Friday 11 October 2013

Animal Magic

Finally got round to downloading pictures from my holiday last week. I am still angry at missing the great sunshine this summer (how quickly will the rest of you forget how fantastic it was and revert to grumbling about the weather?) and it was a bit of a challenge to find colourful subjects to photograph now that most of the floral variety has passed.

But try these from the beach at Caerfai, a mile south of St David's...

And see my David Attenborough-style film of a heron taking off and landing at the other end of the beach. Twitchers will no doubt tell me it's common but I haven't seen a heron hunting at low tide like this...

Meanwhile back home we are dealing with two other life-forms - cats and the fleas which have infested them on and off throughout the aforementioned torrid summer.

In the old days you could buy a deadly spray from the hardware shop (was it DDT or Agent Orange, not sure?) one idle squirt of which would eliminate the whole teeming mass of nasty insects and they wouldn't come back for months.

Today the odds have evened up considerably. The feeble chemical still legally available (some kind of herbal dilution - so that's not going to work, is it?) is virtually a waste of time (the chemist admits frankly). The best approach is to apply the Dyson meticulously every two days, treat the moggies themselves with one of those spot chemicals on the back of their necks, and let them go around attracting and so killing the remaining fleas.

This takes some nerve as all one's instincts are to banish the cats from the soft furnishings: ours were evicted to the top of the freezer until we learnt the hard way that they can help you clear up the problem...


We learn today that elephants are smarter than monkeys - see the story here - which has surprised the scientists. Well it doesn't surprise me nor surely anybody else who learnt all about animals from Johnny Morris on the BBC in the 1960s and 70s.

Morris (a Newport man) understood that animals are profoundly boring for the most part so he made them interesting by giving them funny voices and a script which he delivered himself. Quite accurately his monkey voice and script made the brutes appear idiotic and annoying whereas the elephants were a bit slow but sage and measured.

Needless to say the Beeb has destroyed the archive of these brilliant shows and we now endure an avalanche of humourless nature programmes in which the animals have nothing useful to say but go about their business rather disgustingly - mainly eating (or having sex with) each other and when they are not doing that they are defecating. I know, that is nature, but I'm turning over.