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Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays.

Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays is about the many and varied dogs that we find around our village. Many are abandonados, some are just plain lost, all are real characters, mostly streetwise but occasionally foolhardy.
These are some of the stories...

Waifs and Strays... and the Bloodlust continues...
23 August 2014

Seems unbelievable that another year has passed. A year in which this blog has been dormant. It seems that one year on nothing has changed... the Torneo Toro de la Vega so despised by so many thousands of people worldwide, an 'event' which under any other circumstances would be considered illegal will once again take place in Tordesillas  Mierdasillas near Valladolid. Because this bloodlust carnival has been dcelared to be of Cultural interest, it will take place legally on September 16th. The irony is that the bull selected for this years ritual torture, slaughter and mutilation is called 'Elegido'... literally 'The Chosen One.'

There are times when this country disgusts me; supposedly enlightened and civillised, events such as this just go to show how backward Spain is in so many respects.

Meanwhile in another part of Spain just outside Alicante a City Council has decided to reintroduce bullfighting (having previously voted to ban the so called spectacle), for no other reason than to give some use for the bullring which has stood empty and unused for the last two years or more. To the mayor and the city planners I would say IF THE BUILDING IS THAT MUCH OF AN EMBARRASSMENT PULL THE DAMN THING DOWN. One has to wonder how many brown envelopes changed hands whilst this about face was being considered.

I reiterate my opinion that in the 21st Century no form of animal exploitation for human entertainment is acceptable, be it any form of bullfighting, circus animals, the use of real mules and donkeys on childrens roundabouts, killer whales and dolphins held in captivity in aquariums, the whole damn scene is obscene and needs to be stopped.

Its not art, its not sport, its NOT culture, its a medieval tradition that appeals to that most base of all human instincts,the desire to inflict pain,injury and death to so called lower forms of life. SPECIESISM at its worst.

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Definitely Not Wiafs and Strays... A Black Day for Spain.
17 September 2013

Shame on you, Spain.

Despite the wishes and protests of millions of people worldwide the ritual slaughter of Vulcano the bull selected at short notice for this years Torneo Toro de la Vega took place this morning.

He died, never knowing why, at around 1120am having been chased, tormented, tortured physically and psychologically, and finally stabbed to death.

RIP Vulcano.

Picture courtesy of Pacma Madrid.

This is dedicated to Vulcano and the hundreds more like him that will die in agony in the bullrings in this unforgiving and unforgivable country.

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Definitely NOT Waifs and Strays... Mierdesillas... The Show must Go On...
13 September 2013

There is an old saying...'be careful what you wish for.''

On Friday of last week, Langosto, the bull selected for this years infamous Toro de la Vega, literally locked horns with one of his stablemates and came off second best... his horn broke; a not uncommon incident of such encounters. Along with I guess literally thousands in not millions of people worlwide, I breathed a sigh of relief...Langosto would be spared the ritual torture, having become unfit... or as the Mayor of Tordesillas, Jose Antonio Gonzales Poncelo put it, unfit for slaughter...

For months the world and his uncle have been pouring messages into the Tordesillas mayors office, the Office of Valladolid regional authority, the office of Castille-Leon Provincial authority, the office of the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and Spanish Embassies worldwide decrying this ritual psychologigical and physical torture and slaughter. All had the authority and the opportunity to cancel the event... but no...

The Show Must Go On.

A new victim, Vulcano, was allegedly, personally selected by Senor Gonzales...

I have a message for Snr Gonzales, repeated from my previous post...

Snr Gonzales... the world has pronounced its judgement upon you, the other members of the Selection Committee and your town's murderous activity.

May you all rot in hell for what you and your sponsors are doing..

Tradition or not, there is absolutely no place for this kind of extreme behaviour in the 21st Century.




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Vulcano the new victim of Toro del la Vega
13 September 2013

Vulcano, The New victim.of Tordesillas

September 8, 2013 in Toro de la Vega | Toro de la Vega  2013 Vulcano

On Friday we learned that Langosto, the bull chosen for the macabre tradition Toro de la Vega in Tordesillas  He had broken one of his horns and was not fit to slaughter.

Now we know who will be the animal to take its place.

His name is Vulcan, a colorado bull 580 kg, will be the martyr of this year in the fields of Tordesillas.

