So, that was January, then? Most of it, anyway. It was a bit damp and blowy; a bit cold; a bit grey, but most importantly another month of winter is over and we're heading towards spring. For me personally, it didn't seem to last half as long as January last year ... probably because I didn't feel quite as hacked off as I did last January.
As noted in December's Round Up, poor No.1 had had an abortive attempt to remove one of her baby teeth. She is not fond of needles, injections, etc. so the thought of having anaesthetising injections in her gum(s) wasn't doing much for her. I have a lovely Flickr friend who is a dentist, so I messaged her to ask her advice. She said she thought a trip to the GP to ask about a one off anxiolytic might be in order, so that's exactly what we did. The GP also thought it a positive suggestion and so it was that No.1 took a sedative before her dental appointment this month. It did not make her woozy or happy or sleepy, but it did prevent her panicking so much that the dentist couldn't remove that pesky tooth. Thus the offending canine has now gone, and we are hoping that the adult tooth that started growing down over the baby one, will now move back into the new space.
Without that advice from my online chum, I doubt we'd have reached a successful outcome; and I am once again reminded that there are some lovely folk 'living' in my poota. I value my online friends so much. x
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to Wilbur. He's a bit of a cutie, isn't he?
Not the greatest shot on account of the low light
He was six weeks' old when this picture was taken, and belongs to one of No.1's closest friends - S. It was a week before Christmas that my next door neighbour asked me 'would you like a kitten?' before explaining that his daughter had come to live with him for a little while, and had brought her cat with her. What nobody knew was that her cat was preggers, so it was quite a surprise when four little fluffballs were born. They were so gorgeous - all different: a black one, a black and white one, a ginger and white one (the only female in the litter) and a tabby - Wilbur. I was mightily tempted, I can tell you, but we have our lovely Georgie, and she is enough.
No.1's friend S is thrilled to have Wilbur - she'd wanted a cat for a long time. He's grown quite a bit since this shot was taken, but I hope to be able to get some more photos of him as he grows up. His black brother has been adopted by a friend of a friend; and Wilbur's remaining brother and his sister have now gone to the Cat's Protection League as nobody else came forward to adopt them. The Rescue Centre said it has a waiting list for kittens, so I'm sure that twosome are now having great lives in loving homes.
It was with enormous sadness that I read this month that Dick King Smith had died. No.1, in particular, loved his books when she was a tiddler; I well remember reading the whole boxed set of 'Sophie' books to her at bedtimes many moons ago. For those who don't know, Sophie was a little girl who desperately wanted to be a farmer when she grew up - which is a wish Mr King-Smith apparently shared as a child, and an ambition he achieved. He fought in Italy in WWII, then resumed farming when he came back from the war. After 20 years of farming, he became a teacher, before trying his hand at writing. He didn't have his first book published until he was 54 years of age.
His best known fictional character is probably Babe, from 'The Sheep Pig' which of course became a hugely successful film; but Babe wasn't our favourite. We went to a car boot sale once and found a huge boxed set of his books for which we paid 50 pence - what a bargain. Amongst those was my favourite of all his books: 'How Green Was My Mouse' and being the sentimental old silly billy that I am, I have kept one of the two copies we had of that book. I read it to both my kids when they were smaller and they each loved it's humour and the gentle storyline. In fact when I told them about his death and how much I loved that particular book, No.2 suggested we should read it again. So we are - only this time he is doing the reading.
I think Mr King-Smith was a unique writer of children's books. May he rest in peace.
This month I signed up to a new Flickr Group. One of my Flickr friends (who takes the most beautiful images) alerted me to this group, but when I clicked over to have a look at it, it turns out that it was set up by someone I know in 'real life'! What a small world.
The group is entitled '111 Pictures in 2011' and asks that the members take one shot for each 'subject' (111 of those, obviously) during the course of 2011.
There are lots of 365 groups at Flickr which demand that one takes a shot every day of a various topic, or just of anything. Although I usually do post a shot a day over there, some days I don't take anything, and 365 is a big ask. However, 111 shots feels 'do-able' so I thought I'd give it a go.
