Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

ABC Wednesday......

W is for
Where the Woodmouse Was.....

Honestly, he was right here! But he popped back down by the fence as I took the picture

This is a little corner of the garden that I keep a bit wild, really. I started a little log pile of larger cuttings at the back, and within a week some bumblebees moved in! Recently, I've added the herbs in the foreground. I don't usually like labels on plants in the garden, but I've put some in here because, otherwise, I'd forget the names of the herbs!

Anyway. Back to this woodmouse.......
He came back later but it was a bit too dark to take his photo. I didn't want to scare him with a flash, but can you spot him?

Close up!
In this next one you'll need to make it larger an look up close! I'll leave it here as a challenge for you. I promise you, he IS here! He is nibbling on a bit of pear near the centre of the picture.
The woodmice used to live in the house. I liked them. I sleep odd hours and they used to keep me company at night. I would leave a few hazelnuts in the corner of the kitchen for them. That's how I knew they were around. They tried out lots of odd places to nest in or use as a store: my partner went to put his shoes on one day, and found 11 hazelnuts inside one of them.

When the nuts stopped disappearing from the kitchen corner, I knew they weren't living with us any more.

To close, here's a wee video I made when we had a regular cheeky mousie visitor. It also features Dilly, a croco-dragon. This mouse is a rather large specimen. Most are dinkier than this.

Some people squirm when I say I used to have mice, but these weren't house-mice: house-mice have a nasty smell. Not so with woodmice. I suppose there is still the hygiene question: but I have no kiddies, so a quick wash and vacuum did well enough for me. They made me smile, and that's the main thing. And now they have the same effect, when I'm out in the garden!


For more info ABC Wednesday posts, go to

Mrs Nesbitt's blog

where you will see info on how to join in, and a table of links to those taking part.


Friday, 20 June 2008

First watercolour.... first bird

A robin, my favourite bird.
I copied this from a photo using a soft pencil, then used watercolour.

This is my first watercolour.
I used to do paintings in acrylic or oils.... a lifetime ago! I loved acrylics, the way you could move them around and use a knife to paint with.
Oils, I loved the depth of colour and the shine, but not the smell or the linseed oil or the long drying time.

Watercolour, I thought, would need the most discipline: you have to decide ahead of time where your lights and darks will go. You sort of paint backwards. You start with your highlights and add dark. With other paints, if you decide that something is too dark, you can scrape it off, or add more of a light colour to it, build, build, build till you get what you want.
With watercolour, once you've lost the light area, that's it. You're left with three options: try to lift it with sticky tape- this will affect the paper, though; literally cut it out- with a craft knife, then cut out a replacement piece and tape it in place at the back; or third option, start again. LOL.

I can see what I could have done here that would have worked better, but I'm still pleased with it as a first.

First bird, too, and I like it because he actually has an expression! That was fluke.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

ABC Wednesday......


The other day I dug out around the lawn in the front garden. It had previously gone up to the front of the house and this part was hard to mow. Also, it was very bad quality here, very patchy and with lots of weeds. (The not nice weeds, not the weeds that I let grow and call "free flowers".)

I took these pic's this morning, and it is quite overcast here today....

I wasn't sure whether to plant something round the edge, or whether to just leave it "cut in" as a neat edge to the grass. (As you may have gathered, I like the back garden a bit "wild and natural" in places, for the wildlife, but I like the front garden to be a little neater!)

In the end we went off to the garden centre, with the intention of getting some small marigolds. But look what I brought home instead!

And no, not just because I knew I had to find a "V" for this week!

The common name for "Veronica" is "Speedwell". This took me back to my childhood....

I grew up on a housing estate called "Weeds Wood Estate". I walked past Speedwell Avenue on the way to school, up Yarrow Road and across Silverweed Road. School-friends lived nearby; Jo was in Myrtle Crescent and Kim was in Sedge Crescent.

It was never a luxurious place to live, but OK as council estates go: lots of trees and grass verges. But I've heard that since that time, it has gained a horrible reputation as being quite rough and a place to avoid. E.g., Buses no longer drive through the estate after 6pm, as kids attack both vehicle and driver. Wouldn't have happened in my day..... (Oh, I sound old!)

I wonder whose idea it was to call the place "Weeds Wood Estate". If they had called it "Wild Flower Estate" would it have turned out better, do you think?

I'm curious to find out how big these will get. The label said 20cm (8inches) but my book says three times that high!


For more info ABC Wednesday posts, go to

Mrs Nesbitt's blog

where you will see info on how to join in, and a table of links to those taking part.


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

ABC Wednesday......

U is for UNDER...
...and UPDATE!

