X is for … X-Rated! #A-ZPhotoChallenge #AnimalTales 01/03/2016

Okay….promise me that you won’t zoom in on this photo of a squirrel…..and his nuts!!

IMG_4730

I SWEAR I had no idea until I got home and looked at the photo on the computer screen – honest!

I was actually disappointed with the quality of the photos I’d taken on my phone – every one was fuzzy, but there’s still…..erm…..a lot of detail on some of them!

This was one of my morning walks. It was a lovely one; late enough to miss the school kids and the dog walkers, so I wasn’t tempted to stop and natter, but I was absolutely amazed at the number of squirrels who were out and playing in the winter sunshine – so I stopped walking anyhow!

Usually I see the odd one or two squirrels, but there were masses of them, in very high spirits from the warmth I think. They were darting up and down the trees, jumping over the river and running in and out of the gardens which adjoin this wooded area. It was a lovely sight.

I did get one more reasonable-ish photo….

IMG_4724

I showed this one (thankfully not the other one!) to my nephew, Euan, who is three, and asked him what it was. His answer? A rabbit….

ANIMALTALES

 

 

W is for … White Stuff #A-ZPhotoChallenge

IMG_0079

Don’t reallyIMG_0080 need many words to explain this one, but since when has that stopped me?!

It is a lovely idea from White Stuff – they want YOU to help them raise £16K for their local shop charities by creating your own unique patch – see the photographed leaflet for details.

You can pick up your patch from your local shop and then return it, decorated, to the shop by 10th March. Your local shop will be having a tea, cake and judging event which sounds right up my street!

The winner from each shop will receive a £50 White Stuff voucher and go forward for a chance to win a crafting holiday in Italy.

BUT, the best thing is that for every patch entered White Stuff will donate £5 to your local shop’s charity AND all of the patches will become part of a cushion or quilt that will be sent to your shop’s charity. Now, that really is a win/win situation!

If you’d like to see more details, or for some inspiration, check out whitestuff.com/areyouthready or pop into your store. If you can’t get into your local store to drop off your completed patch, you can submit it by post, so don’t let that stop you!

If you’re going to take part in this great challenge, I’d love to see what you come up with! #WSAreYouThready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure?

Here’s a photo of the kit you can buy from White Stuff to get you inspired!  Go on, challenge yourself and raise money for charity too!

IMG_0078

A Gate For All Seasons – January

018ca20adb59f84a9fb571f9379c1dfd58e9be107c

This one is totally self indulgent, but if you have your own blog, then why not?!

This is the view I see every day when I walk into town. It’s a great one, in my opinion, and one that changes through the seasons…..so why not take a monthly photo of it just to see if it changes as much as I think it does?!

The most problematic thing about it is that there’s a big grey bin just to the left of the gate. Do I include that in my photo as the view of the hill (Dumpdon) is better from further back, but other than Photoshopping the bin is coming along to play too? Well, just go with the flow I think!

I’m not quite sure why these posts are so important. It’s not like it’s a mysterious gate as I do know what’s behind it. Many, many years ago I used to babysit for the people who owned the house behind the gate, so I know that it leads to a lovely garden…..but there is an air of mystery about it.

Anyway, here’s a distance one where I did miss the bin….and include the random lamppost and grit bin instead!

019a5bbac0b4ec3c3b185d8b29c41f25bf4a89cc53

 

Classics Challenge 2016 – January (ahem!)

Okay, so I’m a little late with my post, but at least I am doing it, and I really have been reading my classics diligently! In fact I’m already on number 3. I’d be looking for Brownie points (happy World Thinking Day by the way!) if I wasn’t so late….

So, book number 1 for me was….

fahrenheit451

I have to admit, although I’d heard of it, I knew nothing about it so was reading, effectively, blind. I found the recommendation from a very handy list from our mentor Stacey who came up with this whole brilliant idea in the first place. Read all about the Classics Challenge 2016 on the Pretty Books Blog.

Working in a library, the thought of burning books was an intriguing one and I thought beginning with a “modern” classic would be a good way to break myself in gently.

I’m not sure that “enjoyed” is the right way to describe the way I felt about this thought provoking book. It’s quite scary that 60+ years earlier a lot of Ray Bradbury’s “predictions” of life in the future are pretty accurate.

As well as the physical burning of books and the reading of books being a crime punishable by death, lack of social and personal contact are big themes and, well, we all know that is the direction in which life is moving at present with social media keeping us at arms-length from face to face contact a lot of the time, as well as the meteoric rise of reality tv shows encouraging us to watch life from a distance rather than take part personally.

Interestingly, in Bradbury’s world the citizens police themselves and the book burning and other conformity is widely accepted and, indeed, embraced.

The violence in the book is shocking – the burning of a colleague, a mechanical hound hunting down it’s prey, attempted suicide and more – but the reaction of those who witness these things is even more shocking. A huge wake up call. If Bradbury wrote this 60 years ago and we are rapidly heading in the direction of his predictions without having taken heed of those words, is there hope for future generations? Are things like consideration for others and a wide and rich education becoming things of the past?

We need to grasp, embrace and act upon the equally strong positive messages of the story….

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

So, what are you going to leave behind….?

https://theprettybooks.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/classics16_button.png?w=634