Tuesday night turtle — and a plea

Turtle eating jelly fishA while back I promised more turtle pictures, so here is another photo taken in the Red Sea earlier this year. As you can see, turtles rather like to snack on the occasional jelly fish swimming by. This is as it should be but the problem is that jelly fish look not unlike something else increasingly found in the seas:

Turtle with plastic bags

One turtle, three plastic bags = recipe for disaster

Evolution unfortunately has not yet equipped turtles (and other animals, especially birds) to deal with the garbage humans produce. As a consequence, countless animals die very slow and painful deaths from ingesting plastic.

The European Parliament and the European Council are currently debating proposed legislation to reduce (or even ban) the use of disposable plastic bags, which would be a start. You can find a petition to support this legislation (and more information) here.

For an inspired take on the issue by some very talented young people in the Shetland Islands, see here. And please, try to do without disposable bags whenever possible — are twenty minutes use (on average) really worth the centuries it will take for these things to degrade?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal — a celebration of loss and remembrance

Not strictly speaking a threshold perhaps, but definitely “a point of entering”. This photo was taken on my first trip to India in 2005 (which seems a long time ago now). I sometimes think back on this trip as a time of innocence in a way because at the time, we were as yet unaware (but would soon find out) that cancer had started its quiet but devastating work in my father’s lungs. Another threshold so to speak. There were to be no more trips to foreign countries for a long time, and I would not return to India until 2010.

Fort Agra-1895

A view from Agra Fort


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Spot the cat


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Rain spider-3572It’s been raining all day and I haven’t done anything interesting (apart from having what seemed quite unreasonable amounts of blood drawn at the doctor’s office), so here’s an older photo taken by the husband that I love (both the husband and the photo).

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The Houseguest

The Pitter-Patter of Little Feet

From: Bloom County, The Complete Library, vol. II
(C) Berkeley Breathed

“Oh no …” I had entered the kitchen of our vacation bungalow on our first evening only to see something skitter away. Something brown and shiny.

“What?”, asked the husband from the bedroom.
“We’ve got cockroaches. Well, one at least”, I answered.
“It’s the tropics. What did you expect?”

Indeed. Silly of me, and even sillier my reaction. If it had been a butterfly or a ladybird, I would have been pleased. So why the revulsion towards this other insect? Definitely a learnt behaviour, the three-year-old me would have been fascinated and intrigued.

“Don’t tell anyone”, the husband added. “They might spray the place with heaven-knows-what.” That I did not want. Not for us but neither, I realized, for this critter who, after all, had not done me any harm.

“Alright”, I said in the general direction of the microwave behind which our uninvited guest (but wasn’t it actually us who were the intruders?) had taken shelter. “Make you a deal: You stay in here and don’t come into the bedroom and we’ll leave you be.”

In the days that followed, I always made sure that all of our foodstuffs were either in the fridge or in closely sealed containers, but I also started to leave a bit of food out. Vegetable peelings, a banana peel, an unwashed plate with traces of tomato sauce.

“You’re feeding it now?!?” “If it finds food in the kitchen, it has no reason to come into the bedroom”, I argued, probably not fooling the husband. (My saying “good night” before closing the kitchen door in the evening presumably did not help.) But my latest pet did take care to make itself inconspicuous – not only did we never see it in the bedroom, it was over a week until I heard the husband say: “So we meet at last.”

I joined him in the kitchen and we watched in awe as the panicked roach found a slight unevenness in one of the cabinet doors, inserted its end into it and – in a surely superhuman effort – managed to squeeze the door open just enough to slip through the resulting gap.

“One day they’ll rule the world, you know”, the husband said.
“Well, maybe this one will put in a good word for us when the revolution comes.”

Posted in Critters, Insects, On the road | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Spotted in passing: the organ grinder


Apologies for cutting off his foot — I seem to have activated the “square” function on my phone, which, the more social-media savvy husband informs me, is meant for posting on Instagram. I blame the novocaine.

Coming home from the dentist yesterday, I came across this gentleman who looked not unlike Heinrich Zille, the illustrator who used to draw his predecessors on the streets of Berlin a century ago.

I’m not sure why he picked our neighbourhood rather than one of the many more touristy spots in the city (which surely would be more lucrative) but I was glad to see and hear him. I gave him some change and walked on much cheered, despite my aching jaws.

Posted in Odds and ends, Summer in the city, The sound of music | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Friday night turtle

Turtle (1 of 1)The husband and I got back from an amazing vacation last night. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Posted in Critters, Everything that lives in the sea, Twenty thousand leagues under the sea | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments