Bitch on the Blog

September 14, 2016


A swallow just caught my attention.

Once upon a time we lived in the middle of nowhere. Even our immediate neighbours, one either side (we were in the middle) were a good walking distance away. Let’s say, not in earshot.

Yes, surrounded by fields, meadows, a little stream, dried out ponds (spare a thought for the frogs), and generally all that I was accustomed to from my earliest childhood I’d spent with my grandparents. And, the FREEDOM. I was allowed to just wander anywhere. Then I met a bull. But that’s another story. I am a fast runner.

So, on the outhouse right next to our patio/terrace there was the swallows’ nest. You think bricks and mortar, the pyramids, the London Eye, a miracle? Look at a nest. That’s a miracle. An act of perseverance, ingenuity, hard relentless work and focus. Not to mention purpose.

Enter the farmer’s (on the left depending which direction you were looking from) cat. When I say cat I mean panther. Nowadays probably classified as feral. I dare say there was no “cat food”. Cats fed themselves doing it by means cats do best: Hunt.

Great. So far so good. Here is the recipe: Enter the swallows, their freshly hatched brood, my father AND the CAT into the mix. Watch this for a while as the baby swallows are being decimated. Swallows getting agitated, cat getting bold, my father getting ANGRY.

So, one morning I wake up and there is a big black panther lying under the outhouse roof. Shot. There was no blood. But that big black Tom of a cat was dead.

Not so. Apparently it was all in my imagination. I was never to breeze so much as a word to said farmer neighbour and generally condemned to silence. That’s when I decided to become a spy.

I don’t know why, twelve years old, a long time ago, I do remember the cat’s body.

The swallows? Did they come back the next year? I don’t know. By then we had moved.




  1. It’s many years since I saw a swallow or a housemartin, though I do see the occasional swift (I hear them first).
    Farm cats….. I was 12 when my father borrowed his boss’ son’s .22 rifle to have a go at the pigeons that decimated his sprouts. He also decided that he would deal with the cat that insisted on digging up my mother’s garden.
    He swore ’til his dying day that he had actually meant to remove half of the said animal’s tail…. I do wonder if he actually missed… either way we ended up with two cats on the farm each with half a tail….there was Arfer and Arfer…..
    Father was actually a very good shot, the bane of fairground rifle ranges….. his father had been a sniper in the First World War and his grandson shoots at Bisley and I used to be a fair shot.

    Comment by magpie11 — September 14, 2016 @ 11:12 | Reply

    • I haven’t seen a live swallow for some time either. The one that caught my eye yesterday was on paper (an illustration) only.

      Funny story “Arfer and Arfer – the tale of two half tails”.

      Interesting – set me thinking about the hot shots in my family. Three of my uncles (my mother’s brothers) had rifles which they used regularly (deer and the like). My father was still a child when the war ended so where he got his skills from I don’t know. Can’t even remember why we had a shooter in the house in the first place. I remember him showing me how to take aim (at a non living thing – probably an apple). Leaving aside the staggering weight of that shooter, the backlash when I fired was so strong that I fell backwards. My father, helping me up, laughed, and said he’d rarely seen me looking as surprised, nay, astonished.

      Your grandfather a “sniper”? I have huge respect for snipers. They need to be so very skilled on so many levels, have nerves of steel, keep their cool and make far reaching decisions in tight spots and on behalf of others. Considering that they are the ones who actually PREVENT unnecessary loss of lives I was a little surprised at an exchange I had with another blogger (male) who was rather disparaging about snipers. Didn’t get to the bottom of why, find it a peculiar attitude. I suppose, and it’s so obvious it doesn’t need mentioning, that any skill/profession can be put to good or bad use.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 14, 2016 @ 12:24 | Reply

  2. When Urmeela was normal, she would spread bird seed in our garden and we used to get flocks of sparrows and pigeons every day. When the neighbourhood’s cat population exploded, the birds disappeared never to reappear again.

    Comment by rummuser — September 14, 2016 @ 15:09 | Reply

    • My dear Ramana, that’s called “expediency”. People talk about bird brains. I am not so sure. Anyway, good for the birds. Though Urmeela must have been disappointed.

