Mr. Bean Finds His Voice


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Mr. Bean has no voice.
I don’t know why, maybe it’s because he was thrown away as a new born kitten before being found on a rubbish heap and rescued, but what usually happens when he tries to speak is his mouth opens and no sound comes out, just air. Sometimes he will manage a small, croaky squeak, which can only be heard if you’re listening very carefully.
Last night we were all showered and tucked up in bed and about to turn out the lights when I heard a tiny, distant and plaintive “mew?”. Coming from … somewhere?
“What’s that noise?”
Piet couldn’t hear anything, “perhaps it’s a mouse”.
Although I was not really satisfied with that explanation, I again reached for the light switch and then I heard it again.
“Mew?”
That was definitely a cat. I knew it wasn’t Tom – he sounds like a foghorn – could it be Mr. Bean?
Piet buried himself deeper under the covers.
So I got up, found the torch and shone it out into the darkness, while calling “Bean! Beanie Beanie Beanie Bean! Come along Mr Bean!”.
“Mew?”
Oh so faint.
I shone the torch up towards where the sound was coming from and there he was. Mr. Bean, precariously perched between two branches in the old dead tree that hangs over our bedroom roof.
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By now Piet was fast asleep, so thinking I could do this on my own, I donned my slippers, went outside and tried to coax the frightened little kitten down from the tree.
To no avail. I called, I pleaded, I rattled his favourite toy, I promised a feast of special cat biscuits but nothing would persuade him to come down. He just sat there, staring at me with those huge glowing eyes and occasionally uttering a small “mew?”.
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So am I staying up here all night?

The noise from my futile attempts – the dogs had helped a bit too, with some excited barking – had by now woken Piet and spurred him into getting out of bed and joining me under the tree.

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And this is how Piet came to be at the top of a ladder rescuing a kitten out of a rotting dead tree in the middle of a cold May night. (I thought it salient to not draw his attention to all the wood-louse spiders that had come out from under the bark to see what all the fuss was about)

 


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Mr. Bean seems none the worse from the ordeal

Rain Tree


It’s probably not a good idea to sit under a  Philenoptera violacea unless you have an umbrella.

Thousands of tiny frog-hopper insects – called Ptyelus grossus – live off the sap of these trees. And as fast as they are sucking sap they are also peeing, forming almost pure water puddles on the ground under the trees.

This is one of the reasons the tree earns the nickname ‘rain tree’.

The other reason is that for a couple of weeks a year, around the beginning of November, the dull, grey bush suddenly erupts with splashes of violet and blue, and we know that the rains will soon be following.

That’s unless the crows have anything to do with it …

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It looks inviting, but you really don’t want to sit there

Why the Rain Wont Fall


One of Rustle Crow’s relatives – or it could be Rustle himself! – has set up a maternity unit in Rustle’s old home.

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From the various clicks, caws and chuckles that have started to drift down from the nest it would seem the happy event has taken place and we have some proud crow parents on the property once again.

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If you look very carefully at the top centre of the nest, you can just about make out a baby crow beak peaking out

On Friday, while I was peering up at the nest and trying to see if I could spot our new arrival, Raymond – our garden helper – sidled up to me, shaking his head and tut-tutting.

“What’s wrong Raymond?”, I asked, expecting him to tell me that worms were eating the oranges again, or that he needed more fertilizer to put on the cabbage seedlings.

Instead he pointed up at the crows nest and answered ” Those birds, Madame. They are bad. We must chase them”.

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What?!

“Oh? Why? What is bad about them?”

“They are keeping the rain away. Every time the rain starts to come they flap their wings like this” and he demonstrated, a pretty good impression I thought “and then the rain is afraid and it goes away”

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“Rain rain go away, come again another day”

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A crow with a view; making sure the rain has gone

Share Your World – August 27 2018


I don’t really have a favourite time of year – all seasons have their beauty and appeal – but one of the things I love most about August is the smells.

In our back yard we have 33 citrus trees and at the moment the oranges are in flower. As evening approaches the intensity seems to increase until all I am aware of is the exquisite, sweet, heady orange blossom aroma – you can almost taste it.

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In this week’s Share Your World, Cee has asked three questions, with a bonus fourth added on.

First she asks if I prefer eating food with nuts or without nuts.

We are peanut farmers, so I get more than my fair share of nut-eating at harvest time but I wouldn’t say I would choose to eat peanuts if there was something else on offer.  When our Spanish partner visits he always brings a bag of almonds, which he roasts with salt in the evenings for tapas and those are always yummy. However, if I was to choose a favourite nut it would be the pistachio; there’s so much work involved cleaning and de-shelling them that I never feel that I have eaten too many.

The next thing Cee asked is if I sleep with the closet door open or closed.

As I child I was convinced monsters lurked in the cupboard in my bedroom at night and the door HAD to be firmly shut. It was part of our night time ritual that after story-reading I would always ask my Mum to check that the door was closed tight, and if there was a key she would have to lock the door. I could not and would not go to sleep if I could see even the tiniest open gap.

Although I no longer believe there are monsters in my cupboard this habit of closing bedroom cupboard doors before bed time still persists to this day, although luckily now our walk-in cupboard is not in the bedroom, so I can’t see the door. It is actually more like a small room anyway so the door being open doesn’t bother me at all, and it mostly stays open.

The next question is am I usually early, late or on time and that’s a loaded question in this house.

Piet complains that I have no sense of time and he usually starts chivvying me up hours before it is time to leave for any function in the hopes that we might, one day, be early. This seldom works. However, around here there’s seldom an occasion where we have to be anywhere at a specific time so it’s not really a serious problem.

Finally, what did I appreciate or what made me smile this week?

This cute boy.

 

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And this little family.

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Shadows


When I first decided to take part in the Daily Post Shadow photo challenge I thought any pictures I used would have to be limited to those taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when shadows are long and dramatic.

Then I came across this picture I took of these little guys, soaking up the mid-day sun on Boulders Beach in Cape Town.

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Last year I was invited to write a small story about Walking With Rhinos in a local publication.

Although the walk I was on sets off early in the morning, I was lucky it was mid winter – by 07.00am it was already pretty hot.

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Now back to Cape Town, where wedding guests play a genteel game of croquet while waiting for the bride and groom to appear after family photographs

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Walking back to the car one evening, after an extended Sunday lunch at The Brass Bell, we came across a micro pig playing with a dog in a children’s play ground.

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Happy, hot dogs take respite from the glaring sun.

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Our shadows briefly rest on the Zimbabwe bank of the Zambezi River, a fleeting reminder that this used to be home.

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One Liner Wednesday – Fairy Garden


After the rains last night the fairies came out to play.

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“Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.” ― Judy Allen, Fantasy Encyclopedia

 


 

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