Meet Eric & Ernie!

My friend Claire has just given me an old fish tank she had no further use for, and being the lovely person she is she also bought me two Goldfish that I promptly christened Eric and Ernie.

 

Eric and Ernie55

 

Ernie is on the left and Eric is on the right. You can tell them apart as Eric has orange ‘lipstick’. Maybe I should have called him Erica!

 

Eric and Ernie48

 

They are absolutely adorable, they do everything together. In fact it was hard to get a picture of each one on its own.

 

Eric2

Eric

 

Ernie

Ernie

 

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My cats were fascinated by them for approximately 5 minutes. Then realising they couldn’t get to them to give them a proper poke with the paw they lost interest in them. They are more fascinated with the bubbles coming from the airstone. The last time I had fish was when I was 12 and like most kids they were won at the local fete.

I’m growing more fond of Eric and Ernie every day, such lovely little characters. They are learning not to be scared of human fingers in the water as it usually means they are bringing food. Anyway they certainly bring me sunshine!!

 

Sláinte

Linda xxx

Walkies

This week I went for a couple of circuits of Cissbury Ring, an ancient Iron Age Hill Fort near Findon in Sussex.
Cissbury Ring 008small

I don’t go very often, but when I do I tell myself off for not going more! It’s very popular with dog walkers, so I get to pat quite a few! Today I met a couple walking 4 Collie dogs. As you know from a previous post Collies are my fav breed. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!! There are two circular paths, one at the top which is narrow and chalky but has brilliant views over the Downs and a lower wider grassy one with loads of wildflowers and tweeters in bushes.

The banks and ditches which you see are are the remains of a vast defensive wall. It’s approximately one mile around taking the top path.

Cissbury Ring10-small

Cissbury Ring 014small
A welcome sight if you are still knackered from the climb up!

It’s great to imagine Neolithic tribes living here and mining the flint for their axes and arrowheads. Examples of Cissbury Flint have been found as far away as the Eastern Mediterranean. I sometimes think I must be walking the same paths as these ancients. I wonder what they would make of how it looks today.

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Bird’s Eye View

Part of the surrounding area is farmland and you never know what you are going to find!!

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Woodland Creatures!!

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I’ll be taking my big camera up to see if I can get some shots of the famous round headed Rampion “Pride of Sussex”

Round-headed-rampion
Picture courtesy of Plantlife.org.uk
Can’t wait!

Sláinte

Linda xxxx

Hot House Colour

I took myself off to West Dean Gardens to cheer myself up after Frisco’s passing. I always make for their fabulous greenhouses they always have wonderful things to look at.  This greenhouse has a beautiful cherry tree in bloom

 

Greenhouse Cherry Blossom1-small

Greenhouse Cherry Blossom5-small

In the tropical greenhouse I found the most perfect Coleus I’ve ever seen

Perfect red Coleus-small

Deep red Sedum rosettes

Sedum-small

Weird orange flower

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An espalier Fuchsia!!

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Espalier Fuchsia1-small

 

Grape Hyacinths

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And of course I found the resident pussycat!! We had a good ten minutes of chin tickling and ear scratching!

West Dean Black Cat4-small

 

Some little lambs with their mums Look at the waggling tail of the little lamb towards the end! They are a bit far away so you might need a magnifying glass!

Lambs at West Dean Gardens, West Sussex

Sláinte

Linda xx

 

Punches and Petals

Daisy’s decision to include a fisticuffs picture must have set something off in cyberspace as my agency has just sold my other cat fight image. It’s of Lily attempting to evict little Rosie from her Santa Hat.

Lily fighting with Rosie

It sold to a German magazine, goodness knows what it is being used to illustrate! Actually thinking about it Lily is almost as naughty as Daisy. These are a few images of Lily ‘caught red pawed’.

Ginger Cat playing with tinsel
Partying hard at Christmas

Lily21_1
Swinging on the washing

Ginger cat walking across top of curtains
Practicing to become a tightrope walker

Lily
Hogging the catnip

Change of subject, the temperatures are gradually rising and I’m hoping for some nice Spring images. These are a couple from last year.

