Sunday 21 July 2024

Friday

 

Friday


Friday was graduation day for my third grandson, Louis. He has worked extremely hard for three years to achieve his Physics degree. I don’t know what the future will hold for him, but it has been a privilege to watch him and his older siblings growing up.

It will be several years before my three youngest grandsons have to decide whether they will go to university and what they will study. Who knows what options will be available to them?

Friday also marked the end of term and the end of the academic year in Berkshire. My fourth grandson, Frankie, has finished primary school and must now move on from being a big fish in a little pond to becoming a tiny fish in a markedly larger lake. His cousin, Isla, my eldest great-granddaughter, breaks up on Monday in Dorset, and, like him, will move to a much bigger school in September.

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles watch with hope and interest as all these young people move forward to the next phase of their lives.

Saturday 20 July 2024

Flower Festival

 

Flower Festival

The biennial village carnival was last week. The charity chosen to be supported was the RNLI and the theme was ‘Surfing the Seven Seas.’

The week-long activities began with a procession to the local recreation ground and finished with a flower festival in one of the local churches. Various schools, clubs, societies and organisations found innovative ways of interpreting the theme. We went on Monday afternoon, expecting it to be quiet, but it was surprisingly busy.

I have posted a selection of arrangements. The first one shows a surfboard amid rolling ‘waves’ of flowers, as we are encouraged to see. 

I liked the miniature surfer and the flip-flops but the detail that amused me most was the message in a bottle!

The notes for the displays were informative and in some cases imperative in understanding the interpretation.

Explorers were featured. 

 







There were twenty-six displays in all, and all the pillars and  pew ends had been decorated, too. Such a lot of hard work goes into these arrangements. I hope the RNLI received lots of donations.

Friday 19 July 2024

Royal Golden Guernsey Goats

 

                  Royal Golden Guernsey Goats 

   Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

On 16th July King Charles granted the Golden Guernsey Goats the ‘Royal’ title. The King and Queen were visiting the Channel Islands, which are Crown Dependencies, like the Isle of Man. Although they are not part of the United Kingdom, ‘the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.’ The Channel Islands are among the Crown’s oldest possessions, dating from before the Battle or Hastings in 1066, when they were part of the Duchy of Normandy.

I’m sure the royal visit featured in the broadcast media, but we have been avoiding all news programmes for fear of endless analysis of the failed English bid to secure the UEFA European Cup.

The Royal Golden Guernsey Goat is an exceedingly rare breed of dairy goat, with fewer than 1400 in the world. They are thought to have descended from golden or red coloured goats brought to Guernsey by merchants from the Mediterranean. Their coats range in colour from light blonde to dark bronze and may be long or short or any mixture between. They are known as scrub goats, because they can survive on less productive land and are often used to clear brambles and other unwanted plants.

They have been present in Guernsey for about two hundred years and were nearly lost during the German occupation in the Second World War when most livestock was slaughtered. Miss Miriam Milbourne, who had been breeding them from the 1930s to save them from extinction, managed to hide her small herd from the Germans, risking execution if she had been exposed.

They are docile and affectionate and smaller than other dairy goats. They yield less milk, around four or five pints, but what they give is higher in butter fat and protein, making it ideal for cheese and yoghourt production.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons   

Thursday 18 July 2024

Best crop

 

Best crop

The promise!

Apricots are my husband’s favourite fruit and years ago, our eldest daughter gave us an apricot tree. Every spring, beautiful blossom appeared and set. Every summer, immature fruits dropped to the ground and the harvest of ripe apricots was between two and three.

Looking promising . . .

This year, when just about every other fruit has failed, apart from raspberries, the apricots have excelled themselves. There were a few early droppers, but we were delighted to be able to pick these.

A very wet spring and early summer and little sun or warmth seem to have suited our apricot tree. It’s not a huge harvest, but it’s so much better than it ever has been.

There were more, but they have been consumed!

Wednesday 17 July 2024

 Blowhard


                                            Full of hot air

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

By chance, I happened on a very expressive word the other day – bloviate. The dictionary informs me that it is an informal American verb, meaning 'to talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way’.

