Monday, 25 February 2013

I finally gave up this week and turned on an extra radiator. Normally I only heat the kitchen for me and the dogs and my office/library, but it has been SO cold that moving from one room to the other just got unbearable! As I had the all clear to remove the back brace I think I am a little more susceptible to the cold than usual.  

We have just finished the two weeks of half term and I have to say that although it has been bitterly cold and sitting in the flying field with an easterly wind driving up from the pond has been a heroic effort by the visitors, we have still had them!! Of course I really think they are nuts, I would have sat by the fire with a book and a cuppa given the chance!! However it has been lovely to be busy again and although the second week has been very cold and grey it has been DRY!!! In fact my field is finally drying out and for the first time in probably 10 months the pond is not overflowing.

The daffodils have stopped dead, they obviously have said to themselves that they blew it, they have been the same height for a week and my poor crocuses and not happy either. The gardens look a little bare I have to say, but my staff gave me some garden vouchers for Christmas, which of course I have not been able to spend, but now I am mobile (ish) again, I can go out and have fun with them.

My hospital appointment went fine, the fracture is healed and I was told that some people wait a couple of weeks to take off the brace and others take it off as soon as they get home, I carried mine out of the hospital! I did offer it back to them, but the surgeon looked a little affronted and said would I wear a secondhand brace – absolutely I would especially when I was waiting for the damn thing to arrive for several days! Although I have to admit mine is held together with a bit of wire where a screw came out. It is residing in the butler’s pantry until I can think of something to do with it!

We have two horses in the field for a month – and no I am not riding again, I don’t think I could get on a horse right now if I tried, and anyway although they say my back is mended, it does not exactly feel like it, it’s pretty sore still. These horses are in foal mares that belong to two good friends of mine and they are here so she can sort out her field and buildings ready for foals! It’s good to see a horse in the field again, although I think Nathan is less pleased. He started to mow again – hooray, it always looks so nice when things are mown. My front lawn I am told looks like Basra, with landmines from the dogs and mole hills, I am about to wage war on the moles as they are causing a lot of damage all over. It’s a shame you can’t train burrowing owls to get moles, I could earn a fortune!


The birds are laying furiously, Hemp has an egg (not that is will be fertile, but she is a great sitter). The Griffon Vultures have hatched their baby all by themselves. The two Grey Buzzard Eagle babies are doing well now. Some of the owls have eggs and the Hooded Vultures have laid too, we are hoping they will hatch as we want to keep them and fly them. I will not be sorry when the weather warms up, although I would be happy if it would warm up to a drought please, its always a worry with eggs and really cold weather. Here is hoping it will change soon.
Monday, 18 February 2013
Life is hectic! It’s been glorious weather for the last week, we have seen the sun for days at a time, which is nothing short of a miracle!! My absolute favourite winter weather. Cold clear nights, cold frosty mornings, warm (well OK not that warm, but warm enough not to wrap up) days, with sunshine. The birds, wild LBJ kind are singing spring songs, the daffodils are showing a tiny bit of colour and supposedly it is all going to go to pot later on in the week, but we have enjoyed it for now. It has also been perfect for the school half term. We appear to have two weeks of half term, Gloucestershire was last week and Herefordshire and Worcestershire this week, so that is good for us and we have been busy.
I have to admit that I was extremely worried last week, the bank balance was looking worse that I thought it should, but thank God and David Morton, although it probably should be the other way round, we discovered that some miserable lazy thieving bastard has stolen my debit card details and since Dec 27th been helping himself to just over £10,000. So no wonder we looked a bit thin on the ground. I even sold my car and put the funds in the business. I hope they catch whoever it is, I have offered if they do, to remove the perpetrator's testicles whilst they are still awake and feed them to the Condor, but I suspect they will not tell me who it is – shame really, because I bet the penalty is not as great as it should be. Anyway the bank is putting the funds back today, so I am hoping to get some sleep tonight, which I have not done for the last two.
The birds have been flying brilliantly, my eagle is really coming on now, the new Red-tailed Buzzard is jumping to the fist, John will have to find a name for him soon. Generally all the birds are doing really well and I think they too are enjoying the weather. We did our last two Owl Evenings for this part of the year, they start again next November. The Friday we had 50 people and the Sat we were full at 61, which was great and because the evening weather was good, they all went away happy. The mulled wine on the Saturday was probably one of my best!
I gave a lecture on the Vulture Crisis at Swansea University last week, Linda kindly drove me over there as I can’t manage a long drive yet. Sometimes you know when you have given a good lecture and I was pleased that I felt that it was a very good one. It was lovely to speak to a large audience who wanted to have the knowledge and the lecture theatre was great.
I have a hospital appointment tomorrow and might get rid of my brace. I broke it last week, but Tom put it back together with some wire! I wonder if they will want it back, I am sure they will, but it will have to be refurbished anyway I guess.
Richard is coming soon to do the lights in the flats and then Holly and Jimmi will not have to shower by candle light. We still await the new front door for the flats though, I think they are growing the timber for it! I have to say though Swinton Car Insurance have a star from me. I found out I was paying them £8.45 per month for Car Rescue, but I had not asked for it. So when I pointed it out they immediately stopped it and are refunding the money. Financially I am better off already!
Other than that there is not much news, the breeding season carry’s on, the lawns need mowing. I thin Art is doing well, there are the signs of leaves on some of the shrubs, we have lambs next door, and spring is not far away.
Thursday, 7 February 2013

Shanny died today, a sad day for us. She was 17 years old, Mark brought her in the night before this because she was looking a little down. Her weight was OK, she was not thin, but it was a very cold night last night so we were happy to have her inside. This morning we gave her some skinned food with antibiotics, which she took readily and looked very cheerful and an hour later she had died. Seventeen is a good age,  and she went with her normal grace. She taught many people both staff and experience days, she came to the US with me and back again, she was of our old breeding line, a real lady with charming personality and manners. We all went down to the field just before dark and buried her and toasted her with some wine.

Holly got back today, she must be very tired as she went straight into work, but it was lovely to see her. She has learnt a great deal and is very excited about the coming breeding season. We candled some of the eggs this evening and she has a fertile African Fish Eagle egg to manage and a fertile Tawny Eagle as well – so a good start to the season.

We have a zoo inspection tomorrow, which should go OK, the place is looking fine considering how short staffed we have been in the last six weeks. Everyone has worked really hard and we have achieved a great deal particularly while struggling with winter weather as well.

The flying team are going well, Pleiades flew particularly well today – much better than the other day when she ended up in the wood! The owls are doing well and are ready for our last two early year Owl Evenings. The Saturday is nearly full and the Friday looking pretty busy as well. They have booked up well in the last couple of weeks.

The flats are done all but a new front door which we are waiting for, and a light and extractor fan in the bathroom. They do look nice and are very snug and warm as well, I am pleased we took the time and effort to get them back to being nice again. Jimmi said the new shower is great even if they have to shower by candle light, but it is very pleasant!
My trip to Edinburgh went well, it was lovely to see Anna and David for a couple of days and they looked after me very well. I was taken to a concert and the cinema, neither of which I have done for a long time. The lecture went well and it was nice to go to the Veterinary College and see where it was situated. I was a little concerned as there are 74 steps up to their very beautiful flat and I did not know how I would manage them, but surprisingly I managed fine and did not die of lack of breath at the top either!

It is good to be open again and see old friends visiting.


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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