The mayor, José Antonio González Poncela (PSOE), the town elected him personally.

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Definitely NOT Waifs and Strays... Bloodlust in Tordesillas, the Toro de la Vega.
02 September 2013

Meet Langosto... a five year old Spanish bull who has been spared the outrages of the bullring...

Unfortunately he will not live to see his sixth birthday in October because he has been selected as this years victim in the infamous Toro de La Vega which is scheduled to occur in Tordesillas on September 17th. He will meet his end at around 12midday having been systematically chased, poked and jeered at by hundreds if not thousands of supporters and systematically tortured to death by the chosen ones in this annual bloodlust carnival.

At 11am he will be released from his crate into the streets of Tordesillas, amidst exploding fireworks and rockets, and chased through slippery streets across a narrow bridge and into a field just outside of town. There he will be subjected to a prolonged torture session involving men (and women) on foot and on horseback armed with spears and lances, each one 'trying' to find a kill shot that will put an end to his suffering. Only very rarely is the kill shot found immediately, indeed it seems to be the one aim of the contenders to prolong the spectacle for as long as possible, deliberately avoiding shots that will terminate the proceedings.

After God knows how many assaults from the 12" long spears attached to 8'  long lances, the bull will collapse to its knees. mortally wounded but still very much alive. As the animals blood loss weakens him even further and he becomes no longer able to pose a threat, further lance attacks are made, normally culminating in repeated stabbing to the animals back, neck, shoulders and his head until he finally dies... The whole performance from start to finish can take over an hour...

The animals tail and it's scrotum complete with testicles are cut off and awarded to the 'hero' who makes the final killing blow.

The Ayuntimiento of Tordesillas receives thousands of protests and hundreds of petitions containing even more thousands of signatures every year about this needless ritual slaughter , but elects to do nothing quoting tradition and culture. The current Mayor of Tordesillas has even stated that whilst the animal may feel pain it doesnt suffer...

This is supposed to be a civilised country. HA!  Pathetic... blood lust carnivals like this have their basis in a rite of passage into adulthood that went out with the 'Clan of the Cave Bear.'

To all those who would support these blood lust carnivals I say "for fuck's sake grow up" You do the credibility of Spain no good whatsoever. To those who would sponsor such activities as this and San Fermin and all the bullfights in Spain I say this...


It's not art, it's not culture, it's certainly not sport... it's the ritual slaughter of one of natures finest for nothing more than entertainment and to line the pockets of the chosen few and just to add insult to injury the whole fuckin' thing is televised nationally...

Last years contest was declared Null and Void because the animal was killed outside of the prescribed area... Null and void? How the fuck can it be Null and Void?... the animal still died, slowly and hideously in an ever growing pool of blood.The screaming hordes still got their moneys worth and the Sponsors got there premiums for staging the event. I'm sure the bull would appreciate knowing that he died needlessly...

A footnote to those who would post replies to this blogpost supporting this kind of activity... Don't Bother. All such posts will be deleted without comment. This is a blogpost not a bloody forum....




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NOT Waifs and Strays... My Eurolines Experience...
27 July 2013

I recently had to make a very short notice trip back to the UK, my first return since arriving in Spain in 2006. Being such short notice I had to carefully consider the costs involved. What with having to put the housepack (which currently numbers 7 dogs) in kennels for 17 days which would have cost an arm and a leg using normal privately run boarding kennel facilities (typically 1200€)... funds were very tight.

I approached my friends at animalessinsuerte and amigosdelosanimales Granada, two Spanish run rescue and rehoming organisations with whom I work closely  and they found an 'overflow' facility prepared to take the pack at a nominal cost of just under 275€ + food.

Even this relatively low cost was a burden I could have done without... Air Fares to/from Malaga to Gatwick or Southampton, linked with the associated taxi fares to Portsmouth put this mode of transport out of reach. Even using Ryanair or Easyjet brought in a combined cost approaching £500. Its that time of year... I considered going by train as an alternative using RENFE, SNCF and Eurostar but the return fare came to even more than the airfare without the ongoing connections at both ends. Little option then but to use Eurolines, the Inter- European Coach services between Granada and London. Literally door to door service, no taxis required because of ideal local coach and bus connections at both ends, altogether do-able at a bargain price of less than 250 Euros door to door return. Heres my review of the bum numbing journey...