A person who bloviates could be described as a blowhard, a boastful, pompous person who professes vast knowledge and experience, but is soon found to be full of noise and wind. The word comes from the nickname for a sailor in the late 18th century and probably referred to his occupation as a person often subjected to stormy weather. Its further or additional meaning as a braggart came about in 1840.

A blowhard may be a woman, but the term is more usually applied to a man. Politicians are often described thus, sometimes unjustly.

Blowhards are exceedingly difficult people with whom to converse because they know everything and will never admit that they have made a mistake as they cannot believe they would ever be wrong. They are insensitive and talk over others, and most people soon abandon any attempts at a meaningful dialogue. 

It is doubly difficult, because the blowhard never listens to any voice other than his own, which is usually very loud. It has to be loud because he claims that he likes to perform poetry in pubs or on the tops of mountains, among other things.

 Strangely, although he shouts most of the time, he cannot project his voice. If asked to read a passage in a quiet location, like a library, a museum or a hall, his voice fades away and is barely audible.

 You may have a friend who is a wine connoisseur. The blowhard enthusiastically knows everything your friend knows, and more. Not only is he incapable of listening, but his information is also frequently inaccurate and oft repeated. 

He knows as much history as the most scholarly historian, has journeyed as widely as the best travel-writer, is an intuitive scientist, a would-be explorer, an expert antiquarian and a wonderful architect. He is an expert on all sports on land, in the air or on the sea (and under it). Nothing he hears surprises him because he’s heard it all before. In fact, he was probably born knowing everything.

He has his own way of pronouncing words, which makes them incomprehensible to any listener. So convincing is his mispronunciation, that people begin to think he has used words with which they are unfamiliar and scurry off to try to find out more about them. Perhaps because of this, his writing and spelling are confusing, and his grammar is poor.

The blowhard does little to help at home or in the workplace, but roundly criticises those who do the work for not doing it the way he would have done it, had he found the energy to stand up and get on with it. He is lazy, content to watch and disparage others. 

He likes the ‘good things’ in life and pursues them, even though he cannot afford them, but it is important to him that he is seen to be keeping up with his ‘friends’. He likes to appear at all the major sporting and cultural events of the year. To this end, his ‘social calendar’ is full, though he is never likely to gain admittance to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot or be awarded a VVIP lapel badge. In fact, he would be fortunate to have even a VIP badge. 

The blowhard claims anyone he has ever met to be a friend, or even ‘a great friend.’ Whether people are pleased to be honoured with such friendship is questionable. When someone’s name comes up in conversation, he will say, ‘Oh, yes, I know him/her very well.’ Later, you discover that he has met this person once or twice and did not make a good impression on them.

In short, the blowhard is a tiresome individual, but happy, because he knows he is always right and that his way of doing things, if he ever does them, is the correct and only way. Of course, he talks himself into trouble and works hard to talk himself out again, using all sorts of excuses to extricate himself.

It is never his fault, and he never apologises, for, after all, why should he?

Do you know any blowhards? I’ve met several, even worked with some, and seen many more.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Breeding for temperament

 

Breeding for temperament

                        Jellicoe , Isambard and Herschel as kittens

Those who choose to share their lives with dogs are aware of the importance of breeding for temperament. Selective breeding enhances or encourages certain characteristics, for shepherding, for retrieving, for detection and so on. It is well-established in the dog world and effective and safe if conducted thoughtfully.

I wondered if there were any such programmes for the breeding of pedigree cats. I don’t know of any, but I do know that responsible breeders pay great attention to potential inherited health issues and choose their proposed litters’ parents with great care.

Why are some cats aloof and dislike being stroked, emphasising this by washing obsessively if they are touched? Other cats actively seek out human companionship and welcome new people with loud cries of pleasure.

The simple answer is that kittens become habituated at an early age. If they are treated gently as well as being exposed to the busyness of a home, they will generally be happier and calmer with strangers and their own people.

However, as with all simple answers, it’s not so straightforward. Two cats live in a house near us, a brother and sister. They have the freedom to go outside. The boy sits outside his house and allows all the children going to school to stroke him and talk to him. He even follows the children for a short while before returning to his post. He never strays far from home. His sister prefers to find a quiet spot in a neighbour’s garden and is rarely seen by people outside her family. They have been together all their lives and have had identical experiences and upbringing.

