Blood Eagle*

“Do you think we’ll see the pool where they breed the fire salamanders?” I ask Mum.  We’re at a nature reserve where they return captive-bred animals to the wild.

Turning a corner we come across this pond:

It’s the fire salamander pond but possibly they’re at their larval stage as we don’t see any.

We do see some wild goats:

And a herd of fallow deer:

“Wonder where the Griffon vultures live?” I say to my brother.

“Out in the wild, I should think,” he says, as we walk along the steep mountain path.

And then suddenly we see him, sitting on the roof of a building – a Griffon vulture:

As we turn the corner, we see his captive friends and relations inside the enclosure.  So he’s been released and they haven’t yet joined him in the wild.

There are a pair of white-tailed eagles in the next enclosure.  In their nest there is a fluffy grey chick.  The male talks to us as we walk past him:

“Look up,” Mum says.  There, above us, are three black kites, circling.

The attached photo is a jacaranda tree.  There are lots of them around here.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*2005.  By Craig Russell.  Jan Fabel crime thriller novel.

Waking Up Dead*

“It’s six o’clock,” Mum says, sitting on the edge of my bed.

“Argh,” I say, waking up.  Have been asleep for three and a half hours this afternoon.

“You’d better have a shower,” Mum says.

“Aha,” I say, sitting up in bed.  “Had a shower at the beach.”

“OK well we’re going out at ten past seven,” Mum says.  

Running downstairs, I pick up my phone so I can scribble this.

“Get dressed first,” Mum calls up the stairs after me.  But I’m not going to.  For a start: all my dresses are in the wardrobe downstairs.

The panther lies next to me in bed.  He is a large, furry person and doesn’t help with the hot flushes.  Have the air conditioning on.

The attached photo is my beach outfit.

Have to get dressed and go out for dinner.

Happy Friday everyone!
*2013.  By Margo Bond Collins.  Callie Taylor mystery novel, book one.

Flight Of The Tarantula Hawk*

“Do you know what birds of prey there are in these parts?” I ask my cousin.  We’re sitting on the balcony.

“Well – there are Griffon vultures but not round here,” she says.

“What about hawks or…wait – that’s someone – hovering over there,” I say, noticing a raptor shape near us in the sky.  He beats his wings, fast.  He’s still.

“That’s a kestrel,” my cousin says.

Pulling his wings into his body, he plummets downwards.

“There, look, he’s found his lunch,” my cousin says.

“That was brilliant,” I say.

In other wildlife news:

1.  On the way home last night a tarantula scuttled across the drive.  She was very fluffy.

2.  There are lizards with electric green stripes on their faces who live in the street.  Saw some of them this morning.

Dad has achieved putting out the rubbish.  Mum is making supper.  Am writing this and thinking about having a shower.  Can hear someone banging away on a drum kit down the road.  The panther lies on the rug next to me, sleeping through the noise.

The above photo is my new dress by Odemai.  It doesn’t photograph that well – looks much better in real life.  The attached photo is my Adidas gym outfit which have been wearing today.

Happy Thursday everyone!
*2014.  By Michael Allan Scott.  A Lance Underphal mystery.

Crying Blue Murder*

“Are you having a shower before we go out?” Mum says.

“No: had two showers yesterday and that’s plenty,” I say, standing by the kettle.

“What’s that sound?” Mum says, looking at me.  She’s already dressed for the evening in a white dress with navy splodges.

“The kettle,” I say, as it boils.

Haven’t slept this afternoon but have to get dressed as we’re going out for dinner soon.  Am exhausted but during my afternoon sleep time end up just thinking about Seb and crying.   Now am lying on the floor writing this.  The panther is stretched out next to me, resting his head on my thigh.  He is very heavy.

The attached photo is from a winery that we went to today.

Right: had better put on a dress, clean teeth and so on.  It will be good to go out and meet some people.  Whenever am on own, just start thinking about Seb and crying.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*2002.  By Paul Johnston.  Book 1 in the Alex Mavros detective novel series.

Evil Under The Sun*

“The locals think it’s too cold to swim,” my brother says.

“But it’s warm,” I say: swimming.

We’re in the sea.  Can’t remember the last time I swam in the sea.  It stretches towards the horizon.  The sun beats down on us – it’s thirty three degrees at the moment.  

Mum and the panther are on the beach.  The panther doesn’t swim if he can help it.

“I reckon that’s Dad,” my brother says – looking towards the shore where someone is paddling towards us.  We wave to him in the hope that he’ll spot us.

“This is great,” I say to my brother – and suddenly I feel content to be with my family in the sea.  Seb doesn’t love me anymore, I think, and this pierces my heart.  Pushing the thought away, I swim towards the horizon.

The attached photo is this morning’s outfit.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*1941.  By Agatha Christie.  Hercule Poirot detective novel.  One of my favourites…

Fire And Shadow*

Good things about being on holiday:

1.  Exciting fauna: the hummingbird we saw the other day; jackals; porcupines; wild boar; geckos.

2.  Exotic flora: such as this poinsettia tree –

There are some fantastic bougainvillea in the street too.

