Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wanted and unwanted arrivals.

The first of the château "Wits End" Swallows were seen taking a well earned rest on the telegraph wires after their trip back from Africa. It seems so long ago that they left us at the end of last summer. Two broods were raised last year. We saw groups of Swallows returning back north when we were in Spain last month. Soon other birds will be arriving to join the small band of Sand Martins that arrived last week. House Martins and Swift are imminent arrivals and eagerly watched out for. In the warm sun an Orange Tipped Butterfly checked out the garden. I found a host of ladybirds that had overwintered in the log-pile in the garden. I transferred a few into the greenhouse where the grapevine is busy sprouting new tendrils. Yes, spring is here.

The unwanted arrival was in the shape of one of last years juvenile Heron's who has over wintered on one of the local ponds. He/She had the cheek to pay a visit to the fish pond in the back garden. The Memsahib caught sight of him/her sat on the roof checking the menu. He/she  was soon sent packing to browse for breakfast elsewhere. We lost a fair few fish in the pond during the big freeze so the stocks are a bit low at the moment. I also need to do some remedial work round the pond, so a large pallet of house bricks from "Jewsons the builders merchants" is sat on the drive. I know that I shall "enjoy" moving them round the back of the house.

Well move them I did, plus I made a start and laid the first half of the bricks. My back is not used to spending long hours bent over. So, the second half of the brick laying session will have to wait. By way of a rest we are off to Bugworth Basin and lunch in the Navigation. This is also a day out spent in the company of our boating friends Ian and Diana of Nb Katynca.

Abbie topping up on lunch

Poppy on the Tinsley canal towpath

Our latest arrival is wonderful Abbie a twelve year old Fox Terrier. Abbie is with us because she has been having problems with settling, whenever her owner (the Memsahibs identical twin sister) leaves her alone at home. There is a big family wedding being prepared for and the much loved Abbie is feeling a bit abandoned. So she has been calling (forlorn howl and getting stressed) for the rest of her missing pack whenever she has to be left alone at home. 

Poppy our three year old Fox terrier thinks the new arrangement is wonderful and has almost become Abbie's shadow. Actually me and the Memsahib are quite enjoying the company of this gentle old lady in her twilight years. Saying that, the "Old Lady" can get a bit motivated whenever she catches sight of any of our three cats - It seems that she has always thought it one of her duties to see them off the premises. Its become a bit of a culture shock for her to be introduced to  them. Especially Jasper the 28 year old and venerable tomcat. Jasper is a veteran of many encounters with dogs over the years. The fact that he does not run away but gives a boxing lesson has been something of a rude awakening for Abbie and the source of much amusement for us.

The Memsahib has been changing Abbies diet, to fresh prepared food without any preservatives. And "Abster or little bird" as she is also known is enjoying the change. Whenever people get a dog, they get formulated puppy food for the first few months. Later they change over to a normal adult diet. However, few people remember to change the diet again when the dog gets older. Behaviour problems with older dogs can often be caused by preservatives in their diet.

The new top-box for Rosie has been completed and will be taken to the marina sometime next week as we prepare for our Easter cruise. I just need to complete the modification of a waterproof top cover. So what else has been happening - The first of the château "Wits End" house maintenance projects has also been completed. Wits End is now sporting a new set of square section rainwater guttering and renovated soffits 

Yes, I am enjoying retirement, I think!


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