      The world of animals is so different to ours. The Angel, before going to work this morning, ran a programme (courtesy of David Attenborough) called “Africa”. It was funny in parts, like the lizard catching flies of semi asleep lions (take your chances), only to venture into tragedy for mother elephant and her baby. Etc, etc. etc. Nature is cruel (from a human point of view), yet, as the Angel observed, animals are pragmatic. Primal. Instinct. The elephant mother stayed with her dying infant which, in the Angel’s eyes, made her less pragmatic. Showing emotions as few animals do. Interesting take. By the time her calf had died, she’d lost the herd, her family. Can’t fault the photography. A lone elephant in the middle of nowhere. In a drought. Tear inducing stuff. And then there was the story of a bird (looking like something from the dark ages when there were still dinosaurs about). Heartless (not in an animal’s terms – in human terms). She had two chicks. The older being in good nick got all her attention, loving tender care. The younger? The younger was a dead loss – so she let it die. That’s Darwin for you. Survival of the fittest.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 14, 2016 @ 15:28 | Reply

  3. We have plenty of swallows here, but what we really need is someone to shoot the Canadian Geese. Setting varmints aside however, what I really am anxious to hear about are U’s spy adventures. What is Ur favorite gun and where do U keep it when U are sleeping?

    Comment by Looney — September 15, 2016 @ 01:32 | Reply

    • I don’t have a gun. And If I did I’d bury it in the garden. I have this irrational theory that the very weapon you keep at your side in order to defend yourself is the very weapon by which you yourself will be killed. It’s one of the reasons I never argue with anyone when in the kitchen, cutting up vegetables and the like. Vegetables don’t fight back. Some people think bad things happen only in films. Not so.

      Spying? It’s fascinating stuff. I was first introduced to it when a child, my father working as an investigative journalist. A lot of what he (un)covered was hush hush – so much so that on several occasions articles would be published without his real name given. Then, any (or this one’s) teenage girl’s dream came true. A friend of my father’s stayed with us for a while. He was the real thing. Russian spy – semi retired at the time. Amazing guy. Everything you expect from a spy, not least sky high intelligence and observational skills. As befits the job description, also a skirt chaser with oodles of charm. Not that he chased my skirt. Even spies have codes of honor. But what he did do, and for reasons I am not sure about I never told my parents about those conversations, was teach me some tricks of his trade. I have only ever applied one of them personally. It’s nothing underhand. Just a useful tool to find out whether you can trust someone. It’s a secret I’ll most likely take to my grave (though have handed it down to the Angel who appeared more amused than interested).

      Other than that? Mata Hari I ain’t. First of all, I don’t blend into the background. People I met years ago, a few seconds/minutes encounter, will remember me. Unsettles me at times. So, my dear Looney, that’s me falling at the first hurdle. the second being that I can’t bear the thought of sleeping around – a vital tool for any spy (of either gender).


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 15, 2016 @ 13:14 | Reply

      • May I just say to Looney that they are Canada Geese; not Canadian Geese.

        Comment by Cro Magnon — September 24, 2016 @ 12:37 | Reply

        • @Cro, yes, you may say that to me. I will keep in mind the distinction between Canada Geese and Canadian Geese.

          Comment by Looney — September 24, 2016 @ 20:50 | Reply

  4. My cats are iside cats so the birds that come here are safe. But when one makes a noise on the deck, tha cats ruch to the windows and immediately ponder ways to get out to the deam and protect it from interlopers of the feathered variety. So far the cats have been skunked.

    Comment by shackman — September 16, 2016 @ 15:08 | Reply

  5. One of them has gotten out a couple of times but they are content inside – rarely make an effort unless a bird is making noise on the deck – then they get excited and stare out the window. The birs taunt them- lol

    Comment by shackman — September 24, 2016 @ 13:04 | Reply

  6. then there is this…..Cheech thinking my screensver was a buffet

    Comment by shackman — September 24, 2016 @ 16:26 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: