Moving house, divorce, death and marriage – all well documented occurrences for being the highest sources of stress in one’s life. The experience of two of these little beauties (the first and last) has come upon me this year, so please may I be excused if I scream VERY loudly?!
Ah that is better. Now, what news?
Well - yesterday, it was my birthday, today it is Oll’s, on Friday it is Roy’s (David Phillips’ father) and on Saturday it is Lisa (Dowley)’s, so as you can see, a full week of CFZ celebrations to say the least! In the spirit of anniversaries, and if you will suffer the pun, ‘wrapped’ around these happy events, we: have finished, and posted, the new Exotic Pets magazine; have been working on the next issue of Animals & Men; have been working on the publication of the new books mentioned in my last blog, and - yesterday - found ourselves organising some much-needed electrical/plumbing work around the home and museum with the help of the CFZ's friend of many years, Peter Channon.
As a result of the latter, it has now been organised that my washing machine is due to be plumbed in at the beginning of next week, which will be a huge bonus to the household. Up to now we have had weekly laundry runs to Bideford, so it will be great to be able to do the washing as and when is necessary, rather than having to wait for a visit to town. The cooker, although equally as needed, is going to have to wait until after the wedding (although another necessity, I must say ‘thank goodness’, as I don’t think my nerves would stand the disarray that the installation of such an item would cause at such a critical time in relation to the 21st July).
However, along with eagerly welcomed preparations for the washing machine, comes the disadvantage that the kitchen now looks like a bomb has hit it, and the dining room looks like it is suffering from fall-out from the aforementioned bomb. Let me explain – the problem lies in the fact that the utility room, where the washing machine has been languishing since I moved in, has up to now, been used as something of a holding pen for all sorts of bric-a-brac that has nowhere else to go due to space constraints. Now the fitting is going to take place, all these items have become homeless and have had to be left in any available area possible. I do own up that some of this displaced bric-a-brac is mine by the way!
Stop your moaning, woman. If you want all these mod-cons then you have to put up with the necessary upheaval that ensues.
Yeah, yeah I know. But, and a big but at that, in my defence, I must remind you that in 10 days’ time we will have a house full of guests for our wedding. It is no surprise, therefore, that I am in a state of severe shock, despair and am at present sitting on my elbow, as - to paraphrase - I am now at the point of not knowing whether this part of my anatomy is my bum or not.
However, hip hip hooray, the sun has got his hat on as I write this, so Graham is busy outside trying to catch up on the aviary work, with the help of my eldest daughter’s boyfriend, Gav, who is staying here for a week. Shosh is in the middle of her three week EMS (extra mural studies) at a local veterinary surgery and Gav has taken a week’s holiday to keep her company here and do a spot of sightseeing (with the complete knowledge and acceptance, of course, that he would probably get roped in to help out around the CFZ!). I wonder if the constraints of a 9 – 5 job are now looking positively idyllic? Poor Gav, but good on you, too.
As Jon has intimated in his own blog, there are a hundred and one things to do before our wedding, both for that event and for work. I have resorted to the old ‘sellotape on the ears job’ to keep a smile firmly fixed upon my face in the face of such adversity.
Whoops, am I moaning again? Well, why not? Hmph.
As for other news - last week, the CFZ cat, Helios 7 was in the dog-house (a slightly unenviable place for a cat to be at the best of times). However, on this occasion it was due to her natural instincts kicking in, much to the horror and distaste from us two-leggeds at the cottage.
There she was, running down the garden path with, what seemed to be an extremely oversized blackbird firmly locked in her jaws, hanging like a chicken hangs upon the door before being plucked. Now, I know cats are cats (and I have two) but if there is one thing I do despise about them, it is the taking of birds. Thus, Helios 7 tried to come in through the cat flap with her trophy, but I refused her entry quite firmly (not realising that her victim was still alive at this stage) so she decided to run down the path with it instead, followed by me screaming like a whirling dervish down upon her (when I did realise) ordering her to release the poor creature. I am not sure whether it was the sight of a mad woman brandishing a kitchen knife (only kidding) or the sound of the screeching from said mad woman that made her do so, but she dropped the bird and disappeared, as fast as her little, furry legs could carry her, under the nearest patch of shrubbery that she could find – where, no doubt, she glowered at me, sharpening her claws for some future act of retribution.
I reckon she should have had a word with my two, Spider (left) and Poppy (right) – they know all about my distaste for such things! Mind you, they were probably sitting on the bed smugly smiling to themselves that she had found out the hard way.
The poor bird was obviously stunned and could not stand or fly properly, and it attempted to make good its escape – unfortunately, though, through the back gate. By this time all the other inhabitants of the cottage were in action trying to catch the poor thing and see if there was anything we could do – be it to save it and let it loose back into the wild, or to put it out of its misery.
The hapless victim was identified as a juvenile jackdaw, and, eventually, we managed to catch it a bit further up the road. Jon administered some first aid to its wounds –which on the face of it did not seem to be too bad, considering its ordeal. However, it was obviously in a state of shock, so we left it alone in the dark to recover before force-feeding it some liquid. It began to perk up quite dramatically after being left alone, and when we went to bed, it was sitting at the bottom of the birdcage with its head tucked into its wing and did, on the face of it, look as if it would recover.
We did not hold out much hope though, as we were all well aware that the shock of its ordeal would probably prove fatal, and, indeed, in the morning the sweet little thing had passed away.
I hope we did the right thing by trying to save it, but at least we rescued it from a rather nasty death via the jaws of Helios 7, who, by the way, returned from the shrubbery about an hour later and wandered in through the cat flap, tail held high as if nothing, whatsoever, had occurred that she could, possibly, be accountable for.