Friday, 30 April 2010

Pride...and Prejudice

Today is our little Alice's 2nd birthday - I can't believe that it's been that long already! China is staying with us for the weekend too - I realise how much I've missed the sweet girl! Last night she curled herself up into Alice's Cath Kidston bed (way too small!) and looked so cute. They have got used to each other again now and Alice really enjoys having a friend around after the initial harrumphing & jostling for power (all on Alice's side...China is so docile & accepting, jostling doesn't enter her head. But bossy little terriers are a different case entirely.....!)

Last weekend we headed down to the South Coast to take part in:

Umbrellas were NOT required as it was the most beautiful, hot & sunny day. There were 28 dogs altogether....mostly fox terriers, but a few Welsh, Irish & other terriers too. We met at Brighton Marina at 11am - it's a couple of miles from the centre of Brighton itself and just beautiful...

and feels very cosmopolitan with outdoor seating for numerous restaurants & a lovely boardwalk that leads to the undercliff path we walked:

many 'family photos' were taken (it was an amazing sight to see so many dogs of one - fairly unusual-breed all together, and to spot the differences & similarities!) and we stopped after a few miles to let the dogs off the leads for a good run on the seashore and refreshments for the humans!
It was a wonderful day and we were very proud of Alice who behaved almost impeccably! If you want to see more photos of the day (and the 'family' ones) go to the Fox Terrier Rescue website and click on 'events' at the top which will take you to the pictures. There is an adorable one about halfway down on the left with a furry face staring into the camera in the foreground - that's Alice! Unmistakeable when you know her!

This weekend, a much uglier side to human nature is sadly showing itself in our little market town. A hateful group known as the English Defence League or EDL has decided to descend on us to hold a demonstration. At the same time, another opposing group - Unite Against Fascism - are protesting. This is, in effect, closing down the town centre for most of Saturday and 'trapping' the residents in their homes. Most of the shops, pubs & cafe's are remaining closed all day (costing money as well as irritation) to avoid any conflict.The weekly market is cancelled. Our fountains and monuments have been boarded up. We are expecting 400 police in town (at an estimated cost of £300,000) and possibly 2000 protestors. Paul, in common with other business owners, is boarding up his plate glass office windows. It is as if we are under siege. No one I know supports either group - they are all extremists, out to cause misery & fear by spreading their hate-filled, racist messages. One of the reasons they have chosen us for their protests is because one of the London bombers of 2005 lived here. A fact that horrified most of us, but surely has nothing to do with where we live!

Our town is a generally tolerant one, where people of all races live together in relative harmony. This sort of out-dated ranting belongs to another age. One I had hoped was long gone. We cannot wait for it to be over and to get back to normal life.

I hope that your weekend is a peaceful and happy one, filled with sunshine!

I will be drawing the winner of the Emma Bridgewater mug tomorrow and will post the name on Sunday!! Good luck everyone! xox

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Celebration Giveaway!

First of all, I just wanted to thank you all SO MUCH for the wonderful, sweet & uplifting comments you left following my last post. It really helped to get me through a hideous few days, and meant so much to me. This little community of ours is so special...the support and friendship is like a secret gift! How would I have known that you were all out there if it weren't for this blog? I am so glad to have made so many new friends.

The great news is that my beloved Dad was allowed home this morning!! He really needed to be back at the farm, in the sunshine, eating good food and surrounded by those who love him  - including Nurse Ivy, his gorgeous dog (or the Grey Shadow as she's sometimes known!) He did well in the hospital and his doctor was very confident that all will be well for the time being...he just needs to listen to his body (and us!) and take things a little easier...

So in celebration of that fantastic turn of events, and the new well of friendship that I've found these past months, I've decided on my very first a little thank-you, and to give some love back. I'm only sorry that I can't give a gift to all of you! Over on my Twitter page, we've recently been 'tweeting' about beautiful Emma Bridgewater pottery - especially her gorgeous mugs! There are lots of new ones, so I've decided that my first giveaway will be this beauteous thing:It's the new peony baby mug (perfect size for coffee, I think!) and I'll be sending it in a special gift box so that if you have one already, or don't want it, or would rather give it to someone's all ready to go! Hopefully you'll want to keep it, though!!

