24th July - Run over
Yes, today I was run over whilst out on a training run ! A van was coming towards me & also one coming up behind. travelling too fast to stop, the van coming at me swerved to miss the rather harder target of the other van, choosing instead to hit me.
I have badly hurt my leg & my arm & the side of my body is badly scratched where I was pushed into the thorny hedge. I must have been dazed as I continued to run, but only when I stopped when I got home did I start to feel the pain from the injuries.
22nd July - More Hay !
I have now collected over 900 bales off the fields ! - A very special thank you to Ewan who let his Dad, James, come over one evening & help me with the last 200 of these 900 bales.
17th July - Hay Update
I have collected about 500 bales in so far and am just waiting for a call from another farmer who has a further 500 odd for me to collect ! It is tough work, but worth the financial savings.
The animals are still enjoying the Summer & everyone is well. Amelie the pig who escaped from an abattoir has now fully integrated with Jayne, Claudia & Matilda which is excellent news. Amelie absolutely loves her mud bath & really enjoys her daily shower when I fill up their water trough.
I am about half way through taking all the necessary photos for the horses passports - 4 shots of each one !! and am looking forward to getting all the paperwork out of the way. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me with these passport costs.
Unfortunately today I sufferred a break-in. I went to the feed store noticing the door was ajar & there to my horror saw that a whole bag of flaked maize had been ripped open and much of the contents eaten & thrown about the room. I knew it was Bess as not only had the break-in the un-mistakable signs of a "Pig Attack", she had made the mistake of signing the guest book. I went to her day bed to question her further but she refused to see me insisting that one of the cats must have done it.
9th July - Hay Season Starts
The recent fine weather has meant that many local land owners have cut & baled their hay & I have to try & collect in as much as possible "off the fields" as although this is hard work it is much more economical to do this than have hay delivered. It's funny, lots of peopel I talk to are under he impression that collecting hay in must be excellent fun. I think they are remembering an old episode of Dads Army where they all help with the harvest & there are lashings of ginger beer all round !! In reality hay is very heavy & it is usually humid & when you have to collect about 100 bales at a time, load them onto a lorry, get home, unload them all & stack them in the empty stables & then go back for the next lot... + all the animal jobs, well you can imagine the effort!.
Anyway, I am very grateful for any hay I can collect in this way, as to save up to a £1 a bale (on the delivered price) when I use about 10 bales a day soon adds up to a considerable saving. (my hands & back disagree though !)
Special thanks to Sue & Jim for being so very generous to the Sanctuary with the price of their Hay.
I won't be able to update the site for a few days now bacause of this hay collection.
A big thank you though to those very kind people who have helped me towards the costs of the horse passports (below) I really do appreciate your kindness
2nd July - More Expense
In it's wisdom, the Government has decided that all equines (horses etc) must have a passport by the end of 2003! Failure to comply will mean a large fine & possibly jail !
But why do Horses need passports? I hear you cry. Well its all to do with the FMD crisis we had in this country. The aim is to be able to track all horses to - wait for it - make sure that they don't end up in the human food chain!
Passports will be issued by a long list of organisations including the RSPCA & the British Horse Society for example, and they will cost about £30 per horse. Well that is a serious amount for the Sanctuary with 15 horses- £450 in all. The charge is to cover the "admin" costs. (of course - what else!).
It appears that some "herds" are exempt such as the New Forest Ponies - until they are sold (yes, they round them up each year & sell them to France & Belguim for meat - although don't mention it to the tourists !) in which case they need a passport. (some holiday)
I have been told that no exemption is being made for sancturies - which is nice.
So in spite of the fact that the horses will not be sold for slaughter (?!?) I am having to find an additional £450 to ensure that the horses here have passports so that they don't end up in the food chain - Huh? how is that going to work then?
This legislation is just so typical, just like the Dangerous Dogs act, all the law abiding innocent people have to stump up & everyone who would flout the law doesn't pay & continues to flout the law unabated.
What I'm sure the public would be shocked at is that horse meat is in the British Food Chain at all. As a Vegan I find it just as abhorent that a chicken is in the food chain as is a Horse.
