Monday 31 May 2010

If You go Down to the Woods...

On Saturday we went out to get groceries and decided to do some bluebell hunting. Unfortunately it was a a rather dark rainy day, which didn't make for the best photographs. Bluebells are so small and delicate they're a bit like trying to photograph mist, but hubby did manage to get a few nice photos for me. He took them as I wasn't able to climb the bank up to the woodland from where we parked the car.

Here's the view from the spot where we parked the car. It was steeper than it looks!

Looking along the fence to the right...
Up into the wood...
A close up shot of the woodland floor. I have no idea what the little white flowers were. Lily of the valley?

We've been told by our neighbour there are more bluebells in a nearby wood. If the weather stays sunny this week I might try to get there to take some more photos. :-)

Saturday 29 May 2010

The Lion in the Powderpuff

I've written on my blog before about animals I've known, both wild and domestic, but I've never yet written about the animal I owned... or rather the toy poodle who owned me. Well.. at least I’m sure that was how he saw it. ;-)

I still remember the day I got him. He was such a small fuzzy blob of a pup he could fit into a slipper. He was so small we named him Pip. Amazing to think that something that small and seemingly insignificant would one day take over the entire house. This photo was taken when he was still a puppy. That's me on the far right. :-)

The first thing you need to know about toy poodles is they think you were invented to take care of their needs. They may learn to “sit” and even deign to do a few tricks, but basically these little guys NEVER obey unless they think it’s worth their while. As for sitting staring at you with drooling adoration the way most dogs do? In your dreams! If you want a grovelling fan and ardent admirer go for another dog breed.

Pip was the only dog I ever knew who would actually come over and pose for his photograph to be taken. He LOVED attention. This photo is a classic example of his "posing" to be photographed. Check that, "I am gorgeous" expression. ;-)

He would also come and sit in the middle of the newspaper when I tried to read it, annoyed that I was paying more attention to a stupid piece of paper than to him. Just like a cat he also loved to climb on furniture. We often came home to find our little dictator sleeping in the middle of the dining table.

Poodles are far tougher than people think. Because of their sometimes silly hair cuts we forget they started out as working dogs. Pip certainly was a lion in a powderpuff. In spite of being the size of a bread loaf he chased cats, dogs, birds and regularly bit the postman. He once attacked a rottweiler, who retaliated by throwing him around the room like a beach ball. He screamed all the way in to the vet... then sat growling at the other dogs in the vet's surgery. All he had was a bruised shoulder.

Pip was never keen on children and I was constantly having to grab him away from small kids who didn’t realise that he could leap and nip noses like a small fuzzy version of Sigourney Weaver’s Alien. He never left any damage, but it was tough apologising to mothers with screaming children.

He had another way of showing dislike which was even more embarrassing. If he really disliked a person, or dog... he'd pee on them. Although I must confess the time he peed on my dad's obnoxious arrogant ex-boss it was very satisfying. He also peed on my ex boyfriend, come to think of it... a true sign of his excellent judgement in people.

Here he is with a friend of mine he did like, doing the thing he most adored in the world - being on the beach.
Pip died the year I turned 21. It's hard to believe it was so long ago, he was such a force of energy it didn't seem possible he would ever not be there, but his body had other ideas. He died of an unknown illness after five very brave months of injections, pills and prayers.

We still miss him.

Friday 28 May 2010

Time Warp


I can't believe it's Friday already! I used to post on my blog every day, or at least three times a week. I swore to myself I was going to start doing that again, but here I am back here... a full week later!

Is time speeding up or have I just slowed down? :-\

Friday 21 May 2010

Newsflash for Spring

I haven't done a newsflash in ages. In fact... I realised yesterday that I haven't written anything on my blog in over two months! Photos and videos don't count as writing a blog, so here's a NEWSFLASH for Spring. :-)
Align Centre

Nature Entertainment Wise words Spirit Family Lessons Artist Smiles Health

Bunny Boy returned in Spring, as he has done ever since the first spring he arrived as a tiny baby, sleeping in my herb planter. ...BUT this time he brought family. :-) There are now two baby buns pottering around the garden with Bunny Boy... bunny dad?

They are excessively cute, but way too small to photograph decently. There's no way a little fuzzy blob in a photo can capture the true delight of a snoozing baby bun lying stretched out on a concrete path, fat paws flung out flat, wiggling it's teeny white tail... Mega cute!

