Dear Friends,

Dear Friends,

I feel I should write a quick note about the animals around the house. Ponyo is the black male cat of the house. He is 8 months old and very sleek. He purrs when he rubs against our legs and sits next to us on the sofa if we stay quiet. However he does complain and object when subjected to cuddles.

4 tiny kittens were abandoned by their mum a week ago. Our German administrator, Wenke, has adopted them. Two of them are tiger-striped and two of them are black and white. They are really small and need to be fed with a syringe four times a day. Thankfully they sleep through the night and need no night feeds. They have insatiable appetites. When their bellies are full, they are too heavy to move and they just sit or roll around.

Claudio’s predecessor, Sara, was given a rooster at her going away party 2 weeks ago. She apparently wanted to keep it as a pet. Unfortunately, one of our nurses is terrified of birds so I am planning to cook a Sunday roast this weekend; in the meantime, we are trying to fatten him up. Ponyo thinks it is great that he has something new to bully and chase.

So far we have planted some lavender seeds and tulip bulbs in the garden. We will probably continue to work on the garden over the next few weeks.