Cherry Blossom
Fresh pink Cherry Blossom in Spring. UK

I’m obsessed with crocheting flowers at the moment – must be a subconscious way of wishing for Spring. I’ve just found a lovely black button which I’m going to use for the centre of a crochet Poppy. This is my inspiration image.

Oriental Poppy Royal Wedding

It’s Papaver ‘Royal Wedding’. It never fails to bloom each year, no matter how harsh the winter. If I like what I come up with I’ll put a few in my shop. I’m off now in search of a pretty colour of cotton.

Sláinte and Happy St Patrick’s Day to all of us of a Celtic lineage

Linda xx

Naughty Plants

Haven’t blogged for a while as I had to hide the laptop from Daisy as she has now got a taste for blogging, or it could be she liked sitting on something warm. She does like a warm bottom and it has been decidedly cool lately with late season snowfalls here. In fact we have all had cold bottoms here!

Thought I would generate some heat in my fingers by typing about one of my favourite books “Wicked Plants” by Amy Stewart.

wicked-plants

I love plants and I like taking images of beautiful flowers such as this gorgeous purple Anemone

Purple anemone

But I’m also drawn to the dark side of plants (Daisy would be proud) and Wicked Plants is full of dangerous and diabolical examples. There are no colour pictures in the book, all the pages have a Da Vinci Code like sepia design background with plant illustrations in black pen. The usual suspects like Marijuana have their place in the Illegal plants chapter but it’s the innocuous ones like Morning Glory (Ipomea tricolour) that surprise. Did you know that its seeds if eaten in sufficiently large quantities launch you on an LSD like trip producing frightening hallucinations. I checked my local garden centre and they are on sale in there, no restrictions. If only they knew!

Rhubarb leaves cause gastro intestinal problems and in rare circumstances coma and death. Think about that when you are next drizzling custard over your Rhubarb crumble!

Finally, did you know there was such a thing as a Strychnine Tree (Strychnos nux-vomica)? I always thought Strychnine was produced in dark labs by Victorian murderers with Jekyll and Hyde tendencies. It actually comes from the seed of this fifty foot tree. And for good measure the bark of one of its relatives Strychnos toxifera can be boiled down to make poison for the tip of an arrow. All good stuff to know come the Apocalypse, which I predict should arrive on Budget Day next week.

Sláinte

Linda xx

Border Collies and Mice

I love dogs especially Border Collies.
Border Collie puppies
When I was seven I was given a Border Collie puppy as a pet. His mum and dad were professional sheepdogs on a farm in Newtownards, County Down. I named him Prince, not very original I know but there were very few Collie dog names available in a seven year olds repertoire at that time. He was a brilliant dog, everybody loved him even our cat Charlie. She did use him a bit though. She would sit just inside our front gate making herself visible to any passing dogs. When one would come along it would naturally bark through the gate at her. She would then move back a couple of feet and let Prince come rushing up to take her place. Of course Prince would bark furiously at the strange dog and Charlie would sit and smirk at the interloper. They played that game loads of times and I never got tired of watching them.

Border collie portrait
We also played hide and seek a lot (you’ve guessed I was an only child!). I would get his favourite tennis ball at the time and throw it way down to the back of the garden. Prince would shoot off to find it and I would then run off and hide (usually in the coal shed or in the cellar). He would always find me no matter where I had hidden myself. His reward would be another throw of the ball or walkies. I do miss having a dog and I think I would like to have another Border Collie in my life. It would have to be a puppy as my cats would leave home if a fully grown dog moved in. At least being puppy dog size they could dominate him for the first few months of his life and the correct pecking order would be established!

Border Collie agility A-frame

I quite fancy doing dog agility classes. Collies are very intelligent dogs and need a lot of mental stimulation. I think I was the only seven year old I knew that rated BBC’s One Man and His Dog right up there with Doctor Who and Blue Peter. There are quite a few classes near me, in fact when I go to my local garden centre I can often hear one going on, on the other side of the hedge. I did stick my head through one day and there were quite a few dogs belting around a course.

