Count Catular – Somewhere in Andalucia, Spain
It was with some trepidation I arrived in Spain to visit my sister expecting her garden to be filled with abused donkeys, stray moggies, abandoned dogs and wild boar rescued from the local hunt.
When it comes to animals, my sister is a softy. Some years ago she was living in rural Devon and had a whole menagerie of stray and wild animals that came into the garden to eat food that she put out. Birds, cats, rabbits, deer, foxes, badgers – there was a whole eco system going on out there. When I visited England I was determined to get some photographs of some of them.
It was 2.00am in the morning. The badgers had been and gone and I was waiting patiently for the foxes to show up. Camera primed, I peered through the open upstairs window and stared into the darkness. The badgers had been easy because their strong scent announced their arrival and told me that they were lurking in the hedgerows. What shocked me was their size. One of them was as high as an Alsatian dog and much wider. What the hell is she feeding them I thought as the huge grey form skirted the area that tripped the night lights, dived in, whipped the food and was gone before the area was floodlit. The foxes were just as wily when they turned up and all I saw was shadowy forms slipping out from the fields and making off before I could get a shot off. Then I saw something very strange – something smallish was hopping up the pathway – kanga style. I did a quick reality check in my head. I’ve left Australia, I’m in Devon, it’s the middle of nowhere in rural England and I’m not drunk. I looked again. Yes there was definitely something hopping up the pathway with food in its paws. All I could see was a shadow, so I took a couple of shots enhanced the image on the computer.
“Did you know you have a whole new sub-species of rat living at the end of your garden?” I asked my sister . “They hop like Kangaroos!” The feeding stopped.
So I was relieved when I found out that it was only the two animals that she had acquired.
“We’ve adopted a couple of cats” she informed me “no one wanted them when their owners went back to England”.
The mother and son combo had been sustained by the local ex-pat community but were looking a little worse for wear when they had been picked up by her. Tabs is a patchwork of colours and has a black colouring over one eye which makes her look like a pirate. Lennie, the son, has a black coat. He is a beautiful, long limbed creature, with a sweet nature. Unfortunately the locals still believe that black cats are bad luck so no one wanted him until my sister came along.
“An Exorcisim – How Nice” – (quote from the film the exorcist)
He also is not very photogenic and has been renamed Dracs due to the rather long fangs he has – poor boy I know how he feels I loathe having my photo taken.