There have been so many fires in Portugal already, mostly further north from our patch, fuelled by the non-native water hungry ‘petrol trees’ Tasmanian blue gum commonly known as eucalyptus. There were 64 human deaths in one horrific blaze that raged on for 5 days, engulfing villages and people fleeing in cars, as well as destroying 30,000 hectares of forest.
Another recent forest fire in the natural reserve of Donana in southern Spain caused the evacuation of the Iberian lynx breeding centre and destroyed the territories of at least 3 Iberian lynx wild territories. Another setback for this the world’s most endangered big cat, precariously limping back from the edge of extinction.
I am writing this from a wooden cabin, surrounded by forest, an idyllic place until you see images such as these of the recent fires and you think of evacuation, of the practicalities of what to take, how to round up the free ranging cats and hens (the teens should be easy? No?) and the not likely to be harmonious ‘Life of Pi’ tiger and zebra coexistence in a small boat scenario you would end up with.
In short, the very peacefulness of our current existence viewed through these smoke clouded spectacles becomes dangerous isolation, the stunning forest becomes a death trap of wood fuelling a fire.
So, filling up the water tanks next to the house becomes more than just a matter of supply for irrigation of our veg patch and showers and this threat gives us an excuse to buy a paddling pool, a giant bath to immerse and cool down in when the temperatures soar once more to 42 degrees in the shade.
Curious kittens and cats are of course drawn to the steady trickle of water from the hose, so we have a cover, which brings its own possibilities, like ‘Walking on water’, something one of our cats just tried to do, on the cover of our mini ‘pool’. Walking on water – even covered water – is not possible, well not whilst keeping one’s dignity intact and one’s paws dry, she discovered.