Sunday, 10 March 2013
There are people in life who are doer’s and people in life who talk about it. I am without doubt a doer, I get things done, I don’t wait around for others to do it, because I don’t have the time or the patience. I would rather get going when whatever needs doing and get it started, and then see what happens, than wait around for someone else to get going!!! I am also a finisher, I am better at the final touches of whatever the task, usually in finishing, a physical one, I see things that others don’t see.
So it pisses me off sometimes when people don’t see what we are about.
Consequently I just want to give you an idea of what we cope with in a day……………………..  after feeding the dogs and taking them round the field, always my first job of the day, feeding the horse was a part of that until he went to his new home.  I start on emails, bloody hundreds of the damn things, well OK probably not hundreds, but certainly over 50 per day, many of which are crap (do I really want Viagra – no, nor do I want anything to do with a man who wants the stuff – they need to learn that hours of what they consider to be fun, is way over the top for any sensible female, who is only thinking to themselves, for God’s sake get on with it!) but I don’t have a spam filter because otherwise on occasion I lose stuff that is important.
Today, just around 9.00am Holly comes up to the window during her feed round, because as usual I have forgotten to put my radio on, and asks me to come out as we have a problem with a Ural Owl, so after looking at the owl and giving it some treatment, I decide that he probably needs to see Neil Forbes (oh great – a Sunday, so the cost will not be insignificant!), but you can’t count the cost, it is a bird whose life is reliant on you. So I phone him, explain the details and thank goodness he is working on a Sunday, and so John bless him, grabs a box, I start the van, and off he goes to Swindon which on a good day is an hour’s drive, with the now fitting owl.
This means that we are down to two staff only, with thank goodness a great volunteer in the form of Katy, but that is it!! Its bitterly cold and I do mean bitterly, and we have three people on a half day experience, plus we are open and it’s a Sunday. So, things are a little tight. The emails will have to wait, the five year plan for the vulture breeding Centre in Nepal will have to wait, as will the book, the five year plan for ICBP and a few other things pending as well.
Katy finishes off the jobs John was doing with baths. Holly finishes feeding round, I get the food ready for the birds on an experience day. I am friendly and polite to the people on the day. In the meantime Sally who has put in a lot of effort in the new photography competition emails me to say that people are complaining that they have to pay £5.00 to enter  for three photos– although if they win they could get an exclusive day here one on one with birds and my staff – not an insignificant prize I think to myself. Plus it takes our time and effort to look at the photos and judge the competition – are we supposed to do it for free!! No, and any funds we get go towards the work we do, surely visitors who are regulars know that! Luckily Holly answered the Facebook stuff as I suspect I might not have been so tactful!
I then go up to the shop to bring the people down for the experience half day, plus their partners and as there are only three of them and it is seriously cold in the flying field with a freezing north easterly wind racing up the field, I am kind and let the three partners come into the weighing room as I kit the experience day people with gloves and instruction.
Holly gets the first bird ready, we do the initial flying in the field, and then end up with Lunar in the indoor Hawk Walk before going down to coffee, which by this time is very welcome, we warm up, and we then have 15 minutes to sort out the flying demonstration, Holly gets the people sorted out with a couple of birds inside while I get food ready for four birds on the demo. We run the demo, Katy looks after the people on the experience day. All goes well, in fact with this wind the birds are first class although the customers are frozen!!!
Holly and Katy finish off the experience morning, I manage to do a little to the five year Nepal plan, John phones to say he is on his way back leaving the owl at Neil’s, but it is still with us and OK at this point. I then go down to the café and help with the washing up before having a bit of lunch, and finish just in time for the next demonstration! It’s still freezing, perhaps more so now, but we have intrepid customers and the people on the half day have stayed to watch the flying. It’s still a bitter wind, but the birds are brilliant, the wind is perfect for most of them although there are a few rather untidy landings.
After the demo, one of our wonderful life members has again sponsored Pinotage, so John takes him and the vulture into the weighing room for a photo, I fly the peregrine off demo. After than John and Holly get various birds flown, I do a little more in the office to the five year plan, then I fly Kalyke who is one of the six flyers going up to Yorkshire on Tuesday morning, and blow me it’s time for the last demo!! And guess what it is still freezing – and trying to snow. We finish the demo, and close up the doors of the birds in the Hawk Walk so they can benefit from the heaters. The PA is turned off, the loos are closed as the last customer has headed for home. The babies food and Eve the sick eagle’s food is prepared, the workshop locked. Holly finishes feeding the owls, John moves the injured wild goshawk into a new clean box and in the freezing cold cleans the dirty box. Katy tidies the weighing room, and then John and Holly switch the Ural Owl eggs for dummies in case she deserts them with her husband not there. Oh and in the meantime they bravely check the Steller’s who has one chick and two more eggs!! And nearly broke the special camara!
Then the phone rings and there is an injured wild bird of prey in Newent, so while Holly treats the last bird on the list of birds that need treatment, there is always one in a collection like this, John and I drive down betting it is a female sparrowhawk – wrong it is a beautiful adult male, and when we get home and check it over it has a badly broken wing – right by the joint, so its chances are very slim. But we will take it to Neil when we collect the Ural Owl tomorrow, who hopefully is on the mend. In the meantime, Holly and John check eggs and feed the baby owl that is three days old and by this time, it’s about time to finish!!! Except that I have emails to do, John and Katy have to drive home and Holly has to finish the paperwork for the birds going up to Duncombe on Tuesday.
We all between us, Jan included, finish a bottle of wine, I go in and light the fire, the wind howls through the house, the dogs are now settled. I will tackle the five year plan again and we look forward to another day!!!


Ukfalc said...

I'm sure many people just don't understand how much work goes in to keeping the centre open and the birds fit and well, every day. Rest assured that there are many who love the centre and appreciate all of the hard work you and your staff do, as well as the time you all spend on the competition and keeping us all up to date thought Facebook and this blog.

I love the 2nd photograph above, of the bird that has just hatched. Stunning.

Phil Williams said...

Excellent rant - who put 10 pence in you?

For every person who doesn't 'get it' there's quite a few of your friends and regular visitors that do. Plus, you love it. It's bound to get you down now and again, we all feel like that sometimes, but deep down you wouldn't have it any other way and neither would we! Thank you.

See you soon.


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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Website counter