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Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Birds And The Bees - And It Looks Promising For The Blue Tit Nesting Season

Hi Folks!

I'm still very busy these days but I managed to get a great camera shot of a Blue Tit bird this morning whilst it was investigating my bird box.

In fact there were three birds 'flitting' around, presumably site seeing the local property market.  They all seemed interested in this renovated bird box on which I had worked during the summer.  One bird in particular appeared fascinated with it and I presumed it was the male.  His companions, which I judged to be females, did not venture quite as close as he to the entrance since it is not yet the breeding season. So he will not be trying to entice a female just yet, but no doubt he will be practising his sweet talking chat up lines over the winter months.

I watched him go in and out a few times but the ladies seemed reluctant to enter just yet, perhaps turning their noses up at the property and wanting a better one with hot and cold running water, an en suite, solar panels, a dish washer and all the mod cons.  I detected also a little animosity between the other two birds, which is why I was prompted to think they might be females. My imagination was kindled and I pictured a humorous clash between the two jealous females competing for this attractive gentleman.  One might have said  to the other, "Now listen lady, and listen good - that man is taken!".  The other might have replied, "Oh really! he didn't tell me that, so obviously he hasn't decided yet, has he?".  The first and more aggressive one might retort angrily. "Hey! Now listen again lady.  There are two things I never share. The first is my toothbrush, the second is my man. Now back off!"

Whichever lady he might eventually choose I imagined this poor little fellow might have his work cut out to convince his would-be mate that this property is a highly desirable detached one bedroom residence, complete with bird bath/swimming pool, and situated in a very select area near a good secondary modern school.  And boy, you can't ask for much more than that.  Further, the property has been revamped during the summer months and has a new roof, complete with lead flashing.  Whatever you do don't tell the magpies!  Further, would you believe,  this little gem of a house has been furnished with a nice coat of paint, both externally and internally - what more could any bird want?

Still, there's no way of pleasing every female, some of whom seem decidedly choosy.  Take a tip from me fellow, work on your Buff Bod, get into shape, develop your Wit and your Charm and forget about the house - then they'll come flocking to you..

On a more serious note during the summer I dismantled the box and gave it a thorough clean inside and out because two years ago we did not have Blue Tits nesting there but some very strange visitors.   You may remember we had a nest of Bumble Bees residing at the same address.

"Not a pretty sight, honey", thought the Blue Tits that year, so they missed out big time on five star accommodation.

A breeding pair of Blue Tits did return early last year, beating the Bumble Bees back to the scene, completely out manoeuvring them by exercising early squatting rights.  Once they had taken up residence an angry Queen Bumble Bee returned and seemed determined to repossess the property and we saw a battle royal ensue - with both birds repeatedly dive bombing the bee who eventually gave up and went elsewhere.  Well done Blue Tits. Hooray!

Those brave little birds had something else to contend with as well because higher up, attached to the house wall, a pair of Great Tits then took up residence and built their nest in my larger bird box which I actually built for sparrows.  I have had Great Tits nesting there regularly but to date no sparrows. Great Tits are larger than Blue Tits and usually bully them and chase them away. Not so last year, I am pleased to say.  Here's a shot I took of a Great Tit entering his or her abode.

It is very strange and rare that both species seemed to tolerate each other last year - normally they are both very possessive regarding their territories, particularly the Great Tits. But the Blue Tits had got there first and after they had won their battle against the Queen Bumble Bee they were determined to stand their ground against the Great Titsl.  It seems that both species were situated on the edges of their agreed territories, with the Blue Tits flying out of their box in a Westerly direction and the Great Tits in an Easterly direction, so they stayed out of each others way.  I've never seen this situation before, or read about it, but I am hoping for a repeat situation this coming season.

I did purchase a handy camcorder so I could capture some of last season's activity on video.  Unfortunately both sets of birds had flown the nest the very day I had planned to film them.  I was rather disappointed and annoyed but never mind I am ready for them this year.

During the summer I cleaned out the bird nests - birds will not nest in boxes with existing nests in them.  Part of the courtship ritual is to build a nest together, so they are not in the least interested in furnished properties.

