Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Animal Tales 82


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

We are back down to just having Saari here again after all our canine shenanigans at the beginning of the month ... but she is making her presence known as she is in major moult mode.  I totally understand why some people get bald dogs LOL.  Sh eis missing having some playmate though and hopes some of our gite guests will bring dogs with them!  



Monday, 26 September 2016

Musical Fields


At the end of September you would normally expect the Normandy countryside to be green but this summer has been exceptionally dry.  That might have been great for guests in our gite but not so good on the smallholding side of things with grass being a rather rare commodity this year.  So this weekend we played the animal equivalent of musical chairs i.e. musical fields!

Mojo and Pupmkin before they moved fields - can you see them both?

Our 4 turkeys
Our table chickens had already found themselves taking a one way journey to the freezer so that gave us one extra small field which started off a chain reaction of animal movements:

The laying hens are now in the field where table birds were and can still get back to the hen house by some clever gate design.  Although Bianca has decided she doesn't like her new field so is currently running round with the sheep.

Bianca

The 2 older sheep (she who had lambs and our own ewe) had pretty much eaten down the grass in the small pen by the veg garden so they are now in the hen run eating down what the hens had ignored ... and we will swap the hens and the sheep once the sheep have munched everything down and after we have made a shelter for the sheep as they don't fit in the chicken house that is there! 

The piglets were in the orchard field but Mojo, who is in season, had got through into the adjacent ex-sheep field in an attempt to get to Boris, our boar and her father!  So she and her sister, Pumpkin, were moved into the larger front field as this has newer and more secure fencing and a bit more of that rare grass.  But the turkeys were there so they have been shifted back into the small pen behind their shelter.  That also meant Mojo and Pumpkin were nearer to Boris and Coco so we moved them to the other pig pen, further away! Oh and we couldn't leave Peardrop, our final pig, in her pen as that was now next to the piglets and they fight through the fence so Peardrop went into the orchard field where she is too lazy to try and escape and being a little on the rotund side does not need loads of grass!

Are you following this?  Maybe this summary will help:

> Chickens to freezer
  > Hens to chicken field
    > Sheep to hen field
      > Piglets to turkey field
        > Turkeys to small turkey pen
          > Coco and Boris to the other pig pen
            > Peardrop to the orchard field

And we managed it without losing anyone although the sheep, as usual, gave us a bit if a run-around before deciding it was OK to go through the scary gate to a new field with more grass in it!

Ducks!  I forgot the ducks ... probably because they stayed where they are!  Actually I might let them out to free range whilst we have no guests in but we lost one to M. Renard recently, when she got out and didn't come home to be shut in at night, so I am a touch reticent to let them out.  Or I could put them in the front pen where Peardrop was ....

If you would like to come and meet our animals please do head over to our gite page - Eco-Gites of Lenault - where you can book a farm holiday in the beautiful (if currently slightly less than green) Normandy countryside.

ANIMALTALES

Friday, 23 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Uses for Old Newspapers

Week 25 - Reusing newspaper


Newspaper is easy to recycle but as with all paper it cannot be recycled indefinitely as the quality reduces too much and there are also the energy costs involved in transporting the paper to be recycled and the process itself.  Not long ago it would wrap your Friday night fish and chips but not any more so finding other uses for your daily read makes good environmental sense.

Image from Pixabay

Thursday, 22 September 2016

As Summer melts into Autumn


As summer slowly melts into autumn, the spiders have once again been busy creating their intricate webs.  Nature's morning breath shows them off at their very best.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

100 ways to reduce your plastic use


Synthetic plastic has only been around since 1907 yet it is now found in almost every aspect of our lives.  Looking at my somewhat chaotic desk I can see plastic in or on all these items - the film covering books, a pack of labels and some chocolate I am trying hard not to eat, my laptop and mouse, my phone, a lamp, my glasses case,  a pen pot, a lighter, a flexi dog lead, sellotape and its holder, a tube of glue, a plastic bag full of loose change, a thermometer, a small pot, pens, scissors, a DVD case, the plastic coating on my spiral notepads ..... OK so I have a messy desk but it makes you realise how all pervading plastic is.  Recently I bought a jar of rollmop herrings.  I thought I was doing OK not buying plastic as they came in a glass jar with a metal lid but when I opened them I saw that the rolled herrings were no longer held together with a small wooden peg as previously but with a PLASTIC one.  Plastic is everywhere and this is not a good thing for us or our environment.

