Nessie the cockapoo has come to stay for a week whilst Helen and Janet are in California. She arrived waving one of her favourite toys, which just happens to have a range of colours similar to those in a recent painting of mine.
Nessie is two and a half and lives in a village in Worcestershire in a house almost surrounded by common land. Strangely, there are no cats in the village and no squirrels (although several years ago one appeared in the garden the day we arrived for a visit, and it was suggested that it had been a stowaway in our car). Hens roam free in the garden – so where are the foxes? No greater spotted woodpeckers, they are all green.
Nessie’s favourite spot in our house is by the French Windows at the back. She watches the birds and squirrels endlessly, and it is good to lie down on the job.
But Nessie is not used to seeing cats, and we have plenty of those. Suddenly we hear barking and scraping at the window.
Hopefully one of the foxes will turn up whilst Nessie is here. We often see one or more during the day, and we even had one on the garage roof marking its territory. Here is a photo of one in the garden in late January 2017.
Nessie eats sensibly and feels that there my be more nurishment in the cardboard box than in the breakfast cereals themselves.
Of course the highlight of each day for Nessie is the walk through Gledhow Valley Woods to the lake.
We are used to seeing the odd rat scamper across the path by the lake, as well as seeing how well they swim. One rat dashing across suddenly realised that Nessie was passing and took off, missing Nessie’s nose by a whisker. I am not good at taking photos of flying rats, so here is one nearby wondering what is going on.
Twenty ducks who were sitting on the bank and the path fly off when they see Nessie, and Joan has brought some oats to feed to the Swan. There is only one swan left at the lake just now and it is still in its first year.
We have been concerned for some months about the swans, particularly since the water level dropped after a digger cleared rubbish from the dam end. Large areas of silt have been on view where the swans nest. Here are the adults and one youngster in late January 2017.
At the time of this photo, showing the two adults and the above young swan in late January 2017, the second youngster had been ostracized and was sitting in a corner of the lake. When we were litter picking this Sunday on the monthly action day with Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, they told us that soon after the photo foxes killed this young bird and then the adults left the lake. One adult was found wandering in the Harehills area and the RSPCA took it to Roundhay Park lake. A lady told us that the other adult was walking past her house in Oakwood, presumably heading for Roundhay Park lake too. So we hope that things work out well for the adults at Roundhay and our young survivor here in Gledhow.
On the way home from the lake, Nessie confronted a cat. This is Henry and he stood sideways and seemed to double in size. Nessie was on her lead, which was probable just as well for Nessie.
Anna and Emma, the children next door, went to the woods with Nessie today and had been looking forward to it for days. Nessie gets on well with everyone.
She has enjoyed her holiday in Gledhow Valley and we are taking her back to the land of green woodpeckers.