My middle daughter has three house cats. The two Somalis (semi-long-haired Abyssinians) are litter brothers and have never been separated. Lenny loves all people and loudly demands attention from anyone who enters the house. His brother, Solomon, does not seek out the company of anyone other than my daughter. He is happy to observe life and have an occasional petting. Her third cat, Zula, is an enchanting little Abyssinian who has eyes only for Susannah.

 Herschel and Jellicoe are also litter brothers. Their third brother died young and until he left, we didn’t realise he was the dominant cat. Isambard was a quiet, very affectionate cat and always wanted to be with a human – child or adult, he didn’t mind. Jellicoe was happy to sit on a lap now and then, but Herschel was a very private character, keeping himself to himself, tolerating rather than seeking attention. After Isambard’s passing, Herschel really came out of his shell and his character developed. There was never any nastiness between the brothers, but clearly Herschel was over- shadowed. Now he is rarely far from one or other of us. Both he and Jellicoe are very chatty cats, but Jellicoe, who is at least a third smaller than his brother, is the dominant boy.

                                    Isambard, Jellicoe and Herschel

We used to breed Burmese cats, in a small way. Our two queens, mother and daughter, trusted us and allowed us to handle their kittens from birth. The kittens were cuddled and kissed and loved by our children and their friends.

                    Granddaughter Marnie with blue Burmese Pansy

Consequently, they were extremely confident, happy and bomb-proof. Even so, some were more outgoing than others, so nature rather than nurture seemed to be the dominant factor.

Monday 15 July 2024

Otter boards

 

Otter boards

Otter board or leeboard on sailing boat

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

One of the live webcam sites we enjoy watching features the Kiel Canal. It is 61 miles long and links the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Using it shortens travelling distance by 290 miles, saving time and storm-prone seas.

Construction of the canal started in 1887 and more than 9,000 workers had been employed by its completion. Kaiser Wilhelm II opened the canal on 20th June, 1895, as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal. The name was changed to the current one in 1948.

An average of ninety vessels traverse it daily, carrying freight or oil or passengers. Large container ships and small yachts alike appreciate its convenience.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

We don’t watch it avidly by the hour, but have it in the background, as an interesting insight into another way of life. Today, Barry spotted a Dutch barge and pointed out the otter board and its use.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

More commonly known as leeboards, otter boards are used mostly by sailing boats instead of a fixed keel. They allow boats with a shallow draft to navigate shallower waters than would otherwise be possible and do not take up the space inboard that a retractable centreboard does.


Sailing barge with otter board on the Thames at Oxford

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

They were used from the 8th century in Chinese warships. They ‘held the ships, so that even when wind and wave arise in fury, they are neither driven sideways, nor overturn.’ By the later 16th century, they were being used in Dutch barges and Thames barges, enabling them to move closer inshore, making the loading and unloading of cargo much easier.


Diagram showing trawl net with otter boards, also known as doors

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

There is another meaning for otter boards. Sometimes known as doors, they are used in fishing boats to keep the net open horizontally as it is trawled through the sea.

Sunday 14 July 2024

How’s your palate?

 

How’s your palate? 

This started as a random and cursory examination of the development of the palate. My not entirely serious inclination was that, far from the palate maturing from childhood into adulthood, the reverse was true. How else could disgusting food become not only tolerable but sought after?

As a child, I hated cabbage and Brussels sprouts among a myriad other foodstuffs. I wouldn’t say I was particularly picky, but I was polite – or cowardly - and would always answer, ‘It’s quite nice’ when pressed for my opinion of some delicacy or other, when what I actually meant was, ‘No, it’s horrible.’

 I disliked sherry in my twenties, and cheese and wine parties held no attraction. 

I began to like them as I grew older and now appreciate many of the things I did not care for when younger. Almost without exception, stronger flavours became more acceptable. Was my palate maturing?

Then I started to question why that should be. Taste develops early. A nine-week-old foetus has already acquired mouth and tongue and its first taste buds. The growing baby is exposed to what its mother consumes through the amniotic fluid and is born with an established sense of taste. Its preference, however, is for the sweetness of its mother’s milk.

