Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We Had a Visitor

As I was closing up the house around sunset yesterday evening I was greeted by a young magpie - or more accurately a young, very loudly begging magpie. It was sitting on the back of a chair on the veranda - and it was certain that I was a source of food. Nope. I don't feed magpies for a number of reasons although those living near us are delightful creatures, friendly and living and letting live. Not everyone is so lucky in their resident birds. Magpies have a well-earned reputation for launching attacks on unwary passersby during nesting season - and they can inflict a fair amount of damage - but fortunately it's not all of them. Most just go about their business and the clan that nests in the park behind us generally take no notice of us, just hunting for goodies like caterpillars in our gardens and pretty much ignoring us otherwise. Every time a new family moves in to our area there's few weeks of breath holding and finger crossing while we wait to see if they - by which I mainly mean the children - and the magpies will get along but so far all has been well.

Magpies are very intelligent birds and testing has shown they can distinguish between different people. Even those that attack are very selective as to who they launch at and will leave one person alone while attacking another. It's suspected that they are only targeting those who have harmed them or who resemble those who have harmed them in the past and since no one has so far interfered with our resident clan they have no interest in attacking any of us.

As I said I don't feed them for a number of reasons. It's illegal for one thing but also feeding them meat can cause nutrition problems and they can become dependent on hand outs. This little fellow has obviously learned that people will feed him and when his parents said 'Enough. It's time to leave home and fend for yourself' it thought it would go begging instead of foraging.

When I woke up this morning I could hear it begging loudly and this is what I found yelling loudly when I opened up the curtains.

It looked somewhat scruffy and bedraggled so I went out to check it for injury. Turns out it was still losing its baby fluff and it could certainly fly well enough to take off and land on my neighbour's roof at one point so it was fine. It kept yelling as it followed me around as I went out to pick some vegetables in the veggie patch, while I checked the pots on the patio and watered those in need and whenever I went inside it stood at the door and yelled even more. In its opinion it was hungry so someone should do something about it.

Three hours later it was still yelling and I was beginning to see why its parents thought it was past time for it to be independent. I decided that I'd see just how hungry it was and moved some of the pots out on the patio uncovering slaters, crickets and other assorted small beasties. It took a few moments before it caught on, but from then it gobbled them up with assorted squawks in between. Finally it quietened, grateful for the snack perhaps, and after a few more half hearted attempts at coaxing food from me - the two very ripe strawberries which had been attacked by something overnight did raise its hopes briefly when I picked them to throw away - it gave up and flew off back to the park.

And at last we had glorious silence. Long may it last.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ah Summer

- and this is a strange one as summers go. We have had hot days with maxima mid thirties to low forties centigrade but they have not lasted long, only a few days at a time. Then they've been followed by quite cool days where the temperature has been in the low to mid twenties. This is not the usual pattern. Normally we'd expect 5-7 days at the higher temperatures and then a period with temperatures in the high twenties.

With considerable effort  - and a lot of help from Pisces - I've managed to keep up the watering to the pot plants and the veggie garden but even these are suffering because I was about to order the mulch that is essential for summer here when i got sick. Pisces is well intentioned but he's no gardener so ordering mulch did not rate highly in his list of priorities at a rather stressful time.

We're now heading into the hottest part of summer - well, it is usually but who knows what it'll be like this year - so we've decided we can't delay any longer and, although I'm still not well enough to do anything energetic like spreading mulch, we need to get it ordered and in place. Pisces is not enthusiastic - he's the one who'll have to spread the mulch - but he accepts that if he wants to keep being able to pick his vegetables from the garden he's going to need to do the work. Life is hard, isn't it.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Are Things Looking Up?

Well, I'd like to say yes - but while there is a slight improvement in my health it is still very slow going as you can see by the fact that it's nearly 11.00 AM and instead of going to a dear friend's birthday lunch I'm going back to bed as soon as I've finished this post while Pisces is heading out to the fun.

Talking of Pisces, while he was at pilates on Thursday, he and the physio who runs the class got talking about infections and how I've been struggling to recover despite multiple courses of antibiotics. She'd had infection problems after she injured her foot and had some suggestions as to what had helped her. As a result he went off to the shops and came home with a load of probiotics and other supplements that are supposed to help you regain normal gut flora and boost your immunity. I'm entirely not convinced by the claims of some of these products but at this stage I'll try anything.

Fingers crossed things will improve - and soon. It's now eight weeks since this started and I'm very, very tired of it all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Still Not Having Fun

Just a very brief post, I'm afraid, because I've been having a lot of health issues and as a result I'm on the third lot of antibiotics in six weeks. Hopefully the third will be the charm. So keep your fingers crossed for me. I've certainly crossed everything possible in the hope that things will start to improve.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Season's Greetings

I've been tucked up in bed with my cat because I was too unwell to join the family Christmas celebrations but I hope you have been luckier and are having a wonderful day.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Yes, We Do Care

Nearly every day something appears in my Facebook news feed along the lines of 'You people were all upset about Paris but you're not saying anything about Aleppo. You just don't care.'

I'm sorry but that's hardly fair. Every night on the news we see horrific images of the suffering of the innocent in Aleppo just as we see and hear about the horrors being perpetrated by ISIS in other parts of the Middle East. We do know about it and we care about it but it's outside our control. We can't do anything to ease this suffering however much we might want to. In the case of Aleppo it's part of a civil war and the conflict between the rebels and their own government with their external allies. ISIS is something different, of course, being driven by religious fanaticism, but again there is nothing we personally can do to assist those caught up in it. It doesn't mean that what these poor unfortunates are living through does not break our hearts - it does - and if we could do anything to help I for one - and I'm sure many others - would.

So don't assume we don't care. It's just that we can't do anything but donate to those organisations giving humanitarian aid and hope and pray that things will improve.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Things I Have learned While Confined to Bed

One thing that happens when I'm sick in bed is that I watch a lot of terrible day time television. This means this time I have learned that many advertising writers think we are idiots.

For example because it's Christmas we have gift suggestions. Oh dear heaven do we have gift suggestions - and what suggestions they are.

A few examples:
Apparently what we all need above all else are items for personal grooming because it's always nice to be reminded that we are not taking care of ourselves. Our hair looks so terrible we need ways to improve it, we are not doing enough to remove unwanted body hair and our feet are such a mess we absolutely need to have special devices to remove the rough parts - and yes, there have been ads for all these. Obviously we would appreciate presents that remind us of these failings because we are either too incompetent or too mean to supply ourselves with these necessities or haven't realised what a mess we look.

Then, of course there are the always welcomed household appliances. Nothing says Christmas like an iron, microwave or vacuum cleaner.

Or perhaps you'd like to receive a garden hose with special fittings - because you're either incapable of watering a garden properly or haven't been trying hard enough and your garden is dying.

All of these are products I've seen advertised as suitable Christmas gifts but how anyone could have thought any were a good idea escapes me.