avrelia, thank you so much for the puppy! I hope your birthday was wonderful.
I had a crazy, busy summer that I will come back to at some point, and pretty pictures a-plenty, Wales and Cambridge and Bath, which I shall save for a rainy day. In plants news, the chard was ravaged by slugs, went without water for a month and then without sun for another, and (as you all reassured me) is doing absolutely fine and has yielded me a whole summer's worth of rainbow-stemmed salad. My pepper harvest is also looking hopeful at this point, so much so that I dare to commit as much to print even with frost poking its fingers round the corner.
I can't explain what it is about birds of prey, but they mesmerise me. I think it's larks that collectively are an exaltation, but the sweeping of kites, the swooping of falcons, the soaring of eagles, the circling of vultures – I make these nothing short of an exultation. My birthday outing this year was to the Hawk Conservancy which was very much like having a fairy godmother and a genie. I spent my day as wide-eyed and spellbound as any of the children there. (Not-very-eagle-eyed small boy near me, watching vultures ripping chicks apart: "These vultures eat grass, not people!")
Vultures eating lunch:
We were asked to fill up from the far side for the "Valley of the Eagles" flying display, so I clambered over hordes of people who had plumped themselves nicely in the centre of things, wondering how much I would miss sitting right on the end. There are days – and they don't come very often, but they do come, and you live off them for months afterwards – when everything goes your way. It turned out I was sitting in the choice position, right next to the perch where the vultures would sit in between flying over our heads.
Bald eagle (the one on the right):
Barn owl, for beginners:
To finish: I love – have always loved – rockpooling. Browsing through my friendslist lately has been a little bit like a spuffy rockpooling excursion. Every now and again I come across a reference to a pincered beast that might be lurking in the shadows, or something sharp underfoot, but it barely registers because all around is a sleeping world come to life, glinting, gleaming, glittering with unexpected treasures. There are posts big and small that make my spuffy heart sing, and it is deeply, delightfully good to sit and bask in our ship again. Now I am mixing my seaside metaphors, and why not? :)