Tuesday, 31 May 2011

And I Wish You...

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What I've been keeping myself busy with the last few weeks - another video of photos and poetry. :-)



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Monday, 30 May 2011

Bouncing Back

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Just a short note to say I'm still around, but no luck yet on figuring out help for my hands-feet pain-numbness issue. The blood tests came in today and my thyroid was ok, so... I go back to the doctors again tomorrow to start all over again. :-\

Typing is slow as my hands feel numb and some fingers won't bend properly. I can use a mouse ok, so at least I can move about and get some stuff done, but typing is not fun. I am working on some art stuff and will try to get that up on my blog this week, but for now typing long stuff is just too much effort. Hopefully I'll be bouncing back to good health soon!

And talking of bouncing and back... the rabbits are back in our garden. :-) I haven't been able to get any good photos yet, but I did find one of our buns starring in a YouTube video. Honestly, I swear the rabbit in this 'Simon's Cat' cartoon is Bun Boy! ;-)


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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wild Gifts

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Hubby and I bought my parents a subscription to the Scottish Wildlife Trust. I was expecting their membership cards to come by post, but not expecting the BIG envelope that did arrive. They sent all sorts of goodies in a folder...

Along with their membership cards there were booklets on particular wildlife projects, maps of all their reserves (you can visit for free as a member), an event diary,


some gorgeous prints/photos of an Osprey and Scottish wildcat
and their award winning Scottish Wildlife magazine.



Not a bad deal for just £2 a month! ;-)

That's their 'senior citizen' rate, but all their subscriptions are low - between £1.50 and £4 a month. Mom and dad love their gift, especially because they know their subscription money is going to help protect the wildlife and nature of Scotland.


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Monday, 23 May 2011

Blown Away

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Sunday's picnic turned out to be quite an adventure! We went and picked up Hubby's brother, as he's been keen to try out his new binoculars, and set out for the Cairngorm mountains. The morning had been gorgeous and sunny, but as we moved towards midday the wind grew stronger and the clouds kept rolling by in waves of rain-to-sunshine. Thankfully we managed to park up and picnic during a sunshine moment. Pork pies, hard boiled eggs and salad vanished pretty fast! ;-)

We took a brief walk along the edge of Loch Morlich before heading up the mountains to check the view. It was VERY windy up there! You don't get an idea of that from the photo...


The noise of the wind was a howl outside the car and I really struggled to get the door open so I could stand by the rails and take this photo. I loved the way the clouds were changing over Loch Morlich in the distance, but it was too windy to stand there and take more pictures. I was really scared the camera might be blown out my hands. My brother-in-law was more sensible and used his binoculars through a half opened car window.

We stopped off for a cup of tea at Revack, where the Red Squirrels usually run about under the tables, but they were not coming out to play in all that wind and drizzle. I can't say I blame them. It wasn't pleasant weather, but we did get to see collared doves, coal tits and great tits taking peanuts from the bird feeders outside the restaurant.

After that we took a drive home via Loch Garten, where the Ospreys nest. They were sensibly tucked away in the trees, but... I did get to see an even more exciting (for me anyway) bird. As we drove through forests and fields I saw this big black bird near the edge of some trees. It had very bright red "eyebrows" - a male black grouse.


I've never seen one before... and he wasn't my last "first sighting" of the day either. That happened closer to home, after we stopped to take a few more photos of an old bridge across the railway line. I loved the difference between the cloudy/shadow areas and the sun on the railway tracks.




So, what else did I get to see for the first time? Well... we were nearly back in Inverness, passing through woodland, when a creature ran across the road. It had a long sleek brown body and a truly beautiful long fluffy tail. It was a Pine Marten! Too fast to even dream of taking a photo, but still a perfect ending to a very enjoyable day. After all that wind it took a dash of furry magic to really 'blow me away'. ;-)
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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Quick Update

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Sorry I've been so quiet. My hands are still acting weird and typing is slow. I'm still waiting for my blood test results, due to some problems. The doctor is pretty much sure it's either the fibromyalgia or thyroid. I won't know which for at least 10 more days, which is annoying as the pain is waking me up a lot and the numbness makes doing things with my fingers tricky.

I'm a grumpy ill sore person, so hubby is taking me out for a picnic today. Yay! :-) I'm off to pack the sandwiches and enjoy the day. If I get good photos I'll post them this week.

enjoy your Sunday, wherever you are!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Friends

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We taped the Eurovision Song contest on TV last night, so we could zoom through the boring bits or really "ick" songs. It was still fairly boring, even though the music better than the last time I watched a few years back. A few songs were catchy and enjoyable, but for me only one really stood out, but it never even made it into the top ten. The song struck me because it wasn't just a nice tune, it was the amazing story behind the song... a story of real friendship.

The song was Iceland's entry - Coming Home. It was written by Sjonni Brink, but performed by a group who called themselves "Sjonni's Friends".



You see... 'Sjonni' (Sigurjón Brink) was planning to sing the song himself for the competition, but he died suddenly of a stroke, in January this year. He was 36 years old. He left behind a wife, four children.... and some pretty special friends.

His wife and friends decided that Sjonni would have wanted his song to remain in the competition, so they agreed his friends would carry on and perform Coming Home in his memory. They did, in my opinion, a brilliant job with a really lovely song. Even more striking (and moving) is the fact that his lyrics are so much more meaningful when you know the story behind the song.



