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An itinerant observer and thinker about life in general, sharing some moments of wandering and wonderment.

Monday, 10 June 2013

HAY & WHY ...?

I will explain the title for this post shortly, but the answer is this ... "Just for the fun of it!"
Today was overcast and much cooler, not that I minded and I know how much we moaned about the flooded fenland fields here at the beginning of the year but we could do with some now as the arable fields in this area are rather parched and dry. Here in the garden I have been using the water butts to give all the potted plants a decent drink and they have all perked up and look a lot happier for it. The birds have been busy on the bird feeders especially the starlings, it has been fun watching the parents teaching the young ones just how to eat fat balls in a hanging cage but they seem to leave all the grain to the pigeons. Today I saw the fattest pigeon I have ever seen, that it could fly amazed me.
We also spotted a green woodpecker eating the masses of ants that have invaded an area of the border plants, (I don't think it will get as fat as that pigeon on such a mini meal diet!)
Anyway, this afternoon I had to take the mad mutt to the vets, it was the local veterinary surgery here that initially diagnosed Ffin with crepitus of the joints and he is on a daily dose of anti inflammatory tablets but he had run out of them some days ago & was sore.
On the way there we spotted something rather unusual in a field which made us smile so ...
on the way back home I just had to stop and take a photo to go on the blog, so 'ere tiz ...
A farmer with a great sense of humour ... it made us smile anyway.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Today has been a mixed day of  attempting to get things sorted out here as well as going through Dad's address book to get in touch with those who could not attend his funeral.
I had been checking my camera out (guess who forgot to pack the charger) when I went upstairs to get something, only to find a young black blackbird trapped in my bedroom...
I managed to catch it and took it downstairs but before I released it I took a photograph.
There is an old saying ... "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" this means that it is "better to have a lesser but certain advantage than one that may have a greater one that may come to nothing." Well for me it simply meant that this young blackbird could fly free
and that it most certainly did, straight out of my hand and was within minutes happily gorging on one of the many bird feeders I have hung in the garden here. Good luck to it.
It has been wonderful to see so many different birds flocking to the feeders here and to know that those well fed will survive and bring up healthy chicks for the future.
Dad loved watching the variety of birds in the garden here, though I have to be honest in that the fat pidgeons here abouts were envisioned de feathered and pastry encrusted.
It's been an odd day ... ringing folk I've never met, to tell them the sad news but ... it has also been heart-warming to hear stories about my Dad that I never knew and to talk to folk that Dad knew well but I had, until today rarely talked to since childhood. I wish all those who could not attend the funeral ... a feeling of peace and love for a great man. xxx

Saturday, 8 June 2013


Yesterday was Dad's funeral, a sad day but also a celebration of a wonderful man's life.
He had been coping well with very advanced prostate cancer until a few months ago when he went into Addenbrooke's Hospital for radiotherapy, a severe and debilitating treatment. He then went into Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge for respite care but sadly for all of us he passed quietly and gently, peacefully away on the evening of 23rd of May, just under a week away of reaching the age of 79, but with good friends there to hold his hand. He had had many loving, caring visitors in those last weeks of his long, varied life.
He used to smoke a pipe years ago but gave up. He always said that if he reached the age of 80 he would smoke a pipe again, something we all thought he would be able to enjoy.
It was a sad loss for folk all over the world.
I was still in Wales at the time, coping with my own health problems and only managed to get up here a few days ago. Meanwhile his solicitor and neighbours all rallied round brilliantly, dealing with the various necessities for which I will be eternally grateful.
It seemed so strange coming into an empty house without Jilly and Millie to greet Ffin,
but they have been re-homed with a lovely lady who has a dog already so they are now two of a trio and I know they will adapt and have a great time being much adored by all.
It was also sad to see the garden so overgrown but yesterday morning it was lovely and sunny and I sat there in the warmth with a small glass of wine and raised it to Dad. All of a sudden I felt a huge feeling of peace and tranquillity come over me and felt much stronger.
I wandered around the garden, which despite being overgrown and the lawns unmown seemed to be so bright and cheerful with all the plants starting to blossom fully and with all the many birds darting in and out amongst the trees and on the bird feeders which Dad's lovely tenant keeps well refilled. All too soon it was time to get ready. Now ...
Dad had stipulated in his will that we could wear what we liked even wellies if we wanted to and some of us very nearly did but bottled out and just chose to dress brightly.
He had chosen to have a Humanist funeral (non religious) at Cambridge crematorium.
I had been asked what I wanted put on top of his coffin and I immediately said "Sunflowers because they are bright and smiley!" Well they didn't let me down in fact they excelled. When the hearse arrived at the house with the car to take us behind it ...
there was Dad's coffin covered in bright smiley faced sunflowers shining in the warm sun.
My first words were simply "WOW!"
There followed quite a long journey to the crematorium, luckily everyone else had made their own way there or we would have held up a lot of traffic and the sunflowers smiled.
Just before his coffin was carried into West Chapel we took photographs of the team.
Even they couldn't help but smile too!
The humanist service was lovely and the lady who conducted it was warm and lovely.
Two very close friends had compiled a very full resume of the amazing life that Dad had.
He was an innovative biologist and very skilled in his field and during his life, worked in the Cameroons, Ardnamurchan in Scotland, was Warden of Orielton Field Center where after two major tanker oils spills he started the Oil Pollution Research Unit, which was so innovative and successful that he was head hunted by B.P to take a senior position an ecological advisor, a job that took him all over the world and on many adventures.
He was instrumental in the need to look at tropical rain forest conservation, which he studied assiduously and wrote three published volumes about, he was a very busy man.
Then finally when my mother became ill, he resigned from B.P and started a recording studio, a job far different from anything else he had done in his life, but he became a well respected sound engineer and recorded everything from folk to classical music as well as spoken word, educational C.D's with accompanying books and many other  varied accomplishments. He was as ever an enthusiastic and very work centric man but one who enjoyed life immensly. During these last few years he has been busy writing articles and proof reading books about one of his passions in life ... sailing. He had owned his own boat at the age of 14, which he and his father restored, he did his National Service in the navy and went on to sail yachts during his time at Bangor University. Later in life he sailed on the tall ship the Phoenix, one of the many highlights of his life and he loved tall ships.
Sadly there were many who could not come to his funeral but it was well attended by folk from all varying areas of his life and it was lovely for me to meet people that he talked so fondly of that I had never met. It really was a lovely send off for a man of many talents.
There will be many across the world who will miss him but remember him very fondly.
One good friend, was brave enough to wear wellies at Dad's funeral. well done that man! 
The sunflowers were (but for the two above) brought back and shared out amongst his close neighbours, there were well over thirty of them on his coffin and made us all smile ...
... just as Dad made so many of us smile and laugh throughout his long and varied life.
He will be  missed by all of us that knew him and his lovely, fun, immense sense of humour.
I wish him ... Bon Voyage!