Archive | January, 2014

Noisy Kingfisher Nest

29 Jan

Last year we were puzzled by some really strange noises coming from a dead willow tree stump. Its hard to explain the noise , a cross between a Dalek and the Mash men having an argument. Some research established this was actually a Kingfisher nest. They love these dead hollows.

Oh and if you prod around too much your likely to get a squirt of Kingfisher poo.

Recently we have seen more Kingfishers and discovered they were back nesting in the same tree. Here is some video footage to share the noise, it really sounds like this.

Footage courtesy of Dillon’s YouTube channel, all errors mine !


Mother Cat

19 Jan


This is Chloe , our Mother Cat. Her kittens are now about 10 weeks old and unlike many other Kittens are still living with her. What has been amazing to watch is how she has continued to parent and nurture them at a stage when in many cases the Kittens have been taken away from Mum and are having to work things out all by themselves.

She continues to feed them whenever and wherever they want it. Sometime this is in strange places , often it seems to be where you are going to walk. But we are all (almost all !) adapting to our own 6th sense to step over them when they feed in doorways, corridors or generally under your feet.

ImageA leisurely doorway feed !

As the Kittens are growing they are exploring more and more and spending more time away from her. She doesnt mind though and keeps a watchful eye over activities. Her range of “meows” get a variety of responses from them , and when she wants them , she gets them to come. Unless they are up a tree.


She takes a very dim view of the Kittens up a tree. A few days ago one got stuck or seemed out of his depth ( or up his branch or whatever the analogy is ). She had been patiently watching without too much alarm , a few hesitant meows. Then she decided enough was enough , raced up the tree grabbed him by the neck and dropped him to the floor. It was painful , hilarious and loving all in a few short seconds.

Her patience with the Kittens is delightful and a thing I am trying to learn from. Like the afternoon they all got stuck behind the bookshelf , in a space she couldn’t fit down and they seemed to forget how they got in. She sat waiting , for hours. Some gentle reassurance and when they finally figured it out she bonded with them a few short licks and they were all safe. She seems to have infinite capacity to tolerate whatever stupidity they seem to inflict, bites , jumps whatever are all taken in her stride.

Its incredible to see the Kittens as a family and we can see them learning so much from their Mother, who is fast becoming the second best Mother in our householdImage !

Camping…kind of..

16 Jan

We decided last weekend to go camping. Not the sort of camping that involves packing a huge car , ensuring you have every known bit of plastic equipment in a roof box and sharing bathrooms. No. The sort of camping that involves putting a tent up somewhere near your house and then spending the next 10 hours walking back to the house to retrieve various items. The sort of camping you read about in great adventure books like Maisy goes camping or Alfie goes camping. You see I have become convinced that all reality is contained in illustrated children’s books , so camping must involve elephants in pyjamas and midnight raids from a pig. But I digress.

We pitched a large tent up in one of our paddocks , found the nearest thing to a flat piece of land and set about it. We also put a small tent next to it for our eldest Son who wanted the executive option.

Main attraction for camping seems to be , apart from the prospect of an overdressed elephant , food. Or rather cooking food. Or rather burning food in a way that seems to add taste to it.


So first up was the fire


add some food ….and wait. Plus some additional help from a camp stove.

Eventually the food was burned to an appropriate standard ( or not ) and demolished.


Sleeping was remarkably comfortable , other than the bent leg thing. But I wont go on about that. Oh and the failure of the elephant to arrive. It rained only slightly , we heard all the amazing birds as the sun rose and even managed to make a decent coffee on the camp stove.

There is something rewarding about the act of camping ,it seems to lighten your spirits, even if you don’t travel to a destination further than your house !


The tent is still up , we have promised ourselves a return visit.

Middle class dissatisfaction ??!!@@

3 Jan

I have read DJ Taylors biography of Orwell and found it a good read. So I was somewhat intirgued when I saw an article he had written the other day in the Independent on Sunday.


It is titled 1973 the most significant year of the 20th century. Intrigued ? While he dismisses the safety of those who might plump for 1914 or 1939 or 45. He is entitled to his opinion , and certainly there’s no calculus to this. I was wondering what arguments he would employ. Was it focused on the overthrow and assassination of Chiles left wing leader Allende perhaps. No. Did he feel the oil hike and created a fundamental uncertainty in industry that lead to mass unemployment and the rise of the service sector and its mac-jobs. Well kind of. But not really.

No it was this ” The rise of middle class dissatisfaction ” or more precisely his Dads. Now I have some issues with this. Not just the issue of what on earth is that ? Does it mean a general anger at cookery books, coffee pots and futons. Okay my real concerns are Firstly the concept of middle class in the tone he writes would be fundamentally a British/ West European one. Not one which would have impacted much on China , Russia or India ..all with large populations in 1973.  So the tone is slightly over the top. Secondly he sees this as the start of the concept that class was behavioral not economic. But in Britain that’s always been the case. Thirdly he then undermines his argument by saying that 1974 saw more of the same and things really changed in 1979.

The article begins with reference to an Oxford paper. Had I been Taylor’s tutor I would have marked this ” see me “!