P P P Pick up a pebble …

Hi everyone, and I hope this post finds you all happy and well.

It occurred to me, whilst I was daydreaming, that pretty much everyone loves penguins. Well, I know I do. And I can’t ever recall anyone bad mouthing them or talking about their hatred of them, as in “I hate spiders”.

And, of course, there are lots of them to be seen in adverts on tv etc, particularly at this time of year.

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So yes, I think we are all agreed that they are absolutely adorable – and even more so now I know this about them …

Most penguins are monogamous, meaning that the pairs will mate exclusively with each other for the duration of the mating season, and many will then mate for life.

But what I didn’t know is that the males of certain breeds of penguins, such as the Adelie and the Gentoo, actually propose by scouring the beach for the most perfect pebble they can find and then present it to their chosen mate, hoping that she will accept the pebble and they will then become a pair and mate for life.

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Much the same courtship as a human male presenting a diamond to his chosen mate before the mating ritual begins – but if you consider the general behaviour that many of the muppets featured on reality tv display to their peers these days, then the human couple will probably have at least three or four kids between them already. And she now wants a bigger diamond and a new mate who will bring home extra bacon. One that works out to look more buff. Oh, and she wants a bigger nest too.

Call me old fashioned but I think penguins have got it sussed.

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

Nine lives and no more chores. Yay!

Hello everyone, I hope this post finds you all happy and well.

Happy, well, and comfortable in your own skin too.

You may or may not think you are perfect just as you are – I’m certainly not perfect but I can live quite comfortably in my own skin and I don’t think there is too much I would change fortunately as I feel it would be a rather time consuming occupation and my time would be better spent in a zillion other ways.

In these modern times, however, where so many seem to be changing their sexual preferences, their genders, and even their race I thought I had pretty much seen the lot.

But oh, no. Because according to the BBC news …

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46133262

… a man from Holland, who described himself as a young god, has launched a legal battle to change his legal age from 69 to 49 to increase his employment chances and to boost his dating prospects on the dating app Tinder.

Now, each to their own I say, but I just don’t get this at all. Yes, I suppose he does look younger than his actual age but so do hundreds of thousands of other people.

And so I really think the line has to be drawn somewhere … before some bright spark wants to change their species.

Oh, hang on a sec, that bright spark might be me as I think it would be really cool to be a cat for instance. No more work, no more chores, sleeping in front of a fire all day in winter, staying out partying all night in summer. And as the great British veterinary surgeon James Alfred “Alf” Wight, probably better known by the pen name James Herriot, once said “Cats are connoisseurs of comfort”.

So now I’m just going to call my lawyer and ask him to instigate proceedings for me to legally be recognised as a cat.

Oh, but not a grumpy old cat who perhaps looks a bit frayed around the edges. I don’t want to be an old cat – I’d rather be a cute little kitten so you know what this means? I guess I will have to legally change MY age too. So do I still think that’s an odd thing to do? No, not at all, not now I look this cute:

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Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

 

Please sign to support 1950s women!!

This is a copy of a Facebook post I have received which, as a 64 year old 1950s woman without a pension, really hit home.

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I am just one of the 3.8 million women who are affected.

3.8 MILLION women!

Thank heavens for all the people who are steadfastly battling on our behalf, too numerous to mention here, but there’s lots of available information to be found on Google and some excellent campaign groups such as Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) and Back To 60, and We Paid In You Pay Out etc.

It is absolutely scandalous that this has happened and that some of the most vulnerable members of our supposedly civilised society are forced to live in abject poverty whilst awaiting their pensions – many of whom are having to wait almost six years!

Nearly six years of struggling on, with a large proportion suffering from declining health, others coping with the bereavement of their partners and still more severely depressed and distressed by their financial worries when, for all of their adult lives, they believed they would receive their pensions on reaching the age of sixty.

Nearly six years of wishing their lives away, probably longing for the day when they will receive what has been rightfully theirs all along.

I wonder if the government are calculating how many of these women will conveniently die before they have to start paying out? Because I was interested to note that MPs themselves are receiving an EXTRA £1368 a year from (rather appropriately) April Fools’ Day 2018, so at least that’s one less worry for us all, knowing that they are ok.

