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.

Post Comment Love

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Best bee attracting plants

Week 12 - 7 Best bee attracting plants


We need bees.  It is not just honey that bees give us.  As I mentioned in my Weekly Green Tips last week (7 beneficial garden bugs) bees pollinate over 30% of all our food stuffs and without them the future on mankind is believed to be at risk.  As guardians of the open spaces we call gardeners, we therefore owe it to everyone to do our bit to help bee populations by planting a variety of plants they can feed from.

Bees can fly in cooler temperatures than other insects as they are able to generate their own body heat in some way, rather than having to rely on the warmth of the sun to get going.  They can therefore be on the wing from early spring to late autumn so we need be growing plants that provide them food throughout the year.  There are also different species of bees and their tongue length varies so growing different flowering plants to cater for both long and short-tongued species is important.

Generally bees prefer single native flowers rather than complex or non native ones flowers but they also adore wild flowers and weeds so leaving some wild areas in your garden in great for bees.

If you are thinking about growing plants that will best help bees the following list will serve our flying friends well - it offers food plans all through the year and caters for different species.

2 bees feeding on  a passion flower

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Animal Tales 72


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 ...


Thanks to everyone who linked up last week.  As summer rolls on (I hope you've been having some lovely weather) it is vital we care for our pets as the temperature rises and Liz Burton's blog on caring for your dog in hot weather, with this info-graphic, was very pertinent.



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Harley Davidson Motorbike for sale


OK this is something COMPLETELY different to what I usually blog about but a friend has asked if I would help sell his motorbike.  It is a Harley Davidson Dynaglide FXDS Convertible 1340cc.  It is sold with a camping trailer, transporting trailer, wheel clamp and paniers.




Friday, 10 June 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Beneficial Garden Bugs

Week 12 - 7 Beneficial Garden Bugs


It can be all too easy when out in the garden to squish every bug that passes your way, assuming it ill be damaging to your imminent harvest.  Now admittedly there are a lot of bad beasties out there who want nothing more than to eat your harvest before you do but WAIT- before you squash everyone you need to know which are the good guys, the bugs and beasts that actually HELP get that harvest from garden to plate.



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Tips for Growing Carrots


Fresh carrots really are the best and nothing you can buy at a shop or even a farmer's market will come anywhere near the taste you'll get eating a just-pulled carrot from your own garden.  They are not difficult to grow if you follow these simple steps.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Animal Tales 71


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. 

This week Moo is modelling ...


... a plastic lampshade!  

She went to be spayed, chipped and vaccinated on Thursday so is now wreaking havoc with her veterinary accessory.  She is doing really well but we'll all be glad when she can have her stitches out and we can bid farewell to the lampshade.  It has not stopped her getting up to tricks though.  We had Perle, the dog from Guadeloupe, staying over the weekend but Moo thought her bed should be requisitioned for recuperative purposes and she successfully managed to get Perle to leave it with a combination of feline stares and gradual forward creeping.  Poor Perle looked so put out especially as she lost her bed to Saari on her last visit!



I would like to add a huge thank you to a local cat charity, Lécole du chat and the members of their local bracnh La compagnie des chats sans maître, who work tirelessly to get abandoned cats off the streets, neutered and re-homed.  Because we took in Moo as a stray they were able to give us a grant towards her spaying.  Merci :)

Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Future of our World is in our Hands


Today, June 5th is World Environment Day.

We only have one world - THIS world and it is our responsibility to protect it for our children and all the generations to come.

Everything we do has has impact on our world but there is plenty each and every one of us can do to reduce the damage we do.

Here are links to blogs I write every Friday in my series called Weekly Green Tips giving simple positive steps we should all be taking.

So starting today, on World Environment Day, let's work together to make the earth a better place.


Friday, 3 June 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in June

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.



Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green Driving Tips

Week 11 - Green Driving Tips


Car driving is not good for the environment.  The fuel cars use produces greenhouse gases such as CO2 which contribute to climate change, something that is also true of electric cars where the electricity they use is likely to have been produced by burning fossil fuels.  Then there is their manufacture which also produces pollutants and environmental damage from the mining of the materials needed to make the car and its parts though the process of making these raw materials into a car and transporting parts and cars from factory to customer.   Work is being done to develop less polluting cars but even these will have an impact on the environment.  I am however realistic enough to realise we are unlikely, in the foreseeable future, to stop using cars, so as a next best step we need to look at ways of driving our cars more efficiently that means we use less fuel and and we need to replace them or their parts less often.

Traffic Jam in New York with a yellow haze of pollution

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Garden Rethink


As anyone who has read this blog probably realises, I love gardening and in particular growing my own veg.  It was one of our aims, when we moved to France, to be as self sufficient as possible in fresh produce and over the years this has been pretty successful with the exception of cauliflowers which I just cannot seem to grow!  This year is, however, all turning out to be a massive failure on the veg front.

It started with a cold spring that meant I lost tender tomatoes etc to late frosts and it was too wet and cold to get going outside ... and when it was I was away on holiday.  Then my Mum sadly died so I have been back and forth to the UK giving little time to spend in the garden and the only thing flourishing out there is the weeds.  Why why why do weeds grow so well what-ever the weather??!!



Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Animal Tales 70


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. 

Thank you so much ...


... for Karen from The Mad House of Cats and Babies for stepping into my shoes last week and hosting Animal Tales as I had to go to the UK again.  Here's a box of kittens by way of a huge thank you, Karen.

Kittens


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 things you should not be buying

Week 10 – 7 things you do not need to buy


There has been an explosion of self storage units over the last few years which says to me that, as a nation, we are buying far more stuff than we did a few years ago to the point that we have to store it elsewhere as our houses can't cope with it. Come on – stop and think. How much stuff to you realistically need? Separate want from need and you'll probably find it a lot less than what you actually have now or might buy in the foreseeable future. We might now live in a buying culture - yet this culture of buy buy buy is harming our environment?  They take energy to produce, all to often quickly end up in landfill or are simply illegal.  Here are 7 products you really should do not need if you believe in helping the planet become a better place:

1. Overly Packaged Goods


Everything from individually wrapped swedes (Why?) and peeled oranges in plastic pots (WHY again??) to all sorts of goods in cardboard and plastic galore, much of this packaging is unnecessary and all too often it ends up in landfill as it cannot be recycled.   As for those pre-peeled oranges I feel another whole, somewhat ranty, blog post coming on … So come on, let's ditch the unnecessary packaging. Go for products you can buy without all that gumpf around them and let companies know you don't need it.  If we all started removing the packaging from what we have just bought, leaving it in the shop for them to deal with, retailers would soon start pushing manufacturers to reduce levels of packaging.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Animal Tales 69


Animal Tales 69  is being hosted by Karen over at The House of Mad Cats and Babies this week - please do head on over there to add your link and see what animals posts we have for you.

ANIMALTALES

Friday, 20 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Ways To Not Waste Bread

Week 9 - 7 Ways to not waste bread


Did you know that in the UK alone 24 million slices of bread are thrown away EVERY day?  That is an obscene amount of waste that landfill cannot keep taking.  Now I know we all fall victim to that odd slice of bread that gets left in the bread bin and gathers an interesting population of mould but overall I am not talking about that.  I am talking about the millions of slices of slightly stale and/or dry bread that are chucked away when, with a little imagination they could be used to create tasty meals.  There are also some simple things you can do to reduce how much stale bread you end up with.  Read on for my 7 tips.



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Animal Tales 68


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. 

My favourites from last week ...

... were from opposite ends of the animal kingdom with Mummy Travels writing about giant manatees and Martyn updating us on his stick insect "flock".  I have no idea what you call a group of stick insects as swarm doesn't seem right.  Any ideas?

Manatee - photo by Mummy Travels

Pigs v Sheep


On our small holding we keep a variety of animals including pigs and sheep.  In the last week I have had to move both our new ewe and lambs and two of our pigs.  The two events sort of went like this:

Moving Pigs


"Oooh, look" said Coco Chanel to Peardrop "the 2 legged one has arrived with a bucket of food and is walking away - we had best follow her then."


