A little note to talk about our connection with relatives. This weekend, Denise’s cousins came to stay with their lovely wives.

This came about after a succession of family funerals, which seems like the only time we see each other, and so we made a plan to put that right, meeting in happier times.

Whilst we were sat around, knocking back the odd beer / G&T together, we reflected on how things have changed in our lifetimes. When we were growing up, people took time out (especially on a Sunday afternoon) to jump in the car and visit relatives.

In today’s hectic 24/7 world, It is difficult to find the time to do the nice things in life, especially if you work. It is relatively simple to video call or send an instant message, and people do connect on social media platforms, sharing what they are up to with pictures, but it isn’t quite the same as sitting, chatting, eating and drinking together.

We were blessed with really hot weather, and so our initial plan of doing some nice walks in the countryside were scuppered, instead we ‘chilled’ (a very inappropriate verb considering the temperature).

As we emerge from Covid restrictions, why not reach out to those people close to you. We had a great time. Hugs

Our 4 legged children insisted on photo bombing us

February 22nd – Depression

Today’s topic was prompted by this photo of the 4 legged children over the weekend. As you can see, they are looking pretty sorry for themselves, despite having just been fed and walked.

The weather over the weekend was grey and damp, but today is completely different with spring sunshine and a warmth we haven’t felt for a while.

Things constantly change, and it’s sometimes a challenge to adapt to those changes, but if we think about all of the things we have, rather than want, look forward with optimism rather than pessimism, and keep busy helping others, the way we view ourselves will often be more positive.

You’ll be pleased to know that the look of despondency on the 4 legged children lasted about 10 seconds and their tails are back wagging…

Feb 1st – Fishing line to SAVE fish???

As you may have gathered from previous posts, we love nature and all sorts of animals.

We have many bird feeders around the garden, but there’s one type of bird that isn’t quite as welcome… The Heron.

When we opened our curtains a few days ago, we had one doing a spot of fishing in our pond, reducing our fish numbers from 12 down to 4.

Hopefully the fishing line across the pond will be more of a deterrent than the plastic heron previously used.

January 26th – New passport

My new passport arrived this morning (not that I’ll be using it anytime soon), but at least it’s here, as the old one would have expired in August 21.

Obviously, it is different from the old EU one, but you’ll be pleased to know that the photo in it is as hideous as most people’s passport photos.

I’m wondering if cameras have a built in sensor which determines whether the photo is to be used for an official document and makes you look as gormless as possible 🤣.

I’ll spare you the trauma and keep it closed ……

Jan 7th – When the path isn’t clear

Today’s photo is from a very foggy dog walk this morning. It got me thinking about today’s post, and the similarities between this weather and the uncertainties facing us all during our lives.

Just like a foggy day, many people sometimes struggle to see where they are going in their lives, especially during the Covid pandemic. This can be distressing and depressing, but just like the weather, given time, things change. With today’s picture, just because we can’t see the bright sun, we know it’s always there and we will get another weather day.

So, what we need to deal with is change, and which emotion is triggered by change. Generally there are 4 emotions that people can experience during a change:

  1. Anger – Why did this happen? Who’s fault is it? When do we get back to normal?
  2. Grief – Missing the old ways? A sense of loss…..
  3. Acceptance – We are where we are. Adopt the new normal
  4. Excitement – What will things look like after the change? what opportunities are there? What have we learnt?

And so we all react in different ways, based on our life experiences, our education, our personalities, our current mood, however it is difficult to control these emotions, but faced with an awareness of these emotions hopefully we can reduce the negative energy and improve our mental health.

Jan 6th – Lockdown day …

Well, I should have been playing golf today, but alas, like the rest of the country, it’s an indoor day. So what to do???

Well, there’s an old saying that ‘variety is the spice of life’ and so I cooked a bit of breakfast after walking the woofers, cleaned up and noticed lots of birds outside. They, like us humans are battling a flu virus at the moment but at least we have a vaccine on the way.

I then decided to get a bit of putting practice, so headed of to the dining room with a few balls and the putter.

Following this, I took a look at the SHOUT platform and noticed quite a few people in the queue, so lent a hand for a few hours.

Lunchtime, and I had a request for some spinach pancakes from Mrs L (recipe can be found here), and in the afternoon decided to play a bit of guitar whilst Mrs L took the woofers out (to save her ears!).

Lot’s of people are struggling at the moment, but at least we don’t have to balance work, home schooling and other pressures. Stay strong, and try and get some fun time for yourselves, even if it’s 5 minutes. Call a long lost buddy and see how their doing (next job on my list).

