The weather is just like that beautiful day we had for the Open Day last year. The cherries are flowering, the bluebells are opening, the birds are singing and the rabbits are digging, scattering soil with geat abandon when they aren’t sunbathing on the nice dry surfaces in their runs. They really appreciate the cessation of the rain. Rabbits don’t like having wet feet as anyone who has observed them flicking their feet in distaste on a wet morning realises.

But this year, no visitors, no treats to be begged for, unlike in my dream that somehow it was put online that we were open for Easter and people were quing to get in and I was frantically running around trying to get people to socially distance themselves from eachother. We were completely unprepared, had nothing to sell, and people were crowding into the runs, mobbing the rabbits and endangering themselves. It was a very vivid dream.

The Sanctuary is a strange place to be spending the epidemic. Life is almost the same but I know how much it has changed for other people although there seems to still be a surprising amount of traffic. Crabbs Cross is a much busier place than the deserted city centres on the news! But I can’t get another grocery order booked and am reluctant to ask volunteers to endanger themselves by shopping for us. Luckily I still have a good supply of vegetables although the warmer weather has warmed the barn up so it is not going to keep as well as it would have in a colder spring. I wasn’t able to open the windows and doors to let it warm up for the piggies in there as I needed it to stay cool for the veg. But considering how piggies love their veg I reckon they would agree to the necessity.

A couple of our volunteers have probably had the virus, one caught it in New York, the other on a train to Wolverhampton. I don’t know if I have had it or not as I was coughing and am wheezing and my temperature has been quite high but given that I am still having menopausal hot flushes that isn’t definitive and my asthma flared like this last year too and has been badly aggravated by the number of bonfires people have been having. It is a bit gob smacking how people can go out and fill the air with smoke when there are so many people suffering from respiratory disease. Smoke is the single biggest killer in the world and damage from it will severely impact people’s chances of recovering from this new threat. It isn’t as if we are forced to burn wood for fuel like people in the third world who can’t get away from it. We do it because it is a pleasant thing to watch flames or because we want to avoid paying for a skip. Neither of these is a good enough reason to endanger people’s health. Nor is the simple assertion that it is your right to do what you have always done. Needless to say this hasn’t improved our already borderline relationship with our neighbours. But at least they don’t have visitors cars to complain about at the moment! If I haven’t had it yet I am concerned about how bad it could be on top of this asthma flare up.  I am very aware of how difficult it would be for everyone else trying to take over and look after the animals so I am conscientiously self isolating and doing all the work myse for the moment. It is fortunate we don’t have as many animals as previously. There are as many groups but fewer members which means that I can get away with an extra day between cleaning out the smaller ones. I am staying on top of the main cleaning of the hutches and sheds and of course the feeding, watering and giving of medication as a priority but the runs and paths are looking a bit scruffy and the barn could be tidier. If anything breaks I will have to have either Jennifer or Caroline come over to fix it as I am hopeless with tools and they can deal with some of the diggings that have gotten out of hand at the same time. But for now it is just me and the critters and the flowers.


Other news:since losing our grand old Nutbrown we have lost an old piggy, Susie, and Lavender. Susie who had been with us for about a year and a half having come to us for her retirement after her sister died. She was quite a timid old girl but I think she enjoyed her retirement and the companionship of the other guinea pigs. Lavender had been with us for five years and I had rescued her from the brink of death several times during those years but I couldn’t do it again and she went down despite my best efforts and died this week, her increases age probably being the deciding factor this time, although I don’t know how old she was as she was a stray. She definitely enjoyed her life here and certainly made the most of it. I am pleased to have been able to give it to her but I am going to miss her cheerful cheeky face with her orange tone from her industrious tunnelling.

Nightshade had been alone since Rowan passed away in February as we didn’t have any suitable candidates. So  I introduced her to Corinth, Lavender’s companion. She clearly has been lonely as she set out straight away to take him under her wing, washing his face and making it clear how she wants him to behave. He seems willing enough to comply. He is quite a nervous young buck and can’t compete with her strength of character despite being more than twice her size.  While I was supervising the bonding I used the opportunity with the warmer weather to get all the guinea pigs bathed and trimmed and health checked. They all seem in good health and they have come through the winter without any skin problems, probably because I was able to keep  bathing them in the winter this year because we had some warmer days. Every other month works well. It fits in well with claw cutting. If their claws need cutting it is time for a bath too. But Pedro is getting rather thin, but then he is a very old boy. The morning after their introduction Nightshade and Corinth were snuggled up together so hopefully this bonding will continue to go well.

I am going to take photos throughout the day and add them to it gradually so you can share Easter with the Easter Bunnies.

Many thanks for continuing to support us, I wish you a Hoppy Easter and hope to see you again once this difficult time is behind us.