THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

3 August 2015

A FLYING VISIT....REALLY THIS TIME


Hello! I have missed you all and your support, particularly in this time of particular need. That's life. Thank you so much for all your wonderful messages when I bid my temporary farewell back in May. They were a huge help. I don't know when I'll next be able to post, but I have an unexpected bit of time free and am taking advantage.....there may be a few time slots required here and there so this might take a while to publish!

The holidays have just started for OB, who did amazingly in his SATS and won a fantastic shield for his achievement as a result. He ended up with a level 7B in maths which is just amazing. Next step, Okehampton College. He's been visiting regularly and, incredibly, funding has come through via a different route from Statementing, to have someone in the classroom should he need them. I'm so impressed with the College I can't tell you. No wonder their OFTSED report was 'outstanding'. Anyway, that's OB, looking forward to six weeks of kicking his heals. We've bought him a 6x6x6 Rubik's cube as a reward for doing so well but, unfortunately, I didn't look carefully enough at where it was being shipped from and it seems it's on a slow boat from China. Ooops.

My mum. Well, she remained in hospital for about six weeks in total, mainly because we just didn't know where she should go from there, and when I say we, I mean family and hospital staff. In the end, after weeks of the situation changing almost daily, the very difficult decision was made, with her, that a care home was the best option and I started looking for somewhere which wouldn't offend her aesthetic sensibilities too much. This is important, believe me. Care homes, it seems, are a hotbed of artex, swirly carpets and dodgy, cut glass light fittings. After much research, I found one that is family run and next to lovely Lakes, about 40 minutes drive from home. Nothing closer sadly. The South West is teeming with elderly people so I don't really understand the lack of facilities. As for sheltered housing, forget it. We all hope that this stint in the home may be temporary, but unless someone builds some suitable units quickly, it's not going to happen. Although this place has its share of artex and cut glass, mum's room was due for refurbishment because of the....er...unfortunate demise of its previous occupant, and the walls are now completely flat and painted magnolia rather than lavatory pink. She has french windows and her own wet room. The cost of this is eye watering and her house is now on the market as a result. How quickly things change. She wants me to have power of attorney, which will come through in the next couple of weeks. I did it for my grandmother and can't say I'm looking forward to more paperwork but never mind. It's all a bit sad and VERY time consuming, hence the lack of blogging, or anything else much. I'm not keen on admin at the best of times. However, she is safe, and that peace of mind is something I've lived without up until now.

We DID go to the Wye Valley and I realise I've forgotten to load any photos of it at all. I'll make sure I do next time. We had an absolutely wonderful time but, as with most holidays, it seems a very long time ago. The weather was incredible. Jack had what looked like some kind of eye thing where the hair seemed to be falling out around them a few days before we left so I rushed into the vets. They took hair samples, scrapes etc and prescribed antibiotics. I said jokingly that I should just rub a bit of vaseline into it as I reeled at the bill I was handed. I got a rather sniffy false laugh and a supercilious look from said vet. A week later, there was no change. I rubbed a bit of vaseline on them and he was cured in 24 hours. 

Another reason for my absence is that, along with everything else, I've had more work than usual. A gardening job, more painting for my neighbour, an upholstery job for her too and set dressing for photo shoots for the holiday company M works for. Very useful, but fitting it around visiting mum three times a week is proving tricky. I haven't done upholstery for years and had forgotten how much I enjoy it. However, I'd also forgotten that it's best to get the chair up high so that, when stapling/hammering, you don't end up bent over, head hanging, with sinus cavities filling up with hayfever related STUFF resulting in having to lie down for two hours with extreme nausea. Two hours that could have been used to earn much needed cash. Anyway, my time is filled to the brim but it's lovely to be writing this. It's Sunday night now and OB is trying to get his Rubik's cube solve times back down to his record 17 seconds. Rusty fingers. We are having to think the unthinkable.....our son is going to need a mobile phone when he goes to secondary school. Should we let him buy one that his friends won't scoff at (they all have bloody i-phones), or one that will raise eyebrows of horror at its uncool android operating system but won't be quite such a disaster if it goes missing, which it will. I think we need to get him practicing carrying a dummy one around for the next six weeks to see how many times it gets lost. 

Right, as the title of this blog suggests, I am now rambling, probably because I have two and a half months worth of things to say. Some pictures. I have hundreds but picked these at random. Birds first, starting with the beautiful Wheatear, including the top one. I always see them in the same two locations and never do so without a flutter of excitement:



Youngsters:



Meadow Pipits:




Youngster:


Skylark:


Stonechats:




I promise you, this IS a Cuckoo, not a shy pigeon:


Wren Fledgling - sorry about the foliage!


