For those who’ve been wondering about the puppy (she’s still only eight months or so), she was given a full clean bill of health on Wednesday last week, 24th April. Since then, she’s been free to run about. I was sensible. I took her for a walk, then played with her a little, just to see that she would be tired and ready for a rest for the afternoon. Instead, she immediately set about tormenting our old Bernese, then stealing everything she could from counter tops, tables and window-sills. And then robbing the baffled Bernese of her favourite toy again. After watching her chasing the older girl about our yard for the twentieth time, eventually I locked her in her cage. To be honest, I think she was rather glad herself. She was asleep in moments!
Archive for April, 2007
This shows that strange, but lovely, pale green light that you only get under beech trees at this time of year. Beech trees are fantastic sources of food. At this time the fresh leaves are great in salads – sweet and almost melting in the mouth – while later there is the profusion of nuts. Then again, they are often sought out for cover by pigeons and other birds, so they were worth keeping an eye on for the cottar who needed more food. Peasants and farmers used to spread glue-like mixtures over branches late in the afternoon, and roosting birds would land on it at be trapped overnight. Personally I’ve never liked that sort of approach to gathering and hunting, but I have always loved the colours you get in a beech forest.
There are so many old crosses all over Devon and Dartmoor. Some are ancient celtic-looking crosses, some, like this, look more victorian, and may have been set there to replace older, broken crosses, or may have been installed in a desire to create a fictitious atmosphere. It’s true that on the moors, for example, as soon as the locals realised that there was an interest in ancient stone rows exhibited by victorian tourists, a number of brand new ones miraculously appeared. Usually near a farmer’s house, so he could earn some cash from selling teas and farmhouse goodies. This one is ideally positioned here, though, and elegantly set off by the lush growth all around it. Clearly it’s been here for years.
In fact, I think it’s about five years. That was when, I think, it was moved to make way for the new telegraph pole on the opposite side of the road. The march of progress.
Nice thing is, people come down to Devon for a break, and they just have to go down the narrow little lanes. They are all so pretty, with the wild flowers and rich vegetation. And sometimes, sadly, you meet a car coming the other way. And what do you do? Well, there was probably a farm gate quarter of a mile back up there. But heck, the road was wider just a few yards up the way. It’ll do. And the hedges aren’t too bad, are they?
As a friend proved recently, costing her a new prop shaft on her car to go with the new wing, the old Dartmoor hedges were not just decorative little banks of earth. Sometimes they look like that, but drive into one, and soon you’ll see that a real hedge is made of a solid granite wall, with a series of bushes planted in the top. Drive into this little beastie, and you’ll ruin your car!
Berry had a very nasty infection when she was only six months old. It’s called Discospondylitis, and it means that an infection has clambered in between two vertebrae. In Berry’s case, that meant that she was literally having her spine eaten away. When I saw the X-rays, I was horrified to see that she’d lost the bottom third of the joining surfaces of two adjacent vertebrae and the disc in the middle.
The worst thing was, there was no way to see what was the matter. All I knew was that, during a period of play, she suddenly started yelping with pain, and it took a week before vets could work out what the problem was.
Still, she’s well on the road to recovery, two months later, and with luck she’ll be fine in another few weeks. I say hopefully, because I need some uninterrupted writing time!