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Thursday, February 21, 2008

A trip to the zoo...and more geckos!!

Yesterday I went to the Zoo!! Belfast Zoo in fact.

Hubby is on the Research Committee for the major zoos in Ireland..that is Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, Dublin Zoo and Belfast Zoo and this time the meeting was in Belfast.

It was only my second time going to Northern Ireland and my first time in Belfast.

Up at 5am to catch the commuter Aer Arann flight, we were in Belfast by 8am.
it's a lovely city. This is the Belfast City Hall finished in 1906 and now closed for renovations and the ultra modern Belfast wheel sitting happily next to it.
It looked beautiful at night before we left.

It was a typical February day that could best be described as 'dank'. It was very cold, damp and foggy.
I had found on the internet that there was a bead shop, Abacus Beads and found it that was me happy. It was in fact another 'gecko eye shop'!! and I came out with another great selection. 'Twas only two weeks ago that i thought that I had the ultimate eye collection from the Galway Bead Shop, but ...well you can never have too many eyes, now can you!!

After lunch we caught the Metro bus to the zoo, quite a way out of the city and walked up the steep hill to the entrance.

The zoo is built on the side of a hill, when you get to the top there are lovely views out over Belfast.

While hubby was at the meeting I got to climb to the top and see the animals. Most of them were sensibly inside their houses in the warm, some of which I could look inside. But a few braved the elements and I got to see my first meercat...just the one. His home was being 'done up a bit' and he sat and watched. Gorgeous he was.

As well as the interesting animals there were some great carvings made by a local chain saw artist.

I loved the Red Pandas,the Siberian Tiger..mmm not a great day for taking photos.

The carved sea lions made from a single log.

The carved lion

and the Barbary Lion now extinct in the wild.

That brings me back to geckos again and an addendum to my last post about keeping geckos. As their natural environments are rapidly dissapearing due to deforestation it is so very important that these beautiful little animals are maintained in private collections by enthusiasts who have the expertise to keep and breed them.
Long live Geckos!!!

I have been tatting another two Geckos this time in Marilee's thread Forest.
This little fella has Swarovski crystals running along his back bone and bronze pearl eyes.

This second one is my favorite, he looks really gecko like with an extra ring in his tail as most geckos have tails the same length as their body. The body is longer too as the new bead idea has made each ring bigger.

This gecko is very like Naultinus stellatus.. the Starry Tree Gecko from New Zealand. A little too dark in colour maybe but the markings are pretty good. He has AB Swarovski crystals on his head that really catch the light. Mmmmm I am really happy with these geckos. can't stop now, way too many ideas for Jane's lovely pattern.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Poor gecko!!

Baby geckos normally make it out of the egg with no problem but every now and then one has trouble getting out or emerges with some deformity.

This next little gecko was trouble from the very first ring with a bead that didn't close properly, and it just went on from there. There was more untatting done than 'normal', maybe I was getting too confident. Well she who never made a mistake never made anything!!
Finally he was finished and as I stood back to admire him I suddenly realised..oh no! he is deformed!!!

Take a look at his back legs..the one at the top of the photo doesn't come out of his hip, poor little gecko!!
I fiddled with his head too to make it a little longer and put Swarovski crystals in the head rings.

Notice too that again the legs are colour co-ordinated back and front. This is too much of a coincidence to be true!

Another gecko..number 4 of this run was made not with hand dyed thread but with Flora 20 variegated. My very favorite discontinued thread.

Did a bit more fiddling with the head, this time adding extra rings either side of the snout, not sure this helps much but does give me a slightly different shaped gecko. He has a Swarovski crystal too, sure catches the light. Golly look how the legs are colour co-ordinated in this thread too, quite by chance must be some sort of magic pattern!!

She reminds me of my favorite gecko Phelsuma standingi (Standing's gecko). Not quite the right colour but with a bit of computer jiggery pokery here she is...much more of a silvery lichen green. Also a day gecko from Madagascar she hasn't got any bright coloured spots or stripes.

