Friday 30 April 2010

Weekend Mailbox #3

George the something or other post box
Elizabeth II post box. I think we'd have guessed this as there were no postal services in the time of Good Queen Bess.
Probably the design of the crown on George's box would tell us which George it was - but I don't know!
Gemma from 'Greyscale Territory' organises and hosts this meme. To see more posts to do with 'mail' - and perhaps to join in! - please click here.

Veterinary hospital or National Health Service?

We are very fortunate in having first-class vets close to hand (a two-minute drive away) to call on in an emergency. Almost immediately we are informed of the condition and treatment regimen required, though blood tests and x-rays take a little longer. While the animal is an inpatient a vet calls two or three times a day to update us on its condition. At every stage we are involved in the process and we are most grateful for it.
Contrast this with the National Health Service. The day after our young Ocicat Monty died after four days in intensive care, Barry's elderly mother, Dorothy, fell in her garden in Dorset and used her Alert button to summon help. Dorothy lives alone in her own home and, apart from help with housework and gardening and shopping, is quite independent. The paramedics were quickly on the scene and gave her morphine to ease her pain. In the meantime Barry's brother and sister-in-law arrived. (They live 20 minutes from her – we are 1½ hours away.) An ambulance arrived and transported her to a hospital 45 minutes away. During the journey she chattered non-stop in gibberish – undoubtedly as a result of shock mixed with morphine. Thus far service had been exemplary.
When she was seen in Accident and Emergency, x-rays revealed a break in a small pelvic bone (a ramus fracture). Dorothy was in great pain and yet the doctor on duty was doing her best to convince Trevor and Margaret that she would be able to return home that day despite the fact that she couldn't stand on her own and needed the assistance of two nurses to lift her to her feet. Dorothy is 93 – she was in shock, her blood pressure dropped alarmingly low and eventually the doctor reluctantly agreed that she would need to remain in hospital. The ambulance men needed their stretcher in order to continue their day's work so Dorothy was transferred to a trolley.
A ramus fracture heals without surgical intervention but the patient needs analgesics to control the pain. T and M were told that it would heal in a week. Dorothy was given a bed in a quiet ward where she spent the night under observation. The next day she was removed to a much noisier ward where one patient was yelling at anyone who passed by. During the night she was moved to a third, quieter, ward. By this stage she was gibbering, hallucinating and delusional. The pain was still troubling her and she stopped eating and drinking.
Every time Barry or his brother and sister-in-law or our eldest daughter Gillian, who also lives in Dorset, visited her they tried to find out why Dorothy was rambling. They were told she had a urinary infection which was being treated and would clear up in 48hours. It didn't! Frequently urinary infections in the elderly present problems of confusion and delirium. Each time the nurses asked if she was 'always like this' and each time they were told that she definitely wasn't. Dorothy was deteriorating daily, seeing fish with dogs' heads, black and white snakes, statues and puppies running round the ward. She became paranoid, convinced there were spies out to 'get her' and she was planning her escape, even though she was still incapable of getting out of her chair without help. She also could not manage the walking frame. Inevitably, incontinence became a problem.
After ten worrying and frustrating days, notes appeared in the ward which indicated that Dorothy was allergic to codeine, one of the analgesics she had been given. This drug was discontinued and an analgesic patch was applied. Almost immediately Dorothy began to respond. The hallucinations became less severe and the gibberish started to be interlaced with coherent speech. She began to eat but still will not drink much for fear of wetting her bed. A different antibiotic seems to be clearing the UTI. She is far from recovered, still unable to rise from her bed or chair or walk without assistance and still incontinent.
Dorothy fell two weeks ago today and so far neither Trevor nor Barry has been able to speak to her consultant. After a great deal of effort Barry was able to find out from another doctor what her treatment had been. He also arranged that he and his brother would meet the consultant – the earliest this part-time doctor* can manage is next Wednesday – nearly three weeks after the event! Yesterday he phoned her secretary yet again and asked to speak to her and was told that he could have the telephone call OR the meeting – it was not possible to have both. Barry has asked the hospital to relay to him its practices concerning informing relatives of elderly infirm patients – thus far he has had no response. Incidentally, this hospital is described as 'good' – heaven knows what the 'bad' or 'inadequate' hospitals are like. Well, there is the Stafford Hospital, of course, where between 400 and 1200 more patients than would have been expected died between 2005 and 2008. That is more than have been killed as a result of 9/11 and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq put together.
*Increasingly doctors in the NHS are working fewer hours – the suspicion is that their salaries are so high that they can afford a pleasant lifestyle and time off. Another thought is that they are taking on private consultancy work. Fortunately, we don't often have to visit our doctor but on the last three occasions over a period of months we have seen three different locums.
So the net outcome is this: Barry's admittedly frail but otherwise healthy nonagenarian mother entered hospital with a minor break. While in there she developed an UTI, was administered drugs to which she was allergic, became delusional and paranoid and also incontinent. The hospital administrators must be thanking their lucky stars she didn't have an anaphylactic reaction and die or they might be facing a charge of manslaughter. Had she been admitted as an emergency with limbs hanging off her treatment would have been much more careful and caring.
We have also had experience of the Royal Veterinary College Hospital where standards of hygiene and professional care are second to none. For me the answer is clear – if you have to go into hospital for anything less than life-threatening, choose a veterinary establishment where you will be treated appropriately and observed carefully for adverse reactions and where those who are nearest and dearest to you will be kept informed at every stage of treatment.

