Park regeneration

In October 1987, Michael Fish a now infamous BBC weather presenter, told the UK not to worry, there wouldn’t be a hurricane, but there would be some strong winds further south in France and Spain. In the event, winds of up to 115mph caused £1 billion of damage and 15 lives were lost.
In my city, many trees came down including a number in Heavitree Park. When I was five years old, my daily walk to and from school took me through the park and I remember those huge, majestic trees standing guard over the gentle sloping landscape gardens. Each September I’d collect conkers from under the horse chestnuts and watch the squirrels collecting nuts for their winter larders. You can imagine how upset I was all those years later when I walked Jassy, my golden retriever through the park, a few days after the hurricane that wasn’t going to happen.
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If you look closely you can see the stump of one of the old trees, see how big it was?
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The park has never been quite the same for me, but I can walk there without tears now. Thankfully, a few of the old trees, including these above, survived that dreadful night.
A couple of years later the council planted a small grove of birch, carefully fenced off to protect them at first. They have now grown to maturity and are a lovely sight. So yesterday I walked Dido and Daisy, the border terriers early in the morning, before the November fog had cleared. They chased the squirrels – futilely of course, and I only had my phone camera but I had to share the young trees with you.

I hope they never have to stand up to a hurricane.

Overcoming a Fear . . .

. . . Even if it may seem crazy to most of you!

I don’t have many phobias, heights are fine, even snakes, as long as they aren’t venomous, do not bother me. Spiders, well strangely if they are outdoors in the garden they’re okay, as long as I know where they are and they don’t run towards me, they’re okay. Mice are cute, sharks are scary but I’m not likely to encounter one.

Rats however are a different kettle of . . . well rats really. And they terrify me, always have. I’ve had a recurring dream for decades about rats climbing up the drain into the toilet, I won’t keep you awake with the details.

So, earlier in the year when I walked into a tent at an agricultural show and came face to face with a whole load of them, my heart started beating way too fast. Just as I was beginning to feel sick and turned to get out a smiling girl approached me with a rat in each hand asking would I like to hold one.

‘Uh, no thanks I’m actually feeling rather anxious just being here, I think I’d better go’ did I actually look daft enough to hold a rat???

‘Well’ she said, ‘you’re managing to look at Jeremiah, well done, now isn’t he cute?’

I tried to slow my breathing and talk sense to myself while she muttered something about them being gentle, loving pets who like nothing better than snuggling up on their persons shoulder.

‘Perhaps you would like to stroke him? his fur is so soft.’

She continued to talk to me about Jeremiah and his siblings, breeding, feeding and winning prizes in the show. I started to feel a tiny bit calmer and my inner voice told me that I would never have a better chance to overcome my fear, than right then with such an understanding lady encouraging me.

Suddenly I heard myself say ‘Will it turn its mouth towards me f I stroke its back?’

‘No, it’ll be fine go for it.’

I did it. I may not do it again, I’ll never be a fan and I have no idea why anyone would choose one as a pet, but I’ve felt a big less phobic since that day and a real sense of achievement. Crazy eh?

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So here he is!
If you have a picture that shows achievement, most likely more sensible than mine visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/achievement/ to join in.

Finding Gilbert Snow’s medal

 

I walked the dogs  in the cemetery today and went by the war graves as I often do. There are still roses in bloom in the WW2 area.rem2
And the memorial for the local men lost in the first World War,
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Then I went inside the little chapel where some local historians had set out some memorabilia

The best bit of all was meeting Terry Snow, a dear gentleman who was chatting to people about the war, to mark Remembrance Day this week. He was dressed in First World War uniform of 13th Middlesex Regiment, complete with rifle and bayonet.
Terry Snow
Terry’s father, Gilbert Snow was a Lewis Gunner who fought in the battle of Amiens, northern France in WW1, he was injured but he survived, passing away in 1972. His war medals were lost when his home was cleared and sold.
Earlier this year it was Mr Snow junior’s 75th birthday, an extra special one for him. After many years of searching antique shops and websites, on that very day, he found his father’s Victory Medal online and was able to purchase it. Today he wore it with great pride.
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I felt very privileged, and emotional, when Terry told me this story, it’s one I shall remember each year on the second Sunday in November.

Minimalist?

According to Jen H. at the Daily Post,

An artfully executed minimalist photograph is anything but mundane. It illustrates a moment in time, or an artistic perspective, with simplicity and grace.

Minimalist photography is characterized by a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette with good contrast, and an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer. At first thought, it may seem like it would be easy to shoot an engaging minimalist photograph, when indeed it can often be the opposite. A minimalist photo can also effectively tell a story, in spite of its relative simplicity, and it is anything but “plain”.

For me, minimalism is about straight lines, stark simplicity and I agree, it should tell a story. I hope that some of these shots do, what do you think?

Can you post some minimalist photos? Join in here or check lots of other peoples entries.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/minimalist/

Come away with the raggle taggle gypsy-o

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