Am I lucky, or what? This is a Montezuma chocolate easter egg. Montezuma make some of the very best chocolate in the whole world! Lovely, lovely, dark velvety-rich, not-too-sweet yumminess.

Here’s what it looked like a very short while later.


And guess what? It’s even smaller now.

Happy Easter!

Posted on April 17, 2014 in Funny, Life, the Universe and Everything, Oddities by Jay6 Comments »


Well, I seem to have gone one better!

This is a little linseed growing on one of our non-slip rugs.  How did that happen, you ask?  Is our house that damp?  Well, no.  It’s rather more interesting than that!

You see, when Sid had his corn surgery, we had to make him a little walkway over the patio stones once his bandage came off, because the ground was too hard for him to walk on comfortably.  It was an emergency, so I grabbed a number of non-slip rugs we had handy and laid those down, and it was a huge success. We really didn’t expect to be able to use them in the house ever again, but as Sid got better and we had time to look around, we found a slightly less soft but considerably tidier option: a series of outdoor runners made from what they laughingly describe as ‘outdoor grass’.


At about that time, I fell ill with this wretched virus. It’s been two weeks now and while I managed to brush the dirt from most of those rugs and wash them before I was incapacitated*, one got left draped over one of the garden chairs outside, and forgotten.

In the meantime, the little birds have been coming regularly for their seed and – being right messy little tykes – scattering it everywhere.  Some of the seed got into the fibres of the rug.

It rained.  It sunned.  And the  little seeds grew – just like a handful of cress on damp kitchen paper, and with about as much long-term future to look forward to.

Several of them sprouted, but I didn’t notice until I’d already brushed the heads off most of them when I went to get the last rug in this morning.  That one up there is the only one left.

And now that’s gone too, because the rug is in the washing machine!

Farewell little flax sprout. It was a damn good try, and it made me smile, so you have become today’s post for the 100 Days of Happiness.

* They washed beautifully, by the way, and look almost as good as new.

Posted on April 16, 2014 in Life, the Universe and Everything, Wildlife by Jay9 Comments »


Today, in the garden, a Lily Beetle in all his (or her) shining loveliness.  I’ve actually stopped trying to grow lilies because of these little guys.  Their larvae are quite unpleasant and can strip a plant within days.  However, they don’t eat day lilies so I have tubs of those instead!


This is a Banded Snail resting high up in a branch of euonymus.   We get a lot of Roman Snails in our garden and I have no particular love for them, since they are voracious eaters of anything I plant.  These little fellows do less damage, and they’re much prettier!


Hoverflies!  I’m very fond of hoverflies. They are so pretty – just look at this guy’s beautiful bronze thorax and huge eyes!  And they are mostly harmless, meaning very few of them will eat your plants. None of them will sting or bite you.  I like to attract hoverflies into the garden and I’m always pleased to see them emerge in the spring. This one, I’m reasonably sure, is epistrophe eligans.

One of the things I love most, and find most relaxing, is photographing the smallest forms of life: mostly insects, but I also enjoy taking pictures of snails, woodlice, mites, spiders, and anything else that lives and breathes and shares my space.  Even the humble ‘greenbottle’ fly, this is one of the Lucilia species, I’m not sure which.  These are extremely wary flies and don’t let you get too close.  I guess that’s what comes of living the kind of life that they do and getting swatted a lot.


I realise that some of you might see this as rather bizarre, but … to be honest, to me it seems odd not to find these tiny creatures fascinating.  That’s what makes the world go around.  You may hate ‘bugs’ and love inner cities, or Pink Floyd, or something equally weird to me.

There are very few insects that I will kill.   Among them are fleas, ticks and mosquitoes and the disease-causing mites and lice.  Also wasps – but only because OH is allergic to them and they are persistent little beggars once they decide to come indoors.  If they stay out once I’ve caught and released them, they get to live. If they come back inside, they don’t. It’s as simple as that.

And just to show that it’s not all creepy-crawlies with me, here’s a macro of a spotted laurel flower. Did you know they flowered?  No?  Well, that’s because the flowers are so small and insignificant.  Insignificant until you look at them closely, that is, then they are quite lovely.


Posted on April 14, 2014 in Hounds, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay1 Comment »


This is detail from a bracelet which I made to help to raise funds for my local Retired Greyhound Trust kennel, Brambleberry Greyhounds RGT.  It’s not made with precious metals or priceless jade beads, it’s just a piece of costume jewellery, but I was quite pleased with it.

At the weekend, I added it to an auction. The auction opened Monday at 8am and already the bids have reached £16 – it may not go much higher, but the auction does run for two weeks, so who knows?

I’m telling you this, not to blow my own trumpet, but as a part of my ‘happiness’ project, and also (shamelessly) to promote the auction.  You see, there is a group on Facebook called ‘Dogs Guardian Angels’ which exists solely to host auctions for dog charities.  Running an auction can be extremely hard work, and if you don’t have experience and have to find hosting, it can eat into your profits.  Dogs Guardian Angels ask nothing, with the money going directly into the PayPal account of the chosen charity.  And this time around the auction is for Brambleberry.

The only problem is that you need to join the Facebook group to take part, and publicity is also hard work!  I hate going round nagging all my friends with reminders and continual ‘please go and take a look’ posts, so I’m kind of spreading it about.  This is the only post I’ll make on the subject (unless I do one later to let you all know how much we made), so don’t worry – I’m not turning the blog into series of begging letters.

But if you do have any interest in greyhounds (or dogs in general) it might be worth a look.  We have many items which aren’t dog related at all, like DVDs and toiletries and children’s bath puppets etc, but we also have some interesting dog stuff, like a consultation with an animal communicator, and a huge collection of greyhound-related PDF knitting patterns.   And the usual fancy dog wear and Brambleberry tee shirts etc.

Of course, much of this will only be any good to those living in the UK, on account of the postage costs, but some things are really quite light and easy to post, and some don’t need posting at all!  Can’t hurt to take a peek, can it?  More items are still being added, even though the auction has already started – I have some neat little painted wood greyhound brooches to add myself, when I get a chance to photograph them.

You’ll find the auction here.

Oh – and if anyone wants to donate anything, of course, I’d be delighted!  It’s not too late – it runs for two weeks, remember!


I’m backdating this one because I want it to count towards the 100 days of happiness thing, and I didn’t get it up yesterday.  I’m cheating, but at least I’m owning up to it!  Does that help?