Sunday 29 January 2012

Kokeshi Doll Surprise

Photos copyright: Maggie May

I have a collection of Kokeshi dolls that was started when my son lived in Japan and added to when Harry and I went to visit him. This is just a small section of them. They are made of wood and originated in the city of Kokeshi, Japan, though there are many shops in England selling them now.
Imagine how thrilled I was when the postman brought me a little parcel at the weekend and I found a lovely pincushion and a lavender bag hand made by Rae. They even have a little name tag on the side with her blog name Felt by Rae.
She is full of craft ideas.

Anyway, thank you Rae, it was a lovely gift.

I have the results of my CT scan mid week and am just hoping for the best.
Harry is having great difficulty walking freely because of pain in his feet. We have bought arch supports and just hope that in time he will improve.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Irresistible Or What?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I am always quite eager to go out for a little journey if my son asks me to accompany him and it doesn't take much to make me happy!
Some how or other, on such a journey, we often find ourselves in a very large pet shop because Sam knows that I love to look around. On this occasion, I did need a few rabbit supplies, so after I had picked out what I needed, I went to look at the rabbit enclosures and spent some time looking at them. There must be quite a turnover of rabbits because they seem to have different ones there every time I look.
There is always a small section where unwanted rabbits are put up for adoption, which is quite sad. Usually there is a note to say the owner had to move and so couldn't take them to the new home.

Anyway, on this visit something else caught my son's attention and he asked me if I had my camera handy, which I had.
These baby degus were perched on top of a rope ladder and snuggled up together. They stayed like that for the whole of the time we were there. There was a fourth little chap who for some reason didn't want to sit on the ladder next to his siblings but he seemed to be desperate for company and followed our hands around his enclosure. He let us tickle him.
My son decided to take a leaflet on their upkeep and care. I was most surprised by this.
Goodness knows if it will end up with him allowing the girls to have pets.

I had quite a few comments about my injured fox in the last post. I haven't seen the fox since but there is a strong smell of fox in my garden, so it obviously visits, probably at night. I wish I knew how to get rid of the aroma of fox.
Some of you thought the fox might be under the shed. However there is only a couple of inches of space over concrete which means it would be impossible to access and the floor of the shed is intact. The Officer from the RSPCA thought the fox might well have had a very old injury that he learnt to cope with and he described him as chunky. He would have been a forager, he said. So maybe he's not as badly off as we first imagined.

Friday 20 January 2012

The One That Got Away

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Last Sunday at breakfast time, Harry exclaimed, "There's a fox in the garden!"
I looked out and saw a fox walking with three legs as one of its hind legs was injured and was being held flat to its tummy in a paralysed state.
I told Harry that it was injured but he hadn't noticed. I looked out again and saw a perfectly healthy fox running about.
This went on for a while. One moment it seemed injured and the next it was perfectly OK.
I was puzzled but then noticed there were two of them. One was injured and the other quite healthy.
The sleek, slightly smaller fox jumped over the wall but the injured fox couldn't make it even though he seemed desperate to follow the other one. The poor thing just didn't seem to have the power to jump the height of the wall with just one back leg.
Not wanting to spook the animal by opening the back door, I decided he might get out if I left him, so Harry and I set off on our very short journey to church.
I was surprised and somewhat dismayed to see the fox lying low amongst some shrubs when we returned from church.
I made the dinner and went out in the afternoon, returning a couple of hours later.
The fox was still there.
Well I didn't want to feed it. I didn't want it in my garden. I have rabbits and they are prey.

I decided to ring the RSPCA. (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
With it being Sunday, that meant listening to lots of recorded messages and pressing multitudes of button choices. Eventually I got through to a real person who, after questioning me closely about the situation, told me there would be some one coming to collect it within the hour.
Mr Fox was curled up under a small tree when the officer came with a huge wire basket and a neck grasper and a pair of leather gloves.
I guessed he'd done this before.
I led him through the house into the garden. The minute that fox set eyes on the Officer and the neck grasper, he shot towards the shed and disappeared.
After much searching and shining the powerful torch the Officer had brought, he concluded that panic and adrenalin had given the fox the boost it needed to get over the wall.
I felt a bit of a fool but was assured that it does happen all the time. He left with an empty cage and so far, we haven't seen a fox since.
Well, my Sunday was a bit different.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Allotment Wassailing

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

The weather was sunny but crisp. There was activity on the local allotment. People were heading there in dribs and drabs, families mostly but older people went too.
What could be driving so many to visit the community orchard on our local district allotment?
An ancient tradition in the south of England that attempts to get the sap rising in the apple trees and encourage them to start to grow. This involved putting toast that had been dipped in cider, on a tree branch. Getting the children to bang on tins to get rid of all the bugs lurking around and pouring last year's cider around the apple trees to get them to produce more apples.
It was mainly aimed at the children and they all seemed to participate in this ancient fun tradition.
I normally go with my granddaughters, however, they now have to go to Japanese School with their mother every Saturday. Other years, Sam has taken part in the Morris Dancing display, but sciatica has prevented him from taking part since last summer. Even though the pain has much improved since he stopped dancing, he didn't feel he could risk starting another flare up of pain.
Still, it was good to catch up with the others who I'd got to know and exchange a few words with them and to watch them dance.
This was perhaps the biggest crowd of people who had attended since the first time that I'd ever witnessed it.
Things change with time and never stay the same.
Last year, I wrote about a similar visit on Wassailing Day.

