TREE HOUSE UPDATE

9th June 2011


Never wish for something as it may come true they say! How right the saying is! For the last month we have been longing for the monsoon to break and three days ago it did. Every day the heat and humidity seem to become more unbearable. Just a few days back I checked the temperature at 1 pm in our upstairs sitting room and it was 38C with 80% humidity. To make things worse the constant power cuts meant we often did not even have fans on at night which made sleeping almost impossible.

To compound the problem our well ran dry because of all the water we use every day for the monkeys swimming pools and we only get mains water from 4am to 9.30am each day. As a result I have been starting work each day for the last month at 5.45am in order to clean out the monkeys and to fill their swimming pools before the mains water is turned off. I have to say that old age is really taking its toll, I am now 60 but feel like 90, and I find that by 8am when the staff arrives I am totally exhausted.

Anyway as I said we longed for the rain and after just 3 days how we wish we could go back to the dry! The rain really has come with avengence and I now dread the coming 3-4 months. It is true the temperature has dropped and ones brain is just about able to function again but the problems we face are daunting.

Thankfully despite the heat we forced ourselves to work in the heat of the day so we could get the tarpaulins in place to protect the monkeys from the rain. If we had not we and the poor monkeys would have been in a hell of a state. However, Snatch has conspired to make life as difficult as he can for us. Snatch is the Alpha male in the large pen just outside out kitchen and he is so big and powerful he would simply rip your head off if you tried going in the pen with him. Actually for a fully grown male monkey he is extraordinarily gentle and will at times still groom me through the wire but I have little doubt what he would do to me if I dared to try and enter his territory.

The problem with Snatch is that he is far too clever for his own good. We cannot possibly clean his pen with him in it so we have to tempt him into the indoor section so we can clean the outside section. The trouble is he knows it all too well and I dread to think how many man hours have been spent waiting for Snatch to condescend to go in. To over-come this problem we decided to put in a large sliding door to separate the top part of the outside run from the lower section with the swimming pool in. This was a great step forward but Snatch had his revenge by throwing down the platform they all sleep on at night. How he achieved this I cannot think but he did and we have wasted virtually two days waiting for him to be tempted into the indoor section so we could affect a repair. Thankfully after a lot of hard work we achieved this this-afternoon. What a great way to spend a Sunday but there again Sundays are just the same as any other day in this madhouse.

Scotty our latest monkey is settling in well and has made friends with Nora, Basanti and Preston. However, his chat up lines require more than a little working on as he has no idea of monkey etiquette and thinks he should be able to rape any female on sight. Nora and Basanti have done their best to educate him and Nora hit him so hard he had a black eye for a couple of days, regretfully it did little to curb his enthusiasm!

Jo is still busy night and day with the baby Langurs although just occasionally we have someone to baby sit and she is able to escape. Her idea of escaping is to dash to Mapusa Market to check for dumped puppies and kittens. Her trip yesterday was somewhat daunting to say the least. The rain was so heavy the whole market was under water and she ended up wading through water knee deep to rescue a number of puppies and kittens that would otherwise have drowned. The water became so fast she became worried that she was going to be knocked over. It was so bad all the stall holders abandoned their stalls and there was simply a mass of fruit and veg being washed away. Regretfully she was in no position to make use of this opportunity for free monkey food!

As for the two babies they are growing so fast and getting so adventurous they are hard to keep track of and Jo now has the additional task of constantly dashing after them to stop them getting into difficulties. Another problem the heat brought was that the swimming pool became too warm to be enjoyable and even the monkeys stopped diving under the water and just splashed about on top. Scotty loves playing in the water with Preston and Rosy is fast becoming a good swimmer. Aaji was afraid of water to start with but now loves it and will dive to the very bottom of the pool if the water is not too hot.

I am told the appeal is going well with lots of pledges of funds and help so thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to offer support. Please do all you can to encourage people to go onto our website so we can attract even more support.

John Hicks

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