Eurolines is a company based on loosely linked European Long haul coach companies and the system works by directing these different routes through common interchange points. From a Spanish and English standpoint these are essentially, ALSA and  Arriaga and National Express. Portugal also supplies routes and coaches through various private companies.

My journey in its entirety uses coaches sub contracted or supplied via ALSA and Nat.Ex. (It should not be forgotten that ALSA is in fact a part of the Nat Ex Group.) I made the online booking through website and the trip breaks down into a few different routes which combine at various points in Spain France and the UK. Drivers compulsory rest stops and pax ‘comfort’ breaks are built into the schedules and a 20-30 minute stop occurs every 3 to 4 hours.

My door to door itinerary worked out as follows...

Tues June 25th depart my village by local bus to Granada at 0715 arriving Granada at 0900. and then depart Granada at 1030 to Bailen north Of Jaen; Granada is an intermediate stop on a feeder service which originates in Almeria, calling at Guadix, Granada and Jaen. The first coach change occurs at Bailen when pax from this feeder service transfer to a another coach whose journey originates in Malaga and calls at Lucena and Cordoba. This coach then continues northward calling at Madrid, to the next intermediate interchange station at Suco which is halfway between Madrid and Burgos.

Suco is a nightmare... coaches arrive from all over Spain and Portugal, all with dedicated destinations throughout Europe. At Suco, staff and drivers are on hand to ensure that the interchange of pax from one coach to another goes off without a hitch, but pax being pax, 'without a hitch' is a bit of a misnomer... its chaotic. There can be as many as 14 coaches at the Interchange point and a lot of pax wandering around willy-nilly unable or afraid to ask for help. The interchange can thus take anything up to an hour to accomplish. It's not helped by conflicting infomation on the tickets supplied by the issuing companies which bears little resemblance to the actual coach numbering system.

Once the interchange has been accomplished, the coaches then set off for their next interchange point, which in my case was Paris... Now, its’ a long way from Granada to Paris and little wonder therefore that Paris isn't reached until 11am the following day.

(Note for Eurolines…  From a pax point of view, a Setra-Kassbohrer S417GT-HD is NOT the best choice of coach for this long haul leg… the-HD stands for High Density (or should that be High Discomfort?) Limited legroom especially if the pax in front decides to recline his seat… coupled with seat cushions that are well past their best, the combination makes for a very rapid onset of numb bum syndrome…)

Another note for Eurolines… One thing that the various companies do not inform the passengers about is the need to re-check-in on arrival in Paris...our coach arrived some 30 minutes late and the onward connection to London was supposed to leave at 1200.

Having established the need for this re-check-in procedure the check in desks were besieged by pax, including myself, speaking a variety of languages; the check-in staff however, typically, either cannot or will not speak any language other than French. By the time I reached the check-in desk the time was 1210 and I was informed that despite being through booked to London on the 1200 service it had departed FULL... and that all pax from Spain and Portugal were now booked on the 1500 hrs service; this despite the fact that most of these pax had onward journeys booked from London Victoria.

What followed can best be described as a Victor Meldrew moment; my protests however about having to make onward connections from London were met with a typically Gallic shrug of the shoulders and a much repeated phrase that roughly translated to ‘Tough Shit…’  In making my onward reservation I had allowed myself a 3 hour 'just in case' 'security blanket' in London... in the event I was going to need every minute of it...

Another thing that can screw things up completely is the need to undergo passport and customs checks twice in the space of 200 metres when the coaches board the Channel Tunnel trains; it is necessary to officially leave France and officially arrive in the UK at Calais... so visits to the French Immigration Service and the UK's Borders Agency are required before the coaches board the train. The coaches are also checked by French and UK Customs using dogs (so don’t even think about trying to use this method as a means of transporting dodgy substances)... The trains run every 30 minutes and it was just our luck that after clearing Customs and Immigration we had just missed one; my 3 hour security blanket had now disappeared and I was cursing everything to do with French and British bureaucracy, be it public or private...