I am sure you will all know or have guessed that DH keeps geckos...some of the best kept geckos in the world!!
He used to keep Day geckos but nowadays they are mostly nocturnal ones.
But there is one remaining standingi, we have had her for 19 years, no photos of her as she is way to fast for that. Here is a link to one in a zoo, looks so like ours.

One day she saw her opportunity and she was out of her cage in a flash. There was no way we could catch her, she is like greased lightening and as smart as they come.

Every time I would go into the room there she would be one the wall but in a flash she had spotted me and was gone. Sometimes we wouldn't even see her just hear the swoosh as she was gone!

She lived free for 11 years, a very happy gecko mopping up any flies that wandered in. The gecko room has a velux window which is open all summer and what amused us the most was that she used to go out of the window onto the roof.....and come back in again....she was obviously a home loving gecko!

Until one day we suprised we both went into the room there she was on the frame of the velux, neither out nor in. She nearly jumped out of her skin and before you could say P h e l s u m a s t a n d i n g i she was gone..out of the window.

It took several days before we could be sure that she hadn't come back in. We searched the shrubs in the garden, knowing that in the summer she wouldn't die of cold.
No luck, no sign of her.
Maybe she had been picked off the roof by a bird,a big bird as she is about 10 inches from nose to tail. Or maybe she fell off the roof and a cat got her.


One month later while we were out and our son was in there was a knock on the of the next door neighbour's grandchildren stood there and said (one of those memorable phrases!!)

"Grandad says to tell you there is a gecko in our it one of yours?!?!?!?!"

Mmmm now you are probably thinking..poor neighbour.. but they are well use to us! and the grandchildren come in to see the geckos.

And so off went Criss to bring her long she had been there in the small cloakroom/shower room between our two houses and, how he caught her we will never know!

She was not unscathed as she had lost most of her tail, had an nasty encounter somewhere!

She now lives in a cage again, was given lots of TLC and has regrown her tail.

I feel very sorry that she is no longer free.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Gecko Twins

Well it's official! I have joined the HDTA (Hand Dyed Thread Addicts)!

Yarnplayer has such a skill for wonderful colour combinations and I have been itching to get my hands on colours that would make wonderful geckos. Her shop is a treasure chest and I found so many threads that would make nice geckos that I had to order them all. Here are a few of them, watch out for more geckos!!

They are so nicely presented in skeins lying in tissue that just looking at them is a treat.
But must get down to using them!

First one I have tried is 'Fern' in Size 20 and I am so pleased. It is a lovely smooth thread to use, doesn't knot and the long picots don't twist, what more could I ask!

Geckos generally lay two eggs at a time, and so here are my twin geckos that just hatched out! using my very favorite Jane Eborall pattern.

They are so alike that it's a case of spot the difference. It was just by chance that the front legs had the same colour combinations and the back legs were similar to each other too. I think that Marilee must have know just just how to space her colour changes. Even more strange is that the second gecko has almost identical colour changes. Also quite by chance, I just continued where I left off on the skein and measured my length of thread. If anyone would like to know my geckos took 6.45m on Shuttle 1 and 4.35m on Shuttle 2, beware tho' as I am a tight tatter. That works out at 10.80m for a gecko, so a 45m skein I hope will give me 4 geckos!!

The second gecko has slightly different beads and has no beads on his head, this makes his head stand out a bit better. More experiments with beads to follow.
The eye beads were a great find as they are so, so gecko like.

Well they would have been if my geckos had been nocturnal ones, they do have very pale eyes. But my geckos are most like Phelsuma grandis a day gecko from Madagascar and they have dark eyes ( well I can't get everything right!).

Phelsuma species are very brightly coloured, greens red, blues.
Look them up they are stunning.

Well my two quickly took off up the nearest tree trunk, hoping to escape...fat chance little fellows!!