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If you agree that this cannot be allowed to continue then please do take a moment to sign this petition as I’m sure every little helps:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/230451?fbclid=IwAR0Lj-OI4HFfwOQZiWHDaxG26TxQMnPe7uIleZYOzfilZXMdwhZ4jVeQwDc

And for those of you personally affected then you might be interested to take a look at some of the aforementioned campaign groups and/or to read this article written by the acclaimed political journalist David Hencke:

Exclusive: Case for Judicial Review for BackTo60 challenge to government on pensions set for November 30

After all, this is currently happening to 1950s women – what is going to happen to the 1960s women who are hard on our heels? And so forth …

Thankyou so much for taking the time to read this, it is very much appreciated.

Elizabeth x

 

I don’t want to talk about it!!

Increasingly I read messages on social media sites which basically say things such as “I’m devastated but I don’t want to talk about it” or “I won’t be posting for a few days, but I don’t want to say why” or “That’s it, I’m finished, you won’t be hearing from me again … don’t ask me why”.

Ok, I won’t. Because rather than garnering sympathy from me, these types of feeble attention seeking messages irritate me no end. Bear in mind these are adults, albeit totally self absorbed adults, posting this detritus. Fully developed individuals who, in many cases, will be responsible for others and/or raising children of their own, behaving in a way that is almost guaranteed to elicit attention.

Do they really have so little else going on for them that they have to resort to these little cryptic cries for help? Despite the persona they choose to project in many cases, is their self esteem so low that they constantly need validation from others, including complete strangers?

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I constantly hear that society is being dumbed down and I think this is a perfect example of that. It’s just so sad that as educated individuals we aren’t encouraged to improve ourselves, to blossom and thrive – encouraged OR rewarded, because it seems to me that there are plenty of people who could fend quite well for themselves but are happier to accept handouts and to play the system to their own ends much to the detriment of those who are genuinely vulnerable.

I don’t believe that anyone, except for the sick and disabled, should receive any benefit money without doing something in return. There’s no reason I can think of that would prevent anyone from improving their own community for example, by cleaning up streets and parks etc or tending allotments to provide local people with fresh fruit and vegetables free of charge.  And why can’t others help the elderly by gardening or decorating or such like. Or they could attend classes and workshops to provide them with skills to enhance their chances of securing a job.

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If people were made to physically contribute in exchange for food, rent and utility vouchers, and given only just enough to cover their most basic needs, as opposed to being given cold hard cash which in some cases is spent on drink and drugs and cable television, then they might be encouraged to actually get jobs and start earning cash for themselves. And contributing to a better society for all.

Everyone would benefit in so many ways. Surely it would be relatively straightforward to implement? And so worthwhile for those sent to help others, and well as beneficial to those who are in need of help. Communities would improve and the authorities, and therefore the tax payers, would save money.

And with additional education and a job comes feelings of satisfaction and self worth – and less of those needy pitiful posts on social media.

Win win!

Elizabeth x

 

So which do YOU prefer, red or blue?

Hello everyone! It’s very cold and wet here in Norfolk but I hope it’s much nicer where you are.

I think today is a rather good day for snuggling up in front of the fire and enjoying a good book, together with a hot cup of tea and my favourite cocoa dusted almonds. I always think that staring into the flames of an open fire conjures up all sorts of thoughts …

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I once knew a rather famous and very well regarded photographer who told me that you should always inject even the smallest amount of the colour red into everything, whether it be an outfit, a room or a garden setting for example, to bring everything else to life.

I was reminded of this having just read an interesting article about the psychology behind the colour red. It is apparently a very emotionally intense colour which can actually increase our respiration rate and raise our blood pressure.

And studies have shown that if a woman wears red, as opposed to any other colour, then men are more likely to be attracted to her. I read somewhere that scientists carried out an experiment where they had two almost identical looking women and dressed them in dresses of an identical style but one wore a red dress and the other wore a different colour and when asked to choose, without exception, all the men preferred the woman in the red dress.

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Obviously, it’s a rich warm colour and it can on occasions evoke heightened and powerful emotions such as seduction and passion – if you think of sexy lingerie for example then often the sauciest examples are red in colour or trimmed with red lace or feathers.

