An Alphabet Of Things I like: T

Tortoises.

The smaller breeds of tortoise are very popular as pets. Slow-moving, easy to feed, and long-living. Many families, including mine, have kept a pet tortoise, or more than one. But that doesn’t mean to say we should keep them of course, as they are never truly domesticated.

In some countries, they are called turtles, because they are in the same animal family. As this graphic explains.

In far-flung places like the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises can grow to an enormous size. In the past, they were hunted for their meat, and also for their shells.

I understand that they are no longer so popular as pets, and that is a good thing. Hopefully, they can be left alone to live their lives naturally.

An Alphabet Of Things I Like: P

Parrots.

Parrots, including Cockatoos, Lovebirds, and Budgerigars are colourful, noisy birds. They have been kept as pets for centuries, and their feathers were also prized in some civilizations. As a child, we had some budgerigars in a small cage, and they would bash the mirror, and ring the bell. It was my job occasionally to change the sandpaper at the bottom, and to restock the millet that they ate. I wasn’t old enough to consider that keeping two birds in that tiny cage might be cruel.

My first close-up experience of a large parrot was when my uncle kept an African Grey as a pet.

Although it had a large cage, it was allowed out, and would walk around the furniture, often choosing to sit on my uncle’s shoulder. I was wary of its powerful beak, and it made me jump when it would suddenly fly off to perch on top of the curtain rail. I soon decided that it wasn’t right to keep such a bird in a domestic situation. I was later proved correct in this, when his parrot began to pull out all the feathers it could reach, until it was bald over about 60% of its body. It also bounced its head up and down constantly, a sure sign that it was suffering from mental health problems.

Parrots should be allowed to live in the wild, and fly free.

Like so many other animals, some varieties of parrot are now endangered in the wild. Hunting for the pet trade, deforestation, and other encroachments of humans are threatening their existence. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just learn to be kind to them, and leave them alone?

Gosia’s Soaps: The Best I Have Ever Used

Christmas is coming, and it is time to think about giving something useful as a gift. I am happy to suggest the wonderful soaps made by the wife of fellow blogger, Eddy Winko.

Gosia produces them with 100% all-natural ingredients, in a real home-crafting situation in Poland. Even better, you can choose from a great variety, including those suitable for sensitive skin, like mine. Prices are fair, and much better than those so-called ‘Artisan soaps’ seen for sale at craft fairs and trendy markets around the country. The soap I buy even softens Norfolk’s hard water, and makes the bath easy to clean after use!

Gosia will post to anywhere in the world, and advance payment is easily arranged by using Paypal. You can contact Eddy through the website for any special requests, or to leave your order and address details. I am not the only blogger who uses these soaps regularly, and every customer always comes back for more!

The latest updated link, in English.

Soaps

This link is in Polish, but can be translated using Google.

Zielona Koza

Here is a link to the site in English, where you can scroll through and look at photos and descriptions of the products available.

Soaps

Cleethorpes: A Deserted Beach

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

A trip north to the once genteel resort of Cleethorpes delivered something of a shock. Despite being end of season, the town was absolutely packed with tourists, and it took a very long time to find a car-parking space.

Dogs were not allowed on the beach until the end of the month, so we had to walk along the busy promenade with Ollie. Although the streets were full of people, the beach was almost deserted.

In the distance, I spotted what was left of some wartime fortifications.

The pier that once served as an elegant entertainment venue is now just a gigantic fish and chip shop.

It was a sunny and warm day, and we were able to find a good place for a delicious lunch later.

Kiddie Funfair: Mablethorpe

At the end of the season, there were few takers for these gentle rides at the rather sad-looking funfair.

(Both photos can be enlarged by clickling on them.)

These attractions have changed very little since I enjoyed them as a child in the 1950s. Only the paintwork is different.
(And the cost per ride of course)

I have warm nostalgia for British seaside towns, and don’t mind at all that some are unchanged.

Queen’s Park: Mablethorpe

On the recent holiday to Lincolnshire, we walked just over three miles to the nearby town of Mablethorpe. This rather down-market seaside resort is still very popular, and as well as a busy beach, it has an old fashioned park with a boating lake.

(All photos can be fully enlarged by clicking on them.)

The swan boats were all stored in the centre, as there was no boating going on, presumably because of Covid-19.

Someone was working on the red boats that day.

Testing…One…Two

Long-term followers of my blog will know that I am part of the testing group for products supplied by Amazon UK. Members are known as ‘Vine Voices’, and are allowed to choose from a variety of free stuff which they get to keep, in exchange for a fair review.

