Happy National Pet Day

Evening!

Really really quick post tonight because I’m absolutely exhausted today after burning the candle at both ends. I was at a retirement do last night for a wonderful man, Robert, who was my boss for the majority of the last sixteen years. It was a lovely evening. Really lovely and, most importantly, Robert had a fantastic evening.

I mentioned in my last post that I had to rush off to desperately finish some crocheting. I was making an elephant as a gift for Robert. I got him a couple of other gifts, but I really wanted to give him something handmade so it had that personal touch. I managed to finish it at the eleventh hour – phew!

Here it is deconstructed.

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And drumroll moment ….

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Cute huh?

Talk of elephants leads me nicely on to the topic of the day – it’s National Pet Day. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show some of my favourite photos of the various pets in my life.

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This is my hubby with our friends’ dog Pip. She’s a lovely dog with a great temperament. Hubby loves her (I think the feeling’s mutual).

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This is Charly who belongs to my brother in law and sister in law. This photo was taken after we’d done the Poppy Run a few years ago. Charly is proudly sporting her poppy medal.

Now on to our pets who are no longer with us. I don’t have many electronic photos of cats that I had pre-smart phones.

This is Sandy who was our cat from approximately 1980 until 1996.

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He was really tiny for a tom cat. He was around for the whole of my childhood and taught me how to care for and love animals.

Sherry was our next pussy cat. She lived with my parents and I, then my Mum and I, then she was just my housemate and she was still around when I met hubby.

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The first picture is my favourite pic of Sherry. It was taken on an early phone camera before you could turn the camera round to do a selfie so it was pure luck that I managed to get us both in. The second was taken in the communal gardens of our old flat.

Sherry was with me through thick and thin, through break ups, through my degree, my wedding. The day she died was (and still is) the worse day of my life. It was so emotionally traumatic, but I wouldn’t change anything because she was an amazing cat. I still think about her most days and she’s been gone almost a decade.

We had Willow next.

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Willow was completely different to Sherry. Sherry was super confident but Willow was the epitome of a scaredy cat. Bless her, she was happy to be with us  but she was scared of anyone she wasn’t familiar with. If the doorbell went she’d race into our bedroom and hide under the bed and wouldn’t emerge until she felt it was safe to do so.

Poor Willow met with an unfortunate end in a road accident so we made the decision to keep our current cats as house cats. I don’t think it would be fair to make a cat that was used to going outside into a house cat so we had them from tiny kitten so they have never known the outside.

I’m going to spam you with the gorgeousness that is Olive and Tinkerbell now!

Every cat that I’ve owned (or should that be that’s owned me?) has been from a rescue centre. One of the main purposes of National Pet Day is to promote adopting from rescue centres because there are so many animals – cats, dogs, rabbits, chinchillas and many others – that need forever homes. Take a look at their website if you’re interested.

Right, ‘boing boing’ said Zebedee ‘time for bed’. In the words of Bridget Jones ‘I’m off to Bedfordshire’.

Happy Mother’s Day

First things first, if you’re reading this and you’re not in the UK, Ireland or (apparently!) Niger, and you’ve just come over in a cold sweat, don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, Mother’s Day for you has either been and gone, or is yet to come. For us here in the UK, it’s today.

I always feel it’s a mixed day. There are so many mothers who’ve lost a child, children who’ve lost their mother, estranged mothers and children, women who are, or have been, desperately trying to become a mother without success, and that must be so difficult. My own Mum is over a hundred miles away with the biggest car park in the UK (AKA the M25) in the way, so I don’t see her very often, but at least these days it’s easy to get a card and gift to her. Although, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered with the card!

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Does it make it any less lazy that I designed it on Moonpig and put pictures of flowers from our garden on it and then used my own wording inside? And I had it sent to me rather than straight to Mum so that I could sign it myself?

Apparently Anna Jarvis introduced Mother’s Day in the US after losing her own mother in 1908, but prior to her death she had tried to rescind it because she didn’t agree with how commercial it had become. Ironic perhaps that when she died penniless, her bills were paid by the greetings card companies that she so scorned!

I chose not to walk down the traditional motherhood path, my babies have fur!

I’ve spent the weekend pottering in the garden, actually it wasn’t all pottering. Yesterday hubby and I finished off the slabbing around the raised beds and greenhouse. It was so much easier with two. Hubby made short work of mixing the sand and cement leaving me to do the more precision work of laying the slabs. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself!