Friday, 13 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips #8 - Quotes

Week 8 - Green Quotes


A picture can tell a thousand words but sometimes a simple quote can say much more than just the few words it contains - here are 7 of my all time favourites:

1.

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." ~ Native American Proverb


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Animal Tales 67


Animal Tales is 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. 

Dog Exchange


We have bid farewell to the 4 dogs we had a couple of weeks ago and have welcomed 3 more!  Mind you, I reckon their owners have timed their holidays to coincide with dog moulting season.  In fairness Saari, who is a Husky x Alsation and so VERY hairy, is moulting the most but the other 3 aren't far behind.  My poor hoover is about to go on strike!

Saari in full moult

Friday, 6 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips #7 - How to Save Water in the House

Week 7 - Saving water in the house


After a long wet winter it might not seem necessary to save water but there are three good reasons why you should:
  • Keeping water levels high in lakes and rivers is good for local wildlife.
  • Water takes energy to be treated.
  • It can save you money - and that saved money could be put to good environmental use.  Perhaps you could then buy a bit more organic food or when something needs replacing by a more energy efficient one even if it is a touch more pricey.
Photo by Catherine Trigg - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2220697

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

No Animal Tales This Week


I am sorry if you have arrived here looking for Animal Tales but I am afraid I have had to go to a funeral today.  The next linky will be Tuesday 12th May.

In the meantime here's a cute picture of the piglets eating cherry blossom from a fallen branch.



ANIMALTALES



Saturday, 30 April 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in May

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, 29 April 2016

Weekly Green Tips #6 - How to Raise a Green Baby

Week 6 - Green Babies


To be truly green it is said that you should have no children and there are those termed GINK - Green Inclined, No Kids - who chose to remain child-free for just this reason.  But in reality, for most people this isn't going to happen so as the next best step is for parents to look at how to reduce the impact their children have on the planet, starting from when baby first arrives.  Hopefully parents will also help teach their children to be good green citizens and do more to protect the earth as through their children they have a vested interest to do so.  Here are 7 tips to help you raise a green and sustainable baby.


1. Use cloth nappies

In Britain alone, 8 million nappies are thrown away EVERY day and this is not sustainable, especially when you realise that nappies take 400 years to degrade.  So that first nappy you pooped in all those years ago is STILL festering somewhere in a landfill site.  As an alternative there are cloth nappies as I blogged about previously




Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Animal Tales 66


Animal Tales is 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. 

Don't do that again Moo


We currently have 4 extra dogs staying which has made things a bit crowded at times and ensures feeding time is a bit hectic. 

 

All was however OK ... until Friday.

On Friday morning one of the dogs spooked Moo.  She ran outside and that was it, she was gone.  We called and called but not a peep.  Late on Friday night I then saw her in the field but she was too scared to come near me and ran off again.  We were heartbroken and despite the fact she has been with us for less than a month we all missed her so much.  And it was raining.  And cold.  

Saturday came and despite calling and calling, nothing.  I went out in the dark again but still no sign.

Then, out of the blue, about 10.30pm as we were watching TV Simon suddenly said he heard a noise and there was Moo, standing up at the front door mewing to be let in.  Honestly, you cannot believe the relief.  She is once again absolutely fine with the dogs, is eating us out of house and home and is even more cuddly (if that is possible) than before.  Moo - Don't do that again! 




Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cats, Constipation and Courgettes


Henry, our elderly cat who we brought with us when we moved to France, unfortunately has kidney failure.  He is doing well thanks to a special diet and daily medicine.  However, one side effect is that he easily gets constipated.  You can syringe liquid paraffin into cats' mouths to help but doing this comes with the risks of them accidentally breathing the paraffin in their lungs rather than drinking it into their stomach.  So the vet gave me some medicine to help get things moving and she also suggested adding vegetables, for the fibre, to his diet - courgettes and pumpkins being the best apparently.  She was not my normal vet who knows Henry better so I gave her my look of: "That's all very well but you don't know Henry or how fussy he is," and left, not all hopeful he would eat these vegetable additions.