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Which in turn reminds me of the time many moons ago when, newly married, I bought this very frivolous and outrageously expensive black satin baby doll nightdress which was generously trimmed with black feathers. It sounds pretty hideous now but I promise you it was exquisitely beautiful at the time. I thought I looked the bees knees until I awoke the next morning to discover my nightdress was almost bald but the bed looked as though there had been a fight to the death between two blackbirds! Très embarrassant.

Thankfully, I have evolved over time and would never buy anything which involved feathers now as it is so cruel how the feathers are harvested in some cases.

Anyway, I digress, back to red. So we know it’s associated with love, with red roses being the traditional symbol of true love. And it’s also associated with anger, as in ‘seeing red’, as well as warning of danger. Obviously, much of this symbolism is entrenched in the past when the colour red first represented blood and fire.

Rather weirdly though, some scientific studies have shown that if someone prefers red over blue it may indicate they have a more hostile personality! Oops, that’s a bit awkward as I much prefer red to blue – so that must be a load of boll**ks then as anyone who knows me knows I’m not bl**dy hostile! And I’ll fight anyone who says I am.

So, which do YOU prefer? Red or blue?

Interesting, very interesting!

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying nature … cheaper than therapy!

Hey, how YOU doin?

I’ve now entered my second month of writing my blog and exploring WordPress (which I am really enjoying) and it’s like a whole new world has opened up to me. A world where I am learning so many interesting things, reading so many fascinating blogs covering a multitude of subjects, and where I feel I have already made some real connections with others. So yes, it does feel as though a whole new whole has been revealed to me, one which I had no idea even existed. Brillo!

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And all of the above happened without me even leaving the comfort of my own desk – except to let my dogs (Mrs Temple-Savage and Philip) out for a wee – and at this time of year it’s just a bit too chilly for their liking so they are out and then back fairly quickly.

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Mrs Temple-Savage (aged nine) and Philip (aged five) aren’t related in any way but, as you can see, they are inseparable and Philip, on the left, can become quite distressed if he is away from her for even the shortest time (a visit to the vet for example). They do everything together and often sleep together in the above position where he is literally cuddling her.

Seeing how they communicate, and their genuine love and affection for one another, was yet another factor in me deciding to become a pesco-vegetarian (adding only seafood to a mainly plant based diet), not that I used to eat dogs of course, but this is just my personal preference and the conclusion I have reached.

Animals are way more intelligent and sentient than many people give them credit for and I pray that I will see all species granted vastly increased rights during my lifetime.

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My little companions and I, and our friends, have very much enjoyed our summer this year and although it was rather too hot at times we spent quite a lot of time in the garden especially in the early evenings.

Since we are living in a city we only have a small courtyard garden but it’s plenty big enough to enjoy and to entertain. All the trees and bushes are discreetly draped in fairy lights which sounds kitsch I know, but they look so pretty in the evening making it a really nice peaceful place to sit and relax and mull over the events of the day, or to catch up with friends.

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We have a brick built barbecue and a lovely little fire pit sitting on a pile of carefully broken slabs which my friend Alistair cleverly constructed in such a way that the occasional stray mouse can find sanctuary away from my two terriers, both of which have a very high prey instinct.

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Right in the centre of the above picture you can see what I think is a rather magnificent display of red hot pokers – these are of great sentimental value to me as they came, as small cuttings, from my fathers’ garden just after he passed away. The birdbath at the bottom of the garden on the right was made for me by my father many years ago and is therefore so precious to me.

These are all surrounded by Scottish pebbles chosen for two rather specific reasons. Firstly because my dogs occasionally charge around a bit and therefore I wanted pebbles specifically with soft round edges to protect their feet and, secondly because when it rains their natural colours shine through and they just look so beautiful on even the dullest of days.

And at the bottom of the garden is a beautiful lime tree which I planted as a sapling about ten years ago and this provides quite a lot of privacy from being overlooked. In front of this is a generous size garden table which I use to feed the birds and a grey squirrel who visits occasionally.

Having left nuts, seeds, bread, suet and fruit out for the last decade this table now attracts on a daily basis a family of sixteen pigeons, four ring-necked doves, miscellaneous robins and sparrows who also nest in the garden, and half a dozen great tits, as well as a male and female blackbird and two magpies who usually visit weekly.

