Wednesday, July 1, 2009


We have had some interesting visitors this week, and, no, I am not referring to Jonathan and his mate Jake who are spending a few weeks with us over the summer! This morning Chris and I were sitting on the back porch enjoying our breakfast cuppa, and we were idly watching a pale gecko running up the wall of the pump house. It became very still and we saw what we thought was another one, emerging from the reel of hose fixed to the wall. But the head we saw stretched up the wall followed by a slim black body that just went on and on. Yes it was a snake. I don't know what sort it was, but I do know that there is only one sort out here that bites, and it is fairly benign, on a par with the adder at home, so I was not worried by this one in our garden. I was just fascinated to see it inch its way up a sheer wall towards the gecko, which I am sure he saw as his breakfast. Of course I had to grab my camera, and whether this disturbed him, or whether he just changed his mind I don't know, but he suddenly slithered down again and as he slid along the hose towards the ground we realised just how long he was. I went over to take a close up of the gecko and realised that he had recently lost his tail, so maybe this wasn't his first encounter with the snake today. We thought they had both gone, but a few minutes later we saw the snake reappear, poking his head out of the black pipe protruding from the top of the wall. He must have climbed all the way up the wall on the back of the pump house, and onto it's flat, recessed roof. The pipe is to run off for any rain from the roof. The snake stayed just inside the pipe for a long time, sometimes hanging out a long way, and sometimes just showing its head. It will be interesting to see if it comes out again tomorrow. Hopefully the gecko will have found a new base. We like having them in the garden as they eat the mosquitoes and other flies.
Other visitors who helps combat the flies are all the birds on the green land at the back of us. We are now pretty sure these are swifts, not house martins as we first thought. Every morning and just at dusk, a huge flock of them dive and dart around catching air-borne bugs. They also dive bomb the building next door where there are lots of sparrows nests. They make a loud shrieking noise as they fly which the locals call 'The devil's screech'.
Another bird came to visit us quite late one evening while Jean and Dorothy were with us. It settled on the corner of the roof next door. I took this photo of it, hoping I would be able to zoom in on it and see it better, but it was gone 9.00 and the light was fading, so I only have this vague outline, but it looks as though it is a small owl. Chris said he could see it had talons. We often hear a solitary bird call during the night, and it is quite possible that there are owls in the trees behind the house, or in the chimneys of one of the half-built houses across the back.
We had to take one of the pups to the vet today. Chico developed a limp in his front, right leg, and it was obviously causing him a lot of pain. Poor Miki is used to playing rough and tumble with him, but he snapped at her so fiercely that she kept her distance for the rest of the morning. The vet thinks he has bruised the bone just jumping and playing, and has given him pain-killer and anti-inflammatory tablets which he takes very willingly, and they seemed to give him several hours of relief. We have to take him back to the vet tomorrow so she can keep a check on it. I sat outside with them this afternoon reading a book, but I had to go indoors to do something, and when I went back out I found they had eaten my book. At least they had shredded the top half of the last few pages. They might have chewed the ones I had already read. Now I shall have to read the bottom half of each page and try to guess what was at the top, so I may never be quite sure how the story ends! I guess I am going to learn some lessons the hard way too!

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