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Monday, 23 January 2017

the eagle has landed - er no - the jackdaw has flown

The other day, on a beautiful sunny morning, Jack the one eyed jackdaw at last flew to freedom.

In spite of the information I had received that he would not survive - he was as wild as the wind and once he'd got fit and healthy he could not possibly have spent his life in captivity. He had the sky in that one eye and when I opened the door for him he soared up into the blue and away across the fields. It was a thrilling sight though he took a piece of my heart with him.

He'll stay with me though. I have started to write a new story about - well - a one eyed jackdaw. He never spoke in all the time I had him and I wonder if back in Nature he'll find a voice to tell the others where he'd been for the past two months. He might even recommend CHEESE which I imagine is difficult to find if you're a bird living in the wild.I hope someone else teaches him the joy of bathing though. Unlike all the other birds I've rescued he never once went into the water bowl.

Pixie's Interesting Blog Post Fact is...........
Bald eagles aren't actually bald.

Of course whether or not one should let Nature take its course is a hugely debatable matter. Should you leave a struggling creature to its fate or help it out? There are masses of fantastic videos on You Tube of people untangling swans necks and rescuing ducklings from drains and baby foxes who have lost their mothers. I'd certainly be unable to leave a creature if I felt I could help it out. Jack would certainly be dead if someone hadn't rescued him and kindly given him to me to care for. But he must now take his chances. Isn't there a saying that it is better to live a day as a tiger than a year as a sheep? Beezle's not sure anyone said that but as he and Montaigne would say "To lament that one shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago."

Beezle, who has the thinest whippet skin, is now sporting a smart brown fleecy coat as he gets so cold. (No picture supplied but might be used in blackmail at another time.) He loves it though I miscalculated the measurements and its a wee bit short in the length. What I suspect might be a little dog "hoody" comes down his neck and not over the back of his head but he still looks very distinguished and when he first got it he liked to show off and scampered around wagging his tail. Pixie who has plenty of coat of her own was not impressed. We took him for a walk to Durdle Door on one of these fine winter mornings where we met simply masses of other dogs. None of them took the slightest bit of interest in him and we reckoned they all looked at him and thought "old man" - so we took it off and then he got lots of attention. He is of course an old man now and it was quite a walk for him up and down those steps and he slipped a couple of times. The beach pebbles made his feet a bit sore but on the whole it was a good outing and made a change from where we are. For instance there are no squirrels on the beach or deer or rabbits. But there was a heartbreaking sign with a picture of "George" a staffie looking dog with the words "I am George. I used to love this beach. My ashes are scattered here. Please take a ball and enjoy." And under the sign was a box of balls. We wept.

And here is Beezle enjoying his outing without his coat on.

OK I know I've put this up before but it's one of the great poems about the Eagle.

The Eagle

Related Poem Content Details

He clasps the crag with crooked hands; 
Close to the sun in lonely lands, 
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands. 

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; 
He watches from his mountain walls, 
And like a thunderbolt he falls. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

and a one eyed jackdaw in a pear tree

And on the first day of Christmas came a one eyed jackdaw in a pear tree.
drawn by Chloe Coggin

What a dear little thing the second Jack is but with only one eye he is having to master his balance. Here he is below - yes I know they all look the same but he is very different from the jackdaw I was looking after in the summer and they are all quite different from the young rooks.
 Whereas the others were all able to return to the wild and flew away I am anxious as to his survival out there. The Rook Helpline people said he wouldn't survive - we think he'd already lost his eye because the other birds had pecked it out. He was definitely the runt of the nest as he was small for his age and as light as a ......feather. The other thing is he doesn't utter a sound. No Aarkk aarkk!
The only thing he has in common with the others is that he loves CHEESE.
 and on the third day of Christmas there were two ducks a running.
 Here is Pocket (quarter Bengal) snuggled up in a small box.
 This is where he likes to sit now watching the second Jack with both his eyes.

Meanwhile I am trying to get back into writing after all the Christmas festivities

I have no set working day though there are several things that remain constant. If I’ve actually found my way to the computer and am sitting down to write you can be sure that there will be a cat of some sort on my lap and a couple of dogs at my feet. This is very handy when winter sets in because all blood flow can stop if you sit and write all day.
 Unless there are other things on the agenda, my plan is always to get up, avoid the unidentified innards left by the bedroom door, go downstairs, make a strong black coffee and turn on the computer to write. I am always excited to do this. Sometimes I will re-read what I’ve written the day before and even the day before that if I’m mulling some ideas around.
 This working day plan has to accommodate the two cats that need to be fed, the two dogs that need out, and the eight running ducks that overnight in the wendy house to be freed. The wendy house still has the gingham curtains at the windows and a small blackboard on the wall. One day I’m hoping to find the theory to everything written on the board but I guess unless I start leaving some chalk around this will be unlikely.

Beezle has interrupted my account of my working day . I despair. But as he and Albert Camus would say "There is no love of life without despair of life."

I will continue.

 So the computer’s on and once I’ve checked and answered any e mails,
looked to see what my daughters are doing on Facebook and poured out
that second cup of coffee- my fingers fly over the keys. Some writers
know exactly where they are going. They may already have the
beginning, the middle and the end. They have drawn a story arc and have
made brilliant notes on their characters down to what’s in their pocket
and what scares them. What scares me is that I don’t usually have any of
The story often unravels itself in front of me as I write and leads me
along paths I had not previously imagined. Like Robert Frost, I can take
the one less travelled. But there will be no road not taken. I love the
journey and the surprises that can come. In one of my books I found
myself introducing a new character and I had absolutely no idea why I
had done this. It wasn’t till half way through the book when I was trying
to figure out a way for my protagonist to escape from a prison cell that I
realised why I had written this person in. And Dear Reader, escape she
 So now Pixie is keen to impart her Very Interesting Fact.

"Jackdaws are the smallest member of the crow family and I am the biggest member of the dog family."

 I have always been used to interruptions. I used to write long hand in notebooks whilst waiting to pick up my daughters from a dancing or a swimming class, grabbing minutes here and there. So I’m used to having to stop mid flow. Now I almost wilfully make my own interruptions. Sometimes I find myself checking out all those dogs that need rescuing in Crete or watching yet another You Tube of baby foxes jumping on trampolines.  Sometimes I remember I must go on line and order some stainless steel polish or that book that someone told me about. Or write a blog post.

The Small Box

The small box gets its first teeth
And its small length
Its small width and small emptiness
And all that it has got

The small box is growing bigger
And now the cupboard is in it
that it was in before

And it grows bigger and bigger and bigger
And now has in it the room
And the house and the town and the land
And the world it was in before

The small box remembers its childhood
And by over great longing
It becomes a small box again

Now in the small box
Is the whole world quite tiny
You can easily put it in a pocket
Easily steal it easily lose it

Take care of the small box

Vasco Popa.