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Archive for November, 2010

My Friend Rosie

Christmas should be a time for rejoicing, but for some it is a time of sadness. We have a friend who finds herself in such a position. This is a lady who is talented and cares for two people she loves but who are both very ill. Yet she finds the time to think of others and help where she can.

People like our friend are not unique, everyone knows someone in her position, but it is made more difficult by the fact that because of this cold we cannot visit the hospital. However I feel that this lady whose strength is great and love is strong, now and then shows how human and vunerable she is, allows you to see her pain. All we can do is pray and be there for her, I am not a particularly religious person but at times like this I wish I was.  I write this because I feel this lady needs your prayers at this time and although my friends on Facebook are there she needs support please pray for her to have the strength to get through all this.

Thank you Michael

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This is a picture of me and my mates when we were carefree and single.  It’s that time of day and the que for dinner was already getting longer, so I and my friends decided to hang around in case there are seconds.

We like the little black beetles they might be fast but we are faster, food on the wing so to speak. Then its back to the nest and let the wife go and feed, there will be no rest when the kids arrive, just gaping mouths and feed me, feed me, all day long not to mention the nest cleaning. 

Anyway I digress, boy when I think back to my single days no worries, no other mouths to feed or a home to build, why oh why did I get married, still it has its benefits although for the life of me I can’t think of one just now. I’ve now got 4 offspring and this is only the first batch. Hey ho a father’s life is all go.

Anyway we were just sitting there on this wire hanging around when these girls show up, really pretty one settled next to me and before I knew it I was hooked. My old dad told me this would happen, but who listens to their old man and before I knew what was happening I was mated and raising a family. Oh well at least they are on their own on the flight down to Africa….

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I am a lady, long slender and tempting. Only please, if you are looking for a mate, make no appointments for tomorrow you won’t make them. Please do not think I am not appreciative of your advances, I am, it’s just I happen to be very fond of  small men and you fit the menu. mmmm.

I find that hanging around places like this or sitting on leaves is a perfect place to find my lunch No! I mean love. (must remember not to mention food just now).  I get hungry around now you look divine fancy a… (no, no stop it not yet) Yes, I am looking for a husband but somehow I can’t seem to find one or if I do I can not keep him. Is it something I say or something I do? please tell me, I really need to know and you look such a kind handsome understanding Mantis.  Oh yes I would like to have children and I am sure you would make a good father.

You would like to marry me? me? who never gets to be the bride, you want to marry me? Oh no no I’d love to be Mrs Mantis I really would.

No officer I really don’t know what happened. We had a wonderful courtship, he was very attentive and showed himself to be very caring and when we tied the knot he seemed so happy then he just lost his head…..

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The advent of Victorian Britain drove many prostitutes into ghettos. Port towns were always brutal, rough areas, but as cities and towns grew, prostitutes developed their own areas where men went to for sexual gratification.

Industrialization also provided work for women, they now worked in the mills, no longer were they restricted to being a wife or a whore.

This time also saw the arrival of  ‘rent boys.’  The telegraph office was the centre of this trade and many private clubs in London were used for sexual activities which highlighted the hypocrisy of the age.

The invention of the telephone also took some women off the streets, to a slightly healthier life style, although violence was still common.

In A Loving Son, Diana Saunders has brought up her son in difficult circumstances. Living in the shadowy world of crime, trying to stay as legal as society would allow. Setting up an escort agency to cover her prostitution activities and Stanley, her son, killing anyone who interferes.

The telephone is now being usurped by the internet. Prostitution has always been with us and always will be; if the tax man could get hold of some revenue from this industry it would clear the national debt in a couple of years.

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We were booked on the ferry to England on Monday morning, so we decided to travel up to St Malo EARLY on the  Sunday to ensure a relaxing unhurried drive. EH??   So at about 2am (yes 2am guess who forgot the clocks had gone back?? Things you discover at petrol stations) we were up and away from home.

The route we had decided to take was across country to Zaragoza where after a short journey on the motorway we would head for Pamplona. We had decided to try the route round the Pyrenees past Biarritz and then up to St Malo, after other Brits had said how easy it was (never travelled with us had they).

Now we knew we had to head for Pamplona,  however we forgot which turnoff we needed, then discovered the road map was on the table at home so, as is our want,  decided to ‘wing it’….. that’s when I knew it was going to be one of those trips.

If we travel anywhere there are usually detours or ‘getting lost’ bits this trip was to be no exception. So this time found us taking a longer route than necessary (discovered when we finally bought a road map, original is back in the car – I think!!) but as it turned out, we had done the right thing as unknown to us St Malo had been packed all weekend with the yacht racing crews and their well wishers (the race goes from France to the Caribbean) so there would have been ‘No Room at the Inn’. The journey was through some of the prettiest countryside seen all autumn(fall) my wife would occasionally gnash her teeth when a particularly colorful section came into view no camera and she was taken with the leaf peeping photos from the states that had been posted on Facebook.  As we arrived the town was emptying and we managed to find the all important parking space and a hotel room, and a nice restaurant so all was not lost.   

