Monday, 18 April 2011

Owl recidivism and other stories

Firstly, you know at the end of the last post I said I was going to google image "tiny baby goat"? Well, when I did, a picture of my eldest child holding a goat appeared on page 2 (rereading this post has made me desperate to go back to the Scary Bat Caves, which is the best place in Belgium without exception, including the spa at Spa where they serve violet mojitos poolside). I think this is a sign that my corner of the internet may be eating itself. Caution is required.

Doing my quarterly VAT accounts this weekend has left me spent, weak as a baby, like some kind of mythical creature following a dangerous metamorphosis (yup, that's exactly what dealing with VAT is like, shut up). I need to lie low, regain my energy. I keep staggering out to the garden, lured by the brilliant sunshine, to lie face down on the grass, breathing in the scent of dog pee and lilac, as gigantic fat pigeons circle hopefully above me, waiting for me to die. The dog pokes me with his nose a few times, then gets bored and slumps down next to me to lick his bald patch. He is limping from too much ball chasing this weekend. I am bent and broken from sitting in a stupid position in front of a hot, uncooperative printer (someone sent me this while I was whining about the printer, which cheered me enormously), quietly whispering revolting curses and have an attractive sore on my cheek. I was woken this morning from an obscenely detailed dream about trifle and I have been trying to get back there all morning. I am wondering if I have the energy to go and fetch ice cream and thinking I probably don't. We are the poster children for Broken Belgium.

As a result of a weekend spent either threatening my printer or lying on a rug in the garden drinking cheap fizz, I have very little to tell you. Erm. Let me see.

1. I am going to The Cube tomorrow, which is thrilling. The Cube is a pop up restaurant in a glass box on top of a giant arch. My friend Simon went and got to:

(a) Stare at washing machines
(b) Eat a bird's nest in a smoke-filled dome (the bird's nest, not Simon)

I will settle for no less than this, and promise to report back fully. Maybe I will try and sneak out with a dishwasher? God knows I need one, mine is a master of gently warming the dirty dishes so as better to encrust the food on them. I hate it.

2. In bird news, today there is a list of everything the owl has eaten since it started incubating the eggs. I put it into Google translate, and BLOODY HELL.

"mouse: 28
rabbit: 18
pigeon: 9
thrush: 4
rat: 2
hare 3
jay: 1
frog 1"

I am slightly concerned that baby owl one may soon be adding to the list

sibling: 1

.. it seems unfeasibly hungry. Miss Underscore (very funny yesterday, incidentally, on Gwyneth Paltrow's concept of "grounded") opines that it has ADHD and needs owl ritalin. It certainly gets alarmingly close to the edge of that damn nest.

The owls remain utterly delightful. (I can talk about them briefly because M is in Jakarta with a very poor internet connection and a date with some zorses, so she won't get around to kicking me). Both babies are fat and fluffy, as you would be on a diet of HARES. However, I have developed a more worrying fascination with the Slechtvalk, which seems to be living out its own melancholy avian psychodrama. The Slechtvalk (peregrine falcon?) spends its every waking moment, as far as I can ascertain, lying face down in an unembellished, empty nestbox full of small pebbles, which seems to me a healthy attitude to impending motherhood of a brood of 5 merciless, ravenous, scrawny balls of fluff. If it didn't occasionally turn round, or raise its head, grimly, I wouldn't even know it was alive. Occasionally, you can hear the tinny sound of far away radio, which adds extra poignancy to the scene. I wouldn't say she was exactly glowing. Once, in a scene of great Pinteresque drama, the male slechtvalk turned up and hovered awkwardly on the nestbox threshold for half an hour. The female did not react in any way. It was fabulously gloomy.

Further use of Google Translate seems to suggest that they are taking it in turns to lie face down on the pebbles in an attitude of catatonic despair. Well, I think that's what this means:

"During the daylight period, however, the male half of the time on the eggs. The female takes almost the entire night period accounted for, although we have seen that the male still in the dark can be paid off. It seems the temperature to be related. We see that all the male great difficulty for the whole brood to retain good and incubated. At night it is colder and it is important that tired with her great body incubates the eggs".

Tomorrow, I will tell you about how I am being terrorised by a book without even opening it. I wouldn't exactly say it's worth waiting for, but it's all I have.


Mary said...

Very glad to read about owls and their activity!
Just noticed an egg in the steenuil's (little owl's) nest -- although how it will take of egg with pesky pigeon neighbor, I have no idea.

Have thrown all financial / tax paperwork in a big blue box and will not look at it again until March 2012! Hope you recover from VAT exhaustion quickly.

small teeth of cute baby animal (italian)

Anonymous said...

I was once a VAT inspector (I lasted just over a year) I am with you every step of the way on the effect it icecream, while we have the weather (standard rated in the UK for VAT as it is deemed to be confectionary not food - just goes to show what benefit I gained from the experiences of my youth...)

Miss Underscore said...

For a picture of sweet avian devotion you need to check out Mr and Mrs Ooievaar on the same bird website. They are the Paul and Linda McCartney of the feathered kingdom - they never spend a night apart.

I also quite like it when Mrs Stork towers over her eggs, gently touching each one with her beak, like she is counting them.

David Cameron would love Mr & Mrs Ooievaar. They epitomise traditional family values.

M. said...

You are fooling no one. By "like some kind of mythical creature following a dangerous metamorphosis ", you mean POKEMON.

PS: I am very disappointed in you.

Em said...

Damn you for the owl. Damn you and bless you.
And, my god, I wish I was as grounded as Ms Paltrow.