Be yourself

Be true to you...with a little help
make the connection
say what you feel
and smile, more

Word for 2011

My word of the year is TRY.
I give up too easily,
I don't start because I think I'll never finish,
This year if it looks interesting,
if it looks worthwhile,
if it's something I always wanted to do,
well, this year I'm going to TRY
and lets see how much more I can achieve

Sunday, 6 March 2011

For goodness sake

I'm saying hello all with a heavy heart. 
I've regained my blog, but I've lost a treasure.  
Today my lovely, outstanding and amazing, I mean a.m.a.z.i.n.g 79 years-young father Don died.  He left a brother, two sisters, four children, twenty grandchildren, nine greatgrandchildren, 
many special friends, his local church congregation, and the Deaf sign language community in the U.K. at a loss as to how they will ever fill the huge gap he leaves in all their lives.
He was the most loving, considerate, giving and compassionate of men.
And he overcame enormous obstacles with grace and hard work.
His motto was 'sacrifice before self'.
You would love him too if you'd the luck to know him, I know that.
(whoops, he'd be much better at this techno stuff than I am, and have a giggle at my ineptitude)
I'll miss him forever.
Byebye Dad
Love you
and give Mam a hug from us

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bed Back and Beyond

Hello you, how are things?
Here we've just finished.....
five months of house-fixing-activities
thirty days of car-filled-drop-offs of little stuff
one day of removals-men-with-van for big stuff
Job done.  
Well, erm, kind of,
Someone has another couple of weeks dismantling/rebuilding
office/work-shop man-type-stuff.
Hmmm, ok,
it has to be said, 
I'll be twiddling my paint brush for a little while longer
But not today
today my back hurt 
so, I gave it.....
A cosy bed
a hot water bottle

and a very good book

 I'll start unpacking....tomorrow

*deep sigh*
Happy. soon. me :)
today's post is dedicated to Francesca's ode to hotwaterbottles;)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Let's Dance, Let's Bounce ........

Hello folks
I'm so grateful for the masses of helpful advice on starting my garden adventures.  Thank you all:)
Brrr, just when we thought it was safe to discard the thermal layer
it's sub-zero frrreezing again.  Ah well, no sign of snow here so at least we can get out and about.  Anyone not in the U.K. may be unaware that the slightest twinkle of white stuff is all it takes to bring this great nation completely to it's knees.  And then some.  Ah but we do love a nice wintery scene, be it a greetings card, calendar picture, or a blog post.  

We do have some signs of spring around magical meadows, oh yes.  
These include boy Blackbirds taking each other on in the my-beak-is-bigger-more-yellow-and-shiney-than-yours dancing competition for territory and girls.  
Very entertaining to observe through my kitchen window.  
And the Jackdaws are pairing up.  Up above the High Street on the chimney pots where they love to nest, I saw two Jackdaws kissing, as I waited for my bus yesterday.  Hey, that could be the start of a nursery rhyme....Two Jackdaws kissing....hmm.
I'm still waiting to spot the first snowdrops.  I remember last year they were later than usual and that was a very cold and snowy winter too.  Shouldn't be long now though.  And best of all, the past three mornings I've had my wake-up call from the Dawn Chorus.  Each day a little louder and more exuberant than the one before. It really sets me up well hearing all the different birds chiming in with their part.  Marvellous!
One of my favourite things is to go out and about watching the birds.  Most of my life I enjoyed being outdoors walking the hills and dales here in the north of England.  But somehow, when I was out in nature it was animals, rather, mammals that I watched for.  A walk was a disappointment if I didn't spot a weasel or a squirrel, or some reindeer.........

But birds?

Birds just didn't cross my radar (lol)!

Then, one day in August 2007 we were camping in the Scottish Highlands.  Up on the Cairngorm Mountains, we were holed-up in our car on a mountain road, eating our supper and playing scrabble (!) as we waited-out a dismal and very cold drizzle-and-mist evening squall.  Out of my window I saw a tiny bird.  I watched it for ages, as fascination grew.  I was knocked sideways by it's beauty.  I wondered at it's markings, the tiny orange legs and beak and black and white  face mask.  I marvelled at how something so small could possibly find it's way up onto this arctic tundra and survive. I was amazed. 
And, ok this might be the wisdom of age (I am very old), I tell you, at that moment, 
my quality of life soared.
And I finally got birds!
(I later found out this was a Ringed Plover, passing through on a summer holiday from Greenland or Canada!)
The following day we climbed to the top of Cairngorm itself.  Quite a busy spot, with hikers and munro baggers (strange breed of homosapien) and all.  And there on the rock-field, on a gale-blown landscape..........oh my word!
You'll have to zoom in really close, but I promise you - it's there,
 right slap bang in the middle a tiny snow bunting
One of only a hundred breeding pairs resident here.