The best entertainment in Spring is Spring itself...

My Wise Words choice for Spring are from my friend, Den...

"Here the family/tribe begins to feel like an uncomfortable place to be. The fear of thinking and being different struggles with the desire to know the truth and live the truth. Questions make tribe members uncomfortable, it is boat rocking, it is disrespectful and it is the first steps in the Grail Quest, that quest for Truth, purpose, meaning and the path of the spiritual.

It started here, but it has never ended. I believe in questioning everything and I find truth holds up to questioning and that builds a foundation fit to stand upon. Conforming means being loved, accepted, being part of the family or group, striking out alone for real Truth is a lonely and fearful adventure, but it is worth it. There are other treasures of understanding and love without conditions to behold..."

This week we watched the last episode of a TV show (BBC2) about a man striving to find his own spiritual understanding of life and money. To quote the Daily Mail...

"Anglican priest Peter Owen Jones is to be filmed living without money for eight months for a major BBC series as he turns to a 'simple life', it was announced today.

His challenge will see him begging for food and shelter, bartering his skills for scraps and living off his own produce.
He is following the teachings of St Francis of Assisi, who was himself inspired by Jesus's sermon to live a life of 'voluntary poverty' as the key to deeper understanding and fulfilment.

The presenter had felt as though he was caught up in a pointless frenzy of spending."

The show ended on a slightly glum note as Owen Jones failed. He was forced to return back to using money, just a few weeks shy of the end, when his car insurance became overdue.

What struck me about the exercise was that, as well intentioned as he was, he seemed to have missed the point. As someone having lived in Africa where money is often none-existent or completely without value (as in my birth land of Zimbabwe) I have been stunned by the obsession with spending in the "Western World", but the spending frenzy doesn't make money "bad" and bartering "good".

Money isn't the problem - it's how and what we choose to value that's the problem. When we value new over enduring and flashy over beautiful. Money is merely a symbol of how we value the world around it and our fellow man. What's disturbing in the modern world is how distorted those values can become, but that isn't money's fault.

If we choose to accept that a "celebrity"earns millions and many dedicated hard-working people not enough to live on... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.

If we choose to spend on items we don't need, purely because the media say we have to have them... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.

The power of good or evil lies in what we choose to value, not in the inanimate.


Family life this Spring was chaotic. Check Health to find out more.


The lessons this Spring seem to be that learning to adapt and change is a vital part of any evolution. In Nature one volcanic eruption has sent a ripple of chaos through human air space. In politics Britain took a leap of change and decided to try a coalition government. All around us the world is changing and Spring reminds us that change isn't just death of the old... it's also the herald of birth of the new.

My Artist choice for Spring is Gypsy Mare Studios. Do go look at her blog or Etsy site. Her work is amazing.

The biggest smile of Spring is all the new life out there - lambs, baby bunnies, calves and birds tweeting everywhere. Wonderful stuff. :-)

As I said in family - Spring has been pure chaos. All four of us have had some form of test and at least one trip to the hospital. On average we seem to have two visits to doctors every week. The worst was the week before Easter when we had six appointments in one week.

At this stage Mom's waiting for her appointment with the surgeon, but her latest bone scan also showed up severe osteo-arthritis in her spine. I'm still waiting for the results of my bone density scan. I'll be seeing about that and the bone scan stuff in June. So MORE waiting and more appointments. UGH :-(

Last Newsflash (Autumn) I mentioned how much I'm needing to nap. In January I went to the doctor about that, as I was sleeping about 10 to 12 hours a day at that stage. I think it was the fibromyalgia as all they found from my blood tests was inflammation. Now I'm doing the opposite - I'm still tired, but I'm not sleeping well. I've been having heart palpitations and they keep waking me up at night. The doctor says they're caused by stress. I started medication for that this week - anti-depressants. Hopefully they'll help calm me down. I've been struggling to function normally lately. My brain fries on stress. I freeze up and blank out a lot. Then I get really tired and just want o sleep... except I can't because of my heart thumping. Not good. :-\

Part of that stress has been worrying about my mom's constant pain and part has been worrying about hubby. He's had four sets of blood tests and two scans at hospital. They finally know where the problems are, though not yet what's caused them. They are treatable with medication and life changes so... not as bad as I feared when they dashed him in for scans. Doctors should never dash you in to hospital without explaining why. It scared the life out of me!