Why is Plastic Bad for the Environment?


1.  Plastic is made from non-renewable petrochemicals and natural gas whose extraction process produces large amounts of toxins that are harmful to wildlife and the workforce involved.
2.  Its manufacture adds to atmospheric CO2 levels leading to global warming.
3.  It is non biodegradable but it will break down to toxic components which can affect wildlife and enter our drinking water thus affecting us.
4. It is difficult to recycle so most ends up in landfill.  That plastic bottle you put in the recycling does not get made into a new bottle but gets down-cycled to polyester which is then not recyclable.
5.  It is a major constituent of litter - this is both unsightly and a danger to wildlife.  Much of this litter ultimately ends up in our oceans causing major problems to the marine ecosystem.  It is estimated that the weight of plastic in the oceans is equal to 50% of the total weight of marine life.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Tips to help you grow Organic Veg

Week 24 - Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips


Growing organic vegetables ticks so many green boxes - you get to eat the freshest of healthy, seasonal produce without any pesticide residues, there are no food miles and zero packaging ... and it's good for wildlife too.  What's not to like so here are 7 great tips to get you on your way to growing organic vegetables.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Animal Tales 81

Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

This last week it went dog crazy with us.  We look after various dogs when their owners go away and they all decided to go away at the same time and we ended up with 8 dogs here at one time.  So as well as Saari we had Freya, Izzy, Min Pig, Pip, Lucan, Missy and Abigail .... and when they went Charlot arrived!!  Luckily they all got on really well although I have to say feeding time with the cats thrown into the equation as well was a little "challenging" and took ages: I had to do them all in shifts to prevent thieving!  I didn't manage to get a photo of all of them but I think you'll agree that Missy, Abigail and Lucan all look very happy here.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

A Future for Recycling?


Recycling.  We all do it to a lesser or greater degree.  We separate out plastic, glass, paper, cans etc placing them in whichever bin our council says we should and get that slightly warm and fuzzy feeling that we have just done our bit to help the environment.


However is recycling always the best way to deal with much of our our rubbish?

Friday, 9 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Keeping Clutter out of Landfill

Week 23 - Ways to keep Clutter out of Landfill


I am currently taking part in a decluttering challenge with members of the forum Downsizer ... although I have to admit to failing miserably, at the moment, to get much done.  However it got me thinking about what all of us should do with the stuff we declutter as simply chucking it in the bin is not at all environmentally friendly.  Here are 7 ways you can sustainably declutter and stop things ending up in landfill.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in September

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Storing your Garden Produce

Week 22 - Ways to preserve your harvest


Are you having a great year in the garden?  Do you have more produce than you know what to do with?  If friends are refusing your gifts of yet more runner beans and marrows, don't throw them away but read on to see how you can store your produce though the coming months.


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Hints of Autumn


It is September 1st and after a few weeks of hot dry weather everywhere is looking rather parched ... and there are definite signs of autumn around the garden.  Apples on the trees are ripe for picking, although small after the lack of rain, leaves are starting to colour and the sedums are turning red as their tiny flowers unfurl (much to the delight of the bees and butterflies who feast on these late summer/autumn flowers).  Many of my sunflowers are still in full bloom though, with some only just starting to flower.  Hopefully summer is not ready to leave us yet but when she does depart, the garden is full of plenty of autumn and winter vegetables to see us though. 


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Animal Tales 80


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening

I am afraid I have a sad post added this week so to balance things up a bit I thought you might like to see how very happy Moo is these day - one very laid back cat who found herself a new home back at Easter.