The tunnel trip takes about 35 minutes and we entered Folkestone at around 2030. Thanks to a spirited run up to London (in our strangely enough Spanish registered coach and Spanish driver) we arrived at Victoria Coach Station at 2145, just 15 minutes before my Portsmouth connection was due to leave. One thing to bear in mind about Victoria is that arrivals and departures do not occur in the same building... it is necessary to retrieve ones hold baggage and then scurry across the street to the departures building, find out which gate ones coach is leaving from and get there 5 minutes before departure as the access doors are closed promptly to allow coaches to leave on time. I achieved all of this but was frankly knackered after the journey and totally peed off that the French and Brit bureaucracy both public and private had managed to destroy my timing ‘security blanket’ and add a great deal of totally unnecessary stress. My coach arrived in Portsmouth at 2345, exactly on schedule. Total journey time 40.5 hours price just 125 Euros door to door.  All in all, by coach It’s a bum numbing trip, full of little ‘gotchas’

The return trip...

My return to Granada was scheduled to occur on the 9th/10th of July and as with the outbound trip I had booked my seat reservations well in advance. The only big difference was that the coach from London departs at 8am and one has to check in at Victoria at 7am. The only connection from Portsmouth I could find left at 0145 and involved a 90 minute layover in Southampton.

Nat Ex’s coach station at Southampton leaves a lot to be desired… it’s a simple 3 bay station with a combined ticket office, waiting room and cafeteria;that closes at 5.30pm. It’s a draughty nasty little hole where the wind blows in straight off Southampton Water; there are no loos, no seats and no facilities whatsoever outside of office hours. By the time my London bound coach arrived at 0400 I was freezing, chilled literally to the bone and this in July; I dread to think what it must be like when the weather is seasonably cold... Not an auspicious start…

As befits an organisation that has been doing this for years the International check-in formalities at Victoria are quick and simple; one’s passport and pre-printed E-ticket are checked against the expected pre-booked pax list, and boarding cards and baggage tags are issued along with departure gate information. As with airline check-in procedures, designated windows deal with each separate coach route. The 3 check-in desks are located opposite Gate 19 in the departures building and the staff appear to be multi-lingual.

The coach (a Van Hool Altano T918) and driver designated for the London-Paris leg of the trip were the same as had handled the inbound trip… he adopted the same aggressive techniques as any London bus driver when handling the peak morning traffic chaos at Vauxhall Cross and the Elephant and Castle roundabouts, simply put… Pushy and best not to watch! Not quite sure of the age of this vehicle but of all the coaches involved in this round trip this had to be the most comfortable and best suited to the purpose… has to be said though that the on-board loo was something else… full to almost overflowing and smelly, but if you are desperate anything goes, the pre-trip medium latte at Victoria went through me like a diuretic… the loo door would not lock… and kept swinging open to the embarrassment of the users and the young lady sitting directly opposite the door…

We reached Paris on time and again went through the re-check-in procedures with Eurolines France, no hitches this time… I was at the front of the queue when the desk opened. On then to the second Eurolines coach this time for the overnight long haul leg to Suco; again it was the same coach that had handled the trip in the opposite direction and the same comments regarding leg room and tired seat cushions apply. Departure from Paris is at 1800 and the planned arrival time at Suco is 0800 the following morning 14 hours of discomfort… nuff said!

The Suco Interchange was the same organised (?) chaos as on the outbound trip with the added bonus of a very late arrival of one of the connecting coaches which coincidentally had pax on board for Granada so we had to wait for its arrival, then our coach, a sub-contracted coach owned by Autocares Munoz(again the same coach as on the outbound trip) threw up a tech snag that couldn’t be fixed in situ; the front passenger door stuck locked in the closed position.

We left Suco with the dodgy door unfixed about 90 minutes late. Again my onward connection from Granada looked a little dubious. We were due into Granada at 1830 so vthere was very little  leeway in my schedule this time because the connecting coach to my village is the last bus of the day departing at 2000hrs.

There is some recovery time built into the schedule and a degree of operating latitude in the drivers schedule so having established that there were no passengers wanting to terminate the trip in Madrid our driver decided to bypass the normally compulsory stop there and take a drivers rest break further down the route. These two actions won back for us 1 hour, so our arrival at Bailen for the final coach change was only slightly delayed. When one is watching the clock the road-speed always seems slow and it appeared to be a very leisurely run down to Granada, no pax for Jaen so no need for a stop there and we arrived in Granada at 1900hrs a full hour before my connecting coach for the run home.