People are born with around 9,000 taste buds which mainly cover the tongue, though there are some in the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat. The taste buds transmit messages to the brain. Different areas of the tongue are sensitive to five differing kinds of taste – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Umami is often characterised as ‘savouriness’ which could be called ‘meaty’, or ‘complex’ or simply ‘delicious.’

An adult has 2,000 to 4,000 taste buds, each of which can regenerate every seven to fourteen days. That sounds most encouraging, but the ability to regenerate diminishes after the age of forty for women, and fifty for men. Existing taste buds start to atrophy and become less sensitive to salty and sweet foods. At the same time, the sense of smell, which is strongest between thirty and sixty, can become less acute, leading to a further sense that food doesn’t taste the way it used to.

It is therefore not surprising that many older people have little or no appetite, for if everything tastes like cardboard, there is no pleasure in eating.

However, this dismal picture does not seem to withstand scrutiny. Chefs, chocolatiers, cheesemakers, tea-tasters, oenophiles are often quite mature and rely on their years of experience to inform their opinions and decisions.

I must go and test my taste buds and see if they’re still working. 😇

Saturday 13 July 2024

Smile, please!

 

Smile, please!


Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

‘Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.’ Thich Nhat Hanh

I would amend that sentence slightly to say, ‘another person’s smile can be the source of your joy.’

A small child’s smile or a baby’s first gummy smile cannot fail to make others smile, too.

A smile is ‘a pleased, kind or amused facial expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.’ Smiling releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin and it’s contagious, possibly even more so than yawning.  (I bet you’re all yawning, now! 😉)

The average woman, if there is such a being, smiles sixty-two times a day but the average man smiles only about eight. I wonder who carried out the research that delivered that tantalising piece of information?

People tend to smile if they have been exposed and are accustomed to it. I remember one three-year-old child who was remarkable because she never smiled. When I met her parents, I understood why, because they didn’t smile either. Normally, when people are introduced, they smile at each other, or, at least, that is my experience.

The little girl learnt to smile!

Smiling defuses tension and indicates a willingness to engage. If the smile on the face of the tiger belies its true nature, at least, for that short time, relaxation is possible.

If smiling is good for us, then surely laughter must be even better. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh and didn’t you feel so much better for it?

The average four-year-old laughs three hundred times a day, but the average forty-year-old only laughs four times a day. Again, who discovered that statistic?  

I know people who rarely smile or laugh and seem to have no sense of humour whatsoever. Others giggle inanely at almost everything – perhaps they’re nervous.

Americans tend to smile the most, followed by Canadians. Australians are near the top of the list for the most smiling people. I imagine UK is quite low down, but not as far down as Russia, Poland and Romania.

At least, that was what I understood until I looked at the 2024 indicator of smiley countries. The first one on that index is Finland, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. Australia is tenth and USA is nowhere.

It’s all nonsense, of course, much like the weather forecasts and horoscopes. Keep looking until you find a calculation that suits you! 😊

Friday 12 July 2024

Burke and Hare

 

Burke and Hare


 William Hare and William Burke

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Human dissection was practised in Greece and Egypt until around 280 B.C., but then fell out of favour for hundreds of years until Leonardo da Vinci awakened interest in the early 16th century, with his anatomical drawings. As more people studied medicine, the demand for more cadavers increased, but relatives wanted their loved ones to be buried, rather than cut up. The answer was to use the bodies of felons not considered worthy of Christian burial.

To this end, a law was passed in 1505 giving the Incorporation of Surgeons and Barbers in Edinburgh the body of one executed criminal a year. Thirty-five years later, a similar law allowed the Companies of Barbers and Surgeons in London four executed criminals per year.

This allowance was insufficient for the growing medical schools, so in Great Britain in 1751, the Murder Act was passed. A person found guilty of murder was to be executed two days after sentencing, unless that day was a Sunday, in which case the execution would be deferred to the following Monday. It stated that the body of a murderer was not to be buried, but rather hanged in chains or else subjected to public dissection. It said, ‘in no case whatsoever the body of any murderer shall be suffered to be buried; unless after such body shall have been dissected and anatomised.’ The aim of the Act was ‘for better preventing the horrid crime of murder.’

