Monday, 27 June 2011

Ever Had A Bad Day?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Ever had a bad day from beginning to end?
I woke up with excruciating sciatica. Well, that is an understatement because I've been battling with it for weeks but this particular day I felt I just wanted to sit and cry with the pain. It is a problem that keeps recurring and has done since I was in my late forties.

Harry is just starting chemo 3 and isn't very well right now, though he has been doing fine since the strength of the treatment was reduced last time.

The area I chose to do my shopping in that day seemed to have a great problem. I realised that the roads were blocked off and buses had ground to a halt. Passengers had to get off and walk and eventually the vehicles had to go a different way through some really tricky side roads and narrow streets full of parked cars.

There was a terrible smell of acrid smoke and fire engines all over this (usually) very busy road. Pedestrians were eventually stopped and I turned into a little lane, up a hill and suddenly saw the shop....... or rather what was left of it. People witnessing everything, told me there had been several explosions, as the shop had been a nail bar and had chemicals stored there. Luckily no one got hurt but the flat above was gutted as well as the shop.

I felt a bit of an unsavoury character taking photos but lots of other people were doing so too. I do carry my camera at all times and am always ready to snap unusual things but of course this was tragic for the people involved, losing property and possessions. However, when it comes down to it, no lives were lost and it could have been so much worse.

Some hours later, I went back a second time and the fire engines were still there but this time pedestrians were allowed to walk to the other side of the road. Still there were no other vehicles allowed....... only Police and fire engines and crew. There was a car next to the nail bar that had partly melted with the heat.

When I eventually got home....... a phone call that I answered made things so much worse. My friend, who had been in hospital for several weeks had died that morning. She wasn't expected to die as she'd got over the worst. She'd even talked about coming home in a few weeks last time I phoned her. I'm so glad that I did phone her when I did a few weeks ago, little realising it would be the last time I would ever hear her voice.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Exploiting A Child's Work?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Lat weekend, my daughter and two grandsons came from the east coast to stay for a couple of nights.
When they arrived here, Dean the youngest, was quite excited because that very morning he had received a letter to say that he had won a competition for writing a mini saga. His entry had been chosen for a book which was being printed along with others from all over the country.
My daughter was offered the book for the cost £15.99.
Although it seemed rather expensive, the fact that Dean's work had been chosen, made it all seem worth it and a cheque was sent while they were here.

It wasn't until Dean returned to school, that he discovered that everyone in his class had had work chosen too. In fact, practically all the class were going to be in the book. The piece of writing was 50 words long and the book was illustrated as being quite thick. How much money is this firm making? They cannot lose really. They use the child's work and they have to hand over copyright and then they make you pay for the book.
The deceitful part of the whole thing is that they get the school to send in the entries and then they send each child a letter to their own home and let that child think that their work is exceptional, when all the time the whole class has been chosen.
I am annoyed with the school too, for falling for this. I hope my daughter will make a fuss.
The cheque had already been cashed when she found all this out and I have no idea if there even is a book and even if there is... it would never have been ordered if she'd known that the whole class have received this fabulous offer too.

Would other people be annoyed about this, or am I being unreasonable?

On top of that disappointment, my oldest grandson, Rick, who is autistic, gave the money to the driver on his school bus today but didn't get a ticket. He was then asked to pay again and as Rick is painfully shy and didn't feel he could challenge the driver, he felt pressurised to pay again and came home in tears.
My daughter is overwhelmed by all this and was close to tears too.

What is the World coming to?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Moth Mystery

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I was out in the garden hanging out the laundry when something caught my eye.
A beautiful butterfly. I rushed indoors to get my camera but not really expecting it to be there when I returned.

Luck was on my side. It wasn't going anywhere fast.
I zoomed in.
I'm no expert but I knew it was not a butterfly, but a moth.
What kind, I do not know. I am relying on somebody being able to solve this mystery.

While I had the camera in my hand, I decided to snap any flora that was in flower.
The California Poppy always does well in my garden and sometimes grows so prolifically that it could almost be classed as a weed. It does have a pretty flower though.

This little flower is shyly peeping out from behind some ferns. I thought I had lost all the plants in my garden.
It is the bi-ennial Lychnis Coronaria, with it's silver leaves and carmine flowers. Always one of my favourites, so I am extremely pleased to see it back in my garden.

My two unnamed Clematis are really doing well this year.
I think in our garden anyway, it has to be the plant of the year. (So far.)

I am now looking forward to hearing what kind of moth visited my garden?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Sometimes parents can stay together even though the relationship has finished...... just for the sake of the children.
This might seem to be the best thing for everyone....... but is it?

Recently, my oldest granddaughter seems as though she has had a weight lifted from her shoulders. You can see it in her face and manner.
The reason why?
Because her Mum, who has been divorced from her daddy for a long time, has recently moved out and found her own place nearby.
The girls have been staying with her for for a night or two and regularly go for tea after being picked up from school.
They spend two nights with me when I baby sit them, and the rest of the week is spent with their dad.
This way they have a really good time with everyone.

At one point, it seemed my heart was ripped open when my oldest granddaughter said, "There was such a big quarrel going on last night and I just had to try and block it out."
Although both the girls have always seemed to be well adjusted children, I think this situation did seem to be causing a strain on both of them without anyone realising it. It is only now that the difference can be seen and it is a pleasure to see the release of a burden that has suddenly slid off their shoulders. They seem to be both blossoming into happier children.