One final irony… our village bus is berthed overnight and weekends in our village, it is always the same bus, and any necessary routine maintenance is carried out during the day in one of the layover periods. In five years I have never known this coach to breakdown or fail… until that night!  Our bus pulled out of it’s layover parking slot at 1950 and drove into the bay platform to start boarding passengers. He switched off the engine and did his normal pre-run inspection. This done he boarded his passengers including me… it’s just my guess but I think the engines EGR valve failed, no smooth tick-over, no positive engine acceleration, loads of dense smoke from the exhaust, cough, cought, then engine stalled and wouldn't restart. Our village bus driver is normally in charge this ALSA Setra 12 metre coach and the allocated spare coach was a 14.9 metre version, another Setra S417GT-HD, not exactly the best choice given the tight curves and corners involved in the journey from Granada to our village; the increased length of the coach can lead to possibly embarrassing situations… Our driver had a brief Victor Meldrew moment, because the ticket machine is programmed to a specific trip and a specific vehicle and so has to be manually updated if any of the parameters change. Thirty minutes late in starting away from Granada. It’s a busy run on this last bus, but unlike England where a 30 minute late running bus driver would be the subject of many complaints, comments and verbal abuse, passengers picked up en route were quite sympathetic…We arrived back in my village a few minutes late; obviously I had no food in the house so it was off to the village bar restaurant for a steak supper and a couple of beers.

Anyway… that’s my experience of Eurolines… 250 euros round trip door to door… Would I do it again? Maybe, but I would travel better prepared with some form of Numb Bum Protection! 

I collected the housepack from the kennels the following day, and apart from one of the dogs having a couple of  pressure sores from having lost some weight and his habit of prefering to sleep on hard ground, and the rest developing a bad case of the squits for a couple of days, they were non the worse of for their holiday. All are now back to their normal routine... long periods of sleep interspersed with high levels of rambunctiousness....



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Waifs and Strays... Please Read
18 September 2012

This is a very distressing post to write.

This morning I was called to a meeting with the mayoress of our village to discuss our situation.  The majority of the villagers,  whilst not actively supporting our actions in rescuing the village abandonados and taking them into our home, at least understand why we did it. For the most part they were just glad to get them off the streets.

One very near neighbour however now suffers from Alzheimers and is on medication and needs her sleep (but dont we all!) and what little support we did have seems to be fading fast.

I suspect the complaints come from her. and so,  since OH is in England at the moment so I am having to face this on my own. The meeting with the mayoress whilst friendly enough, left me in no doubt that the noise has to stop, or official action will be taken and I could lose all the dogs, those guilty and those not guilty....!

Problem is there is nowhere local that deals with abandonados other than the official perreras and they are just killing stations. I have no idea how my vet would react to a request for euthanasia. But I might be forced to take this action as a last resort.

I have to rehouse 5 at least... the ones most likely to make a noise. It breaks my heart to do so but I fully appreciate that we have an obligation to the neighbours.

The problem was exacerbated recently because we had an influx of mice and of course, being nocturnal, they set the dogs off at the worst possible time. Obviously I cant use poisons or baited traps because of the dogs,so I bought a load of humane traps and have 'liberated' a number of the mice thus caught. This problem seems to be under control.

I have to be seen to be doing something about the noise in the meantime; I have contacted all of my sources and so throw this open to my readers.

I am at my wits end here, I've alwways tried to be a good neighbour but its all going pear shaped... Any helpful responses to foxbat via the eos pm system.


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Waifs and Strays... Of Mice and Men... and Women and Dogs...and Cats
14 September 2012

Picture the scene... mid July (so getting towards the hottest part of the year), just finished dinner / tea so its about 9pm, O.H. (Summer) takes a trip to the fridge in the kitchen; not having a window it's dark so she snaps on the light and sees out of the corner of her eye a very small grey shape go scuttling across the floor and disappearing under the kitchen cupboards... liitle subdued shriek from her brings 7 dogs pounding through from the living room, all barking and creating mucho ruido and chaos (the 2 seniors are upstairsand vocally joining in from a distance).

"We have a mouse," she announces.