Thursday 29 April 2010

SkyWatch Friday Season 4 Episode 42 April sky through blossom

Beautiful weather this week now rapidly changing as a Bank Holiday looms . . . if you bet on it you wouldn't win any money!
As ever, thank you to the SkyWatch Team. Please click here to see more lovely skies across the globe.

April Full Moon

The Moon and Stars
The stars about the lovely moon
Fade back and vanish very soon,
When, round and full, her silver face
Swims into sight, and lights all space.
Sappho (c.610 – 570 B.C.)
Translated by Edwin Arnold, 1869
Last night the moon was full though we didn't see it. I'm not sure whether the sky was cloudy or clear but I was busy proofreading and had no time to gaze at the skies. The full moon photograph is from November 2008 – wrong month, wrong year, but quite as lovely.
The full moon in April is called the Grass Moon, the Egg Moon or the Planter's Moon. I'm sure it has other names too but each of these seems appropriate in its way. The lawnmowers begin to call in April as the grass grows and the garden-proud start their battle against the untidiness and profligacy of Mother Nature.
April is the month in which many birds are laying and brooding eggs so Egg Moon is a very apt name. From now until after the eggs have hatched and the surviving young have gained independence, parent birds are run ragged – almost literally, as the bright breeding colours fade and the feathers become less pristine, more tattered. Feeding and water stations in the garden are important sources of sustenance though they also attract Sparrowhawks – but they, too, have young to feed.
Planter's Moon is an apposite name for at this time of year seeds are planted, seedlings are potted on, cuttings are taken from suitable candidates for propagation. Growth in the garden is still young and fresh but everyone knows how rampant Nature becomes in a very short while and the dedicated try to steal a march and curb her unbridled passion – all in vain, of course!

Additionally, I think April's full moon might be called the Barbecue Moon as the first glint of sunshine bringing a slight hint of warmth causes the barbecues to come out of hibernation. They are envious of the beautifully scented flowers and seek to overcome their perfume with smells of smoke and burning flesh. Occasionally the flesh is intended to be eaten! This is the time of year when the male of the human species can be spotted wielding lumps of meat and showing off his expertise in camp cooking. There's something about a barbecue that causes distant tribal memories of being hunter gatherers and any man, of whatever age or stature, is immediately transformed into a warrior, the protector of his woman and children.
It's Bank Holiday weekend in UK starting tomorrow and the weather is already performing its usual routine. The temperature is set to drop about 10˚ and rain is forecast. On Tuesday, doubtless the temperature will rise once more and the sun will shine brilliantly to mock the workers returning to their toil.
The man in the moon
Came down too soon,
And asked his way to Norwich;
He went by the south,
And burnt his month
With supping cold plum porridge.
Traditional nursery rhyme
This rhyme was common in the 19th century though it probably dates from an earlier time.

