Thursday, 26 November 2015

A proper shower, what a treat, one of the nicest things when you get home from a trip, is a proper shower. Guaranteed hot water, not having to run around trying to find a drip or two, you can actually have one without clamping your mouth shut so as to avoid swallowing any. Just a joy. I am so glad to be home again.

I have to say that this trip for the SAVE meeting has been full of rotten luck for me. We arrived in India on the 17th with an extremely scary landing with Air India not to be repeated I hope!  We then flew on to Kathmandu, however the plane which was supposed to get us there by about 9.30 was delayed so we did not arrive at the hotel until the afternoon. By the following day I had already lost my alarm clock. The first day of the meeting went well, I was glad I had remembered to take a jersey as it was pretty cold in the evenings and we ate every meal out in the garden as the dining room was not large enough for all the people. Late that evening I found my alarm clock inside the pillow case! I had to chair a number of the sessions, which went well until the mid-morning when the whole room tremored and I experienced my first earthquake. Everyone moved swiftly out of the room and within minutes one of them had discovered that the measurement of the earth quake was 5.2. After several minutes we all went back into the room and carried on as if nothing has happened!

At the end of the second day of meetings, including the Board meeting we all broke up and then went
outside for a celebration meal. The lock on my room door had been causing me huge problems so I decided to get my coat, but put my wallet in the inner pocket, just to keep it safe – wrong move sadly. There was a fire on the lawn and we all sat round it, so after I had warmed up I took off my coat and sat on it. You can imagine what happened. Left at about 10.00pm without my coat. At 7.00am I got up the next morning, instantly remembered about my coat, but not a sign was to be found. So my favourite brown Barbour jacket that I had had for 15 years and had been all around the world with me, plus my wallet with money, debit card, driving license, social security number, train tickets home, and a whole load of other stuff that I suspect I will miss over time having forgotten what was in there, was gone.
I had to fly down to Chitwan where the Nepalese conservation breeding season to check that things were going OK there early that morning. So I left at 8.30 minus coat and wallet, hoping that it might be found. Chris sent an email to home to tell them to stop my card, which unfortunately went to the wrong email and never got seen. It was useful to see the vulture centre and as the various questions needed. Because India is boycotting Nepal for some reason I do not understand, and not allowing any fuel in, moving round in cars is tricky so I got from the hotel to the centre on the back of a motorbike. I have not ridden a motorbike for donkey’s years, and never without a helmet, it was an experience. On the way there we could go through the woods which was interesting and somewhat bumpy but the evening we had to go on the road through the village because of tigers. The road as well as being longer was also a great deal rougher. Luckily the hotel would accept being paid in Kathmandu by one of the NGO’s in the vulture programme as I had no funds apart from what I had been lent by friends as the meeting. I flew back to Kathmandu the following day, only to discover that I had left my alarm clock at the hotel in Chitwan!! I hope to get it back next time I come over. (did I see this Elephant - no!! But I thought you might like the photo)

There had been no sign of my belongings, although the hotel was very apologetic, so it had been stolen. I finally managed to get hold of the Centre at home, but only by phoning a friend as I had had no replies to emails or five phone calls, by which time I was somewhat stressed and my card was stopped. 

The following day we left at 6.00am to get to the airport and fly to Delhi and then on to Chandigar, the second plane was delayed by two hours so we finally got to the hotel in Pinjore at 7.30pm, a long day.
I woke the following day with a cold! We completed various meetings, had a look at the release aviary and on the second day there was actually an adult wild Oriental White-backed Vulture sitting on the top of it which bodes well.

Rhys and I left at 5.45am the next morning for Chandigar Airport and then Delhi Airport. We got to Heathrow late so I missed the train I had hoped to get but got there just in time for the next one. The Heathrow Shuttle people were really kind and gave me a card to let me on without paying again, which was a good thing as I did not have enough funds anyway! No one asked to see my tickets on the train thank goodness. Holly and Adam picked me up. 

Things have been hard during my absence with various things going wrong. I was going to go up and see my sister Anna in December, but have changed that to January when all the staff will have had 10 days off and should be rested and ready to start the year again.

And now I am going to go and have a bacon and egg bap!! Hooray!