Thus far I'm really enjoying the focus (no pun intended) it's giving me when it comes to finding creative ideas for images. If anyone reading this would like to join, I'm sure you'd be more than welcome - they seem like a friendly bunch, and the 111 subjects are all achievable.
During 2011 I would like to get our back garden sorted out. I was planning to do it last year, but our next door neighbours' new extension sort of put paid to that. So hopefully, I'll get round to it this year. One of the things I wanted to get was a bird feeder or table of some description; as up until now I have been putting bird food on top of the sloping roof of the shed. I did some research, and decided I wanted one of those feeders on a 'pole' (made of metal, and with hooky, hanging bits on) rather than a wooden table - since cats are quite capable of climbing up wooden posts, but leave metal poles alone! Thus I spent some Christmas money on one of these. Instead of hammering it into the ground, however, I got a heavy 'base' for it, so I could move it around the garden.
For the first week, the birds completely ignored it, but still fed from the shed roof. The next week I decided to move it a bit nearer the shed (and further away from the house) and after a couple of days I witnessed a starling swoop in for some food before flying off again. The next day he brought some of his pals with him. A couple of days later I saw a robin on it - hooray! I have been wanting to get a robin coming into the garden for well over a year but never achieved it until now. I have also seen a bluetit fly in for some seed and fly off again, but he/she didn't stay. Hopefully the birds will slowly, slowly become more regular visitors and I will be able to photograph them from the sitting room.
I'm still having to put food up on the shed roof for the pigeons though. If I don't, they try to land on the feeder - and that is a comedy in itself. Do they actually have a brain which consists of more than one cell?!
I very rarely get political at the old Bloggy Bits, but am now going to make an exception ... because I feel very strongly about this issue.
Did you know, Dear Reader, that the current UK Government is planning to sell off our national forests and woodlands? They are quietly working away to remove the legal restraints which currently prevent them selling a national asset to private firms. Private companies, who might decide to do who-knows-what with the land? Private companies who will no doubt start charging an arm and a leg to let the general public have access to what is currently a publicly owned asset? I realise that the country is in bad economic shape, but to sell off this land is - in my very humble opinion - completely out of order. There is going to be a vote in Parliament this coming Wednesday - 2nd February 2011 - on the issue, so those behind it need to make the campaign 'count', fast.
If you wish to read more about the matter, you can do so at the 38 Degrees Blog.
The guys at 38 Degrees are doing sterling work to try to prevent the legislation going through, but you - and everyone you know - can help by signing the petition to support their work. CLICK HERE TO SIGN. If you can afford to donate a few pounds, even better.
The New Forest (Picture nicked from the BBC website)
If you are someone who appreciates such places as The Forest of Dean, The New Forest, or Sherwood Forest, I urge you to sign the petition and perhaps even write to your MP about the matter. If you are a UK blogger, could you perhaps publicise the campaign so your readers can add their weight to the drive to stop this legislation?
The campaign has now come to the attention of the national press, and since then, the Government have begun to make soothing 'it'll all be ok' type noises. Obviously, we can't trust that, so it's important to do everything we can to make sure the legislation is scrapped. That is the only way this plan can be stopped. Please help. Thanks.
This month at our Camera Club AGM meeting, I came under considerable pressure to take a position on the Committee. I think in time I probably shall, but given some of the problems that have been in my world over the last few months, I didn't feel I could put myself forward this time. I did say, however, that I would help out the Competitions Secretary, who has a lot of work to do throughout the year. And now I find I seem to have volunteered to write a sort of review once a month for the Club website it's a bit like my monthly round up here at the blog, innit?!
I'll leave you with a shot I took this month of some tulips. I was so excited to see spring flowers in the supermarkets and garden centres ... it means spring is really on the way! This shot was taken with a new lens I got at Christmas: the so-called 'nifty fifty'. A prime 50mm lens with a lovely big aperture of up to f/1.8. I love, love, love this lens.