Sunday 31 January 2010

What Does Nature Mean to You?

From a child, Nature wove her spells about me, wooing me to seek her. I needed little encouragement as it stands, to get outside and stay outside, discovering her charms. Agog with curiosity. Today, as an adult so much of my memory is made up of a recollection, an experience, a picture of Nature. When I am all huff and hurry with pressure of work or other concerns, I step outside and it is with Nature where I find again that rare tranquility which reflects more faithfully my temperament.

Nature never fails to mix her usual sedative. Last night I stood outside amongst the flower borders which are blown to wet ribbons, a damp mossy smell to the garden soaked by rain yet high in the sky behind the black clouds a ragged scrap of blue just visible. I stood where the light centred, drawn to its crimson vivid shine as the sun set and felt dwarfed to small dimensions by it, in just the same way that I always have. 

My passion for the natural world is a fundamental part of who I am.  You see, Nature has always been a feature of my life just like an older sibling.  Nature knows me and I know her on a deep-rooted level.  We are always our own true selves together.  

Nature offers me constant comfort and advice, surprising me with moments of magical awe, then other times upsetting me by her ruthlessness and primal instinct.  She is my guide, my ally, she is my sunlight, my shadow.  She teaches me when I take time to stop, look and listen to her wisdom.  At times I cry for her when she is abused by humankind, built over, polluted, slaughtered - yet as the tears subside she reminds me that she is all history, all present, all future - survival is her heart beat.  Her days are as centuries, my life with her is just a snowflake in her hand. 

Saturday 30 January 2010

an open book

It was rough weather for part of last night, in fact quite wild. I lay awake for a while listening to hear if the pot plants were blowing over in the garden. Eventually, I got up and reached for my books. I operate a kind of rota approach to my reading. I have a pile, admittedly selected with care, made up of a novel, some poetry, a self -help book, a gardening book and usually a biography. I read on the whole from the top book before replacing it at the bottom. I am transported by the power of books. I am willingly kidnapped, bundled up and taken to distant lands through them. They are a technique for time travel. More recently, as I have blogged more and more, I see the similar way that blogs grow a shared experience, opening my mind to the thoughts of others. Building a shared culture. I love the way that some times when I read, something present in them forces me to suspend breath. I meet words with surprise and often acknowledgement. I read until the darkness was replaced with morning light.

Dare Devil Sky Diving Cats

GUESS WHAT we found out!? Our Mrs H is a secret dare devil. Not only this but she is about to take her life into her own hands, risk everything ... even OUR wellbeing! If it goes horribly wrong WHO will feed us.. groom us, cuddle and do the 'hide and seek' game with us? WHO will clean our noses, pick grit off our bushy tails, kiss our toes?! WHO?!
... SHE is going to jump out of a plane for a charity called Deafax ....
Okay, if WE were involved... there is afterall something in it for US (birdies)!
...Bingley has been trying to sweet-purr her out of it... (roses and everything)...
But I, the bold, strong, smouldering Darcy... well, I have taken an altogether tougher line!
"DON'T DO IT, if YOU DO, the frog gets it!

 We have been told that the whole experience from take off to landing lasts about 25 minutes. SHE will experience 40 seconds in freefall from 10,000 ft before the parachute opens at 5000ft giving HER approximately 5 minutes under the parachute. SHE will be freefalling at 120mph (HOW can SHE catch a birdie at that speed!!).

Sponsor HER?    More information about HER on Just Giving (no obligation just appreciation if you do want to give)

Thursday 28 January 2010

Birdie Spotting on Thursday in the Garden

Birdie Spotting in the garden is probably my favourite hobby, to be honest my ONLY hobby. I do like batting woolly things about the house too, but this isn't serious enough for what I class as a hobby. I like eating whatever I can find, but I believe this is a natural instinct and not a hobby either. I have never been allowed to catch a birdie on account of Mrs H (hawk eye) shadowing me, but I am working on it.

... this is me conducting a bit of spotting

Later, I climbed the tree so I was on hand if a birdie perched in it (craftily, I chose the tree with the fat ball in it so I could lick it while I waited).
Darcy loves birdie spotting too, but he also likes frogging.