Even so, the number of cadavers was insufficient for ongoing research. In Scotland, numbers were low, though there were more crimes than murder that carried the death sentence. In England and Wales, two hundred crimes were punishable by death but a further act, in 1823, removed mandatory death sentences from a long list of crimes and the requirement for more bodies to dissect was ever growing. Medical schools were willing to pay for fresh supplies.

Thus, some enterprising people began exhuming recently buried corpses. Cadavers were not regarded as property so grave robbers were free from the threat of prosecution for theft and were able to sell their spoils to private doctors and medical establishments. The grave robbers became known, ghoulishly, as Resurrection men.

 Graveyard watchtower, Eckford Parish Church, Roxburghshire
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Mortsafes in Logierait Kirkyard, Perth and Kinross
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Families concerned for the safekeeping of their relatives’ remains watched over their graves, erecting watch towers in graveyards, or building a mortsafe of iron over the grave. After six weeks or so, the mortsafe might be removed, as the corpse beneath was no longer of any value for dissection.

Some men went further and were seduced into what was called ‘anatomy murder.’ Fresher bodies commanded higher prices and in Edinburgh, from 1827 to 1828, two Irishmen, William Burke and William Hare, murdered sixteen people and sold their bodies to the anatomist Robert Knox for use in his lectures.

They perfected a method of suffocation which left no damage or marks on the body. They enticed poor and needy citizens to their lodgings and dispatched them quickly, selling them for £7 to £10 each, the equivalent of £953 to £1360 in 2024.

Eventually, greed overwhelmed them, and they became careless, arousing much suspicion when they killed a well-known resident called ‘Daft Jamie,’ an 18-year-old street beggar. Students at Knox’s lecture recognised the body – Jamie had a deformed foot – but Knox quickly removed it and the boy’s head. He escaped conviction for complicity in the murders by pleading ignorance, but it was clear to the general populace that he had full knowledge that the bodies he bought had been murdered by Burke and Hare. His reputation suffered and he removed to London, where he had a medical practice in Hackney.

On Christmas Eve, 1828, Burke and Hare went on trial for the murder of Jamie Wilson. Burke was found guilty and condemned to death by hanging. Hare turned King’s evidence and was released and nothing more is known of him. Burke was hanged in public in Edinburgh on  28th January. 1829 and his body was used for dissection. His skeleton is on display in the Anatomy Museum, University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh was a leader in anatomical study in Europe in the early 19th century. Apart from murderers, the only other bodies permitted for dissection were from those who had died in prison, had committed suicide or were orphans.

The Murder Act of 1751 was repealed in 1828. The 1832Anatomy Act ended the practice of supplying bodies of executed murderers for dissection and authorised the use of cadavers from the workhouses which remained unclaimed after 48 hours.

In modern times, people may indicate that they wish to donate their bodies for medical research.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Farewell!

 

Farewell!



                                    Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The troublesome tooth, which is not at all troublesome, but might be so at an unspecified time in the future, must be extracted, following the two thirds root canal process.

I have four choices following the extraction – leave it and live with the gap, have a partial denture, fit a bridge or have a dental implant. It is a molar so not particularly noticeable when I smile. If I were 30, I would probably opt for an implant, but I’m not, so I won’t. A bridge would compromise the tooth to which it would be attached. I don’t like things in my mouth that don’t belong there, like a denture, however snugly it might fit, so I choose to have a space where no space was before.

Of course, I would have a replacement of some sort if the troublesome tooth were one of the ‘shop front’ teeth. I don’t think I’m especially vain, though others might disagree, but a yawning gap would be hard to ignore and although I am literally tight-lipped, even I would find talking and smiling difficult without opening my mouth.  

 Dentistry has come a long way since the yank ‘em out days, which is good, of course. There are many choices to be made and great and growing expertise among our dental surgeons. People now do not generally have all their teeth extracted as a 21st birthday or wedding present, as was common in the early 20th century. That was considered preferable to potentially suffering a lifetime of pain from infections.

Until the 19th century, tooth extractions were performed by blacksmiths and barbers, but false teeth were made as far back as 2500 B.C. Then they were made from animal teeth, sometimes from wolves. Japan made wooden dentures in the 16th century and such plates were used up to the 20th century. The thought of wearing wood in my mouth makes me shudder. Naturally, my imagination has gone into overdrive and I’m viusalising rough bark and twigs, even leaves. Chewing would sound like the clattering of castanets or arpeggios on a xylophone.

