I am heartbroken!

Received the most awful piece of news about a week ago and now the worst has happened. :(

Last week, Basil was hit in the eye by a flying stone in a freak accident, while his mum and dad were away.

He went to the vet several times; the injury was very serious but there was a possibility it would get better. And it seemed to do so for a while. And then it got worse. And then, yesterday, he had to have his eye taken out!

I mean totally removed!

Poor Basil! It makes me cry thinking about him having to go through all that trauma, and then now having to be sightless in one eye forever. :( :( :(

I can’t wait to go back to England to see him. I’m going to baby the hell out of him.

Here’s my favourite photo of Basil.


Sweet Basil


Okay, I can’t talk about it anymore. Can’t stop crying when I’m talking about it!


Parrot entertains us at the bar

I know I said I’d talk about jellyfish in my next post, but let’s pretend I didn’t, because I want to talk about a parrot, instead.

So, I went to this bar in Mallorca one night, with Piers, his sister and brother-in-law.

We were seated next to a parrot.


Parrot looking at me cutely


It was working hard at being the centre of attention by squawking very loudly and jumping around its rope toys, swinging wildly as it clung on to them.


Parrot fooling around on ropes


We realised after a while that it wasn’t chained and was quite free to go anywhere it wanted. But it seemed quite happy to stay on its little tree plant.


Parrot's little tree plant thing


A man, a customer of the bar, went up to the parrot and, amazingly, managed to coax the parrot onto his arm, then shoulder, by whispering sweet nothings to it.


Parrot on man's hand


Parrot on man's arm


The man thought he had the parrot charmed.

But the parrot had other ideas. It hopped onto the man’s shoulder and starting attacking the man’s glasses.


Parrot eating man's glasses


Not too amused, the man gently told the parrot off and made it go back to its tree plant.

My group urged me to get the parrot on my shoulder, too. I would be safe, they said, because I don’t wear glasses. So, after some hesitation and one giant cocktail, I went up to give it the old college try.

But allow me to digress first because giant cocktail!


Because giant cocktail


As you can see, my cocktail was a lot more impressive than the other drinks on the table. And it has sparklies. And tropical fruit!


Because giant cocktail


It’s called a Hawaiian Volcano.

Piers and Humfrey were quite jealous so they ordered their own awesomesaurus cocktail for seconds. I think their ones were a bit less impressive, but they had straws a mile long each, so their straws win.


Because giant cocktail


So, back to the parrot.

I went up to it and looked at it with what I hoped was a benign expression. It looked back at me quizzically.

I offered it my arm (but rather tentatively, for I anticipated a surprise violent peck or two). It didn’t accept. It looked away. It looked at its food bowl, at the tree branches, at the ceiling. Anywhere but at me and my arm.

Defeated, I decided to just take some close-up photographs.

I don’t think it liked that very much. It started walking away.

As I followed it with my camera, it kept walking, up and down the branches, left and right, but all the time keeping a wary eye on the camera.


Parrot looking at camera suspiciously


After it had finished its tour of every branch on the tree, it came back to its favourite perch, the food bowl, and stared at my camera challenging.


Parrot looking at camera more suspiciously


I continued snapping while it held that still pose.

And, then, with a super fast motion, it lunged at the camera. Before I even knew what was happening, it had got hold of the camera strap with its beak.


Parrot trying to eat my camera strap


It started chewing. I mean, really chewing. You could see the movement of beak and tongue, and the tip of the leather strap getting mushed up.

The other patrons in the bar laughed. I continued snapping photos while at the same time trying to rescue my strap without using too much force.

After about 20 seconds, it let go. Whether it was because my strap didn’t taste to its satisfaction or because my gentle tugging was annoying it, I will never know.

Then it scooted off to its ropey playground and squawked merrily, swinging on the ropes without a care in the world.


Parrot swinging on rope


There was another free-range parrot on the premises but it didn’t attract as much attention because it was asleep most of the night and perched high up on a tree so that it blended in with the colourful surroundings.