I'll pick a name out of - fittingly - another (bigger) Bridgewater mug on Saturday 1st May (perfect date, I thought!)
All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post - that's it! I'll announce the winner on Sunday 2nd, and get the winner's address then. The ash-cloud has lifted, so airmail isn't a problem any more, YAY!

Good luck everyone....and THANK YOU all, truly, for your love and support. xox


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Dark Days...

Since I was 9, the shadow of my father's heart problems has hung over our small it did over his family in his own childhood when his own father suffered similarly. I can barely remember a time when we haven't all worried about him (which hasn't always pleased him, I can tell you!)

Thanks to the true wonders of modern medicine and the expert help of excellent medical staff, he's been able to live a full and happy life despite his various setbacks...and is already over 20 years older than his poor Dad ever was.

He's typical of most men - not great when he has a minor ailment, the term 'Man Flu' is hackneyed but justified I often find! However, he has borne the serious periods of ill health with a courage and stoicism that is inspiring.

Yesterday morning he was taken to hospital yet again...we found out just now that he has suffered another (comparitively minor) heart attack and related complications. So he must spend the first real days of this glorious Spring in hospital. He's doing well, and it looks as though he will be allowed home in the middle of next week.

Ours is a tiny mother is an only child, none of my grandparents are alive and we don't have much contact with the remainder of Dad's family. Really, there's my Mum, my 2 sisters and our husbands...and of course, 4 glorious grandchildren....but the oldest of those isn't quite 8. So we rely on each other a lot, especially at times like these. My parents have just celebrated their 48th anniversary, so my Mum is suffering especially now.

I don't really know why I'm writing this post - I just felt that I needed to. I hope you understand. I know that you will.

I suppose that I just wanted to tell my darling dad, who will never read this I'm sure, how very much he's loved, how proud of him we all are, and how we can't wait to have him safely home again. He is such a special person...the kind that lights up a room when he walks into it. He knows so much about birds, animals and plants and loves nature, the outdoors,chilis,sunshine, Mozart, and especially his dear & faithful dog Ivy.

I do tell him I love him whenever I see him. Make sure that you do the same with those you love, often - in fact, whenever you feel it. You can never say it enough, when it's true.

This is for you, Dad. xox

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Butterflies & Blossoms

First I should tell you that these are not my photographs...I did take some beautiful ones, but sadly the big computer that I put them on is still very I've had to borrow some other images. When I get the dratted machine up & running again, I'll replace them with my own!

Today has been the most fact, I'd guess that it's the warmest this year so far. I spent the night in London, but I could see the bright sunshine in our tiny courtyard the minute I opened my eyes. I had an hour's train ride home - I'd intended to read my book, but was totally distracted by the gorgeous novelty of the sun-drenched countryside speeding past the windows!

Alice and I went straight to the garden when I got in...I threw open the french windows and let the Spring into the kitchen.

On Thursdays, I speak to Esther in Australia...we catch up with all the news from the past week, and chat about life in can last several hours! Today I managed  to spend the whole conversation in the garden, which was bliss!

While we were speaking, I noticed Alice looking very intently at something on the deck....when I stooped to see what it was, I saw this beautiful creature.....
I've never seen one in the garden before. It's a Chalk Hill Blue butterfly. They are quite an endangered species, although are slowly building their numbers up again...

Isn't he beautiful? He was in no hurry  to move and just seemed to be enjoying basking in the sun's warmth. I did have to move him to a higher bush after a while, when Alice got a little too interested....! But he stayed around for quite a few hours. Gorgeous creature!

Although it's only an hour away, London is much further along springwise. All theSpring flowers are now out & swaying gently in the Royal parks...but the prevalent flower is the the foamy,milkshake pink of cherry blossom. Like a thousand blowsy bridesmaids, the trees bow down with their wonderful decorations...

However cold, wet & grey it gets  there's no going back now! Spring is here & Summer not far away...

I hope the beauty is all around you now, too!