My Sunday Photo - April 24th 2016




OneDad3Girls

Friday, 22 April 2016

Weekly Green Tips #5 - 7 Tips to Make your Holiday Green

Week 5 - Green Holidays


It's easy to be green when at home but what about when you go on holiday.  What steps can you take to ensure your holiday is as green and therefore as sustainable as possible.  Here are 7 ways to help you.

1. Go independent

Booking a holiday direct with a cottage owner is generally better for the local environment.  It means all the rental goes to them without a chunk of it lining the pockets of large multinational corporations who are more interested in profit than sustainability. Independent holiday cottage owners buy locally, support their local economy/community and encourage local prosperity which are all good for helping to maintain regional diversity and the distinct character of where you are on holiday.  By all means use the big companies to find a holiday but then search online for their own website. There are also numerous Facebook Groups such as Book Your Holiday Direct with the Owner.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Lost Gardens of Heligan


Heligan, in south Cornwall, was the home of the Tremayne family for over 400 years and in that time the family developed magnificent gardens both for their own pleasure and to produce fruit, vegetables and flowers for the household.  However, their downfall could never have been foretold.  Many of the gardeners who worked in the gardens went off to fight in WWI and few were to return. After the war the economy faltered and, like many great houses in that time, there was not the money to maintain the gardens in their former glory and they were left untended for nature to take over.  The house was sold in the 1970's and converted into flats and a hurricane in 1990 wreaked yet more havoc.

In 1990, Tim Smit and John Willis (a descendent of the Tremayne family) discovered a tiny room, an old thunder-box toilet, buried under fallen masonry in the corner of one of the walled gardens.  Written on the wall inside and still just visible was the date, August 1914 and the motto: “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”.  Underneath were the names of the gardeners at that time, so many of whom were to have their lives cut tragically short. 

This discovery was to inspire Tim and John to restore the gardens to celebrate the lives of those who toiled to create and maintain them all those years ago.  The two had a vision to bring back the rare and wonderful plants that could flourish in the mild Cornish climate and of working with nature to enhance the variety of habitats found within its 200 acres.

I'll let you decide, through my pictures, whether you think they succeeded. 


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Animal Tales - 65


Animal Tales is 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 if you had hoped to find the linky last week but I was on holiday and my internet connection wasn't good enough for me to post an explanation.

Moo Update


Moo has unfortunately been back to the vet with bad wheezing and another infection - hopefully a second course of antibiotics will clear it up but we are a bit worried her lungs are permanently damaged.  She is, however, back playing and adoring all the cuddles she gets from us.  She has also put on 800g in weight which may not sound much but bearing in mind she weighed just 1.5kg when we she arrived that is an increase of over 50% ... oh and her wonky leg no longer seems to dislocate.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Cloth nappies - Guest Post from Karen at Mad Cats and Babies


When I asked for Mums to write some details on why they used cloth nappies, as opposed to disposables, one Mum was so passionate she wrote enough for a whole blog post.  So please read on to find out why Karen from The Mad House of Cats and Babies is an ardent supporter of cloth nappies. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Cloth Nappies and Mums who Love Them


When I wrote my recent post about 7 disposal items we should not be using there was one item I very specifically left off the list, not because I believe we should continue to use it but because I wanted to write more about it than that blog post had room for.  That item is disposable nappies (diapers).

Up until the 1950's all nappies were reusable with each nappy used time and time again after being washed and in many cases one set of nappies (usually terry nappies that needed folding and pinning) would be used for several children.  It meant mums were often tied to the home, washing (usually by hand) and drying (no tumble driers) nappies and so when the first disposable nappies appeared around the 50's and 60's mums felt that, at long last, they were being handed a huge piece of freedom.  Pop the all in one shaped nappy on baby, fix with the sticky strips and and once it was soiled just chuck it away and use another one.  No pins, no folding, no washing, no drying.  So much more freedom to go anywhere and so much time freed up. Bliss.

No wonder disposable nappies have become the norm and are almost universally accepted in much of the western world.