Grey Wagtail:


Since my last post there have been many more foals, who do a lot of sleeping............






Their mothers too:




OB's favourite, Tic Tac:




A lot of energy out there......the first two were in quite low light so are blurry I'm afraid but it kind of adds to the effect:




Black Beauty:


A beautiful green Common Lizard; I've seem absolutely loads this year and Adders to go with them:


Lambs:



I had a wonderful visit from Denise....http://anenglishgirlrambles.blogspot.co.uk/ .....back in May. What a joy it is to meet other bloggers from around the world. It was so great to see her and her lovely family.


The Ten Tors race came to Kestor again this year; team after team trudging up the hill to the checkpoint:


Early one morning I saw a hot air balloon in the mist. As I was photographing it, a mountain biker rode into the shot. I have seen cyclists about three times in the last seven years living here. A bizarre coincidence but quite effective I think:


May weather was pretty good. My morning shadow standing on the top of Kestor:


From mid May to the mid June, Trigger went on holiday to the friends whose ponies I've been helping headcollar train. At the time, the whole thing with my mum was kicking off and his being there was a godsend - tons of grass and good company. He and the mare rather fell for each other, leaving her albino friend in the background here, out in the cold. He was blown out in every picture I took - he really is that pale! No amount of photo manipulation could sort him out. When I took Trigger home, he stopped and neighed piercingly in my ear all the way home....the TWO HOUR walk home:


Trigger's little paddock at home had recovered a bit, but not really enough, so after much discussion, I asked the lovely farmers who own the Dartmoor Madams if I could fence a strip of my neighbours' field off that they rent for silage and never mow because it's so rutted. They said yes so Trigger now has yet another place with the best views ever. The field borders the moor and you can see for miles. 


I don't think I've mentioned that he started developing white spots in the winter and they have been multiplying at a rate of knots. This doesn't really show them that well but you get the idea:




OB has been surfing at Westward Ho! again a couple of times and is still loving it:



I haven't really had the time to photograph the garden birds but here is are a couple of Sparrows, one adult, one definitely not!



The dogs and the moor have kept me sane over the last few months with our walks being a haven from all stress.





I don't know when I'll be posting next but thanks for reading this (if you are) and perhaps after the holidays, when OB starts at his secondary school and the gardening work dries up, I should be more free. It's taken three weeks to produce this post! Sorry about the false start a few days ago, or is it a week? I pressed 'publish' rather than 'save' and had to delete it. I'm seriously out of practice. Thank goodness for cutting and pasting but I know something appeared in people's sidebars which led to nothing. Hope you're all having a great summer, despite the weather and thanks again for your patience. Until next time, here are the dogs with a toy they found on the moor and lost again within half an hour. xx


46 comments:

  1. Wonderful to hear from you Em!!! I am so pleased that all is going so very well for OB!!!! That really is all such great news and must cheer you greatly I am sure. Sorry to hear about your Mum, I can relate to so much of what you said. Why the lack of places and carers I wonder, sadly I think that it all comes down to low rates of pay - despite the eye watering cost of the homes!! It sounds as though you have found quite a good place for your Mum though so that is good. I do hope that all works out as well as it can for her and for you too. I have been thinking of you and will continue to do so. So until the next time we hear from you, hugs and all good thoughts, and I for one will still be here and I am sure that everyone else who reads your blog will be too!! Hope you have a happy August and some summery and sunny times. xx

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  2. How good to see your wonderful photos again, interspersed with decent news. Settling your mother is a relief, I know, and getting OB settled in will be good, too. I am back to carpooling three nights a week with my OCD band member. This year he has grown so much I have him in the front seat of my not that small car. We have his younger brother, too, who I love for his lilting voice. The two of them are such courteous young men, and I am never bored with Joe!

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  3. Nice to see you! It seems that 2015 is a CR*P year for many of us...chin up.
    Jane x

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  4. Sorry that your mum is having to go into a home, with all the problems that involves - house-selling etc, and all the paperwork and worry for you. It's a rite of passage we seem to go through when we reach a certain age, but it is never easy.

    Good news about OB and his achievements and great that his school sounds like it will be a great one for him, with lots of support.

    Your life must seem to be going completely flat out right now, so I hope you get a little time to yourself for artwork.

    Fancy Trigger going all spotty like that - in greys they are called Tetrach-spots but are usually bigger round splashes of white in horses descended from Tetrach, who had them.

    Don't overdo things.

