Thursday, 9 July 2009

Lightening, portaloos, swine flu, Lizzie, hares and hedgehogs

Well what a few days we have had, however when I think it has actually been a bit longer than that. Firstly we were struck by lightening - well the house was no structural damage but the lightening went to earth down the well via the water pipe into the pump and burnt it out - so no water at all for 3 days. We get all our water from a 300 foot borehole and it needs a fairly hefty pump to lift it from that depth so we were stuck - fortunately Tesco had a good supply of bottled water and we were able to hire a bright blue site portaloo for outside the front door! The new pump was sent for and arrived by courier in a huge wooden box that needed three men to carry it. The engineers arrived and it was a bit like 'Oil Riggers' out in the yard as all the pipework had to come out of the well to get to the old pump right at the bottom of the pipe but it was installed in a few hours - it's been a week now but the water is still a bit murky so we are still on the bottled water although the blue portaloo was hitched up on the truck and taken away.
Lizzie (my 21 year old student daughter) has been very ill, has been working hard and not eating properly laid herself low and just when she wasn't looking along came the swine flu, she hadn't been to Mexico but she had been to Birmingham! She hung on and hung on down in Leicester for about 10 days worried that if she came home we would all get it here but it got to the point where she had to be rescued! So off I went to collect her as she was too ill and weak to drive herself, she came home on antibiotics and painkillers with a terrible throat infection and a range of scary symptoms anyway on her first night home she became so ill having had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic/painkillers/infection so was whisked off to hospital by ambulance, blue light flashing. Change of antibiotics and lots of tlc at home she has been delivered back to Leicester and is back to work on Friday. It was very frightening as she is fit and healthy normally but this just seemed relentless as she became more and more ill, she is still weak but wants to go back to work. She will be home again early next week for more home comforts!
We live in hare country. I love to see them bounding around, great long back legs and black tips on their ears. They dash around in a zig zag to put off their pursuers which unfortunately means frequently they run back into the path of cars. I will try to get some pictures, they graze in the front field - haven't seen them boxing yet this year. I went to a presentation on hedgehog rescue - apparently hedgehogs have a talent for falling into things - drains, wells, ponds, cattlegrids, swimming pools, we should install little ladders for the hedgehog to climb out on - just a piece of wood with some rails across for them to get a grip and climb out or even a piece of small gauge chicken wire will do the trick. They are brilliant swimmers but cannot get out! Please check your piles of garden rubbish before you put the match to it and be gentle with the compost heap - don't stick the fork in as you may kebab a hedgehog but the worst thing apart from roads is poison - oil, diesel as well as pesticides so please use organic where you can and sluice away spills. I had the opportunity to handle a hedgehog called Mimi, who had been spoon fed following a road accident. She is now living in a sanctuary - she cannot be released as she doesn't curl into a ball to protect herself so would be very vulnerable - their greatest predators are badgers then foxes. If you think you might have hedgehogs in your garden leave out a small dish of water and some food - small amounts of cat biscuits, dog meat or the scrapings from your dinner plate - not bread and milk as it gives them such severe squits they may die in agony. If you see a live hedgehog during the day it is quite likely that hedgehog is in trouble - thirsty or hungry, leave a little dish of water and food out, they'll find it. You will hear the snufflings and snortlings as they come to feed. Great little creatures to have in your garden!