Life without my birds? No thanks.
Talking about quality of life, reminds me, something's changed around here.  
Over the past three or four years I've had to cut back on the walking and swimming and general enjoying moving around, keeping fit, getting fitter activities.  
Life got pretty miserable for a time.  
But yesterday, after a very difficult few months
and all thanks to the wonder that is the National Health Service,  
I finally got the eight-weeks-post-op all clear and fit to exercise I was waiting for OH YEAH! 
(Does that include trampolining, I asked :p Of course they said, no problem!)
So, my daily routine will pick up a bit of pace now.  Some speed walking.  A dip and a dive.  A bouncy turn or two.  And before you know it - look out mountains, here I come!
Yes, ok, I'll take it slow to start with, don't worry.  After all, I am very old.

Have a good day all
See you soon;)
Birds and wildlife encounters today:
  1.  A fantastic Sparrowhawk swooping across the gardens after a lunch of small birdies  (and staying long enough perched on a post for me and Dad to both get out our binoculars for a very good long look at impressive plumage, talons, yellow beady eyes and beak:)
  2.  A near-miss with a fox streaking across the road in front of us on our full-moon-lit drive home - whoops! too close Mr fox (in pursuit of his first mate maybe?)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow? Do Tell.

Hello all you lovely folk:)
Thanks for all your lovely comments on Sunday's getting-out-and-about post
You're great!
Now then, I know there are some gardeners amongst you.
Some with small plots or giant gardens,
fields or crofts or council allotments.
Some growing fine flowers.
Some harvesting every fruit and vegetable possible.
Some of you just doing your best and giving it a go.
I admire you all.  
But, well (I'm a bit shy to ask) you see.....
I need a bit of help and advice.

'Cos, after a bit of browsing during my afternoon tea-break 

with helpful, healthful hints

and a yearning for fresh greens

It's time to get serious

But I ask you.........

Where do I start?

And quite frankly.....

Is there any hope?
Or should I just stick to my sprouted-garden-in-a-jar?
*Sigh...wishful thinking....of the Good Life.....Dreams*

Get on with it pamela . . . Carpe diem!

Hello everyone.
Nice to see you!
So, how are you this grey and dismal January sunday morning?
Still snuggling under cosy old Radio Blanket?

a few magazines or some favourite paperbacks 
tempting you to linger ?

Come on now.......
that's the idea, get a tasty breakfast inside you

do a few stretches

plan a few adventures 

take a break along the way......

meet up with a few friends

and take a the top!

Now don't you feel better?
That's grand!
Bye bye for now
And thank you all so much for stopping by
and for all your lovely fantastic comments!
See you again soon;)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Send a hug xxx

Hello people
Just a quick note. I hope you can help.
During my early morning blog session I came across a so tragic and sad situation. 
A blogger, Lori, who I occasionally pop into visit when I fancy a giggle (such a funny girl) now has to face life alone with her two little ones after her husband Tony died yesterday.  He was 34.  Lori is 29.   He harmed himself, in front of her, which was as she says, during a psychotic episode but completely out of character.  During a torturous bedside vigil she forgave him his actions but had to watch as each medical intervention failed and Tony left her.
Lori's blog is the Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum and she's in Sydney Australia.
If you're able to leave her a message I know it's hugely appreciated, as Lori says
 "This- the Internet, my community- this is where I've been coming when the pain is so bad I cannot breathe. I read your messages, I feel your prayers, and it gives me faith and comfort".
Thank you kind peeps.
(and I won't be complaining, or moaning at my man today, at all, promise).

Monday, 10 January 2011

80/20 Rules, O.K?