Dad has a small surgery in June so at this stage we only have four medical visits booked for summer. Let's hope it stays that way. I have seriously had enough now!

Here's putting in a prayer for a peaceful healthier summer. ;-)


Monday 17 May 2010

Saturday Rambles - Loch Morlich

Saturday morning was beautiful and sunny, so hubby and I decided to go for a walk. I haven't walked in ages. What with recuperating from surgeries, hubby working almost every weekend in 2008, and me having to be more careful with the fibro... we just stopped going for walks completely.

So, this Saturday we grabbed a few snacks and headed out to find a nice spot to walk. Our first choice was way too cold (up higher and WINDY) and our second choice was too busy (no parking), but the third choice was just right. :-)

We stopped at Loch Morlich and took a walk down to the loch edge before having our lunch at picnic tables under the trees. Here's the walk down from the parking to the shore. To give you an idea of tree size hubby walked under that Scots pine without ducking and he's about 6 foot tall. The Scots pines here are some of the oldest and biggest in Scotland. They're one of my favourite trees. :-)

The view of the loch through the trees was very pretty, but the wind was FREEZING when you stepped out of the protection of the trees. :-(

Looking right...
Up closer on the "beach".
Since the wind was so cold, we ate our lunch back under the trees. I took this photo looking up above our picnic table. :-) I love Scots pines. They're such a pretty colour.

There are more photos of the forest below this post.

Saturday Rambles - Glenmore

After we ate our lunch we decided that wind was just a bit too nasty for walking along the loch, so we drove a short way up the road, past the Reindeer Centre, and went for a walk in Glenmore Forest.

The trees are so big I couldn't get them in one photo. Here's the trees in two sections of trunks...

... and roots.
Looking out through the trees you could see snow on the Cairngorm mountains.
Along the path I noticed these gravestones.
They seem to be pet graves. Probably dogs? They ranged in age from the late 1800s to 1907 and the owners seem to have all been of the Dennistoun family. I'd love to know who they were and why they buried their pets in the middle of a forest.

All I could make out on this one was "Faithful friend of Clare/Blare Dennistoun" and "that strength of feeling great above the human ..."

We walked down to the stream. You can see one of the many cycle/walking tracks going on into the forest. Four years ago we went that way on a circular walk, but I'm just not able to walk that far anymore.
The sound of the water was surprisingly loud.
We had to turn back there as I was out of steam - my joints get all wobbly lately and wobbling up forest paths isn't fun. I still enjoyed every minute of the bit we did walk. It was beautiful and warm in the forest and we saw lots of birds and insects. This area is my most favourite part of Scotland. :-)

Friday 14 May 2010

Make a Difference

I found this site via my friend, Andy of the Black Bus. It's a charity called Post Pals.

5 Easy Steps to Brighten a Sick Child's Day

  1. Click on a child's face or select "Find Pals"
  2. Read their page (each child has one page)
  3. Write a card, letter, Email, sign their guestbook or even send a gift to the child and post it to the address on their page (NB this is not the child's home address, but a forwarding one). Please don't expect a reply.
  4. NEW Report post sent on our stats page

  5. Sit back and know that a child is smiling because of YOU.

Thank you, from everyone at Post Pals.

Post Pals - Putting a Smile on Childrens Faces

There are more links to charities dealing with specific illnesses HERE.

If you're not British... why not see what your country does to cheer up sick children?

Monday 10 May 2010

Weekend Photos

We took a drive through to Inverness on Sunday to do a bit of grocery shopping and just get out the house a bit. The weather was a mix of sun and rain. We mostly managed to miss the rain, which was nice. :-)

Hubby took us down to the canal and locks that join Loch Ness to the Beauly Firth. There's mooring for boats and yachts down there. I took several photos, but it was raining and some of them didn't come out. Here are the best.

The canal marina, looking along towards Loch Ness, just before it started to rain.
Next is a very smart canal boat. It had everything you'd need for holiday fun stashed on board from a tiny sailing boat (you can see it up front) to canoes, kayaks and bicycles.
One of the houses looking onto the canal. What an amazing place to live, with yachts literally on your doorstep!
After that we got our groceries and then went home via the back roads through farm land. It was a lovely drive and a very nice day.