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  5. I've really missed your lovely photos of your part of the world. So good that both your Mum and OB will be settled. I hope August goes to plan and you are able to have a few more minutes of spare time soon. Best wishes from Suffolk

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  6. So good to hear from you.
    I thought your lack of posting possibly had something to do with your mum. I am very sorry for all of you.
    Good News OB is fine any having some summer fun.
    Most of all I am happy to hear you have the Gud Dugs and the moors to help you have some quiet time.

    cheers, parsnip

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  7. Your photos are so stunning and have enjoyed looking through them.
    We all will have or have gone through tough times in our life's, it can be a long road sometimes but we do come out at the other side. I wish you well in all you are doing.
    Amanda xx

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  8. You have been busy. Nice to see you back.

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  9. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. What a tonic. We have skylarks nesting on our common, and although I hear them I rarely see them so it was great to see your photo. It sounds as if you're very busy with life and I do feel,for you being tugged in two by the needs of your son and the care of your mum. What do they call us, is it the sandwich generation because we're sandwiched between our
    parents and our children. Have a great August on beautiful Dartmoor and hope all goes well in September.

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  10. You sure are good with a camera. OB looks happy on that board!

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  11. Em, its good to see you back in the bloggersphere.....busy for a couple days here, will catch up and properly read your post later in the week. Take care.

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  12. Hi Em....
    So nice to see your lovely photos again...
    Sorry about your Mom, but you seem to have everything under control...
    See you in September!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  13. Nice to catch up - lovely photos for an early Tuesday morning. Hugs xxx

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  14. Lovely to have you back Em, albeit briefly. Huge congrats to OB - you must be so proud of him. He certainly looks happy on that surf board. Relax as much as you can - keep taking those wonderful photographs and see you soon (I hope).

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  15. It is really good news about OB and to know that things are going well for him. It must make you feel that all of your hard work has been worthwhile. Having to cope with your mother's problems too must have been an added stress. At least it sounds as if things are now travelling along a more satisfactory road for you all.
    Glorious photos of both countryside and animals, and an especially lovely photo of OB surfing the waves.

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  16. Hi It was lovely seeing you again on blogland aand hearing all that has been happening to you dnyou family. Firstly CONGRATULATION to OB. It must have been a diccicult decision about your Mum but the right one. Glad you havelots of work on although juggling it with all that is goingon in your lifemust be very difficult.it was lovely to see other bloggers, I would love to meet many of the bloggers I follow.Now as for your photographs taken around the Moors, they are wonderful. Love all the bird shots and the gorgeous horses with their foals. Of course both you dogs are fabulous and must have a great like on the Moors. Look forward to hearing from you again when you get your head above water!

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  17. Great to hear from you Em. Fantastic news about OB but sad to hear about all your troubles with your mum, I did think of you and wondered how things were going. Lovely images of the local wildlife and Trigger too. Take care.

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  18. Gosh, so good to hear your news!
    OB's new school sounds as if it will be a good match for him. Great!
    Glad you have managed to find a reasonable place for your mother. Magnolia walls sound better than many of the alternatives.
    Lovely photos as ever!
    Enjoy the rest of August.
    Greetings from New York.

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  19. Lovely to have all your news and splendid photos. Well done OB, you did so well!

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  20. I've missed your lovely photos and the feeling of walking along the moor with you.
    You've had a lot to deal with--life seldom hands us serious things in manageable amounts.
    Being outdoors for a bit with the opportunity to observe nature is always settling--a sanity saver.
    Good to hear of OB's progress!

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  21. So glad you got some time to blog and tell us your news and share your wonderful photos.

    Congratulations to OB and it sounds as though he's going to be attending a great school.

    So sorry to hear about your mum - I know its a really difficult time for you having to find a home and sell the house and look after all the finances but it sounds as though you have found a good place for her. Its never easy but hopefully when she is settled there you can relax a little and take comfort that she is being well cared for and not on her own.

    Do hope you find a little time to go on your Dartmoor walks and recharge your batteries.

    Take care.

