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“Pick up the battle and make it a better world”

A few weeks ago, my nephew Mitchel was walking their small family dog, Barney (pictured here in all his cuteness).

They took their normal route around the village, which included walking through fields and woodland. Plenty of other dog walkers do the same in this beautiful part of England. Unfortunately, one of those walkers did not keep their dog properly under control and it attacked poor Barney, resulting in the need for a trip to the vet, who prescribed antibiotics to ward off infection. Perhaps more significantly, the episode traumatised Mitchel, causing him great distress and undermining his confidence in going out for a walk.

My sister posted a concerned message on Facebook, warning friends and family about this aggressive dog. She received lots of sympathy and a few suggestions about possible next steps. What none of us expected, however, was the following reply:

“I am so sorry Rachel. It was our dog who went after your little dog with no provocation at all. I still don’t know why and I can’t apologise enough. Your son was crying and so was I. All dogs are off the leads in the woods so they can have a good run. Please let us have your vet’s bill. We live in [X] and everyone knows us. Please forgive us. We were at the School sports last week and you were wonderful. XXX”

How very brave of the owner to come forward like this. How easy it would have been for them simply to stay silent. Instead, Rachel was able to thank them very much for speaking up, and very importantly was able to help Mitchel to recover from the incident.

The owner’s actions reminded me of the following short but powerful video, full of wise advice from Dr Maya Angelou. (This is part of a series filmed for the Oprah Winfrey Network, another edition of which I featured in this post.)

In just three words, Dr Angelou gives us an unbeatable way to assess how we should behave in life. I have watched this video a few times now, and I love the way in which Dr Angelou articulates a potentially complex philosphy in such straightforward and undeniable terms.

I think most of us know, in our gut, how to act in a way which chimes with our core values. Of course, for myriad reasons, we don’t always take the decision to follow through on that action. But we often know in our heart that we should/could have chosen differently. How much better, then, to take the ‘right’ course in the first place. As Dr Angelou says, such action will ‘satisfy your soul’; it will enable you to engage with the world on your terms and make it better.

The dog owner in my sister’s case has done exactly that. Bravo to her for doing so, and for setting us all an excellent example.




Happy Birthday Elvenhome!


A year on from Hub’s guest post about the start of his model rail journey, here is an update from him…..

Hello everyone.  It is Hub here again.  Yes, you are right.  The Lizzie Question was posed again (for those who do not know what that is I suggest you read my last post).  I happened idly to mention to my dear wife that it was nearly a year since my first video on my YouTube channel presented to the world my N gauge model railway layout Elvenhome.  Her little eyes lit up.  A smile crossed her face as she formulated the question.  I knew what was coming.  I could see the words forming in her brain and moving, synapse to synapse, to send the signal to the vocal chords.  “Might you like to write…”.  I capitulated at once.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Elvenhome!”

It’s The Inside That Counts


My sister, Rachel, is the most amazing person.  She has met and surpassed the challenges of all kinds of battles in her life, always with dignity, pragmatism and a positive attitude.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
~ Lao Tzu

In the last couple of weeks, she has once again had to draw on all her strength and resources.  Out of the blue, she discovered that she had developed the condition called Alopecia Areata.  The most difficult aspect of this has been coping with the experience of clumps and clumps of hair coming out over a short period of time.

Happily, now that she has lost virtually all her hair, she has been able to see her new look as just that; the latest of many different ‘hairstyles’ that she has rocked over the years.  I wanted to share with you this short video she filmed today in response to the many messages of support received from friends and family.  She is the living embodiment of the premise that what’s inside us matters 100% more than the outside.  Her message of acceptance; perspective and calm is an inspiration.

Thank you, Rach, for setting us all such a shining example of how to live our best life.  Love you loads. Xxx 🙂

“Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.”
~ Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding


Decorating The Christmas Tree – a quick guide

I love having our Christmas decorations up.  But I’m not a big fan of actually putting them up.  I am therefore extremely lucky that my dear Hub is prepared to do it.

We normally decorate nearer to Christmas itself.  For various reasons, and bearing in mind the timing of various visits this year, this past weekend was designated as decorating day.

I love being able to get out all out the various Christmas bits and bobs.  These mugs give me a ridiculous amount of pleasure, for example…


Continue reading “Decorating The Christmas Tree – a quick guide”

The battle of the Christmas adverts

Traditions aren’t always ancient.  They have to start somewhere, after all.  One fairly recent Christmas tradition which really seems to have taken hold is the creation of one-off Christmas TV adverts.

I have seen five or six so far this year.  I agree with Alecia that this one is definitely the best so far.  It has been shared by many people, and I could not resist joining in!  Enjoy… 🙂

The Beauty of Spring


I am currently staying with Mum for a few days. Yesterday we headed over to a local garden centre to have a mooch round and see whether she might might ‘force herself’ to buy any plants that she might ‘need’. One can never have too many flowers in one’s garden.

Continue reading “The Beauty of Spring”

Exciting News!

You might remember me briefly mentioning in passing that part of the genesis behind the establishment of my lovely new girl-cave was because Hub would be building a model railway in our former office.  You can read about the start of this journey here.

Anyway, I am delighted to announce that the main substance of today’s post has been written by none other than Hub himself:

"Bagshot Terrace receives a delivery"
“Bagshot Terrace receives a delivery”

Continue reading “Exciting News!”

“Close friends….

…..are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.” – Vincent Van Gogh

I am blessed with many dear friends in my life.  Three of them came to visit today and we had a lovely time catching up on all the news, over copious amounts of food, tea, coffee and knitting (crochet in my case).

Here’s a gallery of the cakes I made and the various kind gifts they bought (click photos for captions and/or larger images):

Continue reading ““Close friends….”

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