The trip home was a little easier, we were fine untill we arrived at Bordeaux. Here we found heavy rain, black skies, thunder and lightning, which, when we were climbing into the Pyrenees and the Vella tunnel sleet first then snow, memories of last years trip sprang to mind. We emerged from the tunnel and made a safe, quick decent as was possible on this twisting pass, as we descended things got easier and it stopped raining snowing. We saw about 2 snow ploughs on the road and we  finally arrived home around 11.30pm. 

 We have decided to fly in future, it is getting a bit too much to tackle in one go even if its only 14hrs plus I do not sleep well in hotel beds.  My wife will miss it she likes France, but even she agrees there’s no place like your own bed!

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We were spending a few days with my sister, whilst there we were entertained by the antics of a grey squirrel which my wife nicknamed Crafty. Also keeping an eye on his activities were two or three Blue Tits who took advantage of his darting about to grab some of the nuts before he got there.  BIL’s neighbour had hung the nuts out for the birds but Crafty saw this as a free meal it was an obvious down turn for the Blue Tits as they saw him scoffing their food.  

So there we sat, having lunch, looking through the french windows watching the action, as this cheeky, fat and very healthy looking squirrel did his thing then sat on the fence looking back at us. He was not scared, in fact he seemed to be waiting for something, the `something’ was in the shape of my brother-in-law (BIL) who has been chasing Crafty off his allotment so a game had developed.  

What's That?

 

This is how the game goes.  Crafty sits on the side fence between the allotment and BIL’s garden, then runs along the back fence to the one between BIL and his neighbour’s garden.  All the while Crafty is watching to see if BIL will come and chase him off, sometimes he gets a bit cheeky but most times he just wanders along the fences. 

Now there is a large fir-tree on the other side of the back fence to which Crafty dashes if BIL appears to shoo him off.  The main aim of Crafty’s game is to get to the nuts in the other garden before BIL can go shoo; however if BIL does go shoo, Crafty dashes up into the fir-tree and sits looking at BIL planning his next move.

Nuts!!

It so happens that BIL’s neighbour hangs the nuts on a washing line, so when Crafty reaches the dividing fence he jumps onto the line scampers along to the nut containers for his free meal. Once there he hangs upside down bum in air with his bushy grey-white tail curled over the line and proceeds to eat the nuts. 

After we had watched him for some time I decided to take some photos of Crafty and found he was a born poser. Once he realised that he was in no danger he sat in various poses for several minutes, peeping from the bushes, sitting on the line, looking like he was ready to run or jump then returning to eat more nuts up side down, whilst I snapped away the Blue Tits fluttered around in the background like a backing group.

Oops Nearly!

Although people are not as fond of the grey squirrel as they are of our native red I had to admit Crafty was a natural entertainer, and rather good as well.

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We were visiting family in Moline one winter and discovered things in the wild were not what they seemed. When we arrived it was so cold we could feel it as we breathed. It had snowed and where the snow ploughs had passed the banks of snow alongside the road were higher than we were.  We spent some time wandering round in the arsenal on the island to keep out of the snow. There is a vast array of guns on display, quite disconcerting for a non-American, but also very interesting from an historical view and well worth the visit. It was when we left there and drove along the Mississippi looking in disbelief at the frozen water we noticed holes in the ice with large stumps of wood beside them. Whilst we watched and discussed them a ‘stump’ suddenly darted forward and came up with a fish. It was a Bald Eagle doing its thing, we were fascinated and watched for several minutes to see if others did the same.  But our best day came just before our return home. We had gone for a drive and discovered a Cannel where the Bald Eagles were all over the trees. People were there doing what we were, looking and taking pictures.  The car park on our side of the cannel had a small wooded clearing and up in one of these trees was an eagle, head cocked to one side looking down at us with its beady eye. Not moving, with an expression of  ‘I’m watching you’ on its face; or perhaps it was saying ”here’s looking at you”!!! Either way a welcome memory. 

On our next visit, we were warned to be very careful when driving along the river as the Eagles were back and looking for nesting sites. People being so glad to see them were often not concentrating on the road and accidents were happening.  You can understand how, they made an impressive sight with their huge wing span and  grace.

Now many years later we live in a forest on the edge of a small National Park especially for the Eagles in this range of mountains. The mesa we live in front of is a favourite haunt of our eagles, of which there are several types. There is however a Fish Eagle that flies along the Ebro and yes watching it when driving is hazardous to your health the river road is narrow!!

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