The people who lived here before us put some old railway sleepers in the garden, as edging and in place of a small wall. I find all sorts around them. I spotted mousie tucked behind one the other night and threw him a grape. I didn't really know what to throw this wee fella, though:

Can you see him?
It's about 9pm, and he is just coming out of his daytime snug-spot u
nder one of the sleepers.Bit closer.... (and a bit blurred, sorry 'bout that.. )We're told that years ago, maybe till 2002, there was a pond in the garden. The previous owners filled it in as they were worried about their toddler falling in. Nobody told the frogs and newts, and we still get them! I might see a maximum of two frogs in the daytime, but if it rains in the evening they all appear. I creep about the garden looking at them, saying hello and counting. (I'm fully aware that either the frogs or the neighbours or both will think I'm barmy. Hey ho.) The record so far is 18. I wonder where all the others hide out????

We can't do a pond, but we do have birdbaths on the lawn, and one or two frogs snuggle in under that. I also keep a small, covered tray filled with water under a tree for them. Sort of a mini frog-lido:

That's a ceramic lizard in the front of this next pic, but he soon gave the frogs the right idea. Here's one enjoying the cool pool, safe and secret, under the roof:


Remember "Q is for Quack" a few weeks ago???
Are they OK?
Are they still together?

Well, "U" is for "Update", after all, so.....hey, what's this?....
Ah! A pile of ducks!!!!
Looks like the kids have got new shoes....
"Look, Ma! Winglets!"

She looks very pleased and proud:
And no wonder- she still has all eleven, safe and well!

During the "Half Term" week's holiday, when the school was closed, the caretaker went in and checked on them regularly, with food etc. There were lots of storms that week, and heavy rain, so it was important to see that they got through it OK...

We don't know when it will be that they are lead through the classroom and out the other side to the school's larger pond, but we've asked them to give us notice of the great event- hopefully we'll get it on video!!!

Meanwhile, here's a few seconds of them moving around(!)-

If you can't see it here, try direct on YouTube via this link.

Hope they made you smile!


For more info ABC Wednesday posts, go to

Mrs Nesbitt's blog

where you will see info on how to join in, and a table of links to those taking part.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

ABC Wednesday......


is for

Table Toes
..........and Tea!

I have a confession to make. I like toes. I don't mean in a kinky way. I may be slightly bonkers but I'm not dangerous. No. I mean toes are cute. I really love to sneak up on Fluffy when she's warm and dozy and sniff her fluffy warm toes. This is the kind of expression she gives me when I do. But it doesn't stop me...

This brings me to my first "T".... table toes.

About ten days before Christmas last year, it was suddenly decided that everyone was coming to my place for Christmas dinner. Oops! Our dining table wasn't up to this. We'd been talking about replacing it, and now we had to jump into action.

Every shop we went to said that, although they had tables there in the store that we liked, they couldn't possibly let us have those ones, we'd have to have one from storage, and that couldn't be done till January. Not helpful.

Then we spotted one in a charity shop. We bought it straight away, and had it in the house ready, with just a couple of days' grace. It's lovely. Well made, good wood, highly polished and with comfortable chairs (very important, that bit, when you're having family to dinner). And the £100+ went to the British Heart Foundation.

It wasn't till it was in the house that I noticed its feet.
Could it be???
Oh my!
"LOOK!" I screamed at my fiance, "Our table has TOES!!!!!!!!!"

"Oh gawd...." he muttered. But it's true:

Now for what is on top of the table lately. TEA.

I have to drink tea. Come on, I'm English. Lots and lots of tea. Made properly, with water that's been freshly boiled in a kettle. (NOT a saucepan! No! No no no! It won't taste the same. Just don't do it. Please.)

But since a cold I had back in April, I seem to be unable to taste very much. And when I do it can be quite odd. I made a chicken and tarrogan thing the other week, and to me it tasted like rice pudding.

OK. So Over the last week I've got a bit frustrated at this sudden inability to appreciate tea and have been buying lots of little boxes of the stuff in the hope of finding one I can actually TASTE. Here's some of them:

Russian Caravan was a nice surprise. It's a bit like an Earl Grey but really strong. Yum. Come to think of it, scratch that. It IS yum, but don't take my word on what it tastes like. It could be like toes for all I know.

Last but not least, I want to show you a really cute little porcelain tea-set we bought for Jasmine Tea. We found it in a sale for £7:

It's tiny, in fact, it's quite Bear-sized:What I really like is the removable basket for the leaves:
Right! I'm off for a cuppa now! Ermmm... Kenyan, I think.


For more info ABC Wednesday posts, go to

Mrs Nesbitt's blog

where you will see info on how to join in, and a table of links to those taking part.