Monday, 29 April 2013

Some Archy and Mehitabel Days

I was reading Laloofah’s super  Mehitable Days blog and realised it was ages since I wrote a proper post.  One about life as it is at present.  One that actually used the English language and some moderately responsible grammar.  (Note that last ‘sentence’ lacks a verb!) So herewith is an attempt to bring you up-to-date with life at The Willows - a sort of Archy and Mehitabel Days. 

I have calmed down enough now to write about an incident that happened recently.  On second thoughts, even thinking about it has my blood pressure rising already and I haven’t started writing yet.  Hopefully, by the end of this posting you will be equally annoyed.

One morning the maintenance manager from the Nursing Home at the back of our house came to the front door and asked if we possessed an air-rifle.  Upon our denying it (and him obviously not believing us) we got the story.  Apparently someone was shooting birds whose corpses were landing on their property and it really could only be us or our next-door neighbours, with us (having the much better view of the area) as prime candidates.  We explained that next door was a couple our age and so it couldn’t be them either. I suggested it might be youngsters taking pot shots from a car on the road but the places the bodies were landing suggested that was unlikely. 

Eventually he believed us and we walked around with him to look at the latest delightful evidence.  As we were chatting at the nursing home gateway our next door neighbour’s wife came along.  We mentioned what we were there for and she had no hesitation in admitting it was her husband who was shooting the birds.  Imagine, an 80 year old man killing birds on other people’s property for fun.  The excuse being that they trampled on their plants!  We aren't talking geese or 400lb ostriches here  -  we are talking about blackbirds and pigeons and the odd squirrel.  We have obviously been feeding them too well if they are that heavy!

The Police were called – it not being exactly legal to shoot into nursing homes – but all he got was a police warning.  wotthehell, archy, wotthehell. I am not a violent man but he did get a rather more forceful warning from me that if anything happened to Ivy he would be seeking his teeth down the back of his throat.  We seem not to be on speaking terms with our next door neighbours any more. 

On to events more designed to lower my blood pressure...

I’ve received lots of postcards this last few weeks and also some maps from Doreen.

What I need to do now is expand my study walls in some way so that I can put up the super map of America she sent me and then I can mark on it where my postcrossing and blogging friends live.  If I could push the walls out even further I could add maps of Europe and New Zealand.  Then there’s Hank – I’d need another map for him.  And so on…  Perhaps I’ll just move house it might be easier.  Who knows, if I move to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, next door might have a machine gun.

This week the weather has continued dry.  Today is the hottest day of the year – it must have reached 14°C.  Last weekend I fitted the hose reel (that GB so kindly gave me) to the outside of the kitchen wall ready to water the garden.  The front lawn was so wet earlier in the year that it was flooded for days on end and part of it turned into a mud patch.  Now it is so dry that the mud patch has cracked and crazed like the bed of a dried up lake.  There was a delay between fitting the hose reel and getting the hose on, caused by my head deciding it would prefer to be banged on the bedroom wall rather than allow me to stand up for any length of time.  But on Saturday I managed to fit the hose, despite freezing temperatures and creaky knees, and I hosed the garden down good and proper.  Sunday it rained for the first time in weeks.   wotthehell, archy, wotthehell.

Someone close to me always says there is no such thing as bad weather.  I discovered from Joy’s blog they are echoing Ruskin it seems.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ” -  John Ruskin

Over the last couple of weeks I have been creating postcards for sale – an idea given to me by Danielle the fount of many good ideas.  I upload my photos to Zazzle and they are sold through Zazzle and I get a (small) percentage) of every sale.  You can see my shop here –

Zazzle has a wide selection of pictures available for sale as postcards and greetings cards and I reckon if I upload one photo a day to my store (which takes no effort really) I should be able to rake in at least enough to buy a Christmas card in 2015….

In case you are wondering why the strange selection of photos I have simply started with one folder and am working my way through it, grabbing any picture I think may be looked for as a postcard.  I may get a bit more methodical one day!


  1. You know, when you wrote "We explained that next door was a couple our age and so it couldn’t be them either", my first thought was, "who says?" - and I was right. But what do you mean by "a couple our age"? The man is 80, isn't he? That is certainly neither your age, nor PWLT's, or your son's, or Ivy's! What a mean old man that guy must be, really.

    1. I hadn't realised until after the incident that he was that old though I realised he was older than us. His wife is about our age though she might be lucky to reach 80 with him around. I hope for her sake she doesn't trample on a flower!

      What upset me as much as anything was his arrogant, totally recalcitrant, couldn't-care-less response when the police made him come to the nursing home and pick up the dead bird. Not a shade of the sheepish attitude that I suspect a teenager would have shown.