Also during the summer I cleaned out a lot a 'rubbery' residue from the previous year when the Bumble Bees had taken possession.  It was a nasty, sticky mess.  I took the whole thing apart and rebuilt it and incorporated a new roof. I'll write more when the birds nest and try to get some video clips.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Funeral For A Wonderful Lady

I am a bit busy right now so I cannot post anything new just yet.  However I would like you to read one of my earlier posts, written over two years ago and  titled, Funeral For A Wonderful Lady
I was deeply moved by the death of this lady who had been a true friend of the family for 50 years.  She had a fantastic send off from Planet Earth by a congregation of over 400 who obviously agreed with me that this lady was very special.

Please press HERE to see it and please make a comment on the original when you get there.  I would value your input since this is one of my rare serious posts.

I hope to be able to resume posting and visiting soon.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

After 18 Months From Surgery I Feel At Long Last I Am Back In Shape

Well Folks!!
I thought I'd give you an update on my health following my total hip replacement in February 2010.  So it is 2 years next February since I went under the knife, electric saw, chisel, hammer, electric drill, nails, glue and goodness knows what else.  I have covered all this in previous posts, including the Deep Vein Thrombosis and treatment I experienced shortly after the operation - all now long gone and behind me..

I did recover very well and quickly, to an extent, but I did not realise fully that a complete recovery would take a lot longer than I would like to admit, being a rather impatient individual.  Folks, it is a big operation and the surgery knocks the body about something rotten - particularly affecting the lower legs and feet.  It is strange that even the leg not operated on seemed to swell just as much as the one which experienced the actual surgery.  Very strange.

So why am I writing about all this now?
Well, I have felt very well for over a year now and have regained my strength and stamina, thus enabling me to undertake quite strenuous activity, like in the summer when I worked on some major garden projects.

 Gosh! What a brute this equipment is - it sliced through concrete like butter!  I shall write all about these projects in due course.  I doubt whether they used this monster on my hip but there were plenty of power tools used from the Black and Decker range, I am sure.

So after about 9 months I was very able to undertake hard physical work but very recently I think for the first time my legs and feet seem to have returned to their normal size.  I can now wear my normal shoes but in particular I am delighted to report that I am able to get my feet into my favourite gardening Wellington Boots.  Of course you may be wondering why on Earth would I want to wear those awful "passion killers" and not something more becoming and striking like tight black Cowboy Boots.

 Hmmm! I see what you mean!!
For a start if I did wear tight black Cowboy Boots  most people around here would consider me stark raving bonkers. My point simply is I am delighted to have normal sized feet again and my green Wellington Boots are proof that this has occurred.  Also, equally pleasing, is that my black Ambulance Boots fit me once again but alas not for Ambulance duty since I am retired from the service.

Several bloggers did ask if I would add a Video YouTube of a Total Hip Replacement so you can see what a hammering I actually received.  I did try to find a video showing all the surgical procedures but this one was the best I could find.  My apologies for the picture being blocked out by the theatre staff sometimes.

"Was it worth it?", you may be wondering.  "Overwhelmingly, yes! The pain has gone, I have full mobility, It feels as though I have never had a problem and I feel great, but most of all I can wear my green Wellington Boots again.  If ANYONE out there is worried about the surgery and experiencing severe Arthritic pain like I did, then please go ahead and get it done!  You will get your life back, but it will take 18 months, plus, to fully recover.

So here is the YouTube,  Watch it if you dare LOL, and think of poor Eddie under the knife.  The chap, Greg, seemed to have had worse Arthritis than I had but I was well and truly confined to a walking stick.  Imagine it!! An Ambulanceman with a walking stick!! No wonder I could not carry on with it.

Soon I shall return to my Painting and Decorating stories with a few Ambulance stories thrown in as and when I think of them.

Meanwhile The Sunday Roast is still on hold until I can devote more time to the column.  I am very grateful to those friends who have offered assistance and I shall be contacting you in due course.  Thank you again.