Thursday 21 May 2009

Minnie Mouse, Pomeranians, Bats and travel ..

Dear Mr Postman .. this is another letter for my mother on my travels and the connections that I make with aspects of life ...

Flying through Philadelphia .. and wandering 'lost' through the airport's myriad of cross sections .. I had plenty of time .. and certainly walked around. Finally deciding that I was going to see if a tip regarding jet lag would work for my trip home .. so I settled at some take away for a fairly disgusting spaghetti and meat balls .. as I needed something to sustain me
for the next 9 hours.

When I travelled out .. a couple of guys on the train up to Gatwick had suggested that to counter jet lag, if Ihad just water during the last flight and once at my destination settled into the normal meal regime of the day .. I'd feel fine. I thought I'd try it - it certainly seemed to work for the Charlotte - San Diego leg going out.

As I'm settling in to this 'meal' .. up come a mother, Maude, and her daughter, Lauren (aged 12) to share the table .. and what an interesting half hour we had. Lauren is a special child and was so lovely and willing to share her stories re her dogs .. so this is for her:

Dear Lauren .. it was a pleasure to meet you - and I'm so pleased that your special 'Minnie' can travel with you, whenever you take a flight .. it must make the journey and the waiting around so much more pleasant for you? You can talk to her, sing to her - I guess? and walk her around in her special carrier .. showing her the shops - though I know you like to be in position and ready to go at the airline gate .. not window shopping like the rest of us?!

I hope you had a safe journey home .. and are now reunited with Sophie - your family dog, whom I know you were missing. Have a good rest of the term and enjoy your holiday time - lucky you .. wish I had that!

Minnie doesn't look like Micky Mouse's "Minnie" .. though she is small, but not as small as Minnie mouse! Your Mum said that Minnie is a 'Pom Shih' .. but I can only find Pomeranians .. I'm sure she's a special Pomeranian. Would you mind if I shared some information with my readers on Poms, and also on bats .. Mum's suggestion that Minnie looks like a wingless fruit bat .. is a bit unfair, I think .. though I know you both laugh - but I thought I'd look up some information for us all: I hope that's ok? Here goes ...

Minnie seems true to form .. as Poms are friendly and playful, while being protective of their owners; it seems that they are very easily house trained. Did you know that pictures of Poms can be found on stone or bronze sculptures dating back to the Egyptian age .. over 4,000 years ago! They are named Pomeranian after the slavic word 'Pommorze' or 'Pommen', which means "along the sea" .. by the Baltic Sea on Poland's north coast.

Poms have had notable owners .. for instance Michelangelo had a Pom who would sit and watch him paint the Sistine Chapel; Sir Isaac Newton had a Pomeranian who once upset a candle on his important papers, which contained more than 20 years of research. Queen Victoria is said to have made them stylish throughout Europe. These Poms were not as small as those of today (now 3 - 4 pounds) .. where they've been bred for their diminutive size, ease of care and general demeanour .. being loved by children such as Lauren!

Bats ... I found this story .. and I'd love to share it ..

For the Love of Bats:
A boy's fascination becomes a family affair . . .
Bert Grantges' room in Arlington, Texas, looks like that of any other typical 14-year-old, but for the sign on the door: "Knock. Bats are in my room." Another sign taped to the refrigerator, "Feed bats!," gives any visitor a further clue that this is not a typical household.

... it goes on: To feed them, Bert has a standing mail order for 1,000 meal worms that arrive every three weeks. The fruit bats consume a total of about 28 apples, oranges, and bananas in a week, along with heaping servings of cottage cheese, monkey chow, molasses, and Jell-O. How does Bert's mother cope with her son's unusual pets? "I suppose it's not much different than a frog in his pocket," Carol says. "Except they eat more."

Golden crowned-flying fox bat

I don't want to disappoint you .. but Bert has now to be in his 30s I'd guess .. but the story is well worth reading .. or for passing on to children or grandchildren .. Bert was from a tot absolutely determined to look after bats!

There are different sorts of bats .. the most prolific (70%) are the insect eating bats, the fruit bats make up 20%, while the carnivorous - I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear - make up less than 10%. The insect eating bats use echolocation .. and Giovanna of Imperfect Action did a wonderful post a while ago entitled "See Without Eyes" on Ben Underwood, 14, who can do amazing things .. please look! .. by using echolocation himself = unheard of in humans.
"Chiroptera" (bats) from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur,
In America bats have become a tourist attraction .. in Austin Texas. The Congress Avenue Bridge is the summer home to North America's largest urban bat colony, an estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. 100,000 tourists per year visit the bridge at twilight to watch the bats leave the roost .. to eat an estimated 10,000 - 30,000 pounds of insects each night.
I hope you enjoyed all these links .. all these subjects - don't seem to mix do they? .. but here they do ..

