Sunday, 27 May 2012

Hard times...............!!!!

....but did she really have to get rid of the roof ?
I know times are hard..................


Poppy is quite obviously a Border Collie.  Like all her breed she is extremely intelligent and due to hard work on her owner's part, obedient.  She is an absolute joy to walk and has the sweetest nature.

She prefers playing with a ball to interacting with other dogs and practically ignores any we meet, unless of course said dog has a ball she might prefer to her own!!  

She also has a bit of a penchant for chasing the birds and the bees.  The gulls of course are happy to play her at her own game, coming in just low enough and close enough to give her a run for her money.  One day they might misjudge it, but somehow I doubt it.  They fly just a few feet away from her and then wheel into the sky at the last as she reaches them.  I clearly can't tell one from another but I'm pretty sure they wait for her sometimes, hovering just above us as we reach the sea wall but of course I'll never know for sure.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

One Swallow doesn't make a summer.......


            But.........hopefully a whole flock does!              At last they're here.....

I can't remember a time when the Swallows and House Martins have been this late, but today for the first time I've seen them, and what a welcome sight.

The courage of these little birds never ceases to amaze me and I always look in awe when they finally arrive on our shores from Africa.  That they make the flight at all is something beyond comprehension and the fact that they always fly back to the previous year's nesting site is incredible.

I find it sad that so many people now have permanent barricades around the guttering to stop them nesting.
It's true you find their droppings, often where you would least want to, but how long does it take to clean it up and what a small price to pay for a glimpse into their world.

Thankfully the Wildlife & Countryside Act of 1981 makes it a criminal offence to actually harm any of the birds or their nest once building has started.

I'm happy to say I welcome them and even though last year's nests need a little TLC I'm sure it won't be long before the sound of their young once again fills the air.

                                 After all what a poor world it would be without them.


Friday, 18 May 2012

and therein lies another story.....

Portugal........what a difference just a couple of hours away by plane can make, not only in climate, but attitude.

Animals in the UK hold a special place in our hearts and their welfare is often secondary, only to our own.  I met some lovely people in Portugal but their views of animals are so different to mine it was almost impossible to comprehend.

For those lucky enough to live with their own family, life is good on the whole.  I stood at a bus stop in Albufeira and watched, with some amusement as a woman opened her door and literally picked her dog up and dumped him onto the front steps of the house.  He stood there for a moment whilst she watched him ( a game that has no doubt been replayed  times too countless to mention) and then casually sauntered down the steps, onto the pavement and away from the house.  Satisfied, she closed the door.  The dog hopped up onto the grass that belonged to the house, sniffed the grass a few times and lay down, an almost quizzical look on his face as he contemplated his feet.  I could almost hear him counting off the minutes until he stood and very deliberately walked back the way he had come, until he reached the steps, barked once and sat back waiting.  Sure enough his owner opened the door, patted him, picked him up and took him back inside.
I laughed - hard not to, when the dog had done nothing more than play the game!

Sadly many of the street dogs aren't so lucky; the first night I was eating out at one of the pavement restaurants when a young dog on the other side of the road came into view.  She walked silently to one of the planted areas (minus the plants) and very carefully dug herself a nest, once satisfied she slipped quietly into it and just as quietly fell asleep, all in view of a family of tourists who were sitting close by.  She neither glanced at them nor they her. Needless to say she had what was left of my meal, but even after she'd eaten she lay down again, with only the barest glance in my direction.
It was as though she were entirely invisible.  To all intents and purposes she was.