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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

bears and fakirs

"What would the world be, one bereft 
of wet and wildness? Let them be left, 
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
long live the weeds and the wildness yet."

Gerard Manley Hopkins.

 In my continuous research into circus's and trained animals (ref The boy with the tiger's Heart and any other book I write which features this) a friend lent me an amazing book published in 1890 called Acrobats and Mountebanks. A mountebank is a person who tricks and cheats other people - a fakir or even a magician. It has these beautiful drawings in. I would love to credit the person but I don't have the book anymore and can't see who did them. Anyway, my apologies to anyone who is related as I guess, though my maths isn't tip top, that he/she has died by now or is very very old and would not be into reading my blog.

I doubt with health and safety as it is you'd get away with hypnotising someone in the big cat's enclosure

 Anyway - enough of line drawings - here are some pics of Harry and Trude who are hypnotised by the amount of hay they are tucking into. The weather has warmed up a bit since this picture was taken and I've now taken their coats off as their own coats were coming out by the handful. Am considering making smaller versions of them from all the hair.Would that make me a mountebank?

I've been watching the rooks in the two trees outside the house. A couple of weeks ago there was the semblance of a nest - now there are nineteen nests - all beautifully constructed and 38 rooks (there my maths isn't that bad} are sitting on the branches and in the nests. I've only calculated that - none of them sit still long enough for me to count but it is a wonderful sight and they seem well organised in their high rise homes. I shall look out for babies that fall out of their nests - I've always had a secret longing to rescue a corvus - they are such intelligent birds but with two cats living in the house it may not be wise. Last year I found a young rook hopping on the ground and picked it up wondering if it needed rescuing. It seemed capable of trying to fly - perhaps had not quite mastered it - so I let it go but found it dead the next day. I think a cat had got it after all.

As Beezle and T.S Eliot would say "For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."

Well I threatened to gravel the front garden and I have! It became such a quagmire of mud. Now I'm waiting for the weeds to sprout up in it. I plan to plant in the gravel to soften it. It is surprising how many plants like being in gravel and don't seem at all bothered there is not too much soil around. Watch this space for summer improvements. Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.

And as Beezle and Terry Pratchett (RIP) would say
"So much universe, and so little time."


  1. A mountebank was the name given to someone who literally jumped on a bank to speak to the crowd as I understand it. Not nessisarily devious but it became synonymous as people in general believe you can't trust a performer I guess.

    Good luck with taming the wildness.

    1. thanks Dave. Just goes to show you can't always trust an english dictionary.

  2. I think dictionaries are trustworthy on the whole, they are not sentient beings for one thing, you just need to be cautious when you hear that (recieved) English diction...