Great tits naturally reside in woodland areas but they have apparently adapted to city living now in parks and gardens, and I live next door to a park so maybe they nest there and just visit my garden to enjoy a little banquet as I try to make the food as delicious and varied as possible to appeal to all tastes.

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I think these gorgeous little birds look quite exotic and I read that they are admired for their intelligence as well as their beauty, and are also known to problem solve and achieve success by intelligence rather than trial and error. It’s these tiny birds which used to take the tops off milk bottles to reach the cream in the days of delivered milk left on doorsteps. And they have also been known to use tools such as a pine needle for extracting larvae that’s hiding in the crevice of a tree.

We also have visits from a hedgehog or two, and even a fox sometimes – it’s amazing that there is just so much going on in my little city garden, day and night. Wonderful!

Please do feed and water the birds if you are able this winter – your kindness could be the difference between life and death for these little creatures and in turn will bring you much happiness.

Thankyou so much,

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

Is being bigger better?

Hello everyone, I hope you are all happy and well and that life is being kind to you. Also, may I just say a big thankyou to everyone who is following my blog, it is VERY much appreciated!

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Now, according to my friend Jefferson there has been a huge increase in the sales of plus size televisions recently – plus size generally being considered as 60″ and over. There has been a staggering 200% increase year on year apparently and these super sized screens are allegedly fast becoming the must have item.

Just ten years ago the most popular size sold was a mere 36″ – I myself have a 42″ tv which is approximately ten years old and which I still consider to be quite large and super luxurious and indulgent. In fact, I think I’d need a bigger sitting room if I wanted a bigger television.

Apparently, whenever there is a World Cup then television sales rise rather dramatically as people will be entertaining at home and hosting World Cup parties. Obviously I knew football fans gathered in pubs to worship together but private World Cup parties at home? I’ve been blissfully unaware of these until now and didn’t even know such a thing existed – and I’ve certainly never been invited to one. Thank goodness!

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In fact, I find the World Cup irritating at the best of time as it interferes with my favourite programme, Coronation Street, which I have watched since the very first episode (except for the year when I lived in India – they didn’t watch it there oddly enough).

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And yes, I am aware that I may be damaging my own street cred by admitting I am a devout Corrie fan but, for me, Coronation Street is like a much loved and well worn tatty old security blanket. I find the theme tune, and even the accents, soporific to such a degree that it’s like journeying back in time to when my mother would be preparing our evening meal over an open fire as my father cheerfully whittled on a stick.

Oh, hang on … rewind please, that must be someone else’s childhood memory as my mother certainly never ever cooked and neither did my father whittle to my knowledge.

Even so, there is something about Corrie which makes me feel secure somehow. Sad, but true.

So, will I be investing in one of these super size television sets?

No, absolutely not. I certainly don’t want Norris to be larger in life than me and neither do I want Rita’s enormous but carefully coiffured ginger wig cluttering up my sitting room – and it would clash horribly with my decor.

Have a fabulous day!

And thankyou again for taking the time to read this,

Elizabeth x

It’s no skin off my nose … or is it?

Hello everyone … I’ve just been itching to share these words of wisdom with you:

If it’s dry, moisturise it.

If it’s moist, dry it.

Congratulations, you are now a dermatologist!

Seriously though, scratch that. You probably already know that your skin is the largest organ you have (covering an area of two square metres on average) and that it obviously plays an imperative role in protecting your muscles, bones and internal organs from exterior infections and diseases, as well as playing an essential role in detecting, controlling and regulating your body temperature.

But not only is your skin the largest organ you have but it’s also one of the most complicated – maintaining health and, indeed, life itself. Complicated, and quite possibly problematic, given that there are over three thousand possible skin disorders currently in existence. And changes to your skin can naturally signal changes to your health.

Incidentally, yet another fascinating fact, your skin is thickest on your feet and thinnest on your eyelids. Yep, fairly obvious if you think about it.

But did you know that you shed approximately 30,000 – 40,000 dead skin cells every single minute? That’s millions of dead skin cells every day. And they obviously don’t all drop off at once – you are literally leaving a trail of dead skin everywhere you go.