Some say I’m a bit of a fool,
sitting on a hill and counting raindrops.
Keep thinking I just wanna go
to the peaceful place I know,
that I call home.

But oh oh oh it’s time to go, I’ll see you, I’ll see you soon.

Cause I can’t wait for tomorrow
to say the things I wanna say,
your smile will always lead my way.
I can’t wait, I’m coming soon,
I just wanna see your face again.

Some say I’m a bit of a fool.
Driving down the road I stop to listen.
I hear your laughter in the trees,
your whisper in the breeze,
my love is you.

But oh oh oh it’s time to go, I’ll see you, I’ll see you soon.

I can’t wait for tomorrow
to say the things I wanna say,
your smile will always lead my way.
I can’t wait, I’m coming soon,
I just wanna see your face again.

Cause no one, knows his where or when.
When my time on earth comes to an end,
then I’ll find you and I know that you will be my love again.

I can’t wait for tomorrow
to say the things I wanna say,
your smile will always lead my way.
I can’t wait, I’m coming soon,
I just wanna see your face again,


I’m coming home.
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Saturday, 14 May 2011

Slow Weekend

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It's going to be a slow weekend as I'm having problems with my hands and joints. The doctors have sent away blood tests to check my hyroid, but they mostly agree it's probably my fibromyalgia. I keep alternating numbness with painful burning pins-needles. I'm getting numb toes and tingly legs-feet, but it's mostly my arms and hands. So holding anything is hard, typing is slow and writing with a pen is impossible. It'll be long lazy days until this goes away!

Have a great weekend - I'm off to go rest and relax.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Seeing Reds

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I spoke about the plight of the Red Squirrels in the UK last week, in my post about the Scottish Wildlife Trust. A friend commented on whether they were the same as American Red Squirrels, which surprised me as I had no idea America had Red Squirrels! I did some research and can now say; No, they're not at all related species. Which made me realise that people beyond the UK probably know nothing about our Red Squirrels and why they are endangered.

I went and dug up a few basic facts, including these lovely photos on wikipedia. This is an American Red Squirrel, tamiasciurus hudsonicus:


Photo copyright - D. Gordon E. Robertson.

...and this is the Eurasian Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, found in the UK:


Photo copyright - Mareckr Marek Rykiel

The problem with the Eurasian Red Squirrel in the UK is that the Victorians brought American Grey Squirrels back, as garden "pets", not realising the Greys would do damage to their own indigenous squirrels. Some people think it's because the American Greys are more agressive, which is partially true. Greys are more agressive and do chase Red squirrels away from their food sources, but the main reason the Greys are taking over is that they carry the squirrelpox virus. This virus isn't harmful to Greys, but it is lethal to Red Squirrels.

At this stage it is extremely rare to find Red Squirrels in England, except in very isolated or carefully protected areas. 75% of the UK Red Squirrel population lives in Scotland...



...but even the Scottish squirrels are under threat as the Greys continue to 'colonise' Northwards and the virus they carry continues to kill. This is why the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the SSRS charity below, are so important.



It would be such a tragedy if the UK lost one of its traditional animal icons.


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Monday, 9 May 2011

Homeland

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I've finally finished a YouTube presentation (one of my poems) that I started over a year ago. I owe several friends and family a BIG thank you for sharing their photos and I also owe them an apology for making them wait this long to finally see the video. The free music choices were a bit limited, but I got lucky to find a group I love (Ladysmith Black mambazo) singing a song that fitted far better than I expected.



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Friday, 6 May 2011

Wild about Scotland

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This week I realised I hadn't remembered to update our subscription to the Scottish Wildlife Trust. We've moved twice since we first joined and somehow I'd forgotten to change our address details. So, I went over to their website and while I was updating I got permission to put their logo up on my blog as well. :-)



This way I'll remember to go look at their wildlife diaries and webcams more often. They have an osprey webcam and another on a peregrine nest this season. There's loads to view and read on their pages and blogs. They are also extensively involved in nurturing and protecting Scottish wildlife, from land to sea.

One of my personal favourites is on their list... the gorgeous red squirrel.


I've only managed to take one photo of a red squirrel since I've been in Scotland. It was perfectly posed on a tree stump by the roadside... until I wound down the car window. :-\ It took off as I clicked the camera and to this day I still can't find where in the picture that blasted squirrel went! With all the woodland debris he just vanished. My late mom-in-law even spent an entire evening with a magnifying glass trying to figure out which brown blob or blur was the squirrel. It's become an old family joke now - my photo of the magic invisible squirrel.

I can see I'll be back visiting their website more often from now on. :-).
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Monday, 2 May 2011

Prayer for Beltane

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I often start my day by reading a prayer at World Prayers. The one I got this morning seemed a perfect message for Beltane. :-)

It's titled "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Beltane

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Today it May Day, or Beltane to the Celts - the festival to welcome the beginning of Summertime. Traditionally Beltane was a festival of fire - to purify, cleanse and bless the new cycle of life. I'm welcoming in the Summer with music. The legendary Capercaillie playing "At Dawn of Day" set to some very nice photos of the Highlands in Summer. (I'd really love to do something like this with my own photos)



Happy May Day and Blessed Beltane wishes to you!
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