Originally from Essex, Rosemary Green has been a member of All Saints’ congregation for many years and is a pastoral assistant and worship leader. She and her husband Jim are farmers up in the hills near Newton Stewart.
Less that two hours after I wrote to last week about the ermine I saw it again in the front garden leaping, dancing about in front of the bird table doing its dance to mesmerise birds. Sadly for all its efforts the birds were alarmed rather than fascinated and kept well clear. We haven’t seen it since and haven’t smelled stoat on Felix so hope it is safe. I thought the news would cheer Jim up after he got back from Stranraer seeing Mr Nair, but first he was too depressed by what he had been told and then he trumped my stoat with a pine marten in winter pelage that he had seen along the road. It was so large and solid looking with all the extra fur that he thought he was seeing a wolverine for a second, then sanity reasserted itself and he knew what it was. We have only seen them in summer coats before when they look quite slender and delicate.
We just don’t know whether we can believe any of the doctors now as they all say something different and some say opposing things on different occasions. This time Mr Nair said Jim would be better going back to a bag catheter as he would have fewer infections, although he had said he would get fewer with the suprapubic one last time. He also told Jim that he would not be able to have any surgery for two years and would have to continue with the catheter all that time, whereas the last man we saw in Edinburgh made it sound as if surgery was so imminent that I was worried about being out of action now. Poor Jim has another infection and is passing a lot of blood but I failed entirely to impress the urgency on the Health Centre yesterday and Jim has gone down there now in the hope of getting someone to take notice of him. He feels so bad that he wonders if he will be able to make the trip to Edinburgh on Monday. If he gets there he is going to insist on getting some answers and to know what is going to happen. If we don’t get anywhere we are going to find a private consultant who can give us a second opinion, not before time I think. I was glad for Mick Askew that he was well enough to be in church last Sunday and I do hope things continue to go well for him.
We have a new pheasant on the block, a real glamour boy. He has the biggest white collar we have ever seen and really long feathers on his back which are all pale gold. The top of his head is silver and when the light catches him right his sides gleam pale blue. He has managed to avoid getting his lovely long tail shortened or bent like the others and struts about as if he owns the bird table and the garden.
Our little flock of sparrows are all chirping loudly and they are much in evidence in the front garden. We have a great bush of ivy that Bertie, planted years ago as part of the massive water feature he made in the garden. Jim cuts it regularly so it is really dense. The sparrows have made quite big holes in it and dive in and out. Unluckily for them so does Felix. The ivy is one of his lurking places and sometime his black and white face emerges from the leaves. The sparrows sometimes dive in with straw in their beaks but we tell them that nesting is not a good idea. At Little Claydons while I was growing up we had quite a tribe of farm cats who used to catch lots of sparrows, but they made serious inroads into the population. Once Dad got so sick of the sparrows eating and messing on the carts of beet pulp and concentrates prepared and left overnight for early morning cattle feeding, that he had me make covers of sacking for the carts. The next day the covers were all full of sixpence sized holes, regularly spaced, where the sparrows had put their beaks through the mesh and wiggled them round so they could get the food.