He is particularly good playing the 'waiting game'

.. and knows unusual places to look.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Dare Devil (kind of)

On March 13th, I am leaping from a plane for my charity, DEAFAX. I am told that the whole experience from take off to landing lasts about 25 minutes. I will experience 40 seconds in freefall from 10,000 ft before the parachute opens at 5000ft giving me approximately 5 minutes under the parachute. I will be freefalling at 120mph so I should get a good view of the beautiful scenery of Oxfordshire!

If you would consider sponsoring me I would be THRILLED and you can do that easily by visiting my Just Giving page via the widget at the top right of this blog. No obligation. I hope you won't mind me sharing this request with you here.
photo by Dan Wayland

Sunday 24 January 2010

Like a butterfly

Life can, at times, feel fleeting. As if one is flitting around like a butterfly, with all its frailty and brilliance. But I know that life is not just a matter of flowers. It can be in fact, a difficult and prosaic business. And here is the reason to relish the beautiful, often simple things of life. Infuse a day with them. Develop such a power of discernment of these simple pleasures that, like the butterfly, they show up with increasing brilliance. With the snowy conditions we have had, the heavy grey skies followed by a dull dampness, I have delighted in the few blooms that are out.

Amaryllis in its 3rd year

Hellebores springing up like trophies

and the first time ever that an Orchid has lived with me to bloom again (thank you Denise for suggesting that I throw away the Orchid Growers Handbook!)

Wash with Care

100% Pure Birman Fur
Fur may exhibit occasional tangles and leaf matter
(this is a part of this natural living fibre)

Care Instructions
  • Wash separately to dark furs
  • Do not spin or wring
  • Do not iron or tumble dry
  • Prone to excessive fluff
  • Brush after washing
  • Fur responds well to regular caressing
  • Activate tongue often to retain coarseness

Friday 22 January 2010

A Ray of Sunshine

As a joyful recipient of this colourful award, we follow on in the spirit and have chosen the following blogs and bloggers who bring a splash of colour to our days to pass it on to you. Please pop across to the blog of our loving Mrs H, who has the awards listed there…. Happiness Kindled

Love Darcy and Bingley xx

A Ray of Sunshine

What can I say! The first ever award to be so GRATEFULLY received by the Haven House family. Thank You to the special lady over at Abuncandance for sending me this beautiful Sunshine Award at a time when so much is snowy, and when not crispy white, grey! We all feel a boost of happiness here. THANK YOU for choosing us as recipients Denise’.

So, I follow on in the spirit of this colourful award tag, I have chosen the following blogs and bloggers who bring a splash of colour to my days and make me often laugh out loud! We all love the photos accompanying the words which say so much!

Julie over at Poppy Q/Read like me

Curious State of Affairs

House Cat confidential

The Cats Meow

Cory Cat

Nolls Nip

Cat with a Garden

Amy over at the House of Cats

Dowager Queen

Lilacs and Cats

Cat of Nine Tales

Greetings everyone, I hope you enjoy receiving your award to admire and pass on as you please..... Love from Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx

Thursday 14 January 2010

Thursday in the Garden (and chaotic road)

Yesterday, we went together (Mrs H and Darcy), to investigate the great icicle forming beside the conservatory. This picture belies its true length, it is NOW double that and thicker!

Darcy ~ out to seek and find
In the early hours this morning, it snowed ALOT MORE. We were up most of the night watching cars outside the house skidding, spinning and crashing! I (Bing), scratched the door as loud as possible, to alert Mrs H because she was missing all the fun. She eventually came down but I was surpised to see that she didn't seem pleased or excited at all, just grumpy.

The Police came and knocked on our door. We assumed they wanted to cuddle us, but instead they asked Mr H to go and help dig out cars. We purred him on from the window and Mrs H made cups of tea for cold humans.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Someday Syndrome

In a shameless display of determination I plan to overcome the ‘someday syndrome’, actually DOING things I always wanted to do and cherishing and concentrating my passions. Dreaming is, after all, accepting that things will never happen, which is an altogether less promising way of viewing ‘having a dream’, is it not?

So, here I am, opting for a ‘bugle’ approach to my dreams, throwing caution to the wind (you heard it here first!).

My dream list: (I haven’t included them ALL on account of setting the bar of achievement so high as to be unattainable – that’s the realist in me).

