Day to day events mostly cataloguing my complete lack of understanding and common sense!

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There is now a separate site with information on living in Bulgaria, including:

  • An introduction to Gostilitsa and all it has to offer
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Unfortunately I've been having an increasing number of problems with storage on this site, so I've decide to continue the diary section elsewhere. Click here for the link to the new site.  The old diary entries will remain here for anyone wishing to delve into the murky past

Monday 8th May, 2017
Category: 2017/05
Tags: walking wildlife cats Finlay

Yesterday dawned clear and sunny, so after my morning stroll to check on the children I decided - wait, what? Children? I hear you exclaim with raised eyebrows. Yes, hundreds of them. I regard each and every plant, shrub and seedling to be one of my children, and my absolute favourite thing to do each morning (especially one such as yesterday when the grass is heavily damp, the sky solid blue and alive with the criss-crossing of birds which swoop from tree to tree, sometimes in tangly knots that crash into the leaves as if they too are wildly giddy with spring fever, and the sun flashes between the branches of the huge old walnut trees in the lane) is to take my morning cup of tea and walk along each and every flower bed, veggie patch and tub to inspect all the plants and seedlings. There are few things which make me as happy as the surprise of suddenly seeing a flourish of green shoots pushing through the soil, or that first developing flower bud, or even a completely random appearance such as the sunflower which is now dominating one of my tubs. And as I walk around followed by Bella and Alfie who listen avidly to my gardening wisdom, I make little tweaks here and there - a stone which might bruise an emerging stem is moved, a definite weed is eased out, a snail is swiftly despatched to the other side of the wall. It's a very soothing ritual and a most beautiful way to start any day.

So, yesterday, having completed this routine, I then decided to take the hounds on a longish walk to explore a way of walking from here to the Roman ruins without having to walk along the road at any point.

We headed off on our familiar route past the old munitions factory and then down the fields towards the snail farm/factory/processing place. What exactly do you call a place that does things with snails? And apparently the snails there are destined for medical and beauty products rather than for edible purposes. Maybe I should let the odd one crawl across my face as I go on my morning stroll.

Part way across the fields I spotted two long brown ears amongst the dense grass. Fold your ears down, Mr Hare, I thought, or a very excited Bella is going to have you as a snack. Luckily for Mr Hare the curve of the hill gave him just enough cover as he loped across the field and into the hedgerow. When we came to the spot where he'd been sitting, Bella caught the scent and flew across the field following his tracks. She'd make a great hunting dog because she zigzags back and forth everytime the trail goes cold until she picks it up again - fascinating to watch. Luckily the hare had a good enough head start to evade capture.

The fields are covered in spring flowers at the moment; lovely clumps of intense blues, yellows, pinks, whites...

After the snail place we crossed the road and headed along a slightly overgrown track. It's amazing how in the midst of all the trees and bushes there are suddenly little fields full of rows of crops all lush and green. Partway along the track we came across a little hedgehog who I was surprised to see out and about in the bright sunshine.

Maybe he was heading home from a very late party.

My new strategy to combat the two dogs vanishing off excitedly and refusing to come when called is to always have one or other on the lead. If one of them is on the lead the other one doesn't tend to go too far for long, so now they take turns at having a bit of freedom. As our walk progressed we got to a section which was totally overgrown with nettles. At this point I let both dogs off the lead and found a nice stout stick to whack a path for my bare legs. The dogs followed nicely albeit at a safe distance, probably fascinated by the sudden wildness the walk was taking.

We broke through the jungle onto the edge of a field of sweetcorn and after following this we came to the old abandoned flour mill. Here we were back on a decent track and since we were going to start heading through open fields it was time for Bella to go back on the lead. Just in time as it turned out.

Not far along the path I suddenly spotted a beautiful fox further along. Neither dog saw it initially though Alfie was trotting along straight towards it. The fox was oblivious to us as it was intent on catching something and was staring at the ground, jabbing with its nose now and then. Alfie then caught sight of it, took a few steps forward and then looked back at me. At this point the fox saw Alfie and jumped back which triggered Alfie for the chase, and both of them set off haring across the field. Below is a little section of very wobbly video showing the fox running ahead and Alfie coming along later. (Bella was yanking my arm all over the place as I tried to film, desperate to get off the lead and join in the fun)

Fox video

After all that excitement (Alfie came back a few seconds after the fox vanished into the undergrowth) both hounds needed a well earned rest in the nearest spa centre, aka mud puddle.

For our return journey we followed a track along the edge of a field before meeting up with our earlier route, then it was back across the field to home. Just in time actually as the split second we got in the heavens opened and it rained for much of the afternoon.

I guess the chasing the fox or hare thing is an in built instinct in dogs. Cats too will pounce after anything that makes sudden moves, though Finlay can be more fiendish in his hunting techniques. Somehow he gives off relaxing vibes and just waits for the prey to amble up to him:

To see more pictures from today's blog, please click here.



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