Monday, 29 August 2016

The Sad Tale of 2 Lambs who were not meant to be


For a couple of months we have been looking after an old ewe for a friend.  The friend bought her with her 2 ram lambs but as ram lambs can be sexually active from a few months old we needed to separate them as soon as possible.  We thought we had done so soon enough but a few weeks ago I decided she might be pregnant .... well can you imagine our surprise when Ben came running up from the field on Friday to say we had a lamb?   In fact not just one but twins. This, however, was not the good news it should have been as the reason the ewe was sold was because A) she was really too old to breed and B) she was unable to feed her lambs after an attack of mastitus blocked her teats.


Friday, 26 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Garden Watering Tips

Week 21 - Garden Watering Tips


Back in May I gave you 7 ways to save water around the house ... at a time when we were actually having a very wet spring.  Fast forward to today and we are seeing searing temperatures and, in parts of France, water restrictions after a prolonged dry spell.  So from a purely practical angle it makes sense to use less water in the garden if you can.  It is also good for the environment as  a whole:

  • It takes energy to treat water
  • Wildlife suffers when the water levels in lakes and rivers falls low
  • Lakes may become more saline and less oxygenated as levels fall



Thursday, 25 August 2016

Colour in my veg garden


I have gardened since I was a child when I discovered a box of old seeds in my grandfather's potting shed and since then it is growing fruit and vegetables that has given me the most satisfaction.  However I love flowers too and with not much in the way of a flower garden here in Normandy (Eco-Gites of Lenault to be precise) I do try to include as much colour as possible in amongst my fruit and vegetables.  In many cases, the produce itself is really pretty ...

... like my blackberries turning fast from green to red to delicious black.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

10 Cracking Courgette Recipes

Are you beginning to get fed up of the site of home grown courgettes? 

Every year I await with great eagerness as the first small fruit swell at what seems such a slovenly rate and then - BOOM - such a short time later you are suddenly drowning in courgettes accompanied by howls of "Not more courgettes" from the boys at every meal!  If that is you or you simply fancy ringing the courgette changes here are some recipe you might like to try  .... and one additional use for these summer beauties.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green back to school tips

Week 20 - Green back to school tips


For some the new school term has already started although for others there is a bit more time to get organised before children head back to school.  So have you thought about how you can make this Back To School a bit greener?  It's a great way to instil some environmental values in our kids and could save you some money too. Here are my 7 was to make your return to school a green one.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

August Garden Round-Up


I am sure many gardeners will nod away in agreement when I say that 2016 has been a difficult gardening year.  For us, in Normandy, a mild winter was followed by a long cold spring (in fact we almost had no frosts until March and they continued through April) and then a summer that just took an age to get going.  This all meant a very late start to the growing season.  Usually by now I have been harvesting summer vegetables for weeks but this year I am only just reaching "glut time".  However I am not too worried and so long as we get a nice autumn with no early frosts (I have known them as early as September 28th) then with luck I will be OK - especially as some crops in the polytunnel are looking like being the best I have ever grown.

But first a few pictures from outside the polytunnel:


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Animal Tales 79


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  

My post for this week shows a cunning way to help pigs keep cool on hot weather which is slightly cleaner than their normal way of mud wallowing:



... and did you hear what that naughty piglet did at the end?

Monday, 15 August 2016

How to cool down hot pigs!


We have had some hot weather recently and who doesn't love an ice lolly to cool off.  Not just humans it would seem.  Apparently pigs are very fond of carrot and apple ice blocks too ...








Friday, 12 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 random Green things to do this week

Week 19 - 7 random green things to do this week


What green things have you done this week?  Maybe you have done lots or maybe you need some inspiration - in which case read on as I give you 7 random things you could do this week that are good for the environment.


Friday, 5 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Non-supermarket Food Shopping

Week 18 - 7 places to food shop that are not supermarkets


When supermarkets first appeared they were seen as such a boon to the busy housewife.  She could get all her groceries in one place with plenty of choice and as they grew in popularity they also they rapidly grew to the monster enterprises we see today.  But as I wrote in this blog, supermarkets are perhaps not all as wonderful as their advertising would have us believe.  So if you feel you wnt to spread your whopping wings and support other businesses with your food shopping, where can you go? Here are 7 non supermarket places you can get your supplies.