3.  Being with my family – particularly with my brother of course.

4.  The sea view.  Am looking at it now.  Must remember it when am home.

5.  The hot weather.  Can wear my summer dresses and shorts.  See attached photo.

6.  The archaeology.  Went to the Crusader citadel in Acre yesterday which was fascinating.  Later in the week we hope to do an archaeology and wine-tasting tour.

7.  Is good to see Mum relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.

8.  The food is excellent.

9.  Am far away from all the doctors and hospitals for another week.

10.  Yesterday we went on a little boat and that was fun.  The sea is a wonderful turquoise.

11.  The panther is enjoying the weather and chasing the many local dogs.

12.  Saw two Shiba Inu yesterday.

13.  Brother has an orange-squeezing machine so we have been making orange juice.

14.  Have been doing a lot of walking.

Happy Monday everyone!
*1996.  By David Hillier.  Detective novel set during the Third Crusade in 1191.

Dead By Sunset*

The sun sets over the sea.  Am sitting on the balcony, watching it.  The panther stretches himself along the sun lounger next to me.  Stroking his head, I listen to the barking of nearby dogs.  Magpies caw.  

Downstairs, there are sounds of supper preparation: plates crash and can hear Dad sniffing.  He’s acquired an allergy to something.

“Why don’t we get you some allergy medication,” my brother says earlier in the day.

“No: I don’t want to take it,” Dad says, sneezing.  “I’ve read that it causes Alzheimer’s.”

Look at this magpie who just landed near me:

Seb is always in my thoughts but I must try to forget him.  The important thing is to enjoy my holiday with my family.

Am going to help Mum prepare supper.

The attached photo is my new turquoise dress which I wore yesterday.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*1995.  By Ann Rule.  True crime non-fiction book.

Death Of A Garden Pest*

“So, we’re going to descend seven hundred steps,” our guide says.  “If there is anyone who thinks that they can’t manage that…”

We’re on a tour of the wonderful Baha’i Gardens (see attached photo).  It’s so beautiful.  

It’s also very hot here at midday.  Am enjoying the gorgeous plants, such as this strelitzia:

Then, suddenly, I’m gripped by severe chest pains.  

“Mum,” I say.  “I’ve got terrible pains in my chest and…”

“What sort of pains?” Mum says, putting her arm around me.

“I don’t know,” I say.  “It’s just awful.”  Gritting my teeth, I keep walking.

Eventually, we make it to the restaurant.  Sitting down, sipping water, my discomfort disappears.

“Maybe it was caused by the change in altitude,” I say to my brother.  “We’ve just walked from the top of the mountain to the bottom and…”

“Or something to do with your surgery,” my brother says.  “The weight of your lungs pressing on your chest.”

Anyway: have survived but that was frightening.    On the plus side: saw a hummingbird drinking out of a flower.  He was tiny and wasn’t able to get a photo but was great to see him.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*1996.  By Ann Ripley.  Gardening murder mystery novel.

A Meditation On Murder*

“I have to pull myself together somehow,” I say to Mum as we sit on the patio, looking out towards the sea.  “My brother lives in actual paradise and want to have a nice time with him but unfortunately have brought the inside of my head with me and…”

“We are having a nice time,” Mum says, putting her arm round me.  Swifts screech overhead.

The panther stretches out next to me, resting his huge head on my lap.  “You’re too fat for those shorts,” he says.

“It’s a shame you didn’t hear the jackals last night,” Mum says, taking a sip of her coffee.  “They were very loud and…”

“Was asleep,” I say, stretching my legs out.  It’s already hot here – 28 degrees centigrade – at ten o’clock in the morning.  So will be wearing my little shorts whatever the panther thinks about it.

Am determined to enjoy this holiday, and to appreciate it.  A good writer looks outside herself to observe the world around her.  So am going to do that.

“You can’t see around you,” the panther says.  “You’re too fat.”

The attached photo is our view from the mountain to the sea.

Happy Friday everyone!
*2015.  By Robert Thorogood.  Book 1 in the “Death in Paradise” series.

Death In The Clouds*

“You need a plastic bag that seals,” the security girl says, looking cross.

“Um, can I tie a knot in it,” I say.

“This is ridiculous,” Mum says.  “Can’t you see that it’s a clear plastic bag so…”

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to go to the back of the queue,” the girl says, shaking her head.  She has caramel streaks in her dark brown hair.

Am weak and exhausted.  Just stand there whilst Mum purchases the sealable plastic bags.

“Thought we were all organised, for once, with our sandwich bags,” Mum says, once we’re through security – twenty minutes later.  “If they want you to use special bags they ought to hand them out to you.  It’s a disgrace.”

Anyway: we’ve found some breakfast and coffee and soon there will be a plane!  Enjoy the actual flying bit of flying – it’s all the messing about at the airport that can’t stand.

Attached photo is today’s outfit.  

Happy Thursday everyone!
*1935.  By Agatha Christie.  Hercule Poirot detective novel.