It was quite chilly this morning and everywhere looks very autumny. Probably because of the long dry spring, the leaves are already changing colour rapidly. Mr Barter, the chief horticultural adviser at the RHS said last week: "Trees and shrubs are under a lot of water stress. It's not fatal because they are well adapted but it makes them get rid of their leaves."
There are rosehips, berries of every shape and colour, apples, pears, nuts and lots of other tasty morsels a-plenty! What a veritable feast. Mum and Dad and Kizzie have a tiny wood mouse with a white tummy and a long tail that visits the bird table up at their cottage. He works tirelessly gathering the seeds and storing them for the winter. Strawberry the Cat spends many hours watching him at work and her tail swishes vigorously as he nibbles away. Talking of tails, Truffle sought my advice on the subject. She has just four tail feathers left and I re-assured her that soon they would go too. She seemed a bit concerned, but I told her that a new and beautiful tail would very soon appear in it's place, and showed her my new one, which I am pleased to say, has grown very quickly. Truffle contemplated that her tail may have dropped out because of the long dry spring and wondered if she should have perhaps watered it. Gordon xx
Aaah! Satireday once again! We have had some soggy days this week, but today has dawned bright and breezy. I am in a good mood having recovered from a very stressful day earlier this week.
"Please take the boys with you, Gordon"
Harvest had asked me if I would mind going to the Mobile Library again to take The Secret Diary of A Call Duck back. As she no longer has Alice to run her errands, she seems to have taken me under her wing as her ever-willing companion and as such I find myself involved in the most outrageous of predicaments - like the Library run.
"Would you mind taking Neddie and Seagoon with you please Gordon?" asked Mrs One-Eye when she heard that I was going. Not one to shirk my responsibilities, I said "Of course!" And I thought that they might be company. We set off across the field with the very long grass in it and the boys were dashing here and there and playing Hide and Seek. I had to have eyes in the back of my head. I wondered how on earth Mrs One-Eye coped.
We crossed the neighbouring cow's field which was by now very flat and full of Cow Pats - some as hard as rock; some turned over by the fox looking for bugs and some quite plainly fresh and gooey. The boys looked thrilled and suggested we play a game of leaping from Pat to Pat. I must say, looking back, it was probably one of my more fortunate decisions to discourage them from this pastime until we were on our return journey.
"Hello Miss Manse," I nimbly scooted up the step into the Library.
"Why Gordon dear - how lovely to see you! And who are these fine fellows?"
"Errr - this is Neddie and this is Seagoon," I pointed my wing in their direction.
"They bear an uncanny resemblance to you dear," Miss Manse raised a curly grey eyebrow.
"Uhmm, I have come to change Harvest's book," I said quickly changing the subject. "Harvest asked if we could find her a couple of detective stories please?"
We chose the new books and sped off back towards home. The boys seemed very keen to get in the cow field and started whooping with exhilaration as they bounced from one Cow Pat to another. Admittedly it made the return journey a lot quicker as they boinged in generally the right direction - until, yes! Neddie jumped in a very large and very gooey Cow Pat. He let out a cry of dismay and Seagoon galloped around laughing hysterically. Neddie stood on the bare grass holding his left leg aloft which was now dripping with thick greeny black cow doods.
"What on earth will your Mother say?" Was all I could utter. It wasn't helpful and quite unneccessary and I quickly realised we had to clean the leg before we got home or I would be in the greatest of trouble.
I re-arranged my dishevelled feathers
As I said earlier we have had a rather wet week and the thick swards of clover in the long-grass field were a blessing. Neddie scooped backwards and forwards, to and fro, until his leg was pristine once more. His little toenails shone like Honey's pearly white teeth in contrast to his black and shimmering leg. He again held the leg up for our inspection and Seagoon and I considered it clean and shiny once more.
And settled down for an afternoon nap
"Hello Gordon. How did you get on with the boys?" asked Mrs One-Eye.
"No problem at all Mrs One-Eye," and I bustled off to give Harvest her two books from the Mobile Library.