Image from Pixabay

The Negative Side of Supermarkets


The concept of supermarkets started in America in the early 1900's but didn't take off in the UK until after the second world war as rationing was removed.  In the few years since then they have grown exponentially and now sell every conceivable foodstuff as well as all sorts of other goods and services.  They are seen as cheap, convenient and most people use them on a regular basis for most of their food shopping needs.  However are they really as good for you, the consumer and the environment as all their advertising would have us believe?  I think not.

Image from Pixabay

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in August

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.



Animal Tales 78


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  

Please note that for a while I am gong to run #AnimalTales every OTHER Tuesday.  I am at my busiest period with the gite and garden and I know a lot of you are busy with children home on holiday.  After this week the next Animal Tales will be on Tuesday Aug16th but feel free to add up to 2 posts.


Friday, 29 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Saving Paper

Week 17 - 7 Ways to Save Paper


I did my recycling earlier this week and the if state of the paper recycling bin in our village was anything to go by yesterday we still get through A LOT of paper.  It was full to overflowing!  Whilst paper can be recycled its quality decreases each time to a point when it can no longer be recycled and so new paper needs to be made to replace it.  Also the energy needed to both produce and recycle paper is a contributor to CO2 production.   It all therefore makes sense to reduce how much paper we all use.


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Animal Tales 77


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Favourites from Last Week ...


It was my birthday last Tuesday and you all gave me wonderful posts.  If you haven't had a read please do pop back now and you can see:

Friday, 22 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Vegetables you can sow in late July/Aug

Week 17 - 7 Vegetables you can sow in late July/Aug


If you have decided rather late in the year that you would like to grow some vegetables or you find you have some gaps in your veg patch there are still seeds you can sown in late July and August.  At this time of year the soil will be dry so do ensure you water seed drills well before sowing and continue to give the seedlings plenty of water once they have germinated.  This blog post gives 15 tips for successful watering which you might like to read. 



Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Animal Tales 76

Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


  Favourites from Last Week ...


Thank you to everyone who linked last week and it was particularly hard to pick favourites.  I loved reading all your posts especially the puffins from The Early Birder and the monkeys from Family Makes but my absolute favourites had to be the new arrivals.  There was Deb's new puppy, Zola Budd and Susan's new kitten although it had to be said Susan just gave us one cute picture so I am hoping for more feline photos in a later post!



Friday, 15 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green House Renovation Ideas

Week 16 - 7 Green ways to renovate your house


When we moved to France our idea was to open a gite (holiday cottage) by renovating an old building thus breathing new life into a derelict building.  We also wanted to do the renovation in the greenest way possible within our budget.  The result, Eco-Gites of Lenault, was the result of our work and now welcomes families from all over the world who can come and to our quiet corner of Normandy, knowing their holiday will not cost the earth.  If you are doing looking to do some renovation on your house here are 7 ideas you can use that will help the environment at the same time.


Combating Potato Blight


There is no denying the Spring of 2016 has been both cool and wet which has meant I have been really late getting things going in the garden.  That said, so long as we get a good Autumn (fingers crossed) this should not be a problem and plants will simply be ready a bit later in the year - there is one notable exception to this though and that is my potatoes.   My potatoes went in late and now have succumbed early to the dreaded disease that is blight thus giving them no time to grow tubers of a decent size. 

So what is blight?  It is a fungal airborne disease that affects potatoes, initially killing the foliage and then passing down underground and affecting the potatoes which can rot to a black slime when stored.  If you  know your (Irish) history you will have heard of blight as it is the potato disease that caused the Great Potato Famine in the mid 1800's when it decimated Irish potato crops leading to an estimated million deaths from starvation and a further million peasants leaving Ireland to try and find a new and better life in America.

Healthy potato plants in the polytunnel

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Bees, Brexit and what you can do to help them


I blogged recently about some of the benefits that the UK environment has experienced under EU membership but there was one noticeable absence from the list - bees.  Bees are responsible for pollinating a large amount of the food crops that find their ways to our plates and whilst experts may argue over exactly how much, in a world which is struggling to feed large amounts of its people, I think it is fair to say we would be better off with bees than without them.  In the UK there are over 250 species of bee but since 1900, 20 species have been lost and a further 35 are endangered.

