Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn again

I do like see the trees change colour in autumn and try to get some pictures but, this year they all went autumnal very late and quite suddenly for just a few days and then a gale took off most of the leaves before I could get any good pictures.

 As usual, we spent Halloween with The Granddaughter (TG) and carved some pumpkins. For some reason, some weeks before, The Son In Law (TSIL) had bought a medical teaching skeleton, which he has named Bob, as a kind of macabre ornament for the house. 
Bob sits on the settee in their living room and looks quite relaxed there, but is not a great conversationalist.
I wish he would not keep doing that

For Halloween, TSIL wanted Bob to sit it in a chair just inside the doorway, but there was only room for him to stand on his support in their narrow hallway.

The kids that arrived begging for treats with threats and menaces were not at all concerned that a full sized skeleton, wearing a hat was revealed when the door opened, being brought up on video games that are much more horrific. The Daughter (TD) and TSIL usually grow their own crop of pumpkins, but this year they only had two which were both very small, kind of pigmy pumpkinetts. They had bought two big ones and I am usually invited to carve at least one and so I created a rather sad looking pumpkin with the intention of making it look as if it had been sick, but thought better of making a mess with its erstwhile innards and just left it as it was. TD had a slight accident with hers and its lower set of teeth got cut off during carving, making it look more like it had a moustache than vampire teeth as intended. The tiny ones were to be left, but in an idle moment I hollowed them out and made a standard scary face on one, whilst TG carved ‘lol’ on the other. TG went out with her mother and The Better Half (TBH) and came back with a bucket of obesity fodder, which got reduced a bit by a concerned mother.

Barrow is set in some wonderful country and although it is dominated by the shipyards, you do not have to go far to get out into real countryside.

The shipyard towers over most buildings

On the other side of the water the proper countryside begins
The weather was not brilliant most days so we did not go out much other than to visit the original Lakeland store at Windermere, where we bought a few items we needed for the kitchen and of course we took our traditional visit to the zoo. The South Lakes Wild Animal Park is growing and there are new enclosures being built for more kinds of animals. This wildlife park is strongly focused on maintaining species and has been responsible for returning more than one species to the wild which may otherwise have died out. They also take animals that have been mistreated and give them as good a life as can be provided inside an enclosure.

Of the new animals there were some wolves. These have a large area to range in and seemed quite at home compared to some I have seen in captivity that are obviously distressed and constantly pacing. These seemed right at home and at one time they set up a chorus of howls, which was amazing. This is another sign they are feeling at home, because unlike a domestic dog that howls when distressed, wolves declare their territory this way.
In the aviary, there was a cockatoo that was strolling up and down one of the walkway hand rails asking to be stroked under its wings. It tended to peck threateningly at children if they tried to touch it with an extended finger. Considering they can take the end off an adult’s finger if angry, they were simply a warning to them to keep away. No doubt it had had children poking it none too gently in the past. If you offered it the back of your hand, it would then raise a wing and let you stroke it or scratch it gently underneath.

Once you had done this for a short while, it decided you were a real pal, it would then try to follow you along the railing wanting more petting. Naturally several people petted it during the time we were there. Some of the birds there had some very exotic plumage and this one made me think of an old fashioned Mexican bandit from 1930s Hollywood.

The bandit
On the roof of the aviary, a pair of storks had made a nest
The one above sees all
I feel sure Johnny Morris would have been able to caption this one
I know it is not a hampster but, why does this make me think of the movie Bolt?

We stayed until the Monday morning to see TG off to school and then drove home. The journey home was unremarkable other than the fact that we were a good half hour shorter than the usual six hours it generally takes. On practically any trip to or from Cumbria you can guarantee a holdup somewhere along the M6 and sure enough we had one at J18, but despite this we were home much sooner than usual.

Finally a puzzle.  Can you spot the two leopards?


  1. I love zoos -- especially when the animals have lots of space and are well treated. Our San Diego zoo is known world-wide but it is Soo expensive to get in. I can see the two leopards and as a lover of any cats -- and dogs, I wish I could get close to them.

  2. I love that photo of the leopards - though I'm always slightly wary of zoos. I'm never really convinced that they have the best conditions. I realise that many people would never see any kind of wildlife if it wasn't in captivity, but I think it's a shame we have to keep them that way.
    The wolf looks happy though.