      It was that which gave me concern for Ivy's welfare since I suspect the official warning will have been water off a duck's back. If we hadn't already let her out I would have made Ivy a house cat but it would be impossible now.

  2. That is quite outrageous behavior on your neighbor's part, and 80 years old too, so not a teenager who could claim youthful hijinks. We do love our songbirds and hope your neighbor behaves; I think he will after the warning.
    I got rather distracted by your postcard slide show; great idea.

  3. Well, what a fun surprise to see my blog's name in lights when I stopped by to visit! :-) Thank you for the very kind words and generous shout-out, and I'm glad if some of my posts have inspired you. I often feel totally inadequate as a blogger when I visit the interesting and eloquently written posts of so many of my bloggy friends, so it's really gratifying to know I'm not always the laggard I think I am. :-)

    I'd forgotten till you mentioned Archy and Mehitable again, but now I recall your asking me if I'd read the books the first time you visited my blog! I hadn't and still haven't. Unfortunately, our local benighted library doesn't have them. But it may please you to know that I've been reading some of PG Wodehouse's "Jeeves" and "Blandings Castle" books loaned to me by a friend, and enjoying them very much. Still, I have yet to come across a Mehitable in them, and so must dock them a style point. ;-)

    It will come as no surprise to you that the story of your neighbor's unconscionably dastardly, murderous deeds made my blood pressure skyrocket too! What an awful, inexcusable thing to do! (Perhaps they need to plant sturdier vegetation next door!! What a lame excuse for, as you said, killing for fun). We've often experienced our property being munched on, pooped on, and trampled on by the local wild critters, and simply recognize it for what it is - part of what comes with peacefully co-existing with our fellow earthlings in fur and feather, whose territory we have, afterall, invaded with our houses and concrete and gardens and cars. I've always felt more like the uninvited guest than I ever considered them to be!

    Maybe you could put up a big sign in your yard facing your hideous neighbor's house with this quote painted on it in big letters: "They were shooting pigeons... How hardening to the heart it must be to do this thing: to change an innocent soaring being into a bundle of struggling rags and pain. At one moment -- graceful, mysterious, desirable and free -- and the next moment there is nothing but struggling and blood and confusion." ~Iris Murdoch

    I love your idea of of marking the locations of your blog readers and friends on the big map, your Zazzle postcard collection is impressively beautiful, and that Ruskin quote is great! The weather this time of year is definitely - whimsical. :-)

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying Wodehouse.

      I love your Iris Murdoch quote. And I agree entirely with your comment "I've always felt more like the uninvited guest than I ever considered them to be!"

      It never ceases to surprise me how many bloggers consider their contributions to blogland to be inadequate or not up to the standard of others when I think they are wonderful. I guess we all need an injection of self-esteem where our writing is concerned. You certainly have the esteem of others!

  4. A very entertaining post John.
    The wild west hits Liverpool...most likely where it came from. Synchronisity!

  5. Sorry to hear about your birds.

    Do you remember the insane blackbird from last year? It's back again and upsetting Roland so perhaps we could borrow your neighbour?!

  6. Really enjoyed catching up with the latest from your patch of the world. Would be good to get me on the map all the way over here in New Zealand.

  7. Oh dear, the poor birds! I agree with you totally. I do love mankind, really I do -- it's people I can't stand!

    Your postcard selections look wonderful. xoxox Carol

    1. " I do love mankind, really I do -- it's people I can't stand! "

      I suspect people have been saying that since they first learned to express themselves. "Ugh. Tribe Good! Him, Him and Him Bad."

    2. Sorry if I came off sounding negative! But I too am a bit concerned about poor little Ivy. Take care and God bless, xoxoxox

  8. John, this one is a brilliant post! Am a bit sad about the birds :( I love them, people build feeders in their gardens to enjoy this beauty, and other people do these terrible things...
    Danielle came up with a brilliant idea! This card with a beautiful girl in the hat you've sent me - I found it's title on Zazzle, but actually missed the central idea of the site! I thought it to be just an ordinary (well, but quiet a big) shop. But it's really better :)


  9. I'd very nervous just knowing I had a neighbour prone to shoot at anything at all and it would certainly send my blood pressure right up, too. Interesting about the Zazzle thing, never heard of it before, good luck!

  10. Wow, my blood is boiling over here too.
    Woe betide if any harm comes to dear Ms. Ivy. For the life of me I can't see why an 80-year old man would take delight in shooting animals like that, especially birds?
    If it's target practice that he wants, he's more than welcome to fly here and take his frustration out on Brazen and company.
    Lovely postcards by the way.

  11. I read this earlier today and I've just not been able to think of an adequate comment particularly as all I would be able to say would be repetition of other comments anyway. And you live in a 'nice' area!


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