Monthly Archives: January 2012

Well, it is not anything like the end, but it is a staging post. I managed to get into my living room just before Christmas. The wood burning stove is, as you can see, now able to pump out heat. There is still a lot of work to do in the room – although the walls are painted, in a very simple yellow-based cream, there is still no facing to the rough wood holding the new glass door. The door is a success, letting in light. One glance it and it becomes clear that the cottage sits in the middle of open countryside. The dogs like the door – a dog-height window to view pheasants and protest at passing ponies. But to them and tome, it is the stove which takes the trick. It is so very good at making warmth and pictures – at full throttle, it is a lion – but shut the draft down to almost nothing, and you get splendid dark patterns, a kind-of positive vision of a beguiling hell. To the dogs, stretched on sheepskin rugs or the sofa, it is the ultimate luxury of being just slightly too hot.

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Don’t panic!

Taken during the pretty pre-Christmas snow, this picture is proof that guinea-fowl can indeed fly. It is also proof that they are very easily discombobulated. They are neither birds of great calmness of disposition, nor of high intelligence.

So the other day when I heard them towards the bottom of my field, very upset, it took a moment work out what was the matter. It turned out they had invented a problem too complex for them to solve. There were in three groups, which upset them as they like to be in one group. Group A was in my field. Group B was in the lane, beside the fence to my field, and, horrors of horrors, group C was behind the fence at the the bottom of my field. Had it been but groups A and B they would both have proceeded towards home on their sides of the fence and found to their delight they met at the top, where a gate allows easy access (they fit between the bars). That would have meant moving away from group c which they could not bring themselves to do. Nor did they think to move towards group C, who would then have found there was a gate out of the field in which they were, through which they could walk. Nor did group C think of flying over the fence. Instead, group C walked up and down a three metre stretch, which was six metres from the gate.

By the time I arrived all ten were just short of hysterical. The problem was solved by getting behind the birds and walking them firmly towards the gate (with them attempting to break back to their trap all the time). Once in the lane, all groups rushed towards reunion at the top.

Truly, one either needs intelligence or a calm disposition to survive this harsh world.