And so begins a couple of months of hide and seek... Mickey or Minnie is generally nocturnal but because the kitchen is normally dark, he / she doesn't actually know whether it's day or night ,so occasionally makes a daytime foray from its hiding place (wherever the hell that is)  and the first I know about its appearance is when first one dog then another visits the kitchen...

Anyway I managed to catch it about two weeks ago; one of the dogs had it cornered so I was able to drop a contained over it and trap it and release it back into the wild..

(Picture Courtesy Apodemus sylvaticus by Pethan October 9, 2005 The Netherlands and Wikipedia)

Regulars to this blog will know that I am a bit of a softy where animals are concerned; my view is that like us, they didn't ask to be brought into this world and as such deserve a fair crack at life. This applies just as much to mice as my dogs, so I won't kill them.  I released Mickey / Minnie out into the campo where we live. Now obviously this action puts it at the mercy of the birds and neighbourhood feral cats but hey they have to live too... and so Mickey / Minnie will just have to learn some survival techniques.

I thought no more about it until about a week or so ago when I found some mouse droppings around the bulk dry dog food bins in the kitchen and two of the dogs decided to take up overnight guard duties... I've said before on many occasions we are a bit pushed for storage space in this house.

I decided to try to find an access point... all of the walls in the kitchen are partition walls made from plasterboard. 90% of the wall surfaces above the worktops are tiled, but our "builder" (and I use the term very loosely...) left one area, normally out of view, unfinished. This area includes a recessed double electric wall socket, the fascia panel of which stands proud of the wall by a tiles thickness. This was, so far as I could see, the only access point our unwanted visitors might have... sure enough one small area behind the socket fascia had been scraped away and opened up a little (the give away was a small dusting of plaster on the worktop beneath the socket).

When he departed our "builder" left behind some of the unused tiles. Now I dont possess a heavy duty tile cutter so I measured up what was needed to surround the socket and took a couple of the tiles down to a marble and granite worktop supplier in the next village. Having explained what I was trying to achieve ie., blanking off the area surrounding the socket ,  she, (yes she!) cut the tiles down to size for me (Que precio?... Nada... muchas gracias...). I stopped off at our local ferretaria and bought some tile adhesive / cement / grout and set to work blocking Mickey / Minnies access 

Job done... right...?

Not a hope... later that same day mucho scrabbling and scratching noises now at floor level... Nothing if not persisitent...Now having searched all the likely easy access points, I couldn't find anything obvious and the dogs lost interest too so maybe Mickey or Minnies mate has decided to move on to pastures new. I can only think that there is an access point behind the washing machine but thanks again to our "builder" , it's almost impossible to drag it out without developing a hernia...(sidethought ...why oh why don't washing machine manufacturers put some form of retractable castors on the damn things its not exactly bloody rocket science).

Anyway, in the meantime I have been searching for humane mousetraps... like a said I dont want to kill the little buggers and a broken back or internally bleeding / haemorraging to death is not my idea of a reasonable way to go.

Checked out Amazon and came up with this...

Trixie Humane Mouse Traps

Seemed to fit the bill and had some good reviews too... and at about  £5 each worth buying... hell, if it doesnt work then it's no big deal... so I bought four, and they arrived this morning... Simple design what gets in cannot get out... I baited the traps with a few bits of the  dog kibble that had obviously been the original attractant .added a bit of processed cheese and  then set them in place.. one behind each of the two kibble bins, one under the worktop adjacent to the washing machine and one alongside it, then switched off the light to await results...

 I didn't have long to wait...Suzie the ex troglodyte podenca curious as ever, set herself up on guard duty and quite literally within 30 minutes she came through from the kitchen to let me know that something had happened... not just one but all four of the traps had been sprung, capturing four tiny little field mice and, far from being stressed out, they were all gnawing away quite happily on the treats in the traps. As with Mickey (or was it Minnie) Mk. 1,  I took them all outside to the fields in the campo and released them...

Back in the house I washed out the traps to remove any traces of them, then re-baited the traps and set them in place. That was about four hours ago... Suzie is still on guard duty, I've just checked the traps and all are empty so I guess for the moment at any rate that's it.

