The Pizza Eating Cat

Saturday morning arrives and as I open the front door I’m welcomed by mewing from the semi-feral cat that lives in the lane. I call it Balenò (Flash) as she has an orange ziz-zag on the top of her head. As the iPod shuffles and Mark Owen begins to sing Four-Minute Warning, I retrieve the piece of pork rind from last night’s dinner that I saved in the fridge. I throw it to the cat and she devours it greedily.

It’s a very vocal cat, constantly calling and constantly hungry. She lives mostly in the garden of Adam and Sarah’s, holiday home at the bottom of the lane, where guests staying feed her. But when no one is there it comes on the scrounge up here. I don’t mind giving it the odd morsel, but don’t feed it everyday, otherwise it’ll take up residence here. The cat is about three-years old and seems to be constantly pregnant, as are all the feral queens in the countryside. In 2011, she had one kitten that survived two-days before being taken by a fox. Until recently she was swollen with kittens, but there’s no sign of her offspring, so I can but assume they suffered a similar fate to the other kitten.

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After yesterday’s blustery weather, the morning is still and the cat basks in the sunshine. I drink my coffee watching her as she deftly pounces upon a lizard and swallows it almost whole. Our builder arrives with pizza and the cat becomes interested in the humans, or more truthfully in what the humans are eating. She brushes against our ankles calling out for a morsel. I drop her a piece of pizza and she’s on it with the same swiftness she used to catch the lizard. Very quickly it’s gobbled up and she meows again wanting more. After three more hunks of cheese and tomato covered focaccia, she strolls off towards the shady spot under the drying washing at the top of the steps and flops down and closes her eyes. Time for a morning snooze.

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Wee Beasties

Growing up in the UK I lived in a semi-rural location. I was lucky enough to play in fields, help out on the local farm and as a teenager earn money stacking turves destined for the new housing estates being built in the 1970’s.

The first thing I had to tell myself, when I decided that this was the house I’d like to live in, was that I have to get used to the not so pretty of creatures that inhabit the land. The wee beasties that crawl and fly and buzz and sting. Now, I’ve never really been very good with bugs, but this said I’ve always had a live and let live attitude. I’m quite happy to live in a house with a spider, just 100_6169as long as the spider doesn’t want to walk over me. With the exception of mosquitos and ants, I usually take visiting critters back outside. Who am I to say that just because it’s not easy on the eye or creepy looking it should be stamped upon.

This week I’ve been visited by some wonderful creatures. On Monday morning the iPod shuffled and Tiziano Ferro started to sing La Differenza Tra Me e Te (Stefano Maneo Remix) and I spotted an enormous spider trapped inside the washing up bowl. It was desperate to get out, but it’s legs could find no purchase on the sides of the plastic bowl. So I removed it and set it free among the rubble from the restoration, where there’s plenty of hiding places for it to lie in wait for unsuspecting flies.

Tuesday, I noticed a small wood wasp, she was building a nest inside the old window frame in the kitchen. She was a delicate little thing, and when she flies her longer back legs dangle like clip_image002stilts. A visiting friend said I should kill it and remove the little nest that is the size of a one-euro coin, but I refused. She’s doing no harm, I don’t need to open the window, and I know it’ll not get much bigger than it already is. She just needs somewhere safe to lay her eggs, and despite her vicious looking sting, I know she’s more afraid of me than I am of her.

Wednesday, because the doors and windows in the living room were open we were plagued by flies, but a quick squirt of insecticide spray soon put pain to there foray into the house. And Friday, we had our first visit of the summer from a scorpion. I was just about to sit down for my dinner when Dutch said, “What’s that on the floor?” I looked down and a magnificent black scorpion was making its way over towards the darkness created by the heel of my Ted Bakers in the corner. So I soon snapped a quick photo, the flash causing it to scurry to the relative safety of my shoes and armed with card and plastic tub, I removed the visitor and took it back outside, where it scurried off into a dark crevice beneath the house.clip_image003

This is, however, only the beginning, as summer progresses we’ll have the mantis and the grasshoppers to contend with, not to mention the dreaded mosquitos that will be on the attack. Maybe it’s time to start thinking of getting some fly screens made in readiness.