We are enjoying some lovely weather here at the moment and I for one have been making the most of it. I have spent the last week trying gradually to regain my strength and walking is one of the area's I have had to work on. On Toms Birthday I never got to the cemetery as that was the last of our very bad days which was wet and very windy. I was a little tearful that day and played a little recorder he used for messages to himself. Some people wouldn't cope with the sound of a loved ones voice who has passed on, but I find it brings him alive in a way. Although he has gone, I have something that makes me smile and warm inside, far more than a photo. Anyway, on his birthday Manx Tails came through the letter box and I was thrilled to see the piece I had written beautifully laid out with a black background, white writing, a beautiful white rose at the start of the article and a red one on next page at the end of the article. It seemed apt for it to arrive that day and I have had some lovely feedback, a plant delivered to me from someone who wanted to remember Tom that way and a card from a very old friend we used to socialise with in Ramsey that we lost touch with when we left and whose husband also died of cancer 2 years ago. The article was more or less where I was up to when I wrote it and it's amazing how things have changed in that short time. I focused a little on my long hill walks and I am barely able to walk a mile on the flat at the moment, but I am working at it. I am not able to put the article on my blog, but if anyone would like a copy I will happily email it in its raw form or if you send me your details, I could get some Manx Tails and send one to you. Obviously this is for the off Island readers who don't get Manx Tails. On Wednesday I picked Toms Mum up and we went to the cemetery with the wreath I bought. It was a beautiful day and I think it has been ever since. I took a photo of the grave which has just had grass seed sprinkled over it. I am not allowed to put a surround on the grave as they are not allowed on new graves now due to some of them falling in disarray and grass over graves are simply mowed.
As I said previously, I have been trying to improve my fitness and it is a very slow job, but I am doing more walks each day. I'm not doing longer at the moment, just a few 1 mile walks through the day. I found that I could hardly walk for the pain in my legs when I was getting to the end of a mile and it shocked me at just how much the pneumonia has played havoc with my body. I even tried to play a little on my cornet and after 3 minutes I was totally out of breath and my stomach muscles behaved like my leg muscles after a mile. I didn't even realise I used my stomach muscles to play. It just goes to show. I am oil painting and again, one hour at a time is enough due to fatigue, but the picture is gradually taking shape and I do love oils.
On the pet front it has been an interesting week. Fluffy the moorhen continued to go down to the river daily, coming back throughout the day for a nap or to torment Orry which he seemed to love to do, to such an extent that when I was getting Orry out of his cage the other day, Fluffy was on top of the cage and bending over the door attempting to give Orry a peck on the head as he came out. It has been like watching siblings trying to get the better of the other with neither attempting to hurt the other. It was all very amusing. Fluffy always went to bed upstairs in Toms office on a top shelf and stayed there until the morning when he would come into me for a little stoke and to let me know, along with the dogs, that it was breakfast time and I was to get up. When the animals decide I've slept long enough, there is no ignoring them. They use team work to keep the onslaught going.
Autumn is with us now and the leaves are dropping from the trees. It is a time when the countryside takes on different shades of yellow, gold and brown and can look beautiful. As I walked along the river yesterday, blackberries were everywhere and I've decided I'm going to have a bash at winemaking this year. My heart isn't into jam which I normally make lots of, but I'm not feeling very homely in that way. It was for Tom, even if I did give loads away, but I'm not up for it now. There are lots of butterflies and I noticed a few swifts still about. Yesterday I walked through the fields and gathered late dandelions for the aviary and some lush chickweed. I feed freshly picked greens and seeds to the birds as often as I can and Gerty the goose wanders around the garden everyday with her beak to the ground looking for grass and such which I also gather for her. Michael took me and a couple of friends down to the Sugarloaf Rock one afternoon and although I'd been warned, I didn't half get a shock when that beautiful big rock normally covered in birds, had one lonely gull standing on it and it was so quiet. All the babies have fledged and gone. Sean and Wendy will be interested to hear that, especially as they got so many wonderful pictures when they were over last.
I can't think of anything else that has happened in the last week as my mind is taken up at the moment with the disappearance of Fluffy the moorhen on Sunday afternoon. I had been out to lunch with the family as usual on a Sunday and arrived home around 2.45. Fluffy was in the house asleep and when I came in everyone was happy to see me including Fluffy who proceeded to compete with the dogs for my affection and followed me upstairs whilst I got changed. After that he went out to the river as normal and I fell asleep in a chair. I never saw Fluffy again. He didn't come back that night and that is when I knew for sure things where not right. He always came home at dusk no matter what as he had his own little habits. All suggestions that he has met up with another moorhen or just gone wandering are quickly dismissed as he wasn't ready and was top of the pecking order in the house and liked his own routine. As a consequence I have been doing the 1 mile walks often in a day and I have covered the river to the waterfall, down to the harbour, to the west and east and no sign. I've checked the sparrow hawks plucking trees which only have pigeon feathers, neighbours gardens and there is no sign. I like to think as Karron suggested, that he has somehow got in someone’s car and was carried off and eventually when the stowaway was found, released. He's a canny bird and knows how to look after himself, though he has no fear of humans like normal moorhens and will engage in play fighting if they take him on. He doesn't hurt though as the moorhen beak has no power as such and he is just very amusing. Obviously I am still wondering what happened to him and will for some time. I am though looking at the positives as I really don't want to dwell on the negatives at all. It’s been too bad a year for that and there are lots of positives out of my time with the little moorhen. He came to me as a tiny day old having been snatched by a seagull and then dropped. My neighbour Tom brought him to me at a time when I was grieving badly for my Tom and I had to make a decision whether I was going to continue trying to look after a baby bird or pass it on to the MSPCA. In looking after Fluffy, my mind had to focus on the needs of the baby which required feeding every hour with a small artist’s paintbrush. I had something else to look after and I have so enjoyed watching the little thing develop and also get to know the instincts of a moorhen. Although Fluffy was domesticated in a way, he was wild at heart with a lot of character. It was great to see the character develop and have a relationship like that. He gave me joy and also to everyone who came into contact with him. In return he lived like a king and a lot longer than he would have done if the seagull had recovered his dropped meal. If in the meantime anyone comes across a cocky little moorhen with a bald patch on his head, do let me know as I would love to know he was safe.
Anyway, this is yet another middle of the night blog and once more an apology for not emailing people. I haven't had my laptop switched on since I blogged last week, taken up as I have been with other things. I have found reading to be therapeutic and have been doing more of it. It relaxes me and my mind does not dwell on things the same. I will close now folks.
This is Barbara on the Silverburn River looking for a little moorhen that answers to the name of Fluffy.
p.s. My nieghbours Tom & Dee reported seeing a lone moorhen in the quarry water at Scarlett. I asked him did it have a bald head and he said he didn't know as it was too far away. He added that it got a little awkward as there were people about and he was stood t the edge of the water shouting Fluffy.
I still can't help laughing at the thought of it. I did go to Scarlett with Karron and the dogs this afternoon but the moorhen is an adult and not Fluffy. Having said that, the moorhen got there so they must have a decent range of flight. You never know, he could be out there somewhere!