I totally want a parrot now. They’re so entertaining!

Here’s a video of a parrot mimicking phone calls. It’s the same breed as the one I saw in Mallorca, an African Grey!



Our parrot wasn’t that chatty, though. It mostly just squawked and occasionally said hello.

By the way, in case you want to know, the bar is called Cheeki Tiki and they have Sky Sports, which is the reason we went there in the first place, because the boys wanted to watch England vs Ukraine.

If you had a parrot, what would you teach it to say?

The kind of dog I love — #9 Saves his poo


Saves his poo


Piers says my Basil cartoons are getting gross. But it’s not that gross, is it? It’s life! It’s all part of having a pet!

I told reader Pepper last week: When we love someone or something, we have to love them warts and all.

But I must admit that it’s much easier to love someone or something when you don’t have to put up with their poo every single day of your life. Basil is not my pet; he belongs to Piers’ parents and I babysit him occasionally, so it’s all very easy for me.

I might get truly annoyed if I had to deal with him pooing in batches every single day! (But he doesn’t really do it all the time, just occassionally.)

Okay, I’m going to Mallorca this weekend so there might not be a comic next week.

But we’ll see. I’m a very play-by-ear(-and-mood) person!

Love me for that if you love me at all!


Previous chapters:

#1 Won’t play fetch

#2 Jumps on your lap

#3 Follows you everywhere

#4 Barks at nothing

#5 Gets too excited

#6 Has strange taste buds

#7 Sleeps on your bed

#8 Sniffs inappropriate places

The kind of dog I love — #8 Sniffs inappropriate places


Sniffs inappropriate places


It’s not easy having a dog (or children, for that matter). They find new ways to embarrass you all the time!

Of course, dogs sniffing crotches and bottoms is nothing new. It’s just their way of getting to know a person or another dog.

But some male dogs are sexist, like Basil. They only sniff females. I’ve never seen Basil sniff a man’s crotch. And when I take him out for walks, I observe that he only sniffs some dogs and not others, so I assume they are female dogs.

Scientists say that dogs can tell if you have cancer (and other illnesses) just by sniffing you.

That’s quite a handy skill.

So, if your dog is acting strange around you, always sniffing at a different spot, or scratching, licking or biting a specific spot on your body, they may know something you don’t know.

Hmm. Basil’s always licking my arms and legs (besides sniffing my crotch). Oh no! Is he trying to tell me something?!


Previous chapters:

#1 Won’t play fetch

#2 Jumps on your lap

#3 Follows you everywhere

#4 Barks at nothing

#5 Gets too excited

#6 Has strange taste buds

#7 Sleeps on your bed

The kind of dog I love — #7 Sleeps on your bed


Sleeps on your bed


I can’t believe I’ve done quite so many of these Basil comics already.

Okay, seven strips is pathetic if you’re thinking about proper comic strips by proper cartoonists, but I’m not a proper anything and I never set out to draw comics in the first place.

(Although I did draw a bunch of comic strips for my teaching journal during my Montessori training last year, and I might share them when I run out of material for Basil comics.)

My original idea for a funny Basil post was to write: “5 things I love in a dog” and draw five crappy drawings to illustrate the post.

I’ve always done crappy drawings (using a mouse) to illustrate my writings when I didn’t have any photos. And that was the extent of my interest in drawing.

Then, as I wrote the points down and I looked at Basil’s silly earnest face staring at me, my list grew bigger. Also, when I drew some initial sketches, I realised that I had to draw at least four panels each for anything to make sense.

And that’s how Basil became a series and I befuddledly became a comic strip artist (although still not a proper one).

The few of you who enjoy my drawings, thank you for reading! :)


Previous chapters:

#1 Won’t play fetch

#2 Jumps on your lap

#3 Follows you everywhere

#4 Barks at nothing

#5 Gets too excited

#6 Has strange taste buds