would be great. Richard came up to look at the electrics on the site at Duncombe. Its amazing how busy Helmsley is, we had some lunch there and it is literally a 15 minute walk from the middle of the town to where our site is going to be.

We met the guy who hopefully will build the three larger barns for us, so he has gone away to do some paperwork and sums and then that will move onwards, its all exciting stuff. It was bloody cold up there, but not as cold as it was as we drove home. The temperature slowly dropped until as we drove through the gate at home it was -5C. Although we were lucky to get home because the suspension in the Range Rover started to fail on the M42 and we crawled home, I don’t think I have ever spent that long in the slow lane of a motorway!!!

We were held up on the M1 just at the M62 interchange, I thought it was weight of Friday traffic – was it hell, it was because there was an accident on the OTHER carriage way and people were slowing down and gawping. Whoever you were, you are disgusting and despicable! The police despise that sort of behaviour and rightly so, the ambulance and fire people rightly loath it, it causes accidents, it makes people late for appointments, costs thousands of us in an unnecessary queue extra money on fuel, so why do you do it, it’s disgraceful, if you were a vulture you would at least have an excuse, but for a supposedly intelligent creature, there is no excuse.

When I got home and started to catch up on the endless emails I found one from a website who wants me to pay to be on there and they can’t even spell correctly on their damn site!!! You really do wonder sometimes.

Holly looked after the dogs while I was away for the night and the puppy behaved, still don’t have a name that is right for her yet, and this cold weather means she can’t go outside, but she is enchanting when she plays with Sedge who is being very good with her.

Still snowing!!.........................


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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