1. Somehow (a bit defeatist to begin with that word) have more land.
  i. so I can create a garden that has all my favourite designs, plants, a chicken and bee area
  ii. for Mr H and I to have a bespoke office in the grounds (with his and her areas that can be cluttered to our distinct tastes)

2. Learn to cook, so I can make sauces and do that ‘ Ready Steady Cook’ BBC programme thing, of conjuring delicious dishes out of a bag of rubbish (rather than the protracted, laboured cooking I do now that is far removed from domestic goddess as is possible. Also, it would be good to be able to move on from cutting my finger off, smearing myself with food stuff, swearing and the ‘bung in and hope’ school of cookery)

Now these next two are not really dreams. More activities to be undertaken this year and not left to next, and then the next. Importantly, they will give me a chance to share a lot with my parents and brother (a major ambition):

3. Help my parents clear their hordes of stuff (heaving garage and attic) and take a lead in selling it for/with them on Ebay so they can go on a cruise (this will in part, also double up as a computing lesson, they are doing their best to master their PC).

4. Research our family tree – and thereby hangs a tale – will tell you about that another time.

Voila, so there we are... only 4 things, with 12 months to achieve them. Having committed this to my blog for all to see (for once I am relieved to have so few followers!), I collect myself up and go now for some copious intakes of fresh air. Wish me luck.

... on Branscombe cliffs, Devon (pondering my dreams)

Monday 11 January 2010

A space of her own

There has been some subterfuge afoot here. We have sniffed it out well and good. SHE has gone forth and set up HER OWN blog! Can you believe it!? But, yes she has! She says SHE has things to write, to share, and to ask, and that having HER own blog is the perfect place in which to do this! We are reluctantly prepared to showcase HER new blog here, but our offer comes with conditions:
  1. double rations for at least a week, of that wet food we love best
  2. allowed to sleep on the bed at night with HER and HIM for a night (but we want longer - Darcy snores and we all compete for the central hot spot - it's an issue)
  3. that you all keep visiting US, even if - as we know she desperately hopes - you do visit HER
... OK, so here is HER blog  Happiness Kindled 

Sunday 10 January 2010

Welcome in the new...

So here is my first post on what is to be MY distinct area. I am temporarily free of those fluffy tinkers of mine, Darcy and Bingley, who are safely occupied over at Purrfect Haven.

My first post is to herald the New Year, and I draw my inspiration from Denise’s post over at abuncandance where she wrote about her chosen word for 2010. I have given it some thought and have chosen for mine, AUTHENTIC. I consign to the past those times when I have been less than authentic, uncomfortable in my own skin, untrue in some way that distorted how I felt. Instead I gladly go forward to meet my authentic self head on.

There is nothing like the great outdoors to cherish and concentrate the mind. It is particularly snowy at the moment, the cold shock as I go outside enough to quicken my heart. The thick snow fall made me gasp in dismay as I drew back the curtains to see it first.
Camera ever ready, I wrapped up and went out into a white world of promise. This is a little of what I saw.


the garden

icicle world

Diva snow lady

...caught out by the unexpected snow fall?

Thursday 7 January 2010

Thursday in the Garden

...And then it snowed again, fat flakes that fell all night and all day toppling over the plants and wrenching down some of our guttering. It found a way into the bedroom forming a damp patch on the ceiling. But we all loved it. 
Darcy ventured out, Bingley not so brave (or foolish).

This is how much snow had fallen at 8.00am

Darcy on the prowl

heading for cover ...

.. to watch the birdies...

Snug, warm Bingley ("get me out there..? gotta be joking!")

Finally Darcy returns for a bit of birdie watching from comfort...

Sunday 3 January 2010

Brotherly love?

I know my boys love each other, indeed are quite devoted, however, the state of the sitting room chair (where they tend to sleep at night) suggested different...

No apparent ill affects suffered by either puss, and life continued on as normal

magic carpets

Friday 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us" ~ Hal Borland

Its been a lovely first year. But having fun has been a bit tiring...

... with many HIGHS...

.. but no LOWS... lucky, eh?!

THANK YOU for following us on our blog.
Have a wonderful 2010
Love Darcy, Bingley, Mrs H and her family xxxxxx