Java’s been gone for the past week or more and I have been so preoccupied with so much other stuff that I haven’t really missed him. But now, back in the hills, and more relaxed in the near-pristine environment, I couldn’t help wondering at his absence and the reason he hadn’t kept in touch. Oh well…

Heey maan…

I guess I spoke too soon – or could it be that just thinking about him…?

Waazzup bro?

He moves over to the couch, changes the station on WorldSpace from Maestro, which had some Handel aria on, to The Hop, the 60s rock station that has Ray Charles doing I got a Woman. The fixins appear as if by magic and sooner than I know it the sweet smell of some classy sinsemilla fills the morning air. Buster, Bruiser and Rocky are happy Java’s back, and Sally, who’s still nursing her four puppies, also comes in to greet him and gets fondled in return. I don’t ask questions, knowing very well that Java habitually loosens up in his own time. Zombie has replaced Ray Charles with the original version of She’s Not There, an old rock classic, covered more recently by Santana.

It’s a great day, with the sun streaming through the trees outside the study where we are hanging out, so I decide to take a walk with the dogs whilst Java does his thing. It doesn’t take to long before the dogs spook a Jungle Fowl (Gallus lafayettii) in spite of my yells for them to stop. They get back to a stern reprimand and as we head down to the bottom end of the garden I spot a beautiful Krait (Bungarus caeruleus) in a heap of compost. Thankfully the dogs have missed it and are busy with other investigations. The Krait is a beauty – gleaming black and white as the sun’s rays plays off sections of its body. I move it off the compost with a stick so that there would be no chance of the dogs spotting it on our way back and it moves into the live fence and to the scrub beyond.

On the way back to the house, near the pond, we disturb a flock of Lady Torrington Wood Pigeons (Columba torringtoni) – a flock of at least fifteen, that were feeding on seeds that had fallen off the trees on the lawn by the guest cottage. The Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cineria) that was fluttering by the pond didn’t seem too concerned and went on with its breakfast and its fellow-migrant, the Forest Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus) was also spotted feeding in the leaf-litter down the path. Something else got the dogs’ attention and they rushed off into the brush all excited. They had caught and killed a Civet Cat (Vivericula indica) last week when I was away, and the helpers had cooked it into a dry curry. They said it was quite delicious and regretted that I wasn’t there to try it out!

Back indoors, I find Java absorbed in Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man.

Hey maan, check out dem lyrics – seem to be fittin fo dis place an all dat sheet dat’s goin down bout media freedom and all dat odder sturff.

I’m familiar with the song and the lyrics are applicable in so many ways to so many situations; but that’s another matter best left to another time.