Wednesday, 5 December 2012

NEWSFLASH November 2012

I used to do a newsflash at the end of each season, but I realised, looking back through my posts, that the last one I did was.. November 2010!

Here's the idea - give the everyday news update on my life in a format first started by another blogger, Jeff.

Nature Entertainment Wise words Spirit Family Lessons Artist Smiles Home

Nature decided to get up close and personal this last weekend. Hubby was tidying up the garage when a field mouse shot out from behind a box. He took a closer look and discovered that a family of field mice had shredded the edge of a dust cover blanket and stuffed it into a box full of pots and pans stored in the garage. Field mice will come into buildings for the winter and we've had them trying to nest in our car and in the garage of another house we were in years ago. They store food for winter too. They filled our car radiator with peanuts once and they also filled my dad's golf shoes with seeds and nuts one year, but they are so darn cute that it's hard to get angry about it.

When hubby took the box out onto the lawn another mouse shot out and ran like mad, but a third one decided the box was less scary and stayed put, hiding under a small frying pan. Eventually even he made a run for it, but he ran to the house, squeezed through the grating covering the kitchen drain and.. vanished! It's a long deep drain. Hubby went across and sure enough - there at the bottom was Mr mouse paddling madly, unable to climb back out. Hubby took the cover off, stuck his arm down the drain and scooped the little guy out. He was gone in a mad scamper, this time away and into the hedge.

So the weekend was spent taking everything out of the garage to check, clean, and repack in safer places. They made quite a mess, but not too much damage, thankfully. The only things damaged were some curtain tie backs (real cotton fibre) and the old blanket edge. But they peed on EVERYTHING so we were fairly worn out with all the washing, cleaning and disinfecting.

The best entertainment, recently, has been watching Masterchef Professionals on TV. Only down side is that watching the show makes everyone feel hungry! We all love the show and the food they create... wow. It's inspiring and makes me want to try more adventurous cooking; I always end up trying some new recipes after this TV series.

The BBC has some of the recipes from the show up HERE. Now if only field mice could cook like Ratatouille...

My Wise Words choice are always from a fellow blogger. This time I'm picking Cate of Infinite Sadness... or Hope?

"There is a lot of talk about invisible illnesses, and how difficult they are because others can’t see my hardship or pain. When I think about it, most illnesses are invisible. There’s only a few where we can see the physical effects of the illness, but even then do we automatically assume that means they are sick and/or in pain? Not always. And how do we see pain? Realistically we can’t. What a person experiences as pain is beyond the grasp of another. I know this well because I have a condition (fibromyalgia) that is known to be about chronic pain. But knowing that does not enable another to understand just what that pain is and how it affects me.
I’ve heard people say that it’s not fair that people with cancer apparently get more compassion than someone with an invisible illness. I believe that is a generalisation that isn’t helpful for anyone. The thing is that we are all struggling in our own way. My reason for not being able to maintain friendships to the degree I would like to is my physical health, but it could just as easily be something else, equally as valid.
Everyone is fighting their own battles. My battles are not necessarily and greater than yours.  They’re just different, but equally valid. I guess what it teaches me is not to jump to conclusions. Not to assume I know why a friend appears to have let me down. I hope my friends (and family) can do the same for me."
The spiritual part of November links back to Cate's thoughts on pain and invisible illness. and how we need more compassion and love as well as more understanding. The hardest thing in the world to explain to anyone else is how trauma (grief, fear or pain) affects your life, because it is different for every person. I know people who take part in extreme sports that cause them physical damage who still go pale and weak when you mention a dentist. I know people who can endure high levels of physical pain, but have phobias about things as varied as heights to mice. We are all different and yet far too many doctors and health care professionals seem to dismiss or ignore that fact.

Far too often online this year I've seen people talking about doctors who think their ailments or fears are "in their heads" or  cases of people who become annoyed at how long another person is taking to get over a trauma like a death, an accident, etc. There are no time limits on things like grief or fear. There are no tests to gauge levels of sadness or levels of pain and to become impatient or annoyed with anyone who doesn't "get over it" is just completely unfair. It is understandable, we don't like seeing people we love suffer so we do tend to push and urge them to get better, be happy, let go of fear, but the truth is the only thing we can do is give those we love enough space and most importantly enough time to heal, even if that means an entire lifetime. 