"Merci beaucoup, Gordon. Parfait!" Harvest ambled contentedly back to her bed with the omnibus edition of Dixon of Duck Green and the story of the infamous Scottish vehicle thief - The Life and Times of Car-Key Campbell tucked securely under her wing. And I went back to the stable whereupon I re-arranged my dishevelled feathers and settled down for a much needed afternoon snooze. Gordon xxx
_ dames in faded cloak of red or grey
Loiter along the morning's dripping way
In wicker basket on their withered arms
Searching the hedges of home close or farms
Here is a recipe for Blackberry and Geranium Jelly:
Scented Geranium Leaves
Cook the blackberries in enough water to cover them, until soft. Tip the contents into a jelly bag or an old clean pillowcase and hang up to drip into a bowl overnight. The next day measure the juice and put into a pan with 1 lb sugar to 1 pint juice, add 3 or 4 scented geranium leaves to each pint and bring slowly to the boil. Boil until setting point is reached - but bear in mind this jelly does not set very firmly. Keep tasting to see that the geranium flavour doesn't overpower that of the blackberries, and remove the leaves when the flavours balance. Pot in warm, dry jars. Sylvia xxx
Ron and Nog came hurrying across the yard this morning.
"Can you please help us to Rap, Uncle Gordon?"
I felt quite pleased that they had sought my worldly knowledge and I replied in a sage-like manner:
"Of course boys! Are you going to a party?"
"Yes," Nog nodded. "Lisa is having a party next weekend. We want to Rap like Acon!"
"Then fetch me some nice big dock leaves and some burrs and we will make a start."
Ron and Nog looked slightly taken aback at this, but trotted off to the top of the field, whilst I pondered upon the strange choice of present for Lisa.
"Aaah! Good. Now pop those acorns inside the dock leaf and fasten it like this," I deftly twisted the burrs with my beak and the gift looked beautifully wrapped in no time at all.
"But Uncle Gordon - we want to Rap like Acon! Not wrap an acorn!" Ron and Nog tried their best not to giggle. I suppose I could see the funny side.
"You know boys, I am really quite well-up with technology - I am on Facebook!" I had struggled for some more modern terminology and decided 'well-up' although a bit old-fashioned was more appropriate than 'cool'. And they would have giggled again anyway.
"You should go on Twitter, Uncle!" Ron enthused. "You need a BlackBerry."
There was a very bright moon earlier this week and as I sat on my perch contemplating the day's events I found that by moving my head sidewards slightlyand half shutting one eye, I could turn the moon from a near perfect circle into a mushroom, then a cork and then divide it into two moons. I suppose the window must be a bit warped. Or my view.
There was more rioting too - the local lads were out late one night in their land-rover after the rabbits on the big farm. Harvey was very scared, but Honey was as cool as a cucumber, which is funny really as she is no bigger than a rabbit. Peter and his family kept well hidden until late next morning.
Then Mum saw the most gi-normous stoat near the cottage. It bounded from side to side up the lane towards her and raised it's head slowly in a slithery fashion and stared at her before calmly disappearing into the thick matted grass on the verge.
This weekend has been fun though - Dad went to the Chicken Supermarket and came back laden with some bags of supplies and Millet for Bird. We had a nice lady stop by and ask us if we knew where the dog that she had just found, lived. We hadn't seen it before and it had no collar on, so she took it off to the Vets to be scanned for a Microchip. Dad has been cleaning and sorting around the yard in preparation for some of my young nieces and nephews to move into larger accomodation. And we had a yummy piece of Rocky Road which we all shared. Some shared it more than others though. Gordon x
We are not sure if it was the Curried Eggs or over enthusiasm doing the Quack-Step, but sadly Alice the Runner Duck passed away last night.
"Ma chere amie. Elle est mort!" Harvest told us and she ambled slowly off alone to nestle in the straw and remember her dear friend.
We were in a sombre mood. And a few of us had hangovers. It was going to be a much quieter day today! Sylvia and Gordon xxx
The day of The Picnic had arrived!
The day that we had all been looking forward to for so long had arrived! The day of our Picnic! I woke early and made sure that everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing. It was a lovely morning and yes, plans were well under way. The food had been prepared and the Quail Ale ordered from The Pooch and Pullet, along with Cocktails for the ladies.