Also what on earth is the point of introducing these measures to the UK market when we import all manor of cadaveour from elsewhere on this planet, where the animal welfare standards make ours look merely cruel - & that is really saying something.
I have been told that I may be able to get these passports at a reduced rate, but even so with 15 horses here at the Sanctuary, who have absolutely no intention of going to Ibiza, it is an crass waste of valuable funds that I just don't have.
1st July - Green Beak the Duck Passes away
Some bad news today, Mr Green Beak, one of the Aylesbury ducks passed away in the night. He & his friends were fine yesterday. He was about 10 years old & has lived here all his life on the pond since being rescued as a duckling. I know he had a good life here on his pond, but it is still very sad that he has gone now. All the other Ducks were very quite today when I fed them.
23rd June - The Longest Night
As you may know I have quite a few rescued Turkeys at the Sanctuary & I let them have a completely free range of the place during the day - none of the animals bother them (although they are frightened of Baaaart !). At dusk they come back to the main stable block to roost & I close the doors to a) prevent them from wandering around at night & b) to save them from the Fox !
They nearly always all come into the stable block towards the evening, although some of the females find a place elsewhere to "nest down". This is a serious problem as if I don't find them, they only stand about a 1% chance of not being killed by a Fox. (I don't have anything against Foxes at all - there are a family of them in the Pigs field !! but clearly I need to protect my rescued Turkeys)
There are about 8 or so "popular" nesting sites I can usually locate the "missing" hen bird - in the hedge below my bedroom window, in the hedges down the drive, in the vegetation by the Chicken area etc etc. It can sometimes take half an hour to round all the Turkeys up!
Last night was however a different story. All the Turkeys were accounted for save one. I searched the usual nest sites without any joy. Tea was turned down in the oven whilst we searched until 11 pm by torch to no avail. Tea was downed by 11:15 pm & we went out again with torches & our best Turkey impressions. No luck.
I decided that all we could do was to leave all the lights on in the house & the exterior stable lights. Plus leave Maddie the Lurcher to sleep in the conservatory with the outside door wide open. She is very alert & would run out & scare a Fox away (or so I was praying she would).
I know the Fox comes by every night as I hear the ducks on the pond in the night. They get agitated when they sense her & quack a lot. They are on the island so are quite safe, but they still get understandibly concerned.
4 times in the night I was up when the Ducks started with my torch scanning the garden & fields for any signs. Maddie was heard running hard past the bedroom window several times.
Against all hope the luckiest Turkey made an appearance at 6 am. I heard her chirup & there she was in the middle of the back lawn in the sheep pen. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to see her.
She was plucked from the lawn, oblivious to the sleepless night she had caused & placed into a stable (with a few other hens for company). I have explained to her that she is "grounded" for the next 2 weeks at last !!!
22nd June - Open Day
A big thank you to everyone who came to visit us today, over £450 was raised to buy food for the animals, so thank you very much indeed for this. Also a big thank you to everyone who brought food and equipment along. This was very kind of you, I am very grateful for your help.
It was really nice to meet you all and put faces to the names I just knew by your e-mail addresses !! I'm just sorry I couldn't have spent more time with everyone.
I hope you all had a nice afternoon & please do keep in touch via the site.
The weather just about held out for us, with a mostly sunny day & just one brief spot of rain. Saracen the Bengal Cat is even more full of himself this evening as everyone made a fuss of him. Bessy & George the Pigs have also realised their populatity and will only now communicate with me via their hollywood agents.
(As I sit here typing this I can hear someone shooting rabbits or birds in the adjacent farmers fields. I just cannot understand the mentality of these so called people, they're not happy unless they're ending somethings life).
All the Horses were very well behaved & Buttercup the Cow enjoyed his apples !
There were a few enquiries about Sooty the cat following her operation. Unfortunately she was not in her usual place - the back of the chair in the Kitchen - but had slunk of outside. She re-appeared at about 6 pm having been hiding down by the pond !!! - so sorry about that.