Over the years, I have had my share of books and DVD films. Also electrical items like kettles, power tools, vacuum claners, lawn mowers, and various kitchen implements. Useful things like backpacks and holdalls, as well as numerous toys that have benefited my grandson when he visits. Ollie has received various different varieties of dog food, and some dog-related accessories too, like chew toys.

Some items are quite large and expensive, like a multi-function child car seat, and a modern buggy-style pram that converts into a carry-cot. Then there were hair driers and straighteners for Julie, and a plethora of make-up and cosmetic items. The only proviso is that you must review them within a certain time period, and that they cannot be sold or given away as gifts. After six months, they are mine to keep, and should they become faulty or defective this is dealt with by updating the review, as they are not eligible for return.

I have a profile as a member, and that includes a list of preferences. One item on my list is ‘photography’, but so far I had never been offered any photographic equipment.
Until recently.

I was delighted to see the new Sony ZV-1 appear on my offers, and requested it immediately. This small camera is dedicated to the ‘Vlogging’ market (video blogging) but also takes stills. I was even more pleased when it arrived complete with the expensive accessory handle/grip/tripod too.

Then imagine my delight when following my review of that camera, another was offered. A full-frame, mirrorless digital SLR, a new model launched by Nikon. The Z5 is an enthusiast’s camera offering a great deal of options in a small package. Mine came complete with the standard zoom lens, which is rather limited at 24-50 MM and only f/4.
But still, it was completely free!

I charged it up today, and ordered a memory card. Hopefully soon, I will be shooting full-frame 24 megapixel stills from a camera with a great pedigree. Sadly, if I put them on the blog, I will have to reduce them down in size to save space.

I get nothing from Amazon, Nikon, or Sony for mentioning this on a blog post, just so you know.

This will only be of interest to camera enthusiasts and photographers out there, I appreciate that.

Back, but not quite

I returned from the short holiday yesterday, and I am happy to report that it was a success. It didn’t rain, and it was bright and sunny every day until Friday, when it turned cool in a strong sea breeze. In fact, the small ‘cabin’ was so nice, I have booked it again for the same week next year. Let’s hope I am still around to enjoy it!

Unfortunately, I am not able to keep up with any blog posts that arrived while I was away, and have had to delete all the notifications in a very packed email folder. I wil do my best to start from scratch next Monday. Next week I will also compile all the parts of the last serial, ‘Vera’s Life’, into one complete story.

The dining area floor is being laid from tomorrow, so I have a couple of days of disruption to deal with first.

Ollie.

Ollie adjusted well to the change. He particularly enjoyed the good-sized porch, which enabled him to watch the world go by in the hotel garden. Almost everyone had a dog, and that gave him some canine friends to check out too. Once his bed was placed outside on that porch, he would happily lay on it all day, just watching the comings and goings. Anyone interested in seeing what they are like can use this photo gallery link.
https://www.bacchushotel.co.uk/gallery.php?gallery_category=log_cabins
However, his lack of energy and vitality is becoming increasingly apparent every day now. A three-mile walk on a warm day along the seafront to the next town of Mablethorpe almost wiped him out, and we had to bring him back on a bus. His first bus journey!

These photos taken on a phone show him looking his age, and upset me greatly.

From now on, his regular walks are going to have to be a lot shorter, and he will be in need of more attention and affection.

As for me, the break made me realise just how much time I spend blogging, to the detriment of everything else I should be doing. I am rethinking my future about blogging, and may be posting considerably less in the weeks to come.

Best wishes to all, Pete.

Something About Stones…

I watched a lady throw a stone into the river this morning. It was to make her dog swim for it, but of course the small dog had no idea it was a stone that had sunk to the bottom before it had got there.

I have often wondered about stones. How long have they been there? Had that stone she threw always been there? Waiting for someone to pick it up and throw it, or put it to some other use. Stones were there before humans of course, and without scientific testing, their age remains a mystery.

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)

These are flint pebbles, collected and shaped by hand to be used in the buiding of a barn on a nearby deserted farm. Flint was one of the earliest stones used by humans to make tools. Everything from a scraper to use on animal skins, to weapons of warfare in ancient times. They also used it to strike sparks to make fire. I stood wondering if any of those flints had been used at a time before history was written down, imagining a cave-man trying to crack one open to create a sharp edge.

Here are some stones used in the construction of a Norman chapel in the village of North Elmham. I took this photo wondering if they had been quarried for the purpose, or just picked up from the ground and fashioned into the right shape required. How long had they been there before the stonemasons used them?

A pebble beach at Pevensey Bay, on the south coast of England. This is the actual spot where William The Conqueror landed with his Norman Army, in 1066. I stood on that beach imagining the feet of Norman soldiers touching the same pebbles centuries before, and wondering if they could indeed be the same stones that have endured through time.

This is the sort of thing I think about when I am alone with my camera.