Image from Pixabay


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Animal Tales 75

Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


  Favourites from Last Week ...


... were about "pets" with Bob the Spider from Dean at Little Steps and the goat kids, Chocolate and Chip from Emma at Farmer's Wife and Mummy.

Chocolate ans Chip from Farmer's Wife and Mummy

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Brexit and the UK Environment


One of the arguments for voting Leave in the EU referendum was that EU bureaucrats exerted too much control on the UK, forcing member states to accept too many regulation that maybe they would better without.  Too much red tape.  Too many stupid rules.  In some cases, yes, this may have been true but when it comes to the environment the EU has been instrumental in getting some pretty good cross-European policies adopted.  Let me give you a few examples

What has the EU ever done for the UK Environment?


Wildlife

Natural species do not understand man-made boundaries and therefore having environmental policies that stretch across Europe has helped to protect vulnerable species.  High environmental standards and a legal framework across Europe together with EU funding has protected many species in the UK; the bittern is a good example.  This large but secretive bird was on the brink of extinction in the UK due to loss of its habitat - reed beds.  Funding from the EU via the EU Birds and Habitats Directives enabled reed beds to be re-established and now the bittern population is rising.  And not only has the bittern benefited - other reed bed species are now thriving and this in itself encourages green tourism that helps the local economy.

Bittern - Image from Flickr

Friday, 8 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 tips to make your pet sustainable

Week 15 - 7 ways to make your pet sustainable


It is quite possible that we look at our lives and wonder how sustainable they are but how often do we think about the pets we own?  Pets, like their human owners, come with a carbon footprint and have a surprisingly high negative impact on the environment.  Did you know the average cat uses 0.13ha of land just in his food production and bearing in mind there are as estimated 7.4 million cats in the UK alone that makes makes just short of a million hectares of land being used purely to produce cat food which incidentally is almost the same amount of forest that Indonesia is losing every year or an area about 1/3 the size of Belgium.  It is also estimated that 2 German Shepherds use the same amount of global resources per year as one Bangladeshi.

So pets do come with a heavy environmental load.  Now I am not, for one moment suggesting we should stop having pets.  Over 80% of UK pet owners say there pets are part of the family and they provide them with companionship, exercise and teach younger family members about the responsibility of caring for others ... but there are steps you can take to reduce the impact your pet has on the environment.




Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Animal Tales 74


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Apologies ...


... for not hosting Animal Tales last week and for the even worse crime of not getting round to commenting on everyone who linked up the week before.  I had to dash to the UK for some family business that has taken up more time than I had expected so I am still playing catch up.  So a HUGE thank you for linking up and I will get round to reading all the posts soon.  Feel free to add an extra post this week if you want to.


Original image from Flikr

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in July

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.


Thursday, 30 June 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 ways to have a sustainable fish dinner

Week 14 - 7 ways to eat fish and be sustainable


Oceans cover over 70% of the surface of the earth and can supply us with vast amounts of food in the form of fish. However overfishing has decimated some fish populations so we need to reduce fishing of these threatened species to allow populations to recover.  Indiscriminate fishing methods such as bottom trawling which catches everything is also very destructive to fish populations.  

Image from Marine Conservation Society

Monday, 27 June 2016

No Animal Tales this week


I have had to go to the UK unexpectedly and so there is no Animal Tales this week.  So sorry but please feel free to add more than one post next week.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a picture of Pumpkin and Limbo Mojo who have spent most of this week breaking out of their field - extra fencing has hopefully foiled their attempts ... for now at any rate.



ANIMALTALES



Saturday, 25 June 2016

Why the public should never have voted in an EU referendum


Tomorrow Great Britain will wake to the day after the EU referendum with the majority of the population possibly nursing a hangover but for such different reasons.  I wanted to take a moment to think about the referendum and why I think it should never have taken place.