In fact, the entire surface of your skin is replaced every month! How amazing is that! Except for the dust you cause along the way of course –  because the dust that collects on your furniture etc is mostly dead skin cells from you and any other passing human. And, incredible as this is, you will actually shed more than eight pounds of dead skin each and every year.

So, next time you watch a ray of light shining through a window into a room, and you can see all these tiny specks floating about in the air – that’s quite probably minute particles of you and your friends and family.

Personally I’m a bit OCDish at the best of times and so I definitely don’t want to be inhaling other people, not even the ones I love, so I think I’ll start wearing a mask indoors. And no, before you ask, I don’t think that’s at all odd!

Oh dear, now my mind is starting to run riot – what about in a nightclub, for example, where hundreds of random people are dancing energetically? They must be shedding shed loads of dead skin cells! Although to be honest, I’m unlikely to be found in a nightclub these days (having recently celebrated my 64th birthday) but if I were to go then I would most definitely wear a mask there!

OMG, and what about on public transport such as the tube? All those people scuffing against one another? I would definitely need a mask there.

Oh, you’re picturing a rather neat plain white surgical mask?

I’m not – I’m picturing something more like THIS little beauty which I think I could just about pass off as a fashion accessory …

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Very steampunk … and not as ridiculous as you might think when you are at home sitting on your sofa, mask free, but breathing in bits of your friends or relatives!

Definitely food for thought …

Elizabeth x

Taking life nice and sloe …

Hi everyone, it’s a gorgeously crisp sunny day today in sleepy old Norwich, Norfolk, here in the UK.

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Well, I say sleepy because I always think Norwich has that lovely olde worlde markety town feel about the place (for example pictured above is Elm Hill, in the centre of the city) but there’s actually loads going on and lots to look forward to before we see 2018 out with a bang.

The architecture in the old parts of the city is stunning, and much loved and very well preserved. It’s just like stepping back in time a few centuries in places.

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There’s always lots to do here, no matter what your preference – now, I’m not much of a drinker but, as my fabulously fit friends Siobhan and Kirk will tell you (who incidentally make a first class sloe gin), I am rather partial to the occasional glass of gin …

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… and I’ve just discovered that The Great British Gin Festival is coming to Norwich in a couple of days time on Saturday 20th October. Yay!

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My intentions are good but I probably won’t go as I have a zillion things to do at home and the weekend is a good time for me to catch up. But I’ve heard that it’s the thought that counts. Cheers everyone!

Living the dream baby 🙂

Elizabeth x

 

Good things come in small packages …

Hi everyone …

Today I thought I would write about a natural food product, which I feel is greatly underestimated, and the amazing benefits which can come from eating such a simple and inexpensive thing as sardines. Yes, sardines.

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I began to pay attention to them initially because I have an elderly Jack Russell dog who suffers from a grass pollen allergy every summer which makes her itch terribly and, following multiple visits to the vet and having tried almost everything else, I was advised that sardines are excellent for dogs with allergies and just a couple of small sardines twice a week could help, and thankfully they did. They have not stopped her scratching altogether, that would be miraculous, but her symptoms have definitely eased.

An added bonus is that sardines also encourage natural anti-inflammatory responses in the body, making them great for dogs with arthritis. And they provide a source of brain food  for growing puppies and senior dogs too.

They are excellent for their skin and coat, in fact both my dogs have sardines now and people often comment on how beautiful their coats are … which got me thinking.

Having never paid any attention to sardines myself I quickly discovered just how beneficial they are for humans too. For example, did you know that they are actually one of the least contaminated sources of fish, and are known to contain fewer toxins and metals than other fish, such as tuna.

I read that they are also rich in protein and a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, selenium as well as vitamins B3, B12 and D. It’s selenium which helps neutralise free radicals and works to protect the organs from damage. And a regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids is good for the heart because it reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.

Also, insulin resistance is one of the major factors to look for in diabetes and I’ve read that, according to some studies, including sardines in your diet can reduce insulin resistance. How amazing is that!

I have them hot, on seeded brown bread and drizzled with fresh lemon juice, for breakfast at least once or twice a week now … and people often comment on how nice my coat is 🙂

Elizabeth x