The allotments (plots of land for growing vegetables and fruits), are good places to snap up scenes with a camera. There are always little nooks and crannies that I find fascinating.
After spending an hour or two in the cold, I was glad of a hot cup of tea when I got home and to toast my cold fingers and toes in front of the gas fire. Then there was the prospect of a Chinese take away that Harry always seems to get on a Saturday (no matter how he is feeling) and a cosy evening in watching TV or reading. Contentment.
Do others take pleasure in doing such basic, maybe boring things?

Sunday 8 January 2012

To Feed Or Not To Feed?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

After a bout of rainy weather, I went out to top up the bird feeders. I noticed that the seed gets very yucky in wet weather and mould is not at all good for birds. So I bought a gleaming new plastic dome, which has three holes for the birds to perch on while they take the drier seed. This surely must be much more rain proof.
That was several weeks ago and although I don't watch all day long, so far, I haven't seen anything land on the new globe. I think the shiny reflections scare them away. This makes me wonder why they are being sold in leading garden centres if the birds are scared of them.
The old faithfuls come to the old feeder and take their chance on the soggy contents.

Although we used to have a large flock of sparrows who stopped to feed everyday, they seemed to vanish very suddenly a good while ago. After a long time, three came back and they have gradually built their numbers up to a few more. We also have blue tits and great tits visiting from time to time and a robin.
I'm not sure whether I should be feeding them or not because some of my neighbours seem to have several cats who prowl round my garden (as well as dirty in it.) Its funny how you can really love your own cats........ and I used to have three...... (who fouled other peoples' gardens), but be resentful of other peoples' fouling mine.

Anyway, I do find feathers about in the garden and wonder just how many birds get killed coming to my feeders and wonder if it is balanced out by the ones who are sustained by the food, who might not survive at all if they didn't have my seeds to eat. It seems to be a juggling act.
What do others feel about this dilemma?

I'm pleased to say that Harry is picking up a bit now, after being diagnosed with anaemia following his last chemo. So it is liver for him twice a week (yuk, I'm practically a vegetarian) as well as iron pills.
So here's hoping that he will get over this blip and feel like going out more, pretty soon.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Rick's Christmas Homework

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

The Christmas and New Year period went very fast and now my daughter and grandsons have gone home and it seems very quiet here now.
I was very grateful to my daughter for all the help she gave me with the mounting up of cleaning jobs that neither Harry nor I have been able to do very easily. I thought I had tidied up the place before she came, but she got to hidden places and dealt with them, often in secret.
Now I will have to make a better effort to do regular tidy up jobs and get rid of surplus clutter on a daily basis.
New Years Resolution? I don't think so, but I will endeavour to do a little more and often.

When the grandsons came to visit, Rick who is on the Autistic scale (nearer the top) and who isn't exactly an easy child being 15 yrs old, brought an art project to do here because he had not completed it at school.
It seemed to be a mammoth task and involved bags of material and my ironing board and iron and a good chunk of my back room. This went on for days during the holiday and the difficulty was getting him to start the work in the first place. He seemed to think it was a very overwhelming thing to have to do and he was very down hearted about it.

Rick does not believe in homework and seems to be constantly at loggerheads with his teachers who make him stay in at lunch times to complete it. This suits Rick fine as he doesn't like noise and would much prefer to be in a quiet place and to retreat into his own safe little world. There was a dead line to finish this work and he is a very slow but thorough worker. He had to follow a plan and complete a collage of nine squares individually made and I assume they will be fitted together somehow at school and will go towards his exam result.
Although it was a great effort on our part to get him motivated, when he did get going, it started to take shape and on the last day of the holiday, he completed the last square to much cheering and encouragement. I took photos and told him it would be going on my blog. He was so thrilled to have finished it on time and the look of satisfaction on his face was a treat to see.
I would have loved to do this when I was his age, but would have probably worked a little on each square to get the general effect first. However Rick likes to work meticulously one square at a time, so that only he new what each square was supposed to be and he left the middle bit of the face till the last.
So well done Rick! Hope the school like it and realise what a tremendous amount of time and effort you spent on it.