A blog about life and Ripples Crafts

Not quite as planned …

Today didn’t go quite as planned!  It dawned bright, sunny, and dry, and the plan was to produce as much dyed yarn as possible to fulfill a rather large order.  And I had planned to sit down and write a blog entry about the construction of the workshop.  And it started so well ….. by lunch time I was a little behind what I had planned, but Stevan needed a break from the studying so I made up some sandwiches and we headed off to the hills for a picnic lunch.  We were on our way home, walking past Lexie’s loch, when we literally stumbled across this little chap:

Well, actually, Peggy did.  She had run ahead and had her nose down in some heather, when she suddenly jumped backwards.  I think she had been hissed at by this youngster.   We got the dogs away so they didn’t disturb the otter cub, and we moved away in case its mother was nearby wanting to come and collect her cub.  It was giving off the most heart wrenching squeals.

Stevan then left me to look out for the mother while he took the dogs home and phoned the local wildlife ranger.  He also rang the otter rescue centre to find out what we should do.  They said it was most likely it had been left there by its mother while she went to find a new holt, and would either be back for it within the hour, or something had gone wrong and the cub had been abandoned.   When he came back to tell me what he had found out, the little otter cub had begun exploring, and when it saw Stevan it made a beeline for him and went right up to his feet.  He didn’t move, and the cub had a good sniff around before heading off to the undergrowth again.

We checked on it an hour later, and it was still there.  More worringly, there was a buzzard circling overhead.  I kept an eye on it for about 20 minutes, and then we left it for another hour.  After ringing the sanctuary again we took their advice and went and lifted it.  By now the weather was turning cold, and the otter was clearly becoming quite weak.

Stevan collected it in a sturdy box, while I stayed behind to make up the liquid mixture as advised by the sanctuary.  It wasn’t particularly appetising, but apparently what would be needed by the otter to rehydrate.  However when we attempted to get near to it she just hissed at us, and was obviously extremely frightened.  We put a small plate with liquid in the box and left her to it.

Our neighbours, coincidentally, had been out fishing this afternoon and had come home armed with fresh mackerel.  We invited them in to see our newest houseguest, and we were pleased that we did, as they are both confident in handling small, wriggly animals as they keep ferrets.  Without a moments hesitation (but carefully armed with thick gloves) our neighbour scooped up the otter, wrapped her in a towel, and managed to get some of the liquid down her using a syringe.  We then offered her a bit of mackerel, cut up into tiny, tiny pieces, which she proceeded to wolf down.  She was clearly very hungry.

So now she, who has been named Winifred, is tucked up with two cosy towels in a cosy box, with a full tummy, in a warm cupboard in the kitchen for the night.  Tomorrow she will have a long journey in the car to Ullapool, where we will be met by someone from the rescue centre, and she will then be taken on an even longer journey across the sea to Skye where they expect to have to keep her for another 15 months before she can be released into the wild.

I promise to update you soon on the progress of the workshop.

But, to end this posting on a really high note, I know that you will all be pleased to hear that my Mum is making excellent progress.  She had a scan last week to check progress on the neck injury, and she was told today that it was knitting together nicely and she can now, finally, remove the extremely uncomfortable (but vital) neckbrace that she’s been in for the last four and a half months, and she can now use a smaller, more flexible neckbrace during the day, and at night she doesn’t have to have one on at all.  With the weather warming up in Australia this really is good news.  She was not looking forward to wearing a hot, sweaty neckbrace during summer.  Thank you to everyone who has asked after my Mum and Dad.  Your thoughts have really been appreciated.


The Longest Day


Back to the workshop


  1. great news about your mum and I am in raptures over Winifred

  2. i thunked on it. i looked at it some more. yep, that top picture really needs to be submitted for publication! or the cover of a book for kids!

  3. Isobel

    Helen: wonderful news about your mum, she and your dad must be overjoyed that their life is one more step to being normal. Has it really been 4 1/2 months, my word, it must seem much longer to them and to you.

    Winifred was a doll, could she have been anymore adorable, and how fortunate to have found such a couple as you Stevan to take care of her.

  4. Bless you both for rescuing this poor wee thing. She’s lovely! You and Stevan seem such caring people.

    I understand Stevan’s difficulty with going back to school. Last year, at age 43, I decided to go back to school to get my college degree. I’d read about a 102 year old woman who had just graduated with a Master’s degree and it gave me the push I’d been needing. It was difficult to get back into studying but I found that I enjoyed it so much more this time around and I got A’s in all my classes. I’m sure that Stevan will adjust quickly, too.

    Great news about Mum!

  5. Jenni young

    Hi Helen
    Greetings from the Borders
    Sue distributed your blog address this morning at yoga so I thought I ‘d have a peep.
    Wonderful tale about the otter and what pictures. Not many chances to get so involved.
    Is the workshop going to be for your dyeing?
    What is your house like? I guess not big enough for working in?
    I am just knitting up some handspun Polwarth wool into a baby’s jumper. It is super soft and my finest spinning as I prefer it to look handspun.
    I belong to the online guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers so enjoy contact with a lot of textile people and workshops.
    Will pop in to your blog sometimes now I know the address.
    Best wishes from Jenni Young

  6. Maggie

    What a lovely story and a beautiful creature. I am envious you have not only seen but taken care of an otter.
    Don’t know if you know but in Native American Medicine animals, the otter represents ‘Woman Medicine’ – applies to both men and women. Balanced female energy and playful.

    Great news about Mum.

  7. Jill Newton

    Lucky little Winnifred that you decided to have a picnic! Hope she flourishes when re-introduced to the wild.

    Great that you Mum is doing so well and hope progress continues.

  8. Linda

    So pleased you could save the little otter and even more pleased thatb your mother is doing so nicely.

  9. Mia

    She is so cute. I hope she makes it. And that was a lovely discovery on a lunch break. You need to dye some yarn based on her coloring.

  10. I’m so pleased that Winifred found you two. Otters are such beautiful creatures, I hope she does well and meets lots of other little cuddlies in her new life. I think if I was going to be relocated, Skye would suit me down to the ground!
    Well done to Mum too for behaving herself and getting better quickly!

  11. awwwww…winifred and mom!

  12. Fab news about your mum.
    Hi Winifred !
    Hope she has a long and happy life, having, very luckily, been found and rescued by you.

  13. Jill R.

    What a lucky little otter to be found by you two. I’m a great otter fan, ever since ‘Ring of Bright Water’…..

    And such good news about your Mum, very pleased to hear it.

  14. Sarah Smith

    Well done to both you and Stevan on rescueing the otter. They are lovely creatures. Also great news about your Mom. You all must be really pleased with the progress she as made. Hope your Dad is well too.

    Best wishes

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