Jan 1st, 2021!! -Time to reflect

Happy New Year everyone. Today’s picture is of Alfie, taking time out from his hectic schedule of walking. eating, playing and sleeping, to reflect back on the past year.

Alfie reports that 2020 wasn’t so bad for him. He got to travel around Europe in January, February and part of March. When he got home the weather was great, and he went on loads of long walks. He got to talk to the neighbours on a Thursday evening after everyone had finished making a hell of a noise, and food was still available.

Is there a lesson from Alfie’s simplistic view of the world? Do we humans stress too easily when our lives don’t go the way we’d hoped?

At the start of last year I had set myself a goal to take a picture everyday, and post here. I was doing OK until we got back from our trip and lockdown hit, but then it became increasingly more difficult to find something different to shoot and talk about.

Initially I was disappointed having ‘FAILED’ in my mission, but then thought a bit more about it, getting things in perspective. I have a roof over my head; food available; great family and friends, and have survived a period of history which has claimed so many lives through Covid-19 and associated health issues. It’s better to have tried to achieve something, than not to try at all

When things don’t go our way, and the blues hit, maybe it’s to make us more appreciative of the good times. Hang on to those fabulous memories of past good times, and look forward to more to come, hopefully very soon in 2021.   Love to you all x

December 25th – Happy Christmas!

Today’s picture is of the sunsetting on a very different Christmas day. Christmas for me is a time for giving and sharing, difficult this year with the covid restrictions in place, but I’m a firm believer that in order to appreciate good things we need to have a little time when things don’t go to plan.

Whether we like it or not, the restrictions are there to protect people we love, and I’d rather keep friends and family safe by delaying a celebration than risking their (and our) health.

There was just 3 of us sat around the table this year, which was very strange, but we took the 4 legged children (and their Cornish cousins) on a great walk on a lovely, fresh afternoon.

I absolutely sympathise with people who are feeling lonely during this time. When we compare loneliness and solitude the impact to our physical being is pretty similar, with the major difference being in our heads. The trick is to think differently when we have a feeling of loneliness, not craving the people we can’t be with, but to think about how to use our time effectively whilst we have this solitude.

Engaging in things that you have always wanted to do, but haven’t had the time, or haven’t had the opportunity. Reading a good book, watching your favourite TV show or film, dancing around the house, trying something new (like cooking a new recipe) etc etc.

I hope you and your loved ones will have the opportunity to party hard at some point in 2021 when we turn the corner in this period of history. Living through the current restrictions will hopefully help us appreciate our freedom much more in the future.

December 12th – Lock Down

So it’s not just humans in lock down…. Today’s project was erecting a poly-tunnel for our chickens.

It follows outbreaks of a “highly pathogenic” H5N8 strain of bird flu which has come over from Europe recently, resulting in all poultry needing to be kept under cover.

I ordered the tunnel online, but unfortunately it arrived without any instructions. Luckily our neighbour (who also keeps hens) ordered a similar one, and my clever steps-son helped me work out how to assemble it.

December 7th – Robin wreath

She’s been at it again, the clever Mrs L, with her felting hobby, making this lovely wreath from un-spun wool.

But where did the Christmas wreath tradition start, and where does the Robin fit in to the Christmas tradition?

The keeping of an Advent wreath is a common practice in homes or churches. The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th Century. However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape. The modern Advent wreath, with its candles representing the Sundays of Advent, originated from an 1839 initiative by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor. In view of the impatience of the children he taught as they awaited Christmas, he made a ring of wood, with nineteen small red tapers and four large white candles. Every morning a small candle was lit, and every Sunday a large candle. Custom has retained only the large candles.

And the history of Robins? – There are quite a few legends surrounding robins and their relation to Christmas and winter as a whole. For example, have you ever wondered why we see depictions of robins on everything from cards and wrapping paper, to Christmas jumpers and biscuit tins? The first legend takes us back to Victorian times, where the tradition of sending Christmas cards started. Royal Mail postmen, who wore bright red uniforms, delivered these cards. This earned them the nickname of ‘robin’ or ‘redbreast’. Artists usually illustrated Christmas cards with pictures relating to the delivery of letters, such as post-boxes or the postmen known as ‘robins’, and eventually started drawing the familiar little brown and red bird delivering letters instead of the postmen. This trend caught on and became very popular, and continues to this day, with many robin-themed items being seen on supermarket shelves during the festive period.