Every British citizen in the UK from the age of 18 upwards had a right to vote, including those who had left the UK less than 15 years ago - so that included me as I left 9 years ago.  Democracy is a right not afforded to everyone in the world and for that we should be grateful.  So why I am I saying we should not have had an EU referendum? 

This is why:

The public was been given the chance to vote on something where the outcome would have far reaching effects on the social, political and economic future of Great Britain yet I fear many had no understanding of what remaining or leaving would actually entail.   The information fed to the public, on both sides was, in a mixture of half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda with just a spattering of good factual information tucked underneath if you took the time to hunt it down or even knew where to look.  Add then add to this a scary amount of hate propaganda to really spice things up.

So what if you based your vote on the half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda or hate? 

A few days ago I was talking to a friend, a lady in her 60s who has worked hard all her life in low paid jobs and brought up 3 children (one with learning difficulties) without state help. She was thinking about voting out because she believed Great Britain puts far too much of HER money into the EU and this will only increase as other countries are allowed to join who she believes are in financial difficulties. Immigration was not an issue to her and she is not a racist.



Our EU contributions amount to just 0.6% of the UK's annul total expenditure and the amount each person pays per day is less that the price of buying The Sun every day.   Her husband reads The Sun. She has no internet and her only source of information will be The Sun, the ITV news she sometimes watches and her friends.  She admitted she didn't know the effect of voting in or out but she was swaying towards out for financial reasons. 


Already since the result we have seen the pound fall by the single biggest amount in 31 years thus making goods imported into the UK more expensive.  Look around and tell me how much of what you can see around you was imported?  Clothes from China, car from Europe, food from around the world?  I would hazard a guess and say not many British made goods.  With a weak pound I now reckon the higher price of imported goods will cost each citizen more than the money the UK puts into the EU per head.  I hope I am wrong but I fear I am not.  Oh and as for £350,000,000 per week (or 78p per person per day), apparently that was a half truth as it did not make any mention of the money we got BACK form the EU.  But hey, who needs the whole truth when you are voting for your country's future?

My friend thought she would be financially better off out of the EU and on that issue alone she put a cross in the leave box.   Her vote counted towards all the votes and now the UK is leaving the EU.

I very much doubt she was alone. 

Some, it would seem, did not even know what the EU is and Google reported that 8 hours after the polls closed searches for the term "what happens if we leave the EU" had more than tripled.   A woman was also reported on the ITV news as saying she is:  "very disappointed" by the results.  The woman continued by saying that "reality" has now hit her and that given her chance again she would vote to remain.  She based her decision on the (mis)information she heard and saw up to the time of the vote.

The public was asked to vote on something that will have long and far reaching effects yet many people had no idea which way to vote as they did not understand the implications of either staying or leaving.  In a general election if you vote in a party you don't like you get the chance to chuck them out again in a few years time.  There is no chance to return to the EU now we have voted out.  Is this really something that was fair to ask the public to vote on? 

And I have not even discussed the hateful xenophobia whipped up by certain right wing parties and individuals nor the fact that the greatest percentage of leave voters were in the over 65 age bracket and will not be around to see the long term effects of their vote because there will be repercussions for many years to come.

I did plenty of research before casting my vote and my feeling, based on what I read and what I saw in this video leads me to feel that the future may not be as rosy as many leave voters expect.



But I will finish on one note.  The decision has now been made and whilst there are calls for a second referendum the British public must live with the future they have voted for.  Like fledgling chicks thrown from the nest by parents who no longer wish to feed and look after them, the UK is now on its own.  Some fledglings flourish and fly high.  Others tumble downwards to a painful end.  How the newly fledged UK manages over the coming years rests, not only in the hands of the politicians, but also in the hands of the British public ... but do they know what they can do to help their country fly high?  Let's hope some-one feeds them facts from now on and not that diet of half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda and hate they have been fed to date.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

How the foxglove got its name


Well the long and the short of it is, no-one knows!  There is a child's story that tells how a wily fox placed the bells of a foxglove flower on his pads like gloves so he could sneak up on his chicken prey silently.  But this is simply that, a fairy tail born from the name foxglove rather than being the reason it was thus named.  And apparently no etymologist has manged to find why the Anglo-Saxon's first named this plant, foxglove but it would appear that Christina Rossetti knew it was all just a story.