Hello lovely folks and how is this new year treating you so far? 
Looking around blogland has been really delightful this week, with all the wonderful pictures and descriptions of peep's experiences and achievements for 2010.
Some of the Resolutions are great and I may well be copying:)  
But not just yet.
 I've long tended not to jump into resolution enactment mode until February the first.  Get the festive aftermath well cleared before starting afresh.  It works for me.
To be truthful, my best and most long-lasting Big Changes have taken place in August and September.  The reason is two-fold.  I have a late summer birthday.  Always a good point for reflection and renewal.  And in U.K. education circles 'the new term' begins after a six-week break, typically last two weeks in July 'til first week in September. 
 As a parent this is significant - the fresh uniforms and equipment, blank timetables eager to be filled, and the choices of after-school activities, sports, crafts, drama, music, vegging-out if front of the T.V., computer gaming skills.
So you get the picture.  And of course significant birthdays take on another level of intensity (unless you choose the Ostrich method hehe).  Got to do something meaningful.  Paraglide when you're eighty.  Bungee jump when you reach ninety!
Say a person is approaching their fiftieth birthday.  They have been through some dark and troublesome times.  The sense of a new start, rebirth, builds.  Imagine if you will that person has done, as many do, hankered after a different lifestyle, something major.  They have pushed this desire to one side repeatedly over the years, making 'too difficult' or 'no time' or 'not enough information' their reasoning.  
Then it happens.  The tipping point.  The time is now.  The change is made.  The announcement as well, possibly.
In 2005 aged fifty my decision was to be vegan.  For me that meant that no animals were used, exploited, killed.  So, what I ate,drank, wore, consumed, bathed in, dressed in, gifted, and created became cruelty-free.
That was my decision.  
Made by me, personal to me, and not through pressure, persuasion or politic.
The 80/20 rule you say, what about that?  Generally means we use/do/act/make ethical choices the majority of the time.  The remaining portion, is outside of our control, or rather, our available choices (an oftenmost example of the rule applied to the mundane is when describing us as only ever wearing twenty percent of our clothing - not all at the same time you understand - whilst the rest remains in the wardrobe, a wasted resource, and an expensive one at that!).
But here's the thing.....  
Because nothing is absolute.  And there are many shades of this thing called vegan.  Personally I respect them all.  We live in complex societies, consuming all manner of things, from all places on this earth.  
I added provisos and amendments as I learned what my change meant for me.
I included human exploitation as one of the important (for me) factors to be avoided in my consumption-choice-criteria.
I wanted earth-friendly not earth-abusive practices used in providing my food and consumables.  I didn't want wastefulness.  I wanted fair-trade and fair-wage.  
So for example I decided I would not buy cheap new clothing from high street stores with very low prices and high turnover.  You know the shops I mean.
I'm still reviewing my criteria.  New information emerges.  We learn about the impact on communities of the western world's high consumption of new and the disuse, recycling or otherwise, of old.  We learn that the growing of cotton forces millions into unhealthful lives living under the poverty level.  That cotton is the world's most polluting crop.  That huge areas of land given over to one cash crop that is highly managed with vast quantities of pesticides is not compatible with life for animals.  Cotton is a vegan issue.  That children and women spend their days picking through mountains of waste to find plastics to sell for recycling, and earn enough to eat.  Plastic is a vegan issue.  That boys and men on the west coast of Africa, and on the Indian sub-continent, risk life and limb to break-up and reuse machinery and electronics, an activity deemed too risky or not economically viable for western workers.  Consumption is a vegan issue.  
So here I sit, typing my blog on a computer wherein the precious metals used in the tiny chip linking me to the worldwide web are mined by children in horrific circumstances.  And the chip in my mobile phone is part of a chain linking families, using their bare hands to pick ore out of the ground, to the militia gangs of rapists, thugs and murderers terrorising communities in Congo.  I'm not being hypocritical.   I'm applying the 80/20 rule.  And I never forget that.
So when I say I'm vegan, and I live by ethical principles,  what I mean is, I'm doing my best.  But it's never going to be enough.
I'm still learning.
So, let's see.  
What are you, 80/20, or All-Or-Nothing?
Best Regards
Edited 11/01/2011 to include a link to the most amazingly informative and compassionate and lovely blogger on the planet (I am very fond, it's true) who will tell you HERE a little more about how children suffer