Family news was the exciting find of the book my great great grandfather's sister, Evie Culling, wrote about her adventures during World War I. Evie also mentions a family tragedy in the book - the death of her niece, Marie Vetsera, who committed suicide with the crown prince of Austria. Hubby thinks I look like her. Here's me, age 24 at a fashion show modelling a caftan.  

  And Marie...

Actually, I think I look more like Marie's uncle, Aristides Baltazzi.

Life lesson of November has to be the experience of taking part in the first Book Week Scotland as one of their League of Extraordinary Booklovers. 

I did two morning sessions of giving book-related advice via email and twitter.Some questions were easy, when people wanted ideas for books in genres I know well, but some questions truly stretched my book reading memory to the limits. It certainly was both challenging and good fun. I learnt that I have read a lot of awesome books, but that there are still hundreds of wonderful books still left out there for me to read.

My Artist choice for November is musical  - the glorious "Now we are Free" by Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer. This song was used in the movie Gladiator, but I'm going with a YouTube video of beautiful photos rather than the movie clip.


I wasn't sure what to write for this section and then I saw what I wrote two years ago in my last News flash...
Where will I journey next year? Where will you be on your life road? Who knows! All any of us can do is hold onto our map books and hope for good weather and safe roads but even more important - you need good travelling companions. :-) I've had excellent company this year, both in my literal travels with my family and in my online 'travels' with friends. I'm very grateful for both...


  1. It is sooo amazingly prevalent for women to not appreciate their own beauty and now photographic proof! My dear confused friend, that photo at 24 years of age is proof positive. You, AT LEAST WERE (because I can already hear your denial) HOT !!

    Any mirror that you think shows otherwise needs to be thrown out!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire post and especially agree with Dennis - that's a GREAT photo of you!

  3. Den

    LOL How can I answer that except with a grin. Thank you. :-)

    We never see ourselves in mirrors - we see only what we are obsessed about, good or bad. You want to see yourself properly... let a good friend be your mirror. ;-)

    Hi Em
    It is a great photo. It had been a crazy day too. Galke force winds had completely killed off my hair = tadahhhh - I wore a turban! ;-) Moment of genius, looking at the photo.

  4. Great post, Michelle! It was good to catch up with you here. I agree with the others. That is a really nice photo of you--so pretty! :-)

  5. Hi Daisy!

    Thank you. :-) I have been equaly bad in writing on blogs and reading other friends' blogs this year. I think blogging took a bit of a dive round the time many of the folk I read moved on to Facebook. Facebook is the "fast food" of information. It is useful, but it can be bad for you! ;-)

  6. I'm reading this post bit by bit. I read the mouse one cringing, yes, I'm ashamed to tell you, I'm terrified of mice and rats. eeek.

    You, my dear, at 24, were beautiful! Wow!

    I'll come by to read the rest this weekend. Ahh. I love weekends.

  7. Hi G~G

    Thank you. :-) and I hope you had a great weekend. xx

    Interesting what people hate or are scared of. For me the chill-and-horror animals are... cockroaches. We got those lovely giant ones in Africa. I get creeped out just thinking of them. :-S

    Scotland has no cockroaches. I can love my toes freezing when I remember that! LOL

  8. Fashion show?!?!?!?! WOW!!!! I can see the resemblance between you and Marie. :-)

    Are the mice really that cute? MY GOODNESS!!!! Must've been tough washing, cleaning, and disinfecting everything...geez...

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Cate's quote 'coz I've been thinking of a similar thing lately. And it's very true that it's hard to know how someone else experiences trauma 'coz a friend of mine was grieving the other month and I was at a loss.

    I also hate flying roaches that are rampant in Indo. Glad to know they don't exist in Finland, either ha ha...

    The doggie's face just makes me smile LOL LOL!!!

    And the video clip has such AMAZING images. I've been ooh-aah-ing...

  9. Hi Amel

    Thanks for stopping by.

    The best part of cold climates is no creepy bugs!! :-D

    And yes, it's very hard to know how to comfort a grieving person, but I think just being there so they know they can talk or just have someone sympathetic... it means a lot.

    The video clip is one of my favourites. :-)



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