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I feel like my seedlings should’ve sent me a Mother’s Day card. I’ve given them all they needed for life, I’ve nurtured them, I’ve worried about them, I’ve reassured them and I’m so proud of them.

This is how they’re looking now.

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Sunflowers, Calendula, Sweet Peas, Cosmos and Aquilegia. I say ‘and Aquilegia’ but they’re the only seeds that aren’t doing anything. I just googled it and the RHS site tells me the seeds need light to germinate so you shouldn’t cover them! It didn’t tell me that on the packet! I’ll have to go out and see if I can salvage the situation. I need to do some more sowing anyway because I got some Poppy seeds with the latest Gardener’s World magazine.

I’ve done some planting out today as well. I still have loads of plants waiting around patiently for their forever home so I decided to plant a few out. The problem I have now is that I planted loads of Summer bulbs last weekend and almost immediately I managed to forget where I’d planted them! I have a vague idea, but I really need them to throw up some shoots so I know where I’m safe to plant other stuff! I did manage to disturb a couple of them today – whoops!

After what happened to my Berberis when I planted it out last year (it lost all its beautiful leaves immediately) I get really worried whenever I plant anything out, especially if it’s been happily moseying along in its pot for some time, but I have to bite the bullet and keep everything crossed.

On the left is Leucothoe Axillaris ‘Curly Red’. This was a birthday present, so it’s been sat in its pot since September waiting for me to find somewhere for it to live.  It likes partial or full shade so I’ve put it on the side of the garden which is shadowed by next door’s huge conifers. The photo doesn’t do it justice, it’s really lovely in real life.

I wish I could tell you what the shrub on the right is. It was £1.50 from B&M Bargains and it had no label. I purposely kept it in its pot for quite a while so I could see if it flowered or did anything that might give an indication as to what it is, but it didn’t. My best guess is Cotoneaster, but it’s never had any berries so I’m not sure. Any suggestions are welcome!

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I also planted these out. They are Rose Campion and they were gifted to me last week by our cleaner at work. She’s so kind and she often brings me in various plants that have self seeded and multiplied in her garden. I’m less worried about these, firstly because I haven’t had time to get attached to them and secondly because they’ve been sat in a plant pot for the past week with barely any soil around them and just a little sprinkle of water, and they don’t seem to be any the worst. According to t’internet, they’ll have beautiful magenta flowers.

My daffodils are starting to fade already.

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It’s so bitter sweet. Fading daffodils means we’re getting closer to Summer which is my happiest season, but it’s so sad to see the beautiful yellow blooms turning brown and withering. I console myself with the knowledge that they’ll be back again next year.

There’s good progress going on with my established plants too.

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Just look at the amazing colours on my Polemonium. Isn’t it beautiful? It has tall waving flowers. There’s no sign of them yet, but to be honest, I’d be happy for it to stay like this. Stunning!

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I think this Geranium is the living embodiment of determined. I relocated it sometime during last Summer when it was ridiculously hot because I needed its space. I had to be quite rough with it when I was digging it up because it was really well established, and I seem to recall I didn’t even replant it on the same day that I dug it up. For a while it really looked like it wouldn’t make it, it wilted and lay completely flat on the ground, but now look at it. The epitome of perky.

Finally my wild flower. It was on the sale table and it just said ‘Wild Flower’ on the label so I had no idea what it would do.

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The first pic is when I planted it in August, the second was taken ten days ago and the third was today. It’s grown soooo much. I didn’t even expect it to make it through the Winter! I’m really impatient for all the flowers to open out. It’s going to be gorgeous – just look how many individual little buds there are in each little cluster.

I suppose I’d better go and get ready for the new week. There’s been very little garden time in the week recently, but now the clocks have gone forward so it’ll be lighter for longer in the evenings so I should be able to get some mooching in the garden done after work now – whoop!

Have a good week all.

A Teddy Bears’ Picnic

I have a confession to make! I have an addiction. A pretty serious one. A life long one! It’s cost me a fair bit of money and I have several stashes of my addiction around the house.

Teddy Bears!

Stuffed toys strictly, I suppose, rather than bears, but to me they’re my bears. A friend of mine challenged me to take a photo of all of them so yesterday I gathered them from all their various homes (and they all have definite homes) and assembled them together on our bed.

