Archive

Posts Tagged ‘torch’

Wild boars

July 27, 2016 Leave a comment
In the middle@: the pear tree branch broken by the wild boars

In the middle: the pear tree branch broken by the wild boars

3 a.m. Taylor barking and a loud noise of crunching in the orchard.

I dash out with a torch in my night attire and see dark shadows melting into the greater darkness.

In the morning: a broken pear branch and on the ground, lots of green pears with decisive bites in them.

The cat that hid behind the elephant

July 10, 2016 Leave a comment
The cat retrieved

The cat retrieved

Not a real elephant – just the water storage tank we call the blue elephant.

I found Galileo barking down the narrow gap between the tank and the wall and shone a torch in there.

A cat looked back at me.

In the photo the neighbour, also Giovanni’s girlfriend, holds her cat after enticing it out.

Galileo mystery dog

February 6, 2016 Leave a comment
An inscrutable Galileo

An inscrutable Galileo

Galileo will only go out of the house during daylight hours if he’s accompanied. By which I mean the human being only has to be just out of doors, and he will then range widely, sometimes several hundred yards.

Night-time, however, is a totally different matter. He clamours to be let out well after dark, sometimes in the wee small hours, and then disappears entirely for half an hour or so before clamouring to come in again.

Last night it was obvious he had company. He and one other were making strange yipping noises although I couldn’t tell if they were playing or fighting.

I shot outside with a torch to see if he’d caught a hare, or was squaring off with a cat, or was gambolling with a wild boar piglet prior to being gored by its mother. Or, indeed, had joined up with another midnight-wandering dog.

I never saw anything. The torch illuminated vegetation and a rather self-satisfied-looking Galileo zipping back to the house where I shut him in a bit smartish.

But I did hear an animal of some description go all the way up the hill making little sounds to itself at intervals.

I called to it in a soothing voice, wondering if it was wounded, but it paid no attention and melted away into the night.

Today the neighbour phoned. She had no idea what it could have been either, but confirmed my thought that it wasn’t a lady friend seeking the unneutered Galileo. Juliet would never come around after Romeo.

All I can do is keep a careful watch out tonight.

Japanese water cascade

March 13, 2013 1 comment
Japanese garden by blue pig

The Japanese-style cascade

Last night, just as we were about to go to bed, I happened to notice a different note to the water that always escapes from the blue pig water tank when the spring is running abundantly.

I checked the pipe that goes into the pond: nothing was coming out so the connection had to be broken.

While Clive leaned out of the bathroom window holding a torch for me, I put together the two separated parts of the 10 cm diameter pipe and directed the immensely strong flow of water down the proper channel, securing one side of the pipe with wire attached to a screw in the trunk of an oak tree.

This morning, I found my bodge job had held so far and the water was running through to the pond.

However the normal escape water was still saturating the soil at the foot of the blue pig and needed to be led away.

So I constructed a mini Japanese-type water cascade using old roof tiles – very rough but, if none of its elements slip, effective.

If the spring was abundant for a larger proportion of the year, I’d love to do a proper job – but preferably not propped on a slippery bank in the rain!

Rain and power cut

November 13, 2012 2 comments

Last night, between one thunder storm and the next, we had a power cut. It  prematurely ended the film we were watching on tv and plunged us into darkness.

Black water at night

The parts of the house endowed with emergency lights were plunged into light.

We had half an hour to get to bed before the time was up on the emergency lights, and we just made it.

After that we shone a torch on the ceiling for companionship.

The rain has been heavy and continual but our hillside is fairly well drained.

I discovered this morning, however, that the storage tank (the ‘blue pig’) which receives water from the spring is overflowing. The pipe leading on to the pond is too narrow to cope and probably furred up as well.

The photo shows the inky lake of water collecting on the pool tarpaulin. It must be at record depth by now.

Bell in the night

November 4, 2012 3 comments

Last night we heard a bell tinkling outside our bedroom window – a pleasant, fey sort of noise. We guessed it must belong to a dog left behind after the hunt.

It was after midnight so we couldn’t phone my hunting contact, but I wanted to get a glimpse of the dog so I could describe it.

What I expected to see

By the time I’d put on my dressing gown and slippers, the tinkle had receded beyond the reach of the torch beam.

We heard the bell a second time close by and I went outside and crouched for ages, listening to it zig-zagging back and forth in the olive grove. It never came near enough for me to be sure to see it if I turned on the torch.

By the third pass, I’d had an idea: I went outside and gently rang the bell we bought for Kepler. But it didn’t work. The dog didn’t come to see if  a colleague was also lost but continued to zig-zag.

This morning I was able to see the creature which had disturbed our sleep. It was a young-looking dog,  ‘black with some white on it’ as I reported to my contact on the phone.

Shortly after a 4×4 came up the drive in the rain, turned round and parked a little way from the house. I never saw the dog get in it, but nor did I see the dog again.

Squirrel or dormouse?

September 17, 2012 5 comments

Walnuts that have been nibbled on the tree

I found these nibbled walnuts still attached to the tree.

Some animal has penetrated both the green outer layer and the shell, and eaten the entire kernel through a single ragged hole while bouncing up and down a couple of metres off the ground.

I’m very divided as to the culprit.

I’ve seen black squirrels around, and they eat walnuts. However they normally pick a nut off the twig and eat it between their paws, and they also tend to split walnuts in half.

Dormice – which I wouldn’t have seen as they are nocturnal – eat nuts on the twig and make holes just like those in the photo. However although I read on the internet that they eat ‘nuts’,  especially hazelnuts, I couldn’t find any mention of them eating walnuts.

On balance I think it’s dormice, particularly because these walnuts were on twigs which wouldn’t have supported the weight of a squirrel.

I would love to go out at night, shine a torch, and catch a cute little dormouse in the act of swaying along a twig, but I value my sleep too much.