The Peacock

The peacock has a score of eyes,
  With which he cannot see;
The cod-fish has a silent sound,
  However that may be;

No dandelions tell the time,
  Although they turn to clocks;
Cat's-cradle does not hold the cat,
  Nor foxglove fit the fox.


Image by Kelly Louise Judd

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Animal Tales 73


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Favourites from last week ...


As ever thank you to everyone who linked up last week.  I really enjoyed Leta's post on Attachment Mummy about whether our cats pick us ... because Moo DEFINITELY picked us!  And if you fancy getting up close and personal to butterflies Karen from The Mad House of Cars and Babies has a butterfly house give-away still running.

 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Influence, Indoctrination and Murder


Jo Cox and the man who killed her had 2 things in common.  The same 2 things that we all have in common no matter what the colour of our skin, our gender, religion, lifestyle, sexual preference etc.  We all came into this world with nothing and we will all leave with nothing.  What we choose to with our lives between birth and death is what makes us the person that we are and what makes us all different.

Jo Cox chose to work for people she saw as in desperate need of help and worked to make an equal society.
Her killer chose another path.

I have no idea exactly why he killed her, whether it was for political, personal, religious or other reasons.  I do know that the idea to kill another human is not something he was born with but something he learnt as he went through life.  Things he heard and saw poisoned his mind and led him to have so much hate within that it became acceptable to him to kill a fellow human being.

When I was at University a friend asked me to get him some paracetamol when I was in town.  Later that week, with all the paracetamol he had asked all his friends to get him, he killed himself.  If I had said no, if all his friends had said no, he may well not have killed himself.  He used each of us to help end his life and our help, whilst well meaning resulted in his suicide.  We were all, by default, connected to his death.  Our one small action led to a far greater negative action.

The same is true each time someone says something that berates another human being for simply "not the same as us" - each statement on its own may have no discernible effect but add all these voices together and it is enough to turn to hate.  And hate can lead to a man to take the life of someone who simply stood up for everything he was indoctrinated into believing was wrong.  And why did he believe she was wrong?  Because enough people had told him what she stood for was wrong.

And this is true of any fanatic.
Muslim extremists were not born that way.
Misogynists did not come into the world hating women.
Gay bashers didn't hate the gay community from day one of their lives.
No young child hates another just because they are not from the same country.

For every one of you who has ever railed against immigrants or Muslims or anyone who simply is different, I say that your hands now bear the blood of victims, of whom Jo Cox is the latest in a long line.  You didn't pull the trigger, you didn't plunge the knife but your rhetoric led others to believe it was right to kill.

Each murderer comes into this world with nothing and each will leave with nothing but in between they grow to believe that not all humanity is equal and as such they can kill those whose views differ from theirs.  They would not have come to that conclusion on their own but through what others said and did.  Influence and indoctrination can lead to murder.

Today Jo Cox leaves behind a family who could not have believed yesterday that she had seen her last tomorrow.  And for that I ask you to stop and think about this one thing - YOUR influence.  Murderers are influenced by what they see and hear and for that reason some people will murder tomorrow and the next day and the next or for as long as they are influenced and indoctrinated by others?  And this influence covers everything - religion, race, sexual preferences, gender.  When will it end?  Please do not be part of that influence.  Hateful words breed hate but words of love, understanding and acceptance breed a society that does not kill those simply for being different.

My friend at University may well still have killed himself, even if we had not all bought him the means to do it.  Jo Cox's killer may still have committed murder but I say this: if had had not been fed the far right wing propaganda and instead he had had a life of support, understanding, tolerance, kindness then maybe Jo Cox would be alive today.

Without knowing it, all of us who bought our friend a packet of paracetamol were in each a bit responsible for his death.  Anyone who has talked about hating Muslims or gays or immigrants or women helps to fuel murder.  Do not be part of that hate. Do not be guilty of helping others believe it is acceptable to kill.

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