From the 1780s, US President George Washington’s false teeth, of which he had at least four sets, were composed of human teeth, hippo and elephant ivory, gold and brass, and were held together with metal fasteners, bolts and rivets. Some of the human teeth were sourced from slaves.

Grave robbers could make a substantial living – some say the modern equivalent of £10,000 per night – by stealing teeth from corpses. These were then used to make dentures.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and is as hard as steel. It’s amazing that the human diet wears it away.

Did you know that our tooth and tongue prints are unique, just like our fingerprints? I didn’t, so I looked for more information about exclusivity. Iris and retina patterns are unique, and so is the shape and contour of ears. Earprints can be used for identification, though not as readily as fingerprints.  Footprints are individual and are often used to identify infants. How sad that process must be, whatever the circumstances.

There may be some scientific logic behind the ancient art of palmistry – the furrows and creases on our palms are distinctive, but, again, fingerprints are easier to process.

Finally, the distribution of veins in hands and fingers is exclusive to each individual. When I gaze at the contour map on the back of my hands, it’s rather pleasing to know that no-one else has hands exactly like mine. Others might look and think, ‘Thank goodness for small mercies.’

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Protection

      `    

Protection

Our woods in Berkshire are well managed by the Forestry Commission, the Woodland Trust, or by the Crown Estate. 

Wednesday mornings at Simons Wood often see many volunteers working together. In recent years, they have focused on clearing invasive rhododendrons. 

The rhododendrons grew to great heights and were beautiful in flower, but did not allow anything else to grow in their vicinity. Since they have been cleared, the nature of the woods has changed. The land is now far more open and there are more birds to be heard.

We came across this tree stump which has been enclosed by a fence. There is no notice there to explain what is happening, but we assume it is a field study research project to observe and record what grows on and around it.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

A totem pole?

 

A totem pole?


We passed this the other day on our walk through the woods. It was in the fork of a tree formed by two trunks growing from a single root and reminded me of a totem pole, albeit a very small one. Someone had spent considerable time and effort carving it.



       More detailed and extensive information can be found here. The ‘shame’ or ‘ridicule’ poles are interesting!

 

                                                 Vancouver, B.C.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons 

Monday 8 July 2024

Update on Loch Arkaig Ospreys

 

Update on Loch Arkaig Ospreys

                                            Five-week-old ospreys

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

For reasons beyond my control, I have not been watching the Loch Arkaig ospreys (hatched and reared by Louis and Dorcha) recently, but had an opportunity to catch up today.

The last time I looked, the third osplet, known as ‘bobs’ when very young, because their heads bobble and wobble about, died. It became very cold and wet and could not reach its mother for shelter. In addition, it was bullied and ragged by its older siblings, could not feed and died.

 Louis has been raising chicks since 2020, first with Alia, who failed to return in 2022, and latterly with Dorcha. Louis has always been a very good provider, bringing in several fish a day, but recently his performance has given cause for concern. There is no knowing whether he is ill or there is some other reason for his inability to feed his family. The growing six-week-old osplets need regular and larger feeds or they will fail.

Woodland Trust, which manages the nest webcam, became increasingly worried that the two healthy osplets might starve to death and so arranged for them to be relocated to Eastern Spain. It is not usual for them to intervene, but they decided it would serve no purpose to allow two strong chicks to die, so they were moved at the beginning of the month, on Monday 1st July.

Spain is trying to reintroduce ospreys and is in the second year of a five-year project near Playa Santa-Ana. There is no guarantee of success, but at least the osplets will have a better chance of survival.

It has been a poor year for ospreys, the bad weather being a key factor, with many nests facing difficulties. The hope now is that Louis and Dorcha will be able to build up their strength, ready for Dorcha to migrate later this month or early in August.

Louis, if he has recovered, will follow in late August or early September. He is thought to be about 11. Around 70% of osplets do not survive to breeding age, at three. The oldest ospreys live to between 10 to 15 years, so Louis is reaching a grand age. The oldest recorded wild osprey lived to over 30.