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Friday, May 1, 2009

DOIDGE CITY: Professor Norman Doidge looks in Payton L. Inkletter’s head, and notes what brain is there is putty in his hands; also finds jelly beans!

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:

In other news…

01st May 2009:

Friday: The alarm clock decided to go off early, and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I stayed up from half ten, and began a partial kitchen clean up, after some breakfast. I felt bad when poor Missus InkleextremelywhoopygutsespeciallyonByetta saw the kitchen scraps I was putting in the Bessemer pot to take outside for the worms, and ended up vomiting all her stomach contents up from last night into the laundry basin. The poor thing, and she had been so good lately, while feeling nauseous often enough, she had not vomited for some weeks.

Something amazing for this student of nature: we live in a built up suburb of Perth; I looked out the back door window during my kitchen clean up, and I spotted a bird on the lawn but 15 feet away. Our immediate back yard has a small lawn surrounded by the house walls and bamboo hedges, so it’s very close and sheltered. On closer inspection, the bird was a hawk, maybe 8 or 9 inches high if it stood erect, and it was standing upon a patch of feathers, eating a carcass. It was a dove being consumed, and blow me down if I didn’t come back over half an hour to see it still there, tearing bits from it and eating. I don’t know how long it might have been eating it before I noticed, but I saw it fly off, and didn’t notice it taking anything with it. But when I went out and inspected the feathered meal site ten minutes later, all I could find was an intestine, like a strand of spaghetti, and a million feathers. So I am confused: could it have eaten the head and bones? Surely not! If it did, I am mightily impressed, firstly on the waste not want not principle (a hawk can gladly consume me if they all have the habit of eating everything but for my feathers), and secondly on the ability to consume the bones. But surely not! It was such a small hawk. I took photos through the smudgy window, but I’ll identify it from them when I can make the time with Google [Just did! It is almost certainly a Collared Sparrowhawk.] My theories abound: maybe it did take off with the carcass (I don’t think it did from what I saw, but just maybe…); in the ten following minutes could a cat have taken the carcass?; did the hawk come upon the soft parts of a dove amid its feathers which had mysteriously already been relieved of its bones and head?: no, that’s too crazy! Anyway, I have never seen anything like it so close up, and in such a confined and crowded area where surely the hawk knew a cat could sneak up unawares, in the middle of the suburbs?

I got off to Bob’s earlier than usual, and for some reason I was convinced it was his Perth outing day, but in fact he remembered correctly that it was the third and final swim day of the cycle. However, given the possibility of Swine Flu arriving in Perth, I decided to take him into the city today, lest mingling with crowds be risky in the weeks ahead. So we enjoyed the balmy paradisiacal afternoon in the city, which was fairly busy with people. Now just as every time almost, City Bakery and Lunch Bar could not give a smile, but took our money. I tried to win some movement from the face of the same woman who serves us most times, maybe forty years of age or more, and I may as well have been in a funeral parlour. I wish I could have had a candid camera follow me in, and it could be used as training video for how to lose customers and repel people; some times the mistakes made by businesses are so huge they are almost unbelievable. Bob ate his vittles in the Supreme Court Gardens, and it may as well have been Edentia, it was so lovely there, the magic was in the air, underfoot, in the canopies, in the lovers lolling about. We got back about half six, and it was a treasurable afternoon.

I arrived home a tad after seven, and the chalky crocodile did the generous thing and let me collapse into the Player recliner, while she delivered vittles to Pa pree. I ate my vittles watching My Beloved and Stateline, and Janny was back well and truly to watch The Collectors with me: Ron Blum’s 3D-photos were a treat, and so were the Radio Cars – big boys who haven’t grown up!

I was so tired that Janny tucked me into bed for an hour and a half’s shuteye, and she woke me so I could perk up for Leigh SalesLateline, which always does me good, no matter what she features. And perk up I did, when Leigh’s smiling face appeared, and one of two highlights tonight for me was her interview with psychiatrist Dr Norman Doidge about the exciting discoveries regarding the neuroplasticity of the brain, as covered in his book ‘The Brain that Changes Itself’. Here was another one of those interviews where her interlocutor, because he or she is on issue, is given an excellent flow, uninterrupted. Leigh judges this very well, only breaking in when really necessary; Dr Doidge would be hard pressed to win a better interview to explain what he’s about. The other highlight was Leigh’s weekly wrap up of things economic with Stephen Long, and it was, as always, a pleasure, and Stephen did not disappoint, finishing with his inimitable smile.

I put the chalcedony chameleon to bed, did a bit of writing, answering a question in the Visitors’ Book of Gladys Hobson’s, then returned for Dave Letterman, on his second night, improving, with laryngitis. His finishing act, ‘Hair: the Musical’ was superb for the voices of the cast; some of those women’s voices were as good as you’ll find anywhere.

I had to battle with some health issues before going for a late walk on this cool night, with a half moon waxing. On my return I kept bringing this diary up to date. During this writing, after four this morning I got a black or blue screen of death ‘hardware malfunction’, or some such, which I not infrequently (fortnightly) discover when I visit the poota to check it or write or whatever, but this catastrophic failure happened while writing, necessitating, after the reboot, the usual rigmarole of saving recovered and repaired Word documents. I wisely long ago learnt to set Word to background save every one minute, so theoretically that’s the maximum worth of writing I will lose. I did lose a sentence as it turned out. And in the process of making sure I was saving the latest updated diary document, I learnt that my diary is now over 259 thousand words, and that’s only since 2007.

By the time I had got up to date with all these last several days, it was half seven and the sun had been up for maybe an hour. Then I braved the attempt to post at least one day’s worth… No I didn’t actually; I intended to, but the voracious vixen got up and ordered me into the cot – after I begged permission not to do the outstanding kitchen clean up, which would have taken me another hour (permission granted), instead attending briefly to some worm-destined kitchen scraps outside – so I next set about cleaning my teeth and gums (so as not to be zapped by the tooth fairy, who reports to Sidrah), and eventually joined the commode dragon sometime after eight this morning, falling eventually into the release of sleep.



Anonymous said...

Not had time to read all the news but sorry that you both are suffering. However, i am familiar with doves and hawks within our own area. A peregrine (we think) swooped down, grabbed a pigeon and rested on the window sill just as my hubby opened the door - both birds flew off. Pigeon lived to be grabbed another day. We have found pigeons on the lawn in the exact condition as yours. A magnificent fan-tailed dove however was found on a neighbours lawn just minus its head. Was the attacker scared off before it filled its tummy? Do the birds tear bits off, feed family near by and quickly return for more? Owls hunt around here too.
Don't leave your missus outside too long!

Payton L. Inkletter said...

Gladys: This is fascinating, the habits and abilities of the birds of prey. The collared sparrowhawk I am speaking of is a featherweight though, the female being 8 ounces, the male 4 ounces. It must have been a female we observed eating the dove out our back door, but I find it hard to believe that such a diminutive bird could devour the bones and skull. It must have weighed 12 ounces when it took off.

Give me day or three and I'll try to post a link here to one of the photos I took of it.

Now as for leaving Missus Inkles outside, what a mischievous idea!

Payton L. Inkletter said...

To all it might interest: I have joined two photos together at the link below of the collared sparrowhawk's visit to our Perth backyard that occurred last Friday morning. Bear in mind that I took the one on the left through our back sliding glass door, and the glass was last cleaned sometime in the 1900s (it's my job)…

A female Collared Sparrowhawk dining on a dove, and the leftovers, in our backyard.

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