Summer is in the UK (again!) at the moment and when I told her of the success she did pose one very valid point... why are fieldmice coming indoors during the Summer? If it was winter then fair enough, it gets pretty damn chilly here but to find them in the house during the warm weather is strange... unless of course there has been a change in our immediate environment...

I have a theory...

Many moons ago we took on a neighbours dog called Luna (qv oher blog entries), she unfortunately died from peritonitis shortly thereafter. I still have a guilty conscience about that but I think it was going to happen anyway and neither I nor the attending vets picked up on the symptoms. This same neighbour sometime later got another dog (why God knows, poor liitle bugger lives in their garage most of the time and only rarely sees the light of day... they also got a cat... like the dog it is not spayed... Cat too lives in the garage but is able to escape and did so whilst in season... needless to say some weeks later the cat had kittens, four or five of them, I'm not sure, but they too have not been spayed... I would guess that they are now of an age wheh the females will be coming into season, and I'm pretty sure the original cat is pregnant again... It's only a matter of time therefore, before they beome 20 or more...

I strongly suspect that the reason the mice have adopted our house is because of the increase in the number of cats scavenging for food...

Like so many people out here, the neighbour just will not stop and think for a moment... indeed she finds it hilarious watching me trying to control the five leashed, snapping, snarling and baying hounds that they become when they meet the cats during our thrice daily walks...

And so there you have it... just the latest in an ongoing story of us countryfolk...

More next time!


Edited to add... Saturday 15th September....after a much disturbed and almost sleepless night found another two in the traps this morning...!

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Waifs and Strays... My Dogs are M.E.P's
17 August 2012

My Dogs

It just hit me!

My dogs sleep about 20 hours a day.

They have their food prepared for them.

Their meals are provided at no cost to them.

They visit  the Dr. once a year for their checkup, and again during the year, if any medical needs arise.

For this they pay nothing, and nothing is required of them.

They live in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than they need, but they are not required to do any upkeep.

If they make a mess, someone else cleans it up.

They has their choice of luxurious places to sleep.

They receive these accommodations absolutely free.

They is living like kings and queens, and have absolutely no expenses whatsoever.

All of their costs are picked up by others who earn a living.

They talk total rubbish which is totally meaningless to anyone other than one of the same breed.

I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick ……….


My dogs are M.E.P's !!!!

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Waifs and Strays... La Tirada de Cohetes or Bedtime in Beirut...
16 August 2012

Its getting very close to that time again... mid August, Hot days, Sultry nights and FIESTA....
The programme for the weekend's events landed with a dull thud in my letterbox on Monday and it appears as usual to kick off each day with what can best be described as 'Breakfast in Baghdad' and ends with 'Bedtime in Beirut'.....

First and last events of each of the 3 days are described as 'Tirada de Cohetes' literally a 'roll of rockets'... if last years tirada is anything to go by, the cohetes will be even bigger and noisier than the year before, all of which makes for an extremely stressful time for the house pack and all of the other dogs in the village.

Summer is in the UK at the moment attending to a very pregnant daughter who has just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes; this leaves me to cope with 9 soon to be demented, hyperventilating hounds who all hate fireworks... there is a good case for Doggy Valium but I can't keep the poor sods drugged up for three days, so I / we will just have to put up with it and if the neighbours complain about the incessant howling that will inevevitably occur, then tough sh*t it's their Fiesta after all.

Not content with fireworks, each day also features a marching band that invariably comes down our very narrow street, cymbals clashing, trumpets blasting and enough percussion to equip a regiment. Again the dogs hate it close up I guess its very painful for them but there is nowhere else I can take them to avoid the racket. Same thing goes with the evening entertainment on each of the three nights... I say evening but it actually takes the form of a dance with live bands which kicks off at 11pm and goes on 'hasta altas horas de la madruga.' with enough amplification to keep Pink Floyd in business for years...

Yesterday evening / early this morning set the scene for things to come... August 15th is a National Public Holiday and our local bar decided to hire in a live band to normally I quite like Mariachi music but it doesn't blend in well with howling, screeching, barking dogs especially at 4 am when the band was still going strong...

Victor Meldrew? Not really, I'd like nothing more than to partake in some of the social activities but trying to keep the dogs sane has to take priority and will we just have to resign myself to catching a few Zzzzzz's when we can.

So roll on Monday morning when the whole thing is over for another year...

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