Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Folly Wildlife Rescue

Pippin turned out to be a boy in the end, a cock from Dalkeith - so he was inevitably re-named as Keith. It seemed fitting. Our rescue pigeon stayed with us for three days and eventually I had a call from his owner. In a distinctive Scottish accent, he told me that the pigeon had been let out in Rippon in Yorkshire, with the aim of flying the 150 or so miles back home to Scotland. Poor little Keith got a bit lost and ended up flying south, almost 350 miles to us in East Sussex. The owner said quite categorically that he didn't want the pigeon back and that it was no good to him, basically that it was crap at its job and that he would just 'dispose' of it.

I mentioned to the owner that it might be nice to take Keith to the vet, or an animal centre or try to get him well enough to be released into the wild. The Scottish voice told me to take him to a pigeon fancier who would dispose of it in a bucket of water.

Well it's a flippin' good job that Keith did fly down South and land in my garden as I managed to find a fabulous place for him to recover. Folly Wildlife Rescue near Tunbridge Wells happily took Keith in, wormed him, put some mite powder on him, weighed him and treated him with such love and care. I was so impressed and relieved that someone else thought of pigeons as precious, sentient beings. They even gave us a reference number so we could check on Keith's progress.

I warned the children that Keith might not have survived, so we all crossed our fingers when we made the call today. Yes Keith was still alive, he's in intensive care but they are worried he might have a nasty virus. The volunteer on the phone said she would just go and see him for us. I heard her tip-toe down the animal hospital and when outside Keith's cage she said:

" Ahhh, your Mummy's on the phone little pigeon, she's called to see how you are, isn't that nice?"

I am so pleased that there are people in this world that are as nuts about animals as I am. Cross your fingers everybody, because if Keith makes it he will be introduced into a flock and they will all be released together - back into the wild.

The Wedding

It was the wedding we were all waiting for, my lovely friend of over twenty years marrying her sailor. A day where my children excitedly wore delightful bridesmaids dresses and followed her down the aisle, clutching their posies freshly picked from the garden in their warm, sweaty hands. The congregation gasped as they walked in, sung their hymns with more gusto than I have ever heard before and shed tears at the reading about two lovely dinosaurs. It was a beautiful ceremony and the love overwhelming, many a moment I felt the familiar thickening of my throat and hot tears prick at my eyes.

Hugest congratulations you lovely people. May the rest of your lives be full of joy, laughter and adventure . We can't wait to hear all about your honeymoon on your return. Well, perhaps not all about it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Pippin the pigeon

In the unnatural storms of this week, a little pigeon lost her way. She was found under our car sheltering from the rain which beat down relentlessly, threatening our imminent camping trip. We know she is young because the tag around her leg said so, the Internet helped us decipher that she was born this year and that she was all the way from Dalkeith in Scotland. She was very wet and bedraggled, A said she was must be feeling 'under the weather' which we all giggled at. We gave her some bird seed, and not bread, which she immediately pecked at - probably starving from her journey. We then gave her a little blanket, a pot of water and let her rest. She is still with us now, in the utility in the cat carrier. The fatty catties are unbothered by our new feathered friend, seemingly more concerned with catching the many zeds now that winter is nearly upon us.

We have called her Pippin. I keep checking to see if she is OK, we are waiting for her owners to get in touch to advise us what we should do next. She is now dry, perkier and hopefully with a full belly and a good few nights sleep she can begin her journey home again. Or if she decides to stay with us, she would be very welcome indeed.

Monday, 25 August 2014


It's been a cracking summer holiday, the spell being momentarily broken today by Clark's shoe shop and the continuous rain. We had a fantastic week in Somerset my home county - it's an honest part of the world, a more real place than that of Sussex. Somerset is a bit grittier, if that's such a word, more raw, slightly harsher and reveals a sense of calm. As much as I like being a Sussex Mama I am always relieved to reach the West Country, to be rid of the twee-ness and commuter belt feel.


Watchet is a great place to visit. It is charming and I think I could live there with its ancient harbour, brown mud-coloured sea and views across to Wales. I love the coastline with its distinctive red cliffs and alabaster caves, the beaches are a stone-foragers delight hiding fools gold and fossils for the lucky seekers. We wandered along the narrow harbour wall meeting a red lighthouse at the end and watched some young people dive into the harbour waters with their clothes on. It looked like a lot of fun. We talked to a man catching an eel, its snake like body getting caught in the line as he tried to release him.

"Poor bugger's already been caught today!" he exclaimed taking 2 hooks from the eels mouth.

He threw it back into the silty water hoping for an eight pound sea bass next time. We talked local fish, sustainability, fishing with nets and using mud-horses. He took the time to explain to us the intricacies of fishing in the famous lilting accent, he seemed to have that time and didn't mind sharing his knowledge with us. It felt like such a privilege.

The tiny museum held treasures free for the visitor to look at, an old sea swimming pool which was free for anyone to use and to our delight, a free art workshop for the children to practice their fabric painting and flag designs. It felt like everyone we met felt proud of their village and genuinely wanted us to share its gems. Somerset ain't no Cornwall - but I know where I would rather be.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fletch is at it again

"Well done! Shame about the jumping!" the judge smiled as she handed me a fluffy pink rosette. That's fifth out of five. I grinned, knowing the horse as I do, having being on his back for nearly two years now.

Fletch didn't feel like jumping that day, it was easier to go round them - so he did. I had to do the walk of shame from the ring, elimination at a fence because he ran out three times. He knows I am as soft as butter and that he was going to get loved anyway. Everyone commiserated our efforts, made comments at Fletch's cheekiness saying he should know better at his age and we all agreed that I need to be more assertive with him. They say horses reflect your emotions and that is certainly true in the assertive-ness stakes.

We tried the jumps again in the lunch break. I tried being more positive but Fletch DID feel like jumping them this time. He didn't feel like going round them, he sailed them all not batting an eyelid and wondering what all the fuss was about. I'm sure he grinned an inside grin.

"Ohhh, he's so cheeky isn't he?" they all commented again.

Yeah. You never know what you're going to get with Fletch. Beautifully composed and red rosettes all the way, a meeting of the ground, fly bucks up the fields, reluctance to move forward and a reserve champion of the show. Because we have had it all this week. Onwards and forwards Mr Fletcher, onwards and forwards.