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  22. Hello Em, Great to read how you, your mother and OB are doing. Although it is not the best of homes you could find for your mother, this one sounds OK. Congratulations for OB, I hope he will very happy at his new school. Love the photo of him having a great time on the surfboard.
    By your most outstanding pictures I can see you went out for walks with the dogs and had some time for yourself. So much different birds, and the photos of the ponys relaxing with the foals are realy great.
    Take care and take your time.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  23. Great to hear you news and catch-up Em. Thrilled that OB has done so well and that the college promises good things. I can only imagine what you have been through with your mum and will continue to go through, but I think the home sounds a good solution. I hope she will be happy there if she ends up being there for any length of time. I love all the photographs - particularly the horses and the dogs! Much love and have a good summer, Lily xxx

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  24. Congratulations to OB doing so well at school! It is so lovely that he is enjoying Westward Ho too! So sorry to hear about your Mum I have been through the same so can appreciate how you are all feeling. I must have seen about 20 care homes in our search to find something suitable! Love the image of the balloon and cycle! Hope your summer gets easier. Sarah x

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  25. The foals look so cute, glad you've had a bit of time to pursue them with your camera. I hope you've got a mask if you're using that upholstery horsehair... dreadful stuff, I remember it well.

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  26. Think we are all so happy to see you, (I was totally worried;) and have missed your wonderful photos from Dartmoor. Great news for OB, and slowly things sort themselves for your mother, don't work too hard though. All the animals look fine, both domestic and wild, poor Trigger being dragged away from his lady love sadly. Enjoy the rest of the summer X

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  27. I have missed your photos....

    As for the mobile, L got one when he started secondary school. I phones aren't that expensive now (the older ones, which I have, cost less than the Samsung L has!) and we get insurance for two mobiles with our bank account. Worth investigating what deals you can get. xx

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  28. Hi Em, I'm so glad to hear from you, with great news amongst the sad and difficult bits. Well done OB, and great news that the school is so satisfactory - I hope it all goes well. (One suggestion on the phone front... a friend of mine, with an OCD and other challenges boy... found that attaching the phone to one of those lanyards that office workers use so their swipe cards are easy to take out of their pockets was the answer. That was after losses and breakages and h-u-g-e trauma... it worked!!)
    I'm sorry to hear about your mother - I've had to go through similar with elderly (one blind!) inlays, and it was incredibly exhausting, so I feel for you.
    I loved your photos, you give us a glimpse of such a beautiful part of the country. Thank you for posting them. We will all go on thinking of you and hoping all turns out well. Best wishes.

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  29. Sorry I missed your post I'm dreadfully behind. I'm sorry for all the issues you are dealing with at the moment I remember times like that well. It's blinking hard choosing a care home & all the issues surrounding it. I hoe your mum is settling in well if she is there. Fab news on your sons achievement you must be very proud. I remember when my youngest started high school three years back we bought him a basic phone as far as I remember he wasn't teased for it though he did inherit his brothers I phone in the end. I hope things are looking up a little for you xx

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  30. I was so delighted to see your blog on my sidebar! I have missed you and your lovely photos of the birds, moors, ponies and sheep. I'll keep you in my thoughts-
    gailx

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  31. So happy to see that you've had a chance to post. The photos are lovely, as always, and I'm glad that life seems to be sorting itself out :)

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  32. Hello Em! I am sitting here at work, at our front desk, and something made me think of you. So, I've popped over to see how you are, and have so enjoyed your post and as always a glimpse into your world and life. A co-worker has enjoyed your photos too. I continue to hope that things are going well for you, and you enjoy this season. I'll look forward to your return -- And know that in a small corner of Virginia in the US, you are being thought of! Take care!! -Kim, Life at Golden Pines-

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  33. Amazing photographs! Glad to see you back.

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  34. Summer is almost over Em. It has gone so fast! I think this series of photos are among my favourites on your posts. Beautiful. Beauty compositions from nature through the eye of a real artist! I especially love that black stallion shot. I missed seeing your posts and look forward to more soon! :)

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  35. Summer is almost over Em. It has gone so fast! I think this series of photos are among my favourites on your posts. Beautiful. Beauty compositions from nature through the eye of a real artist! I especially love that black stallion shot. I missed seeing your posts and look forward to more soon! :)

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  36. Time flies by. Case in point, I haven't checked in all this time to see how goes your summer, and now we're heading into Autumn. I wish you well my friend :)

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  37. Just popping in to see if you are OK. Missing your lovely photos

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  38. Hope all is well in your world Em. Just checking in for some autumn photos :)

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  39. I have been AWOL for sometime; still LOVE your photos the best ! Sorry about your Mum, had to plac mine in a nursing home over 2 years ago now, however she gets good care there and is less stress for me to do all the care. Hope you stay well Em xx

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  40. Horses are so beautiful! I dedicated all my life to horses. They've become real friends to me. I hope people will understand some day that they should be made working power.
    Fred,
    Horses Stories at http://www.essay-writing-place.com/

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  41. Hi, love your dog pics, just gorgeous fellas.How lucky are you to get to visit them, so envious, must be lovely to go walking and visit these guys, georgie

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