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Monday, 5 December 2016

tales and tails from down under

 Apologies to anyone who might be thinking "where's November's blog post?" "Has she gone into hibernation?" "We want Pixie's interesting fact!" The reason is we have been travelling in Australia and NewZealand.
Pixie's interesting fact by the way is that King Penguins can contract their pupils into a square.
We didn't see any King Penguins but we did see the tiniest penguins in the world and two sperm whales. (or the same one twice - they hold their breath for around 50 mins under the sea and I guess it was about fifty minutes before we saw the second one.

 What awe inspiring creatures they are and how gut wrenching to think that they have and can still -be illegally killed to make soap.
 "And when the last great whale died, no sigh was heard upon the land but in the beaving of the tide, with every throb, oceans cried, and cursed the ways of modern man."

When we were in NZ Nature certainly had her revenge. We were in an earthquake 7.8 on the Richter Scale. It tipped us out of our beds and the little beach hut we were in shook and shook. We were right by the sea and people were scared that there would be a tsunami. Thank goodness for technology though. We were able to have constant updates through the media about the tsunami threat and didn't have to drive off into the mountains which - where we were - would have been a bit of a trek.

Meanwhile back home, without being woken by an earthquake,  hedgehogs were already hibernating. This one was just coming in through the gate when I left incredibly early for the trip over a month ago.

Beezle was in charge whilst we were away and ran a tight ship. He reported back on the USA election results and as he and Isaac Newton would say "Men build too many walls and not enough bridges."
Modern man eh? Beezle has assured me he is not a modern dog.

 The frosts have felled all the dahlias but these pics are a gentle reminder that they'll be around again next year with any luck. A box full of bare rooted roses had also arrived in our absence and with the aid of a pickaxe to break the icy surface, are now bunched together in the soil.
On the book front - The Dog, Ray has been nominated for the Carnegie Award (along with a hundred others - but just saying) and is this month's Kid's Pick in People Magazine in the USA. (circ. 3.4million!) Hurrah. Beezle in charge of fan mail..

I have posted this poem I wrote before but it seems so appropriate given the whale.


As I float in the Caribbean Trash Vortex
caught in the reams of carnage,
thirty carrier bags, two stretches of hosepipe
five flowerpots, a flip flop -
in all fifty nine different
pieces of plastic - lodged in my gut
I dream of breaching out to sea
whacking my vast tail on the surface tension
of the blue ocean
leaping out of the waves and crashing back
scattering spray on the way
which catches and glistens
in the early morning rays of sunlight
under the wide sky.
Being a host to a myriad of smaller
organisms who as devoted followers
nibble and clean and scurry and hurry by my side.

That would be my ambition
as my airways clog with polystyrene beads
like mermaid's tears
and I can no longer move with
my necklace of plastic detritus
tethering me to the sea bed.

a small ambition for one
so very large.

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