But this convenience comes with a huge price - every single nappy, unless it has been incinerated, still exists somewhere in landfill as they take some 400 years to degrade.  In many cases they contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and they are made with plastics which come from fossil fuels and so their production leads to increased CO² levels, a factor in global warming.

My Sunday Photo - April 17th 2106


England ...
Cornwall ...
Boscastle ...
A village nearly destroyed by terrible floods in 2004.
A village once again thriving on tourism and the lobster trade.
Small industry keeping a small village alive in 2016.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Weekly Green Tips #4 - 7 Vegetables everyone can grow

Week 4 - Vegetables you can grow anywhere


Growing your own veg is wonderful as you get the freshest tasting, healthy produce with no food miles and you have no need to use any chemicals so it's great for the environment and you.  But what about people who don't have a garden or an allotment?  Fear not, as I reckon that unless you live in an unheated igloo at the North Pole everyone can grow some veg.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

My Sunday Photo - April 10th 2016


Take one tree, two home-made rope swings and add 2 boys - mix together for a lot of fun!


Friday, 8 April 2016

Weekly Green Tips #3 - Greening your Car


Week 3 - Greening Your Car


Cars are one of the greatest pollutants many of us use.  Most use non-renewable fuel and belch out carbon dioxide and pollutants at an alarming rate but I think it is safe to say that many of us would find it difficult to give up our cars and it would take some major life reorganising to do so.  I doubt we, as a family living in rural France where there is no bus service and few very local services, could manage without a car.  However, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of pollution your car produces and this blogs covers tips on how you can keep your car as green as possible before you even drive off.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Animal Tales 64


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

Please note


I will be in the UK shortly, visiting family, with limited internet connection so there will be no Animal Tales next week and I am going to close this week's linky on Wednesday evening at 7pm to give me time to comment on posts.  Normal service will be resumed on Tuesday April 19th.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

My Sunday Photo - April 3rd 2016


French markets are wonderful places to shop with so many small and local businesses selling their wares.  Much of the fresh produce will be have been grown in the region and you will find that the stall owners have will  be happy to sell you whatever weight you want or choose fruit of just the right ripeness for your needs.  Other stalls sell anything from clothes to accessories, kitchen items and even live chickens.  Here are some photos I took at our local market in Condé-sur-Noireau this week although I avoided the chicken sellers in case I "accidentally" bought some chicks that I am not actually ready for yet.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Weekly Green Tips #2 - Get Growing


Welcome to week 2 of my Weekly Green Tips series.  One blog a week with 7 tips on a given theme giving you 365 ways to help make the world a better place.  Today I am looking at ways to help you grow some of your own veg.

Week 2 - 7 ways to get growing


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in April


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 sales 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:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Animal Tales 63


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

My Favourites from Last Week


Thank you to everyone who joined in last week - two posts really caught my attention on serious notes - Lisa and Stella warned about the dangers of ticks living on your dog and Dean from Little Steps wrote about that awful day when it is time to say goodbye.  So to cheer ourselves up a bit here's a picture of a woman with a falcon on her head in Dubai from ChickenRuby - what I am not sure of, though, is whether or not it is Suzanne?

Sunday, 27 March 2016

My Sunday Photo - March 27th 2016



For Moo's story please click here - Meet Moo - The Cat who Came to Stay.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Weekly Green Tips #1 - Disposables to Go


Over the next year I plan to arm you with 365 green tips that will help us all to reduce our negative impact on the world.  Each Friday I will post 7 ideas in a post called Weekly Green Tips with a different theme each week.  Some tips won't apply to you but I am sure you'll be able to do some of the others.   On our own it is difficult to see if the changes we implement actually make a difference but when undertaken by hundred and thousands of us small changes build up into big, positive change.  So please, do visit the blog every Friday and see what you can do to help make the world a better place.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Animal Tales 62


Yes, you are in the right place for Animal Tales and it's just the blog that has had a make-over so welcome to "A Green and Rosie Life".  Please do also check out my one-off linky #MyFirstBlogPost where you can link up the first blog you ever wrote.

