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Homage To Caspar

April 18, 2012

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Caspar was a one off, like most cats. He had a very good life in a very good home where his humans were slavishly attentive and buckled under his every whim, especially the prawn whim which brought the words rod and backs to mind.

Losing a pet can be quite devastating , leaving a huge gap in the daily routine and a cold space on the bed. Mourning a pet is O.K. too. It’s an act of remembrance and if you include animals in your household then they leave memories that can be sighed and laughed over.

Nice knowing you Caspar.

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The Hound of the Basset Lady.

April 16, 2012

There’s a theory that people grow to resemble their dogs. These pictures are of some friends’ dog

Apart from having very nice natures and never having bitten anybody, as far as I know,

they bear no resemblance to her.

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But I am wondering a bit about Basset Lady. I’ve never been asked to draw someone’s dog before so I don’t know how indecisive and picky is the norm. Does everyone change their minds about the composition, medium and size every two minutes or is it just Basset Lady, who is rapidly becoming a royal pain in the ass?

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As I’m not the most patient person in the world I’m also wondering when I’ll reach the point of asking her to do something anatomically impossible but visually very apposite. At which stage all this will be immaterial. And I’ll be very happy.

Wrens in the Woodpile.

April 15, 2012

Pre-living in France I used to see the occasional wren if I was lucky. I bought into the general conception of tiny, shy, delicate bird, hard to observe and to spot.

Here there is time and opportunity to see that wrens are tiny but make a noise like a machine gun when they are being feisty, which seems to be most of the time, and far from being shy threaten anybody and anything if they are disturbed. Sweet, yes, innocent and retiring…….umm.

Our woodpile is their favourite place at the moment so I can watch them from the comfort of the stump in the side doorway whilst being just far enough away that they ignore me. They really don’t like me taking any of their wood but as I need it with the weather being a bit schizophrenic at the moment I get a burst of gunfire, indignant wing flapping and you can tell they should really wash their beaks out with soap as that is unmistakably language well brought up birds wouldn’t know let alone use.

wrens in winter

Mice Herding

April 15, 2012

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For a while now I have been muttering dire threats at the cats for their penchant for bringing in mice to play with later.

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Of course I don’t begrudge them their toys, it’s just I would prefer them to play with the ones I’ve provided at vast expense and with due thought. The trouble is they don’t believe the threats and carry on with their own simple pleasures.

It’s bad enough when you find a mouse lurking behind a storage box in the bedroom and two adults and a cat spend the best part of an hour in pursuit before cornering it and putting it outside. But much worse is when you have a guest for dinner, for the first time, and there’s three adults and two cats reeling round the dining room after a very athletic, possibly Olympic standard, mouse.

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The cats actually seemed pleased we were getting in the spirit of things. Now I’ve got a sneaky feeling they’re bringing more mice as a treat for us as we seem to join in the hunting game with such enthusiasm.

Don’t get me wrong,the cats don’t totally underperform, they do kill mice but I’m a fair-weather cat owner who can deal with the corpse when I tread on it but can’t bear to watch the mice being tormented. They are dear little things when they aren’t living behind my kitchen cupboards or unimpressing guests.

The upside is I can put traps in the cupboard where I won’t accidentally take off a cat’s nose. The downside is that  I have to open it in the morning and I may have caught something. So far there’s been the no bait, trap unsprung, no mouse then trap sprung, bait still attached, no mouse and traps totally ignored. It’s quite a relief really.

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But rabbits are a different kettle of mammals altogether.

Yet more owls

April 13, 2012

 

Owl face

 

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          tawny flight jpg

 

I think owls are incredible in the silence of their flight. There’s no warning at all when they fly over, you either are looking in the right place or you’re not. We found a dead owl in the front room just before we moved in here. It must have come down the chimney and been trapped. It was so light and delicate, with such amazing plumage that I’ve still got a clear kind of visual and physical memory of it.

I’ve turned the owl face into a card as it works really well as one. The owls in flight are my own indulgence. I’ve used a mixture of watercolour and pastels on all three. Mainly because that was what was to hand. I’d really like to try in oils or acrylics but that will have to wait.

Baby Owls

April 13, 2012

 

 

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I haven’t actually seen baby owls since we took the S.A.L.G. to a bird of prey sanctuary a year or so ago but I was looking at the photos we took and wanted to draw them because we’ve got a beautiful Tawny owl that sits up in the roof at the side of the house to cough up owl pellets. It flaps off every time we come round the corner so is difficult to see properly.The cats sniff hopefully under its perch thinking it might have dropped something interesting.  They did strike lucky the day it had dropped a mouse there but that’s about the best so far. I think it’s probably the ghost that slips past in the evening and early morning to the neighbour’s barn but it definitely isn’t the Barn owl we see most nights. Anyway the baby owls are such lovely little things that I drew them. I used watercolours and pastels.

S.A.L.G. Infinitely Important, Infinitely Precious.

April 9, 2012

Hello S.A.L.G.  You once said to me that you felt insignificant and I let that go at the time but I actually think I should have explained to you that in the significance stakes you are the most important and significant person I know. You are going to meet me in  Florence and take me to the galleries, museums and we’ll see the frescoes together. And by that time I will have convinced you that you are, as in the title of this post, Infinitely precious, not just to me but to all the others you have chosen to share yourself with. So in five years a sea change?

Speak to you soon.