Plums for dessert
The curried eggs took pride of place amongst the worm sandwiches, bug butties and cock-a-leekie soup. Neddie and Seagoon were over-excited and Mrs One-Eye, although a very patient soul, was starting to get a little exasperated, so Truffle and Mrs White took them down to the footpath to collect the plums for dessert.
The Scarecrow was decked out in his finest CDs and provided the lightshow. Daytime musical entertainment was provided by Bird (the cockatiel) on the flute, with Ellen (the parakeet) screeching intermittently.
Harvest dans la piscine
Harvest took to the pool and gamefully splashed the youngsters when they tried to sneak up on her. They ran wildly around and to be honest it was all totally chaotic.
The Bossy Rosecomb organised a game of rounders and the Treasure Hunt was a great success with Mandy finding the most feathers from Harry's tail.
Heeey! I have no tail feathers left!
As the day progressed and we were all a little too full for galavanting around, we had a sort of Karaoke session. Martin, the Littlest Rosecomb and Mrs Black pretended to be judges on the Eggs Factor and Sylvia won with "I should be so Clucky. Clucky, clucky, clucky!"
At this point Lois' shoulders started shaking uncontrollably until she threw back her head and laughed so long and hard we thought she would never stop.
Then Mickey took centre stage to tell us a tale of daring and dastardly danger. He did get a bit carried away though and started swishing his tail and lunging out with his paws, whilst recounting chewing on bone and gristle. A few of us started to feel a bit sick and what with that and the curried eggs, we returned to the comfort and safety of our perches.
Harvey and Honey were heard to be winding up the day's jovialities with a raucous rendition of "You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog". And on that note we gratefully welcomed Dad's return to shut us away for the night. God Bless (and hic!). Gordon & Sylvia xxx
We have had riots in Wattlebury this week. The big farm next to us has been looted!
The Combine worked hard day and night
First the oilseed rape was harvested. The big mean green machine swooped across the field leaving a swathe of dust in it's path.
Next the hay was cut, turned and baled.
Then the wheat was harvested and the straw baled and ferried out on huge trailers.
Then to top it all the hunt arrived the next morning.
The peace was shattered. Our idyll torn asunder. Small creatures and birds had their
And now the field of wheat is no more
homes destroyed and their food supplies pillaged. But we are lucky to have our little farm in the middle of the big farms and so are preparing to receive an influx of new visitors who will be very welcome to sift through our grass and woods. There seem to be lots more butterflies and mice and small crawly creatures already. Some look mighty tasty - so all's well that ends well. And only three more days to the Picnic! Sylvia & Gordon x
Today started badly. My last tail feather has gone. Seagoon is running around proclaiming that it was he who found it. I have my suspicions as when Neddie was trying to distract me last night with a complicated and wearisome worm question, I felt a slight tug. So I now have a pert and tail-less behind. Needless to say the Bossy Rosecomb still has a full and fine-feathered tail which he is swishing around in front of the girls.
So when Harvest asked if anyone would be kind enough to go to the Mobile Library for her, I volunteered.
"But Gordon" she looked concerned. "C'est dangereuse! Tu es petit!"
Normally Alice runs errands for Harvest, but Alice hasn't been herself just lately and Harvest herself can only amble slowly around the yard nowadays.
"But I can nip through the bottom of the stock fence quite easily. And I am nimble and quick too!" I sprung in the air and side-stepped with the grace of the late Rudolph Nureyev. "Truffle would get tangled in the thistles, and Mr Fox would spot Mrs White a mile off!"
"Very well Gordon. But take care mon courageux ami"
There had been a few disparaging comments about my feathering and I noticed the girls were avoiding me today - and really I just wanted to escape for a bit. So I collected Moby Duck from Harvest and headed across the lane and into the field on my way to Wattlebury Green where the Library parked on a Monday morning. The grass in the field was very long and reached high above my head. I followed Peter Rabbit's well worn paths that criss-crossed through the waving swards, but every so often I had to jump in the air to make sure that I was heading in the right direction. The tall dock stems shone red in the sun, as red as the Fox's brush and the thistles leaned towards me and threatened to spike me with their purple combs. I felt like Crocodile Dundee in the Outback. I safely negotiated the stock fence and ran across the next field as fast as my little legs would carry me. The neighbour's cows had grazed it down to spikey rye remains and it was a lot easier. Then I saw the Library! Hoorah!