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

Monday, 21 March 2016

Don't feed the ducks bread - feed them ....


Heading off to the park and feeding the dusks is a much favoured activity for young children (and some older ones too) but actually, feeding bread to them is not the ideal choice.  The bread quickly breaks down in the water so a lot sinks to the bottom uneaten and can cause problems in the water including algal blooms (where the water can in effect, become poisonous) and increases the risk of avian flu spreading.  Also, any uneaten bread left on the bank attracts vermin such as rats which can carry some rather nasty diseases.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A Green and Rosie Life - New Name, New Focus, New Linky




Notice anything different??!!  
Welcome to my new blog - A Green and Rosie Life.


Today is the anniversary of when I wrote my first blog post.  Eight years ago.  Gosh, can it really be that long?  Mind you I know of one blogger whose blog will be a teenager this year!  Simon actually started the blog here on February 5th 2008 but it wasn't until March 20th 2008 that I first committed finger to keyboard.

Originally the blog was meant as a means of keeping friends and family in touch with what we were doing here in France and to be honest, I have no idea how many people, if any, read anything that either Simon or I posted.  However as we neared getting the gite ready to open we got a surprise email from a Dutch family asking if we would be open by July 17th 2010 as they wanted to book, having read about the gite on the blog.  Well, that certainly focussed our progress and we did indeed get the gite finished (JUST) and welcomed our first family thanks to the blog.

From then on I realised the blog had potential as a marketing tool not just a diary of what we were up to but it did have one problem for our SEO as it was not actually connected to our website.  So early this year we created a new website with a blog attached which rather left this original blog a bit in limbo.  After 8 years of writing I did not want to just let it disappear, I wanted to develop it and take it further which is why, today, I am relaunching as the name you see above:

"A Green and Rosie Life"


My Sunday Photo - 20th March 2106


As some-one who grows fruit and vegetables, keeps animals and enjoys foraging I hope that with each meal I put on the table, there is always something on our plates that I have either grown, reared or foraged.  I almost failed with this massive full English breakfast that Simon requested before he and the boys headed up to Paris to watch England v France in the final of the Six Nations Rugby.  Thank goodness the hens are laying well and that egg was one of ours!

PS - and England won meaning they took the 6 Nations title and The Grand Slam! 



OneDad3Girls

snowingindoors

Thursday, 17 March 2016

My Tomato Varieties


I love growing tomatoes. 
I love growing different varieties of tomatoes. 
Which is why I appear to have ended up with 14 packets of tomato seeds this year!


My Tomatoes for 2016:



  1. Marmande - Large juicy red tomatoes which make great passata and tomato sauce
  2. Green Zebra - Yellow and green striped tomato with a thin skin and fabulous taste. Wonderful in salads
  3. Golden Sunrise - just like "normal" tomatoes but yellow and better tasting!
  4. Pomodoro - a very prolific cherry tomato from Italy 
  5. Ananas (Pineapple) - a huge red and orange heritage tomato with which tastes divine
  6. Black Cherry - a burgundy coloured cherry tomato which crops for ages and tastes delicious
  7. Black Russian or Noire Russe - the bigger brother on Black Cherry
  8. Roma - an Italian plum tomato that crops well so long as you give it plenty of water. Fabuous for passata and sauces
  9. Costuluto Fiorentino - a new one for this year, a deeply ridged beefsteak ideal for slicing apparently.
  10. Brandywine - another new one producing large, thin-skinned fruits
  11. Coeur de Boeuf - large dark red heart shaped fruits
  12. Harbinger - a "normal" tomato without the best taste but crops very late. These were free seeds otherwise I may not have grown them this year.
  13. Yellow Poire - small pear-shaped yellow tomatoes - these have a slightly disappointing taste compared to some others I grow but look lovely in a salad and crop heavily late in the year when others have finished.
  14. Gardener's Delight - this year our Christmas crackers had seeds in them including these cherry tomato seeds so it would be shame not to plant them ... plus is stops me have a superstitious 13 varieties! 



Do you grow tomatoes?  Have you any varieties you could recommend to me for next year?


Mammsaurus HDYGG