Sunday, October 25, 2009


As yet another week rolls around, my new website is no nearer completion - in so far as I have not yet managed to complete a single page. Just as I feel I am getting to grips with CSS it does something I didn't ask it to do and I have to spend another 2 hours working out what it is. Now, what else do I know that's a bit like that...? Frustration finally triumphs over intelligence and I slink back to my baby 'I can draw a text box' programme.
Anyway, if there are any philanthropic Expression Web 3 writers out there that would like to set up a template for me before my free trial and what remains of my patience runs out, I would not be upset.

In the absence of Pepe, Chili is blossoming, and I've had to start bulk-buying chew-toys and band-aids once more. Although enjoying the occasional trip to the aviary, she makes it very clear when she's had enough and wants to come home.

On the real bird front, we've had a bit of a cabinet shuffle in the Big House. 5 new arrivals have created much posturing and jockeying for position. Mind you, the new arrivals are from this years' brood so I suspect they have had to settle for whatever they are permitted to have - at least until they're a little more confident. They are very polite and well-behaved and a credit to those that raised them - I thank you.

Michael has been ousted by Bibi for some unknown reason, and is currently holidaying in the living room. He seems very happy with that arrangement as he clearly wasn't winning any rounds in the aviary. So grateful for sanctuary in fact, that he hasn't bitten either of us yet. Just biding his time I'm sure.

Sunflower seeds finally hit the stores last week. Amidst the frenzied panic buying so typical of Belmopan, I bought lots and I think they've run out again. At least Milo's happy for now: liver disease? obesity? pah!

I had a ticking off this week from some real rehabbers not very far removed from aforementioned new birds. Apparently I'm not supposed to give my birds names. I have decided, in that case, that I don't want to be a real rehabber: it sounds exceedingly boring. I shall be a Bird Shrink instead, reassembling little personalities and preparing them for the big wide world. I shall also give names to the 5 new birds. (sorry you know who, if you're reading this - can't help myself: ID numbers just don't give me that warm fuzzy feeling.)

So, on with the week, and if I put here in writing that we are going to release the remaining Tinamou before the next weekend, we might actually get out and do it. Of course, I could always sit here and throw rocks at my computer...

Thursday, October 15, 2009


It's one of those days.
I have a million things to do - and none of them are small things, so if I were to actually start to do one of them, I wouldn't get finished today. Incentive... meet window.
On top of that, Chili is being remarkably uncooperative. She shins down her T-stand every 10 minutes, grunting and squeaking and making me feel guilty for spending time with my computer. Having said that, it's a good thing: I feel she's getting her personality back somewhat and she's preventing me from turning my brains to mush with You-Tube and the like.

Whilst I'm having a downer on the day, there are still no sunflower seeds in Belize. The excuses are credible: the supplier ran out of supplies, the credit card payment for the supplier failed, the container is stuck, the container is here but there's no-one to unload it, manana, manana. I am promised Friday. Meanwhile, Milo is positively apoplectic, and the velociraptors have run out of unchewed arm-flesh to bite. I love this country, and ordinarily these mini-crises of sporadic availability do not bother me. The potato famine passed me by and the onion shortage was, well, short. But mess with my birds (and my gin) and I do get a little peeved. So, Friday it is.

We had a bird-chilipepper bush collapse on us yesterday (just shows how short of news I am). I pulled the entire thing into the babies' aviary then watched fascinated as half of the birds sat on the floor waiting for dropsies and windfalls. I have never seen them do that before. Is it a baby thing, or a bird-chili thing, I wonder? Could this be the subject of my long-awaited dissertation...

I promise - no more until I actually have something to say.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Calling all Parrots

Pepe has gone AWOL.
There are times, every now and then, when I really hate what we try to do and feel like throwing in the towel. We have no idea where Pepe went and he was certainly not ready for the wild. After the latest kidnappings we can't help but fear the worst.

The overly-humanized beasties we encounter cause us considerable dilemma: they clearly love people far more than they love parrots and to throw them into an aviary full of strange green things whilst their beloved humans sip tea on the veranda is cruel and unkind and doesn't help their rehab. They respond so much better when they are allowed to adjust at their own speed. The pre-kidnap Chili would rant continuously if we dared to subject her to accommodation fit only for birds. Nowadays, she's not so fussy - just grateful to be home, I guess. But Pepe was a total home-body. He looked with disdain upon the aviary residents, and would dive-bomb the velociraptors if they dared to get too close to Jerry. Morning tea was a ritual and no day was complete without a ride on the motorbike.

We have our critics, and at times like this I find it hard to defend the logic. Yes, if we caged the bird it would still be here. Yes, if we clipped its wings we would still enjoy its company. But... birds are supposed to fly and humans are supposed to let them and we could not entertain that we exist to perpetuate the misconception that birds are better off in human care. Right? Of course right. Might as well change our name to Hattieville.

So, with Milo happily ensconced in the aviary and Chili grounded for a few more months, we are devoid of indoor aerobatics. Blue and the V-bombers still give us a display in the mornings, but my word, we miss Pepe. Maybe he'll find his way home, eventually...

In the meantime, if anyone encounters a rather precocious red lored that can whistle a bugle call and say "come on Pepe" in the same voice as the pea-soup girl in The Exorcist, please give us a shout.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

That Sinking Feeling

Amongst this week's more notable accomplishments are a Parrot Care leaflet I am finally happy with, and the much awaited installation of a shiny new concrete sink for my outdoor food prep.

The leaflet has been a monumental struggle. For a wordy body like me to cram 1500 words of 'look after your parrot, you moron' into a readable A4 tri-fold plus pictures, was somewhat painful. I cheated and used Legal, which gave me a precious extra few inches (yes, size does matter), and cut out some of the pictures and a lo-ot of text. What remains is a shadow of its former self, but this version stands a fighting chance of getting printed and actually being read (as opposed to the War & Peace version that required a wheelbarrow to distribute). I shall now test my webs skills by attempting to add a download-able version to the website.

The sink was entirely Jerry's struggle. For a very reasonable sum, we acquired one of those charmingly rustic 3-basin concrete sinks from the local concrete chappy. With unsurpassed ingenuity, several planks of wood and a neat little wheely-thing, we managed to wrestle the 4-ton monstrosity onto the back of the truck. It wasn't until we were halfway home that we began to question how we were going to get it off again. Our immediate thoughts are unprintable. It finally took 4 men, a block and tackle, a very sturdy orange tree and a lot of testosterone-laden grunts to swing it into place; and amazingly, with no raised voices and minimal bad language. I am now equipped to chop, scrub and distribute outdoors. Look at us: more and more like a real rehab centre every day.

Speaking of 'centre' I had an enlightening moment last week. I am lucky enough to enjoy the company of a wonderful band of ladies who comprise the Belmopan International Women's Group exec committee. At our last meeting the question of spelling was raised. Do we 'ize' or 'ise'? Are we a 'centre' or a 'center'?? Since first settling in the Caribbean 10 years ago, I have hung furiously onto my British spelling roots, despite the Americanisms (izms??) surrounding me. To actually hear a born and bred Belizean proclaim 'we were born of the British system, we spell the British way' gave me renewed courage of my convictions, just as I was about to succumb to pressure. Until I hear a directive from the Prime Minister to the contrary, a Centre we shall be (and that red line on this blogging programme can just jolly well check off)