Saturday, 14 November 2015


What a sad and dreadful day for France and for the world. Why these people behave in such a fashion defeats most of us, what they have to gain again is completely non understandable. How we deal with them my goodness, what a difficult task. I suspect the whole of the sensible and human parts of the world share the enormous sorrow of France. I hope that the world will back France if they decided to do something about this nest of vipers.

I am not looking forward to traveling on Monday, it becomes more and more of a risk and something that I think many people will think hard about doing unless they have to. I certainly am.

Apart from the awful news from France, it has been an odd day. I tidied the house so that it is clean for those who are going to stay with the dogs while I am away. Then flew some birds in miserable weather - very damp and rainy, but amazingly warm for the time of year, then went to collect some skirts that had had the elastic shortened, or were supposed to have, but only one was done. Then with a friend went over to David M's to get some live Rudd for the friends pond. We caught them on a line with maggots, and in about 40 minutes caught probably 40 fish!! It was amazing. 

Got back in time to do some of the flying at the 2.30 demo, and then did some training with various
birds. Jan was not well so we sent her off with Dave her husband, and hopefully she will be feeling better by Monday. Then made the mulled wine for the Owl Evening, after that took the dogs for a quick run and then finished off the washing so that I have clean clothes to go. Worked the Owl Evening with everyone - the owls were superb, as were the staff and then finished off and came in. Have sorted out the washing, need to mend one skirt. Watched more of the news on France, wondering again how people got to be so cruel to behave like that.

Tomorrow I have to make sure that all electrical stuff is charged up and finish getting ready to go.

Britains farm lambs and sheepMany years ago and I do mean many years ago, I had a toy farm, the first of the plastic Britains farm animals. It traveled around with me in a large box for years and I have never wanted to get rid of it. So I decided that finally I would get it all out and set it up again. I am having such fun organising what I have, looking on eBay for more - I certainly need more sheep, my flock has diminished. And when I get home I will start to build the model to put it all out, I am looking forward to it. And now I have my dream car - a drop head Morris Minor 1000 - admittedly it is 1.32 gauge, but I am very proud of it and it will sit by the farm house I am going to make. And you would not believe how expensive these sheep are!!

At the moment I am bidding on a model red phone box that I really hope I get as it is incredibly cute!!

Ah well, little things etc!

Saturday, 7 November 2015
First Owl Evening this evening, with a slightly different format, so hopefully it will go very well and we have two extra owls on the flying. Poor Helen had to take my African Goshawk to the vet this evening. She had been sick this morning and then would not keep down her meds, so we don't hesitate here, no waiting to see what happens, she is too important to take any risks, so hopefully we will have caught whatever it is in time and she will be fine. I do hope so because she is perfectly wonderful and I had hoped to fly her loose today for the first time.

We did all our interviews for the new job yesterday and the day before. The quality of the interviewee's was excellent, and made us all wish we had four jobs available instead of only one. The enthusiasm from most of them was lovely to see. We have five coming back for a work day next tuesday and then the awful job of choosing one and telling the other no, which is not fun.

The weather has been a little depressing over the last week and in fact we finally saw the sun for the first time in seven days at lunchtime today, although not for long. It was very wet this morning and windy so we have fielded phone calls all day saying - yes the owl evening is going ahead. In fact we have never cancelled one yet. We have had to switch things round a bit, on occasion, usually because of wind or rain, one, I think in 2000 we had snow on the last evening and everyone was keen to get home before it became any deeper. That was the year our nutty friends drove all the way from Norfolk to see an owl evening and I did them a special guided tour at the end of the evening because they were so late!

I am off to India and Nepal on Monday week for the SAVE meeting and I am praying that we are not flying over any dangerous countries, flying gets more hazardous as time goes on and I don't even like flying on the best of days. I have always thought that it would be far more sense to give us all parachutes rather than those bloody life rafts. I will be very relieved to get back safely, and hope not to travel abroad for a while after that.

The Black Shouldered Kite that we have is jumping well to the fist and is very pretty, I hope to get her or him flying free before I leave. We also have a new young African Fish Eagle who is charming, although a little nervous of us, we are taking our time with him so he settles well before asking him to do anything in the way of flying. Then early next year I start on the new Bald Eagle, and it would be great to get them both fishing out of the new ponds. Add in Salem, the Hooded Vulture that Holly has just got flying free and next year looks like we will have some very special birds for the demonstrations.


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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