A new Cockerel was brought along to live at the sanctuary today. I understand that he managed to escape from a market a few days ago. but was found being kicked by youths down a street. (nice people). He was take to a Large Charity who were going to put him to sleep, but he was rescued by a lady who said she would find a home for him. Fortunately the lady had a friend who was a member of the Sanctuary who asked me if I would help.
It is very difficult to home Cockerels but clearly I said I would take him. I am now absolutely maxed out with animals of all shapes & sizes !! (well over 190 now)
The Cockerel moved in with the others successsully this evening.
Thanks again to all my supporters for helping - Love Fiona & the Gang
18th June - Amelie moves in with the 3 not so little Pigs
Ever find yourself with a spare hour & a half to hand, and wondered what to do?
Simple, you can fill the time by loading a 500 pound Pig onto a lorry !!!
Amelie, understandibly, is not keen on lorries. She will have a memory of being brutally loaded & taken to a place where she could only sense death & the torture of other animals- the abattoir - and this is where she made her bid to freedom from, so I was a little wary of how she would take to bing loaded again.
After an hour & a half of coaxing with food & constructing corridors with gates leading to the back of the Lorry ramp it was clear that Amelie was a very very strong Pig & no amount of forcing was going to make her move in a direction she did not want to go. At one point she lifted the gate I was standing on throwing me & the gate into the air !
Eventually I gave up, & at that point she walked calmly up the ramp ! I think she was just playing a game with us.
When she was unloaded into the field she immediately tried to dominate Claudia & Matilda. This she succeded in doing as she is much bigger than them. However then Jayne appeared. Jayne is no bigger than Amelie, but is very very fit & very lean.
Pigs test each others strength by playing the head game, where they lock heads & try & push the other to the side. The loosing Pig is forced to tun away & gets a bite to the side of the body.
Jayne quickly won this game & Amelie beat a hasty retreat to the other side of the field. From my expeience of introducing Pigs it will take a few weeks for them to all get on as "one gang". The fighting only lasted a few minutes and apart from a few scratches Amelie is non the worse for wear. She is keeping her distance from the others, although I have caught her & Jayne asleep in the Pig Arc together - which is a good sign.
17th June - Claudia, Matilda & Jayne Move
The three rescued Great White Pigs, today moved into their Summer quarters !
I have fenced an area next to their existing paddock - which they have eaten down now. The new area has been growing for about a year & the grass in some places is over 2 feet tall ! They were not sure what to do when I opened the gate from their old paddock, but after a few minutes they were in & completely lost to view in the grass.
I will take some pictures of them tomorrow
15th June - George the Pig - Picture now on-line !!
14th June - Poor Clare Rabbit Passes on
If you have read the small furries page you may have read the story of Clare the rabbit who was bred for meat & had her neck wrung with a lot of other rabbits. Clare however was not quite dead & when another person came to skin them, he found that when the bag was opened the next day, Clare was still breathing. Not being able to kill her he took her to the vet. I won't repeat the whole story here, but Clare lived on another 7 years with me here at the Sanctuary. I am very upset that she has gone, but very happy that she came my way. Goodbye Clare, I won't forget you
12th June - Sooty much better
Sooty the 19 year old cat is much better now following her operation, I have put another picture of her on this page.
6th June - "George" Arrives safely
George (see 5th June) arrived on Friday, and he is a very friendly chap. He had a long journey down from Yorkshire & decided to have a large bowl of mixed fruit followed by a nap on a fresh pile of Hay.
I have not had a minute to take a picture of him, but will do so before long so you can see him in his new home. He is black and very hairy !!
He is stabled for the time being next to Amelie & they are grunting to each other through the walls. George is "entire" and will need to be seen to before I can attempt any integration.
5th June - Yet Another Pig Crisis !!
About two weeks ago I received an email about a lady in Yorkshire who desperately wanted to find a home for a Pig she had "inherited" when she acquired an allotment. "George" is a year old Pot Bellied Pig, but as his "home" is water logged his health was sufferring, Additionally some kids have decided to abuse George by throwing stones at him & yesterday the lady found a knife had been thrown at him.
