Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer is really here and, apart from the heat and the mosquitoes, the cicadas are in full cry. They don’t half make a racket though, after a while, it seems you only hear them intermittently. They are well camouflaged being a sort of mucky brown and not as pretty as the ones I remember in South Africa which were a sort of translucent green with a little red ruby on their heads. Though the noise they make is quite shrill it is evidently nothing like the decibels made by some tiny bug that makes a noise equivalent evidently to sitting in the front row of an auditorium listening to a symphony orchestra at full blast. And how does it do this? It does it by rubbing its penis against its stomach. Oh, boy! Phew! And other expressions of amazement. Isn’t nature weird? It is evidently a mating signal but why it doesn’t bring the creature on to a climax before it gets anywhere near actually mating is a mystery. ‘I’ll have that one’ she says, ‘his penis makes a much louder noise than that other one.’

'When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.' It might seem rather a soppy poem but it has led to animal heaven being called ‘Rainbow Bridge’ and is obviously meant to bring comfort to those who grieve for a lost pet. Remember Casey Jones? And there have been many since then. The British are reputed to be slightly repressed when it comes to the death of a family member or a close friend but in a nation of animal lovers expression of grief at the loss of a pet can sometimes cause raised eyebrows, but how can one not grieve at the death of a loving companion that has been with one for many years or even unfortunately too short a time? Every one different in nature and characteristics and the funny little ways one tends to remember. Of course there have to be those who go overboard and grieve to an exorbitant extent. One is reminded, fiction though it might be, of the ape’s death in ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ Once an animal is dead, no matter how much you have loved it, is it really necessary to spend a small fortune on burial with lavish coffin and expensive cemetery plot? Our first cat is buried in the garden in Richmond Road. Our first dog, Natalie (oh how I grieved over her death) is buried in the garden at Farleigh Road and, here, in Crete, there are quite a few animal graves in the garden. I guess the people who have their animals buried in luxury are the ones who decorate their Poodles with jewellery and keep the pet shops going with all sorts of expensive luxurious paraphernalia. It is a pity that animals here in Greece are not treated too kindly but it seems attitudes are changing and I don’t think that is wishful thinking. Unfortunately the Cretans believe it is unnatural to spay an animal which leads unfortunately to a great many stray cats and dogs. Sadly one can’t rescue them all.

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