Trying to keep positive about the situation when they first had to cope with it, I said, " Aren't you lucky that you have three homes where you are loved! Mummy's home to visit, Daddy's and mine."
It wasn't long before they realised that they had four homes because there is always going to be one in Japan with the other Grandparents.
So they did brighten up when they realised this because I don't suppose that many other children have so many different homes.
Unless you know of some that do.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A Brave Spirit

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

My friend, Squirrel, who is far from well and is often so ill that she cannot leave her bed, had two rabbits and two guinea pigs. I thought the world of the rabbits but I'm a bit allergic to guinea pigs so I don't cuddle them, as my eyes itch and I get snuffly.
The Rex variety of rabbit is much larger than my two dwarf ones and they have fur that feels just like velvet. It is a superb breed.

On my last visit, Squirrel had only recently had Warren vaccinated and had contemplated having him neutered. He really was quite a character. Not the type to be picked up but having the run of the house and the small back yard, he did choose to come and sniff my ankles from time to time but was a very independent rabbit...... only choosing to do what he wanted to do.
He was a brave and fearless rabbit and he chased the local cats away.
His eyes were brownish black and not a bit like the redeye in the photo.

Some how or other, Squirrel recently acquired another rabbit. A dear little doe called Dusty, who was the same breed of rabbit but a different colour. More like chocolate.
Dusty, by comparison turned out to be so loveable and wanted to be hugged and nursed for ever.
I truly fell in love with her.

She just knew that the dashing, handsome Warren was a really desirable fellow and though she was too young to be let loose with him ........ flirted madly through the bars and of course, he was extremely interested in her.

Not long after this visit, Squirrel decided that she couldn't face having Warren neutered as she thought it would change his personality and she loved him just as he was. She didn't want to spoil that brave, inquisitive spirit. She decided that she'd keep them apart until Dusty was old enough to be spayed.
However, the inevitable happened........ and some how or other the cage was left open and Squirrel found them doing what rabbits seem to do quite easily.
I think you could say that he had had his evil way with her.

One evening not long after this incident, both rabbits had been tucked up in their two separate hutches on the yard outside for the night.
There is a communal walkway at the end of the yard but Squirrel had put wire fencing up to stop intruders getting near to their hutches.
However by morning, Squirrel's world had been turned upside down when she found the fencing had been torn down and Warren's cage ripped open.
Dusty and the guinea pigs were still safely in their hutch nearer the house.

It was later, that Squirrel was told by neighbours that around six in the morning, a man with a Jack Russell Terrier had walked past the fenced in rabbits and the dog had gone beserk. Before the man could stop him, he had broken into Warren's hutch and grasped him in his mouth, swinging him like a rag doll.
The man fell into the fencing and broke it while he grappled with his dog and he eventually managed to get Warren, who was still alive, out of his mouth and he put the rabbit back into his broken hutch to recover. The rabbit later pushed the door open and went out for what proved to be his last walk.
According to a neighbour, that brave rabbit was then finished off in a nearby park and carried away to be eaten by a fox. He had finally met his match.

We were all devastated to hear this and it has knocked Squirrel's health back quite a bit and now we are desperately hoping that Dusty will have kits. Then a little bit of Warren will live on.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Bristol Aquarium

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

As it was half term in Bristol this week, I decided to take my granddaughters some where really special. I know that Amber had already hinted to me before, that she'd like to go to the Bristol Aquarium by the harbour. Millie had already been with the school previously and had said that she enjoyed it.
I decided to keep the visit secret and asked their dad to bring packed lunches when he brought them round.
We set off on the bus and Amber asked, "Is it a quality outing?"
I replied that I thought it was and I assumed that a *no quality outing* would mean a picnic in a park or something, which they used to like but are now getting a bit bored with.
When we got off the bus at the city Centre and started to walk towards Millennium Square, Amber's face brightened and she appeared to be really pleased with where we were going and said she'd hoped it would be the Aquarium.

We entered the darkened corridors that twisted and turned and looked at the colourful tanks of fish.
There was a large octopus hiding in one of the tanks...... not very photo friendly one as I just couldn't get a snap of him. I have never been up close to one before though, so I was intrigued to watch it.
In another tank were some slimy giant eels of an enormous size. They got fed while we were watching them and gobbled the fish straight down. They moved too fast for a photo but were fascinating to watch.
I enjoyed the sea horses and and the beautiful coral reef which was a living wall, opening and shutting all the time.

The entrance fee also entitled us to see some 3D films in the Imax theatre, which we enjoyed and there were plenty of tables and chairs where we could sit and eat our sandwiches later.

Being a bit older, Amber doesn't go galloping through to the next thing as quickly as she used to do and both children do stop to look at things for longer. Amber had to say to Millie a few times though, "Lets make the most out of everything and not rush through." I was pleased about that as I like to savour everything at a slower pace.

The corridor opened out into a large room and in the centre of it was a huge tank with many different sea fish and living coral. Very beautiful to see.
We had already walked through glass tunnels at the bottom, seeing fish on different levels.
This tank was extremely deep by the time we got level with the open top that had just a fence round it. In the picture at the bottom, you can see lifebelts.
Thankfully nobody fell it while we were there!
We all had a really good day out and were tired out by the time we got home.
Yes, a successful outing.