Thank you Mr Postman for delivering this letter .. and could you please make sure that Lauren reads it .. I'd like her to know I've kept my word and have done a 'story' for her .. my mother will also be pleased to hear about Lauren and my travels .. Do you think Minnie, the Pom, looks like a wingless fruit bat?!
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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positively present said...

I love bats! :) Soon it will be that time of year where I like to lay in the grass in the late evening and look up to the sky to see them flittering around. Exciting!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi PP .. how amazing .. and how wonderful that you'll be able to lie in the grass in the late evening and watch them above you - where are you in the States? I hope you got to see Gio's echolocation "See with out Eyes" chap - he is astounding ..

The net just constantly surprises me with all the information we find - that's so inspiring .. and all these weaving togethers .. yesterday Liara with her giraffe & goddaughter, today you .. and bats!!

Small world or my telepathy is better than I ever imagined ..

Thank you .. Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Daphne @ Joyful Days said...


I was going to say that you have amazing energy to do three mini-posts in one, because I thought they were three separate topics. Then I read your letter to Lauren in detail and realised both the pom and bat stories came from what her little Minnie looked like! You have a gift for finding a story in everything!

You know, you really should consider writing children's books, or some form of story-telling, when you have the time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Daphne .. thank you very much .. and also thank you for 'reading' the post and taking in all the connotations ..

I love linking these subjects together and am just so glad you're enjoying them .. many thanks for your lovely comments

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hilary, thank you for all subjects that you were able to weave together.You would do a wonderful job at books for children. If you need some one to do drawings for it. We know someone that can help with that. All you need to do is ask and we can get you in contact with them. Good job.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deanna and Dan .. thanks for the thumbs up! and thank you for the introduction to an artist - definitely not one of my strengths!

Just glad you're enjoying the stories and links .. I'll keep going while my mother is still with us - then I'll be able to stretch my wings .. I'm going to spread the word more after my training with Gio & Craig, which I can do with relative ease.

Thank you - Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Liara Covert said...

Bats are also a touist attraction in the Sydney (Australia) Botanical Gardens These are not vampire bats. It can be quite extraordinary to look up during the daytime and notice how many are slumbering in the treetops. They are a protected species.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thanks they are here too .. and it's great that they roost in the Botanical Gardens ..I'd love to visit one day .. I have video of my grandparents & uncles (I think my father was too young) in 1932 at the Botanical Gardens with the Bridge in the background - so I have links ..

Here they're protected too .. and we have to maintain certain buildings .. I think one chap had to spend £25,000 on rebuilding a farm building that just might hold bats - but he'd never seen them .. anyway he complied.

Protected species are whole 'nother area! I loved PP's comment that she loves lying out on summer evenings watching them emerge.

Thanks for coming over ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Peter Baca said...

Hi Hilary,

Interesting information on Pomeranian dogs! I never knew that breed existed in Egypt at that time.

I have seen that bats in looked like a movie! Also, there were a huge number at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, U.S.

Thank you for your interesting post!

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete .. glad you like the Pomeranian dog information and their ancestral roots in Egypt.

Yes - I've seen the bats in the Carlsbad Caverns on tv! .. so as you say there are other colonies .. in Australia and in other parts of the world ..

Thanks for commenting and visiting ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Anonymous said...

I also have a Pom named Minnie, please check out her website
I guess you could say she looks like a bat but I think more like a lemur.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lisa .. thanks for coming to visit and meeting up with me - it is good to see you here. I wish you all the luck with your reading and it is so good to know that Minnie listens so carefully to you. When we talk to people and read it is nice to have eye contact - isn't it?

I must have a look at lemurs - they are not creatures i know a lot about - nor are bats, or pomeranians .. but I learn a little all the time!

Good luck with everything - enjoy Thanksgiving .. and Christmas. Fresno is a lovely place to live

Look after yourself - and thank you so much for visiting and finding me ..

Anonymous said...

Hey, i came in following the bat pic for info, and found instead i think i can help you.

If they been told she is a Pom Shih then you in all likelyhood can asume with 99.9% certainty that Minni is a Pom x Shih Tzu mix. So for your young friend I'd recommend some interesting reading about the Shih Tzu breed history. While for you and her mom, if you want more info I'd recommend reading up on or watch this Operah site for a slightly milder approach (however when it comes to the majority of dogs like Minni the story behind most often aint pretty, as such I am glad to see that it sounds like Minni is a happy healthy dog, and I leave a warning of strong photoes if you choose to watch any videos on those sites)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tan .. thanks for following the bat picture info .. my blog is a fun blog giving ideas and thoughts usually about interesting facts across the centuries .. stories to interest my mother and things we can discuss, which will amuse her and stimulate her as she is in her dying months.

Minnie is helping Lauren so much in her life, and it was good to see the calm that Minnie brought Lauren in the hustle and bustle of the airport.

Thank you - Hilary Melton-Butcher
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