Letters to a Sister :12

So, this week we met Mimi’s new boyfriend (well, new to us.) All very scary. Was keen to make a good impression so asked what he liked to eat. Was informed he “is a vegetarian but doesn’t like vegetables very much.” Not so easy then.
Decided on a broccoli quiche (am good at making quiche. Must be all those quiches we ate at midnight as children after putting up the tent in Cromer on Wintery August nights. Oh, happy days.) Anyway, made quiche. Forgot the broccoli but decided he wouldn’t notice. Which he wouldn’t have IF helpful husband hadn’t thought it a good conversation topic on way from station.

Helpful husband had in fact been helpful all morning. He knew I was stressed so offered to vacuum clean the kitchen (just in case new boyfriend didn’t understand about dogs and copious amounts of hair shed every summer.) He did clean, unfortunately he did not put vacuum cleaner away, so it was in middle of kitchen floor when boyfriend arrived. Not such a great first impression.

Boys also helped. They cleared all the mess/stray socks/empty beer cans/sweet wrappers from the upstairs lounge (it becomes their hovel during uni holidays. I try to avoid going up there.) Unfortunately they thought the kitchen table was the best place to dump all their debris. Not sure why.

The boys had also devised a series of nicknames for boyfriend. They found it funny to substitute the middle consonant with a different one. Some variations WERE funny. Until I made a mistake and used one of the variations without realising. Very embarrassing (they found it hilarious.)

We did try to plan for the visit. Husband was given a range of topics (mainly ex-boyfriends) that he was banned from mentioning. He managed to mention them all I think.

Boyfriend seemed very nice. Mimi glared us all from time to time but seemed to cope. Not sure if they will brave another visit.

I have finally got round to clipping the ‘ducklings’ (now young adults) wings. They are happily on the pond. Except for one, which is matt brown and beautiful, so I have kept her with the parents in the aviary because I don’t want to lose her to a fox (added freedom also involves added risk.)
Most of them are males. They usually are. I am rubbish at telling their gender when they first hatch (it is incredibly hard to see and not especially nice for the ducklings) so I tend to wait until they are young adults. Then with call ducks it’s easy because the females shout really loudly and the males quack like they have a sore throat! You can’t tell from feather pattern with call ducks – one of my males has almost identical feathers to a female mallard. When they get older and are fully feathered, the males will all have curly tail feathers. This is true of all ducks, not sure of other birds, do you know?

Chickens have started pecking each other. No idea why, they never have before. I thought it was re establishing the pecking order when this years chicks became adults, but they’re still doing it. I now let them roam around the garden during the day, am hoping that will solve it (though their cage is big.)

Kia helps me round them up at night and to put the ducks back on the pond. She has got really good at it – spends a lot of time watching me to see where I need her to stand. Can see why farmers use them to herd animals, are very responsive (not like boys. Or husbands.)

IMG_2698 IMG_2701

I took Milly and Molly to be spayed. The kittens also had their first vaccines. One of the ‘boys’ is a girl (clearly am also rubbish at sexing kittens! It is not as obvious as you might think.)

Vet told me to keep M and M quiet. Not sure how he expected me to do that. They were dismantling the cat box before we even reached home. I tried putting them in the bathroom but they spent the whole time leaping for the door handle or jumping onto the window sill. They also rearranged everything in the bathroom – not sure if they are the cat equivalent of interior designers (bad ones) or demolition men.

I gave up after a day and put them back in the garage with the kittens. After a week they can go in the garden. I’ll bring them in at night, just so they don’t forget that kittens are theirs and fight when they all move outside.

Take care,
Anne xx

P1080806PS. I have published my diary about Rio. Haven’t sent it to you because I included one of the letters I already sent. However, if you fancy reading it (now it has photos added plus some new content) the link is : https://anneethompson.com/travel/rio-de-janeiro/

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