Border Collie dog agility

Must investigate to see if any pups turn up in rescue centres as I’d rather give a dog a home from one of those places.
To loosely continue the animal theme this is my latest completed knitting project. I knitted the Sack of Mice pattern from Debi Birkin. It’s been on my list for ages as a pattern I wanted to try out. I’m really pleased with the result. It’s amazing that little bits of yarn knitted up in various shapes can go from this…….

Sack of Mice making tea cosy

Sack of Mice tea cosy
to this ………………

Sack of Mice Tea Cosy
Woofs and Sláinte

Linda xxx

Birdies in the Snow

I shot a short video from my kitchen window of the wildlife that came to the birdfeeder during the snowfall yesterday. Ignore background noise at the beginning, that’s my breadmaker having a bit of a churn around. My favourite bits are of the plucky little chaffinch who was ready to take on the big birds!

Wildlife at my birdfeeder in the snow

Britain sort of falls to pieces when snowy weather sets in. Schools shut down, gritter lorries become very popular and suddenly I’m missing my lovely postman. In our road which is on a hill the challenge is to get to the end without hitting the hedge at the bottom. I successfully completed the challenge today and managed to get out to the shops for some emergency chocolate.

There is more snow forecast for tomorrow. Apparently we are getting some very nice snow from France and the French are being generous as they are supposedly sending us loads of it. If I don’t attempt the hedge challenge tomorrow I’ll be staying in and trying to make a dent in my stash. I’ve got an embroidery project on the go at the moment featuring a cat design (unusual for me I know) and I’ve also just got a tea cosy commission so I’ll be working on that as well. I’m a born multi-tasker or it could be A.A.D.D.

Sláinte
Linda xx

Finally……

We’ve arrived in 2013, it’s stopped raining and the sun’s come out and there are blue skies! I can see loads of happy dog walkers on the Downs. I’m taking that as a good omen for the year ahead.
It’s amazing that even in the deepest, darkest depths of winter you can go out and still find colour in gardens and hedgerows. I found this lonely pink rose bravely blooming it’s little heart out this morning. I wanted to photograph it so it’s efforts would be rewarded by being on the ‘net for all the world to see!
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Even more colour around……
macro flowers01
Purple Hebe flower.
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Red berries for the birds
And waiting in the wings for their turn to bloom
macro flowers03
macro flowers04
Even the trees are still colourful and interesting
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macro flowers49
And finally my favourite winter flower the Hellebore……
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Indoors I’m working on a lovely black glitter scarf for myself, the pattern was generously provided by this lady
Black glitter scarf6
And Dalek bibs and knitted tea cosies seem to be very popular in my Etsy shop right now. My embroidery machine is whirring away and my knitting needles are clacking!!
Until tomorrow,  Linda xx

Winter Walkies

Thought I’d unchain myself from the craft room and get a bit of fresh air. I love going round the local RSPB reserve, a lovely walk and they do a cracking cuppa in their cafe.
A really misty murky day but loads of birds to be seen. Caught a glimpse of a Jay and a Green Woodpecker. It was just a glimpse as they are fast little bu**ers. Mind you I did get a few shots around the reserve

Autmn arch

Nobbly Lichen

Winter Bracken

There weren’t that many other walkers around, probably about half a dozen. However I did have some company for part of my walk in the form of a herd of deer. I swear they were following me, but trying to look inconspicuous at the same time. I was taking a picture of some red leaves, finished and looked back along the path to see a queue of deer waiting to jump a fence into the next field. I have never seen deer jumping fences, fantastic to watch. As I only had my 50mm lens with me It would have been a bit optimistic to think I could get a decent pic of them. But sometimes you just have to press the button anyway!

Deer Jump

Deer Jump2a

Betcha when I go back with a long lens they’ll be nowhere to be found!!!

The Pink Post

Some of my favourite pink flower photos I’ve taken over the years.    Enjoy!
Close up of light pink rose                   

Pale Pink Rose  

Pink Cosmos flower      

Pink Cosmos  

Nerine  

Nerine

Pink peony flower

Peony

Pink and cream striped gerbera

Gerbera

Pink and cream rosebud

Rosebud

Linda xx