Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Hedgehog

The hedgehog hides beneath the rotten hedge

And makes a great round nest of grass and sedge,

Or in a bush or hollow of a tree;

And many often stoop and say they see

Him roll and fill his prickles full of crabs

And creep away; and where the magpie dabs

His wing at muddy dyke, in aged root

He makes a nest and fills it full of fruit,

On the hedge-bottom hunts for crabs and sloes

And whistles like a cricket as he goes.

It rolls up like a ball or shapeless hogs

When gipsies hunt it with their noisy dogs

I’ve seen it in their camps – they call it sweet,

Though black and bitter and unsavoury meat.

~The Hedgehog, John Clare (1793-1864)~

Ever since we found out that we have hedgehogs in the garden, we have been welcoming them with open arms. Every night, we scattered chopped cat food and peanuts for them to feast on. And they never failed us. Sometimes, they turned up quite early even before I close the patio doors for the night. If they do, I popped over and said hello. I couldn’t help myself. I’m the luckiest person in the world to have 2 adorable hogs of my own. :-)Coventry D300s F  05-07-2012 21-35-35

Apart from the hedgehogs, we also have a family of foxes visiting us and enjoying the banquet that we have spread out. Through the Bushnell webcam, we were able to observe them from the bedroom via the television. If they turned up when we were asleep, it would be recorded and it was very exciting to see what turned up. Any leftovers will quickly be eaten by the magpies, wood pigeons, squirrels and starlings which turned up as soon as dawn appeared. Our own personal alarm.Garden cam  08-07-2012 07-07-33

This week AM and I started a walking regime in the evening. We felt that we need to do something about our health and walking seemed to be the best option. We spent nearly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week sitting on our a---s. It was hard to find the perfect time but we decided 8.30pm was the best. We already had our dinner and there was ample time before we go to bed. We walked a bit further and a bit faster each day. Fingers-crossed, we won’t give up and kept on walking.

When I took the bus to work, which seemed to be quite often due to Babe’s ill-health, we got off at Westwood and walked. It would took us about 15 minutes. Even when Babe drove me to work, he would dropped me at Cannon Park and I walked in to the library. I walked around the lakes during my lunch break and if I can’t, I walked up to the 5th floor and walked down again. With all these walking, my weight still hadn’t budged at all. Boo hoo… 

I had completed my first pre-sessional library tour for a group of engineering students from China. As usual, I practiced the few Mandarin that I know like Welcome, How are you and introduced myself. That helped to break the ice. My first stop was the mobile shelving which was always a hit. Then the different study areas which confused them a bit. I demonstrated how to borrow and return books using the self-service machine. At the Short Loan collection, there were gasps when they found out that the penalty for a late return was £1 an hour. It’s better for them to know these now.

After office, HI and I went out for a post-birthday dinner celebration at the Noodle Bar. HI celebrated her XX birthday a fortnight ago and finally we managed to get together for noodles. We took the bus to work and managed to get the last table in the restaurant and it was only 6pm!!! As usual I ordered my favourite fried udon with seafood special and Chinese vegetables. I must be brave and choose something else next time. A pot of steaming cha completed the meal.

We’d a lovely time catching up and checking out what the tables around us were having. I also ordered a takeaway of egg fried rice with Chinese vegetables as a treat for Babe. When we left, there were queues outside the door, waiting for an empty table. As we were walking towards Pool Meadow bus station, the heavens opened and we went our separate ways. Although I was standing under the bus shelter, I was drenched. It was truly raining cats and dogs.Brandon Marsh D300s  13-07-2012 15-47-37

The sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw, the streets were damp and sloppy, the smoke hung sluggishly above the chimney-tops as if it lacked the courage to rise, and the rain came slowly and doggedly down, as if it had not even the spirit to pour.

~Charles Dickens~

On Saturday, we managed to nip to our favourite playground in between the showers. We met AH and KH whom we haven’t seen for ages. KH stopped for her usual coffee break at the restaurant while we continued walking to the hides. Outside the visitor centre, this adorable Pied wagtail kept me entertained.Brandon Marsh D50  14-07-2012 14-13-31

Babe’s sharp eye spotted this very, very tiny froglet hopping across our path. Thank goodness, I might have trampled on him. I took the opportunity to show this adorable creature to two young boys who were with their parents. Even the elders, ‘Oohed’ and ‘Aahed’. After posing beautifully for us, I let him down gently down the bank.  Brandon Marsh D300s X14  14-07-2012 14-24-046

The path towards Baldwin Hide was flooded but we managed to wade through it. A blue flash of the Kingfisher whizzed past us when we opened the shutters. The main island was nearly flooded too. A pair of Oyster-Catchers was enjoying a bath and a Heron was busy hunting for food along the mudbanks.Brandon Marsh D50  14-07-2012 14-50-50

We’d to turn back when we came across another flooded path towards East Marsh Hide. This path was about 400m long and we don’t want to be wading through them without proper footwear. We checked out Steetly Hide and we were glad we did. We thought it was a Coot and when it got closer, it was a Little Grebe chick. Aaawww…Our cameras came out blazing. He was utterly adorable.We could have stayed longer but we could hear raindrops pelting on the roof. Better make a quick exit.Brandon Marsh D300s X14  14-07-2012 15-24-061

My plans on Sunday to check out the newly-renovated Astley Castle was cancelled because Babe wasn’t feeling well. But there were plenty of things to keep me busy. I clipped the grasses around the shrubs in the front garden. The anemones, begonias and geraniums were flowering profusely. The poppies, battered and tattered, were left standing because I wanted the poppy pods to dry properly. I had harvested more kale, broccoli and peas. The 2nd. batch of pak choi and salads were coming up beautifully. A pity the cucumbers had to be dug up. They’d succumbed to the bad weather.Coventry D7000 M F  15-07-2012 10-29-51

Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare,

And left the flushed print in a poppy there’

~Francis Thompson~

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