It was all a bit traumatic really...( see previous blog) we don't have anything more exciting than Tom's bull escaping normally and he's caught soon enough.

Brian has just 'phoned to say he can't deliver the settee 'cos the brakes on his van have gone and the mechanic told him to drive anywhere at his peril...it doesn't much matter...gives me more time to poke a cane down behind the radiator to move the spiders that live there. Wouldn't you honestly think they'd get too hot sort of squashed between the radiator and the wall...doesn't seem to bother them though. They gather up in gangs and then the big ones eat the little ones and leave their neatly wrapped carcases suspended in webs...totally gross if you ask me...which I know you weren't going to.

When we went to town yesterday I bought a copy of a magazine Archaeology Ireland because it has an article about clay pipes and clay pipe makers...there is an illustration of different types of pipe from different eras...one of the pipes I dug up out of the garden matches the picture of a pipe from 1600 exactly...one of the first ones made after the general introduction of loose tobacco at an affordable price. It has a small bowl and part of the stem...the rest having been broken long ago I suppose. The styles gradually changed over the years...especially the size of the bowls...from very small when tobacco was expensive, to twice the size as it dropped in price.

There was a sobering programme on television last night about rogue elephants...it was extremely interesting but a classic example of how humans have succeeded in totally upsetting nature. When poaching was at it's peak in a reserve in India, they shot all the old male elephants with huge tusks...that has upset the hierarchy of the herds to such an extent that the young males of about eighteen to twenty years of age are behaving in abnormal ways. They try to rape Rhinos for instance and when they don't succeed they kill them...and they've been killing younger female elephants for the same reason.

The old male elephants teach the young males manners...they teach them how to approach females when they are in heat and if the young ones don't pay any heed then the older males chastise them until they do. Without the guidance of the wiser older males, the young ones are behaving like out of control thugs...

The poaching is now under control but the damage to the herds has been done and now the real worry is that baby male elephants will follow the ways of the teenage gangs who quite literally roam about looking to rape and murder...

Culling some of the males has been discussed, but that would upset the balance of male to female ratio even further.

When you listen to experts on elephant behaviour and the way they are traumatised as babies on witnessing the slaughter of the adults, it certainly made me think long and hard about elephants in zoos and those who have to perform in a circus.

I loathe zoos with a deep passion and I've never been to a circus and certainly after watching that programme I'd never want to give any reward to someone who keeps an elephant captive...

The natives are growing restless so I'd best away to serve out left-over cottage pie and something vaguely animal from a tin...