The cat of very little brain…

…very little ears and a sweetly strange personality. Sometimes Ninnie comes down from the attic where she plays with lizards

Ninnie about to roll

and sits on my desk or telephone

Nin on desk

until she falls onto my lap

Ninnie no ears

or rolls onto the floor

Ninnie attention grabber

or just tries to grab my attention.

Ninnie reading

She prefers to read sideways

Ninnie killing a few typos

but I draw the line when she tries to remove typos with her claws.

Egret 1: Heron 0

We often see bird fights here, sparrowhawks going after buzzards, crows going after buzzards, thrushes going after buzzards, kestrels seeing off sparrowhawks. But I’ve just been watching a fight between a grey heron and a great egret.
Photo ©Christian Mehlführer


The egret was on the pond and was just swallowing a very large frog when there was a squawk and a heron dive-bombed it. The flurry of huge wings, white and grey as they had a go at one another was tremendous.

For the next fifteen minutes or so they stalked around the pond eyeing one another up. The heron rushed the egret a couple of times, but the egret, slightly bigger, stood its ground. It’s the heron’s pond and I don’t expect it had ever seen a bird bigger than itself before. I went indoors for my phone, but the pictures are blurry. Had to magnify by ten to get anything as the pond is about 100 metres from the house.

egret and heron

And, guess what? It was pouring with rain…

Chuck out the old, drag in the new

It’s the last day of the year, and since it’s pouring with rain outside, not fit to put a dog out, I have decided it’s time to take stock of the year gone by. Really, I want to remember some of the good things because there have been quite a few not so good things.

I clocked up about a trillion novel rejections BUT I self-published two small collections of poems.

The boiler gave up the ghost BUT, miracle of miracles, we got a plumber to put in a new one within four days (they had one out the back).

We found that the prehistoric stone sink in the kitchen situated at roughly mid-thigh height on a normal person can’t be removed. It’s set in a sort of sarcophagus of solid stone and cement and ripping it out would probably bring the wall down. BUT husband has built a proper sink on top of it which looks pretty smart.

We couldn’t have everybody here for Christmas BUT we did get a new oven so I’ll be able to cook properly when we do have a family gathering.

The Covid made contact of any kind well nigh impossible BUT it meant that husband didn’t have any more one-hour train journeys into Bordeaux to teach but could zoom his lessons from home.

The house is freezing cold in winter BUT while everybody else is dying during the inevitable summer heat waves, we don’t feel it more than pleasantly warm.

Trixie destroyed a kilim by vomiting bird seed all over it BUT it seems to have cured her of stealing the birds’ food.

Finbar has gone stone deaf and can’t hear when we yell at him to stop doing something BUT nor does he hear the things that go bump in the night so he doesn’t come into our room at three in the morning needing a cuddle.

Best news of all, although we’ve seen hardly anything of family this year, next year there will be even more of them to see. Our eldest is expecting her first baby in the spring!

All in all, as we say over here, le bilan est globalement positive!

In my backyard

Yesterday I saw another of these beauties, a Black-Winged Kite, or Élanion Blac. They are supposed to be quite rare although the population is expanding, but I’ve seen three of them round here in the last week. The photo is ©Wolbrum avner



The Green Whip Snake was sunning itself on the stream bank and just watched me as I almost trod on it. I had time to go home, get my phone and come back and it hadn’t moved. When I tried to get a very close close up, it slid off to its hole in the bank. It was easily as long as I am tall. They’re not poisonous but they’re biters if they get annoyed.


I managed to snap its back end before it disappeared, rather more than a metre of it.

whipsnake goine

Eat the Storms

The post is incredibly slow still, but it finally arrived. Yes, that is a bar of soap behind the gingerbread houses. It was a present, it’s mimosa and I like the scent.

Eat the storms


I knew I was going to enjoy this collection; isn’t as if Damien is a complete unknown, but I was surprised at how much. I was surprised at how much colour there is in the images, and how Oracle-like (we know what I mean) they are. Colour runs in rivers through these poems that are quiet, understated and so perfectly precise.
The dominant colour is purple, the shade of blue that hangs between sea, sky, night and day. It’s the colour of twilight when all things merge. There are several worlds merging in Damien’s poetry, the place he left and returned to, the place he made his home for years and left with only a twinge of regret, the changing light of the passing day and the seasons.
The images that stand out for me are petals and honey pouring like water, and the ceaseless movement like the waves of the sea. I couldn’t say which poem is my favourite, but the one that I am thinking of now isn’t a purple poem, it’s a green one, Grazing Greens, perhaps because I am so pleased that Damien has made it back without disappointment, something that is so hard to do. Green is, after all, the colour of hope.


Toad usurper

This very short post is proving very difficult and frustrating. That bloody new editor has appeared and is absolutely impossible to use. All I want to do is stick in a photo from my gallery and it won’t do it. I’m back on the old old editor going through WP admin which is a pain.

So…On August 9 I posted a photo of the toad, named Terry by our youngest, who had taken up residence inside the Mimosa Hostilis (the Vicious Mimosa tree).

We had a big storm a few nights ago and Terry hadn’t come back in the morning. For two days the hole was empty, then yesterday evening this appeared.

This is not Terry. Meet Theresa.

Toad in a hole

We have a couple of big trees that nobody can identify with any certainty. I call them crown of thorn trees because one of them possesses long spikes on the branches and around the trunk, like the things people put around lamp posts to stop burglars shinning up them. They are lethal, the longest around 25cm (10″) long, shorter along the branches.

crown of thorns

The leaves and flowers are similar to a sort of mimosa.

Okay. I have done a bit more research, global this time and have discovered what this tree is. It’s not native at all, it’s Mimosa Hostilis (figures) and it’s native to Brazil and the equatorial rain forests. What it’s doing here is a mystery, but it must really hate this climate.

crown of thorns tree

The specimen by the woodpile is inhabited by great capricorn beetles, massive, scary-looking things that devour the tree from the inside. They are a protected species so it’s forbidden to kill them. I personally wouldn’t get close enough to take a swing at one anyway.


There is a hole at the base of the trunk hollowed out by the insects and there are often larvae buried in the sawdust. Yesterday I noticed that the fine red sawdust had been dug out, and looking inside found a toad in residence.


Toad is still there today, keeping cool. It’s a good place to be, living in the larder.


climate changes

wars and revolutions in the streets

corrupt kings flee to friendly palaces

even those who ask nothing

will be swept away