Bats, cats, deer, dogs and all manner of creatures!

I must start with an apology for not having posted much recently, work has been so busy as it seems everyone but Emma and us three LTVs was on holiday, and I have had a nasty cold so have been coming home from work and going straight up to wrap up warm in bed! However I’ve got today and tomorrow off so hopefully will be fully recovered by the weekend. It was so much easier to recover from a flu when I was a student and didn’t have to get up at half seven everyday! Ah well, that’s growing up for you. I do have a fab job that (most days) I don’t mind getting out of bed for!

I have always been a real animal lover and these last two weeks have been full of all different animal antics here at Powis Castle so I thought I collect them together as the theme for this post and share them with you.

At the moment we are in the middle of rutting season, so the deer on the estate are making their presence felt! Their mating calls sounds like dinosaurs roaring, and it can be quite eerie hearing them in the middle of the night (this is what they sound like). Walking through the deer park I have been being careful not to get in between the males and their females, as they can get very agitated and attack if you do so. They are all getting bolder, standing by the road and not running away when we walk towards them. The other day there were a group of deer standing right in the middle of the road as we were driving home and we were nearly touching them before they started to move. Watching the males fight is really impressive, but it makes you realise what dangerous animals they could be if you got too close. In the mornings they have even started coming past the car park and onto the grass next to the castle! I feel quite privileged to be able to get so close to these mighty animals so often, but am also very wary of them! We now only walk to work through the gardens as the deer like sleeping on the East front and I don’t really feel like disturbing them in the morning!

Deer on the east front

I found this lovely photo of the deer on this website.

We are so busy at work at the moment, preparing for winter and Christmas along with the winter clean and all of our usual tasks. It has all seem amplified by being short on staff and being ill at the moment, and then on top of everything else, as always we have some unexpected and entertaining problems to deal with the come flying at us out of the blue! Like our unexpected guest on Wednesday last week, a bat in the Ballroom! Everyone else had gone for lunch and I was in the office when I got a radio message from one of the seasonal staff about their being a bat in the ballroom. She went to check it out and reported back that the volunteers had managed to shut the doors when it flew out of the ballroom, and it was now flying round and round the stair case!

So as soon as Emma came back from lunch we went to take a look, as Margaret turned off the fire beams so the bat would not trigger the alarms. Sure enough we went over to the Ballroom and there it was wizzing around and around, clearly feeling rather distressed! We stood on the steps watching the thing go and trying to think of some way to get it out of their unharmed, but catching it was not going to be easy! Eventually we decided we would close the Ballroom early and make the area dark to try get it to settle, and until then one of the House Team would stay on the stair-well to keep an eye on it. The bat then decided it wanted to hide behind one of the paintings to get away from all that people gathered now watching him fly round in circles. So I volunteered to stay and keep an eye on the bat (or rather the painting it was hidden behind).

The type of bat we think our little friend was

It came up to nearly three o’clock and Margaret came over in preparation for catching the bat as I went and informed the volunteers what was happening. By the time I got back again Margaret was holding a cotton bag containing the bat, waiting outside for me to help her release the bat into the stables. The bat had just dropped out from behind the painting onto the stairs below, dazed, and Margaret had scooped it up! After all that time waiting for the thing while it was behind the painting all the excitement happened while I was not there! We let the cute little thing go into the stables, it was so tiny with its wing folded up, and so adorable! When I went to check on it later whilst I was locking up it had vanished, no worse for wear from its exciting visit to inspect our artwork! Unfortunately he was much too fast to get a photo of, but we think he was a type of Pipistrelle bat, more information on them can be found here.

Our lovely peacock family has grown recently with the addition of two pea-chicks this mating season. It’s amazing to watch them grow, they are getting so big now, when they were smaller than your palm to start with! They are also getting very cheeky. When I was out cleaning the Coach House the other day the entire family started to wander in, I went outside to take a few snaps on my phone and as soon as the saw me they all wandered over to the door to the courtyard, waiting to be let through! So I opened the door for the and they all trotted in, Alan and Perry, Penelope and her two chicks, ready to be fed by our caretaker, and then by any kind visitors that might visit us. Our peacocks do love a bit of cake!

The peacock family

More animals decided to make Powis their home this week, for a while there have been several sightings of an adorable grey tabby in the gardens. She (we decided it was female, however we may have been wrong) is ever so friendly and had even followed me most of the way home a couple of weeks previously. We were starting to get worried that she was lost or a stray so this week we decided to bring her in and try to find out if she had a home. I was working in the office with Swan when she was brought in and we were tasked with keeping an eye on her, not too much of an arduous task. She was so friendly, hoping onto our laps for a fuss and purring away very contentedly  So she stayed wondering around our offices for the next day too, all of us getting quite attached to the idea of a castle cat as lovely as she was! She strolled from office to office getting attention wherever she went and generally being incredibly cute! However we had to say goodbye in the end, and she is now at the vets to be scanned, and will either be returned home or there are plenty of offers to take her in! She reminded me how much I miss owning cats, I cannot wait until I am settled in my own place so I can get pets of my own. I am a cat person, however I do love dogs as well, and to keep me happy until I can have my own pet there are not shortage of dogs here at the castle for me to dog sit!

Office cat

While the cat was staying with us at the castle I was looking after a very adorable pup in Diary Square! His name is Hector and he is the cutest, cheekiest dog! Looking after him is lovely, though very tiring as he is none stop! Taking him for a walk through the deer park he nearly pulled my arm off wanting to go and play with a stag on top of the hill, a very bed idea at the moment. I really enjoy taking dogs for a walk, they give you a bit more purpose and liven the walk up no end! It was lovely as well to have his company in the evenings, once he settled, as he lay on my feet while I was sat at the table. However I have to say cats do have the bonus that when they jump on you they are slightly more lap sized than Hector is! Much as his affection is appreciated he is a little too big to sit on me.

Hector, what a cutie

Yesterday was a strange day at work, as you know me and Kate have been bringing the old kitchens back to life and we were working in the yesterday, making salt dough food. It was strange as I felt like I was helping out at my old child-minders again, cutting shapes out of the dough with kids cookie cutters, and we did have to explain to the visitors that we were actually working, honestly! We were making tarts, bread rolls, and pies for the kitchen as well as some things for Christmas. These included dinosaur biscuits, animal biscuits, jam tarts, gingerbread men, heart biscuits, food with instructions on, all in a variety of colours. It sounds an odd mix but I promise you they all fit in to our very special Christmas theme! I have also been sewing Elephants to hang on one of our Christmas trees, they are made from felt and are so cute! Emma designed the pattern and we now have several, as well as some birds and hearts to go on the Ballroom tree. Any ideas what our Christmas theme might be yet?

My little felt elephant

To finish off my wild couple of weeks I finally ventured down to Coed Y Dinas, a huge shop with everything from a garden centre, food hall, furniture store, Christmas shop, books, outdoor wear, craft shop (!) and a pet store! When I lived in Worcester there was a pet store that sold reptile just by my house, I used to love to go and watch them feed the snakes (another dream pet of mine). So I was very excited to see they also have snakes at Coed Y Dinas; as well as turtles, birds and fish. And there Christmas store is divine, giving me lots of inspiration for our decoration at the castle. They had a  whole section of peacock inspired decorations, which while it wont fit into the theme at the castle would I’m sure look lovely in my house. Tempting indeed! I stocked up on some crafting goods and lots of ideas, I will definitely be going back again, that place is very close to my idea of the perfect shop!

Well that is all for now, I shall try not to leave it so long next time as hopefully I shall be fighting fit by Saturday  ready for another week of unexpected adventures at Powis Castle!