I'm back! The cruise was lovely, very relaxing.

Published: 13/11/2009 Comments: 0

I'm back! The cruise was lovely, very relaxing. We sailed from Southampton to the Caribbean, we had 8 days at sea and six days visiting islands before we flew back from Barbados. It was a lovely competition win but I don't think we are cruising people, I did feel a bit stir crazy at times when I couldn't walk off and look at the animals and plants like I usually do on holiday. Once we hit land we had lots of trips booked so that we could explore. The St Lucia, rainforest 'aerial tram' was amazing, we were in a cable car high above the forest and our guide was superb. We then had an 'optional' twenty minute walk in the rainforest. Most of our party went back to the coach but I was off on a mission. There were some lovely caterpillars, butterflies, lizards, humming birds but even in St Lucia the 'health & safety' brigade have been out. Our guide said he'd love to show me more but we had to stay on the path. St Maarten was my favourite island, there were some fantastic lizards, some were like small monitors and then there were the iguanas. When we drove past a remote area and saw three iguanas right by the road and a muddy river nearby I wanted to shout 'stop let me out, come and get me when you've finished your boring sightseeing tour'. We went to a small zoo that was really nice, the animals all looked very healthy. Whilst the guide was talking I was poking around looking for bugs. My eagled eyed husband noticed what looked like some stick insect eggs, stuck onto the marmoset cage but I couldn't reach them without causing a stir and I wouldn't know what they fed on anyway. I could bore you further but back to business.........

The bug house was fine in my absence, most things survived ok. I spent ages putting maggots into the mantis cages each day before we went and it paid off as they had obviously eaten well while I was gone. I didn't loose any of the larger mantids but I also think my daughter was very careful with the spaying. It is so important not to spray the mantis directly, especially when it is moulting. The weather turned much colder while we were away so the heaters came on far more often (they are controlled by a thermostat) and some cages did become a bit too dry.

This week has certainly been manic (yes, even more than usual). I wasn't sure whether to switch the new website off while I was away or continue to let people order. In the end we put a clear notice on each page of the site so that everyone could see I wasn't here and that I would deal with orders and enquiries when I retuned. Well I have been back for less than a week and I'm pleased to say that I have managed to feed all the animals and send out the orders that came in while I was away. There is still a lot to do with the animals and my desk is covered in a mountain of paperwork but I'm getting there! I have a lot of restocking to do and I've already made a start. I will be receiving plenty of new spiders next week, plus scorpions, millipedes, crabs, stick insects etc.

Just before I went away I decided that I must clear my bug house of Pallid cockroaches. They make great food for mantids, spiders, scorpions etc but I just cannot contain them. They breed prolifically and the newly hatched nymphs are tiny, consequently they are (were) everywhere in my bug house. I have set down cricket traps, put anything that they might eat in sealed boxes and vacuumed shelves, behind tanks and anywhere else that they might hide. I still haven't managed to completely eradicate the Surinam cockroaches, I have been trying for several years but the odd one still keep turning up.

Oh well, better get a move on, no time for entering competitions this week but I have bought a Euro Lottery ticket!


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