The lady has been trying to find a better home for George for ages without any joy & when I recieved her mail she was more or less at her wits end.
Having just homed Amelie (see below) I am not in a position to take any more Pigs, but as I couldn't stand the thought of a poorly Pig living in a water logged allotment having knives and stones thrown at him - I said I would take him.
We have arranged for transport to bring George down to Essex from Yorkshire tomorrow & I hope it is not too late to save him & nurse him back to full health.
The cost of arranging the transport is about £300 and this is going to knock a big hole in the sanctuary funds.
In an effort to raise some publicity for Georges plight I have e-mailed several radio stations, however the story appears not to be of any interest to any of them as none have responded! - which was nice !!
Clearly if you are able to help with these additional unforseen expenses I would be very grateful to hear from you. It's been a bad week !!
2nd June - Sooty at the Vets
Sooty is one of the 4 little cats I took in when their owner deserted her house in Harwich (see news entry on 9th September click here for page).
Sooty is nearly 19 now & over the weekend just gone I noticed that her face was swelling up on her left side. I have seen these symptoms a number of times before & recognised them as an abscess. The Vet confirmed that this was the case & Sooty had to be knocked out whilst they cut it away & inserted a drain. She has been very well behaved and has to go back tommorow to have the drain removed.
Her treatment has set the sanctuary back an incredible £137 (How much? I really struggle to see how this can be justified. I don't even get a small discount even though I have 190+ rescued animals here !!!) If you would like to help Sooty, please think about becoming a sponsor, every pound goes toward the care of the 190 rescued animals here at the sanctuary.
1st June - Pig Rescue
About a week ago I was contacted by a lady desperate to find a home for a Great White Pig. The Pig in question made a bid for freedom from a slaughterhouse at the end of 2002. She was running loose in fields near junction 29 of the M25 for about 6 weeks & managed to stay alive despite the fact that the slaughter men tried to shoot her with guns (nice).
Eventually she strayed onto a field whose owner refued to allow them to shoot at her but had to purchase her from the slaughterhouse to make sure they stopped taking pot shots. The story was covered by the Brentwood Gazette in their 24th December issue - Click here to see the actual article.
Since her rescue, the lady has been looking for a sanctuary to take her as she doesn't really have suitable facilities for a Great White Pig. To date she has not had any success with all the sancturies she has tried.
As regular readers will know, with nearly 200 animals here now & just me to look after them all I am not really in a position to take any more animals, particularly large ones, however I agreed to help out & will try & get "Smithfield" as she was named integrated with the other 3 great white pigs, Jayne, Claudia & Matilda at some point. This is not always easy as they can fight.
Smithfield, now called "Amelie" is a massive Pig. now I thought Jayne was a "BIG" Pig, but Amelie is even bigger !!
Amelie has been fed a breeding Pigs diet, and clearly as she has not been pregnant she has gained quite a bit of weight. She is on a fruit diet now & I am hoping that she will gradually loose the weight & be able to gallop around with the other 3 eventually.
This takes the Pig tally to 19 now & these take some feeding!, If you would like to help Amelie or any of the other Pigs through sponsorship please send me an e mail from the link above.
27th May - Pictures
I managed to get some new pictures this weekend. See some pictures of Dogs Flick & Tess here. An interesting new type of cat bed here (go to bottom of page) A Lamb update picture here (follow the look at us now button)
If any members have not received the instructions of how to find me for the Open Day on 22nd June, please mail me on the link above
17th May - Chloe improves
Chloe the three legged cat who was taken poorly (see below) is slowly getting better. We still do not know what she has done to her front leg, as the x-rays revealed no break or fracture. 12 Days on from the vets she is putting weight back on the paw & can scamper about the house again. It is still tender though as she is still holding it in a not quite normal position.
I have to now think that it was a terrible sprain - cause unknown - & that over time she will fully recover.
Thank you very much to the very kind people who have helped me with the vets bill for Chloe. I really appreciate your help.