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August 9, 2004

and while i was away...

Posted by dogpossum on August 9, 2004 5:04 PM in the category

i stayed with my mother's sister and her husband in Chiseldon, a little village outside Swindon in Wiltshire. My mother's family have long been crazy animal people, and ann has been rescuing abandoned animals since... well, since forever. in our family, you don't buy animals. you rescue them. so anne has.

they have about 7 cats (most of whom are really really old and really really disgusting: i wouldn't touch them if i could), 3 dogs (including a grotty mongrel with multiple neuroses, a spoilt and badly behaved beagle and a wonderfully gentle staffordshire terrier who has only one leg. he was rescued from the welsh vallies, where they'd broken his jaw and thrown him to some pit bulls to fire them up for an illegal dog fight. he is really lovely, but was most amusing when he hurt his remaining front paw and developed balance issues), a pony, a pig, a ferret, lots of weirdo chickens (whose eggs are sold to raise money for some save-the-children charity) and stacks of ducks. there used to be a goat, but he died. that goat was nice, too. he once lived at a school, where he served some sort of educational purpose. then they decided he had no proper use, and lived in a teacher's front garden til he was rescued. but he's dead now.

here is one of my absolute favourites. colin.

colin is a vietnamese pot-bellied pig, who lived in a pub, fed on crisps and chocolate until he grew too big and was abandoned. so my family rescued him. he has been steadily dieting since he's lived with anne, and while once hideously overweight, he is now just hideous.
that sounds too harsh. colin is actually a friendly, cheerful pig, who loves company and being patted. this isn't always the case with pigs - they can be nasty and vicious.

read on for more crazy animal stories....

this is messel villa, where my aunt and uncle have lived for over 30 years. it's very beatrix potter.

colin really is a very fine pig.

particularly when he's reclining.

but, being a horsey girl from way back, my heart belongs to edward:

edward is a shetland pony. he and his twin sister once pulled a tiny pony trap (that's cart for you plebs), until she died. now, edward is not only an unusually sweet and affectionate pony (esp for a shetland), he also gets very attached. when his sister died he was so despondent, he wouldn't pull the trap any more. so he was retired. now he's getting cheerfully fat and spends his time hassling passers by on the new shire walking trail which passes right by his little field.

this is sylvester:

there's actually nothing wrong with him. well, he does get motion sickness. last time i was visiting the UK my aunt dropped me off in swindon to pick up a train ticket. i had a horrid headache, it was bitterly cold, and we were taking the cats to the vet. sylvester and his overweight brother who's name i can't remember were sharing a cage. one of them was so distressed by the whole deal he lost control of his bowels. the other, justifiably, vomited. the stench was incredible, but we couldn't open the windows because of the cold. the aunt was driving like a mad english country woman down tiny, windey country roads in her battered merc station wagon and truly, it was the journey from hell. not least of all for sylvester, who needed to be washed when he arrived at the vet.
poor sylvester.

i actually have a few little movies i made on the little dig-cam of these animals. they make me laugh: colin is snorting inquisitively, edward loses interest when i don't front up with an apple, and sylvester is typical of most cats: desperate to be my friend and sit on me. cats never seemed to find me this attractive when i wasn't allergic.

Posted by dogpossum on August 9, 2004 5:04 PM in the category