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A Month To View

PUBLISHED: 11:42 22 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:35 20 February 2013

ILLUSTRATION: FLO FITZGERALD

ILLUSTRATION: FLO FITZGERALD

Judi Spiers talks pussies, ponies and badgers

Judi Spiers talks pussies, ponies and badgers

Recently returned from Corfu where one of my oldest girlfriends lives in an idyllic cottage in a mountain village, so plenty of the authentic, Greek experience my favourite being what I call the Dolmio lunch. You know, those vineyard lunches where the whole village sit at trestle tables loaded with fresh bread, dips and cheeses and half a sheep roasting on a spit and the jugs of organic wine never run out.

Then theres Easter Sunday, when the whole village (complete with stray dogs) treks up the mountain following the priest carrying banners and icons. When I say a mountain, I mean a mountain. OK so its not Everest, but it is more than Brown Willy. I assured my husband (who by the way was a Sherpa in a previous life) that I could do it. Unconvinced, he took his Ipod so that he didnt have to listen to me moaning for two and a half hours.

Boy, did I moan! Its a shale track with a sheer drop on one side into the sea, and you are nose to buttock with a complete stranger (in my case a large German fraulein clad in spandex) all the way up. Not only that, but ancient farmers fire their shotguns randomly into the air!
When we did make the summit, there was a service in a small church, and after an hour or so hundreds of kebabs appeared from a giant barbecue I hadnt spotted on account of the family of nine with two dogs who clearly hadnt noticed me and decided to sit if not quite on me then around me passing bottles of lethal Greek wine! Im happy to say they did eventually acknowledge my presence, and thanks to them the journey down was a lot quicker.

PUSSIES

I didnt really want to turn into one of those women who writes about her cat every month, but do indulge me a little longer. I am sitting waiting for Eddie to be brought home from the vet where the lump they found after he was knocked over and proved to be cancerous is being taken out. Coincidentally (or not), it was right by the side of his chip, so they took that out as well. It turns out that the feline Aids injection can cause cancerous lumps.

When I was a child, you had a cat and the only thing that went wrong was that it got knocked over or it eventually died from old age. Now theyre diabetic, get cystitis, underactive thyroids, high blood pressure and cancer. No doubt there will be another stash of drugs he has to take which will require grinding, rolling in cheese and sprinkling on his food. If you have a cat get it insured! This whole saga has cost more than any treatment I have ever had, but worth every penny!

PONIES

It was my privilege to attend the grand launch at the new Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust at the National Trust Estate Park. Dru Butterfield and her volunteers have relocated to this idyllic site in order to carry on their vital work with the ponies. Andrew Cooper, one of Britains most distinguished and influential wildlife TV producers, was there. A few years ago, Andrew made an eye-opening documentary about the badgers that live at his Devon home. He had miles of underground cabling and cameras buried so that he could observe and film the badgers in their sett. I just love the idea that whilst we are all watching the soaps, he and his wife, Jeanne, can sit in their kitchen with a glass of wine watching real dramas unfold. Jeanne said that it could be a little steamy at times, what with badgers not exactly mating for life! Theyre also partial to a drop of cider, judging by the ones Ive heard cavorting round our apple trees when the windfalls are plenty.

SOAPBOX


Cant bear it when the bank increases your credit card limit putting the onus on you to get in touch with them if its not what you want. So I rang the number given (never a freephone), gave all my details, mothers maiden name, long card number on the front, start date, end date, four figures above the hologram, and last three numbers on the back... when she hit me with: You last used the card in Marks & Spencer. Can you remember when that was, and how much it was for? So now it all hinges on whether I bought a pair of knickers or a brie and camembert sandwich! I wouldnt care if I was applying for an overdraft, but they had given me one, and they cant see how ludicrous this is!
Where is that old Greek farmer with a shotgun when you need him?

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