Wow! That’s a lot of bears! I have to admit, I didn’t realise I had quite this many. Am I sorry? Absolutely not! They give me lots of pleasure. There are worse addictions to have.

I’ve always loved bears and I think it was inevitable that when I grew up I’d choose to be a cat Mum instead of having babies. I didn’t play with dolls as a little girl. I found them cold and hard and in stark contrast to the soft, fluffy sqidginess of bears. You can’t rest your head on a doll when you’re tired.

My bears aren’t just random though. I can remember where each one was bought, and many of them are reminders of special occasions. Most of them have names.

This is the oldest bear that I still have, and she’s called Dilly Trent. When I was twelve I broke my leg and this was a catalyst for my parents to get a second car because they needed to be able to share the school run whilst I was unable to walk. The car was a bright yellow mark one Fiesta registration TDD 358X (weird what you remember!) and its horn sounded like a duck so it inherited the name Dilly the duck. We bought Dilly from Lichfield, and on the same day Mum and Dad bought me this bear so she was named Dilly (after the car) Trent (after Lichfield Trent Valley).

Pendigo was a Christmas present from hubby a couple of years ago. He was from Resorts World at the NEC which overlooks Pendigo lake. He’s so big he needed to use the seatbelt on the way home!

These are my Wimbledon bears bought from the shop at Wimbledon during the championships. Two of my passions rolled up in one (or three as the case may be) bear! Fingers crossed for this year’s ballot so I can get another one!

These are my bears from Cliff Richard concerts. Don’t think I’ve mentioned this particular little secret before, but here’s the evidence.

My best friend and I used to go on an annual Christmas pilgrimage to Harrods until Al Fayed sold it and it went downhill! There used to be a MASSIVE teddy bear room and it was my heaven, but the new owners drastically reduced it. This is my Harrods collection.

These are my Steiff bears. You could say that these are an investment because Steiff bears are very collectible. You may have spotted that the delight on the end in the waistcoat has appeared in both the last two photos. This is because he’s a Harrods Steiff bear. He was ridiculously expensive but I couldn’t care a jot. He’s beautiful. He used to growl when you tipped him forward but I noticed when I got him down to take the photo that he seems to have lost his voice. Poor thing. The little rabbit next to the Harrods bear is my newest bear. I spotted him in Frankfurt airport on the way home from a work trip and couldn’t resist. He’s called Hoppi and he’s the softest rabbit ever! The little blonde one, Sammy, was my first Steiff bear and I got him with vouchers that my Dad gave me for a very special trip we took to London in 2007. Little Wonky Donkey on the end was also from Harrods, although he’s not a Harrods branded Steiff bear. He’s just adorable.

Jellycat! Who can resist a Jellycat bear? Clearly not me! Sweetie kitten at the front was a must because well, she’s a kitten! Grey sitting behind is a bit obscured by Sweetie kitten, but he’s an owl. Hubby bought him for me on a day when I was feeling a bit under the weather. Grayshott the elephant I bought from a village in Hampshire when I was visiting my Mum called Grayshott (hence the name). Dapple the giraffe and Bashful lamb came from a shop near us that I have to do my best to avoid (for obvious reasons!)

These are all bears that I’ve gathered on my travels. The purple Triceratops was from Orlando airport. I have an affinity with the Triceratops because I used to call them TriSarahtops when I was little after myself! The two Toys R Us Geoffreys are both from Toys R Us on Times Square bought on different trips to the Big Apple. The Ocean Village bear is from our first cruise. He’s called Mr Shel which is made from the initials of all our ports of call on the cruise (Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Heraklion, Ephesus and Limassol). In the pink jumper is Macy who came from Macy’s in New York and in the stripy jumper is Treasure who came from Las Vegas. Finally is my coati and her baby, Conchita and Chica, who hopped in our suitcase when we came back from Mexico.

Last but by absolutely no means least are my gloom of Eeyores and his Hundred Acre pals. Gloom, I have decided, is the collective noun for a group of Eeyores. You may argue that nine Eeyores is enough for one house. We’ll see! There are Eeyores here from New York, Orlando and London – he gets around! The group of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Owl and the nearest Eeyore to Pooh Bear were also bought with the Harrods vouchers on that special London trip.

So, there you have it. Lots of bears, all very much loved and here to stay!