"Hello Gordon dear," Miss Spence peered down at me from the top stair. "What a nice surprise - and how is Harvest keeping?"
I replied that she was very well, considering her great age. Miss Spence and Miss Manse were very kind ladies of great age too and they had run the Mobile Library for hundreds of years.
"Where is Harvest's book that she ordered, Ro?" Miss Spence turned slowly to her friend who started to ferret in a big pile under the desk.
"Here we are Sue - this is the one!" Miss Manse handed the book down to me and I tucked it safely under my wing.
"Thank you, I will hurry back now" I boppedy bopped down the steps.
"Take care dear! " They called and waved their handkerchiefs frantically until I was out of sight.
I reached the field with the very long grass in it in record time and consoled myself with the thought that I was nearly home. Oh! I was really looking forward to being home again. Then it happened! Out of the deepest patch of timothy sprung a creature with talons outstretched and teeth bared!
"Mickey!" I squealed shrilly."Don't do that!"
Mickey rolled around laughing hysterically."I was watching you from my log pile Gordon! I thought it would be fun to jump out at you!"
"Thanks a bunch, Mickey. You nearly made me drop the book!"
We walked the rest of the way back together, and I felt a lot safer.
In the yard everyone ran from all their corners and perches to greet me. I felt like a celebrity - and it was wonderful. They patted me on the back and shook my foot and exclaimed how brave I was. Sylvia gave me a hug and so did Mandy. I felt good again!
"Here's your book, Harvest!"
"Merci beaucoup Gordon. Tu es tres brave!"
And Harvest ambled back to her box, settled down in the warm straw, and as she did so, a satisfied smile flitted across her beak and her wise eyes twinkled contentedly. Then she settled down to read her new book: The Secret Diary of A Call Duck.
Excitement is in the air. We are planning our summer picnic! Sylvia has drawn up a list of who is doing what. She is making the Curried Eggs. Us boys are nipping along to the Pooch and Pullet for a jug of Quail Ale, the Bossy Rosecomb is organising the games, Mickey will enthrall us with Tales of Horror as it gets dark - oh, and Honey and Harvey are providing the musical entertainment. Harvest told us that the name picnic comes from the French pique-nique, which was used to describe a group of people (or animals) dining in a restaurant (or field) and they brought their own wine (Quail Ale). We are really looking forward to it. Mrs Black, Mrs White and Truffle have been tasked with collecting wild plums and Harry the Peacock is kindly donating Tail Feathers for the Treasure Hunt.
I am keeping a bit of a low profile today though, as I have only one remaining feather in my tail. I have to admit to being a tad embarrassed and am therefore keeping myself to myself (unusual, I know). Hopefully things will improve before The Picnic. If not I shall have to send Kizzie to the cut-price clothes store where she purchases a whole wardrobe in a big brown carrier bag for under £10. To make matters worse, Mrs One-Eye (who has been trying to give Neddie and Seagoon the slip) set them on a mission to find 'Daddy's Missing Feathers'. It has kept them occupied for a couple of days as unbeknown to them, I threw them behind the food bins, where no bird dares to tread.
Sylvia insisted that we give you the recipe for the Curried Eggs, so here goes:
12 eggs, boiled and cooled
2 tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise
Salt if required
1 and a half teaspoonfuls of curry powder
1. Firstly peel and halve the eggs lengthways, scoop out the yolks and place in a bowl.
2.Add the curry powder, mayonnaise and salt to yolk. Mash with a fork.
3.Refill the halved egg whites.Sprinkle the top with curry powder and garnish with parsley.
Note - you do not have to sprinkle the top with curry powder, but it does add a real bite to the eggs.
I think we may need more than one jug of ale. Gordon x
Hello! My name is Gordon and I am a Gold Sebright and my best friend is Sylvia. She is a Silver Sebright. We live with our foster parents on a small farm in the country. We thought that we would put our take on life and what we get up to through the year into a diary for you. All the characters are real and the events are a true record, interpreted with a modicum of poetic licence. We hope you enjoy it. Love Gordon and Sylvia