Wednesday 28 April 2010


Photo copyright Mike Powles
A news item on television this morning reported the successful hatching of Eurasian or Common Crane (Grus grus) eggs at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. The eggs were imported from Germany to be incubated. As each chick hatches it will be fed somewhat remotely with a special device in order that it does not become imprinted on its carers. It has been suggested that the chicks will be released into the wild, in the Somerset Levels, once they are capable of living independently. The Somerset Levels were once a stronghold for them.There is a long history of cranes in Britain. They appeared on illustrated manuscripts and in 1251 were on Henry III's Christmas menu. They became extinct in UK in the 17th century probably due to hunting and the destruction of their habitats. They were still spotted as rare migrants and winter visitors in the following centuries.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
About 30 years ago a pair of cranes arrived in Norfolk and remained for a year, sheltering in the reedbeds of the Broads. From 1981 they began to breed and there is now a growing number of resident breeding pairs in that county and in the Suffolk Fens. The winter sees an increase in numbers when about forty non-breeding birds arrive for the season.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In Asia these stunning birds are considered to be ambassadors for peace and safety. They are long-lived with a lifespan from 40 to 60 years though one male was recorded as breeding successfully at 78 and dying five years later. They breed in and around pools in thick vegetation and feed on leaves and seeds and small invertebrates living in shallow water and wet ground.
My dame hath a lame tame crane.
My dame hath a crane that is lame.
Pray, gentle Jane, let my dame's tame crane
Feed and come home again.

My mother embroidered these panels more than thirty years ago.

Poor Gordon!

Oh dear - poor Gordon has put his foot in it! An unguarded remark in what he considered to be the privacy of his car has caused great offence. He described a voter as 'bigoted' - whether or not she is is not really the question. His private opinions should be expressed only after he has ensured that his microphone has been disconnected. He tried to blame his staff for arranging the meeting with her - but he should be responsible for his actions and words.He phoned the voter and apologised immediately he realised his gaffe but now has an even larger mountain to climb to convince the public that he is 'the man for the job.'
Poor Gordon! I bet this is not the rewarding job he thought it was going to be . . . but really . . . don't insult the voters - at least not in public hearing.
No doubt we'll all have our ears pinned back to catch any slips of the tongue from the other potential Prime Ministers. Congratulations to the many political commentators who have reported this event with straight faces! 

General Election 2010

Our political journalists are increasingly frustrated at their press conferences by the inability of the politicians to answer the questions they are asked. Every question is turned so that the answers reflect what the politician has decided he or she wants to say. Our politicians - the ones in the public eye, anyway - are as slippery as eels, too slick and smooth by half.
Lord Mandelson, the second most powerful member of the Labour Government, even though unelected, is seen as sidelining our unelected Prime Minister as he appears at conference after conference. He is doing a wonderful job of encouraging people who watch and listen to his weasel words to vote for any party other than Labour!

Tuesday 27 April 2010

ABC Wednesday O is for Orrery

This orrery was made in London in 1767 by Benjamin Martin and was used to teach astronomy at Harvard University. It is on display at the Putnam Gallery in the Harvard Science Center.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
An Orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. Notwithstanding problems of scale it can be a useful tool in teaching children the relative positions of the planets. Orreries are also very beautiful. Brian Greig, in Victoria, Australia, recreates historical orreries and other scientific instruments and accepts commissions to make bespoke models. His site can be seen here.Until the 16th century the unquestioned commonly and religiously held belief was that the earth was the centre of the universe and the sun, planets and stars revolved around it. Heaven was a fixed place and perfect. Any other opinion was considered to be heresy.
The Polish astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) posed the theory that the earth and other planets in the solar system orbited the sun.
Copernicus' view was promulgated by the German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630)
Galileo Galilei (1564 -1642) the Italian philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, also supported the Copernican theory, but was accused of heresy by the Roman Catholic church and forbidden to advocate it. He remained under house arrest for the last ten years of his life for refusing to revoke his belief in the theory.
Orrery in the Vatican Museums
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The first model of the solar system was made about 1704 by George Graham (1674 – 1751) who was a renowned clockmaker. His tomb is in Westminster Abbey. An instrument maker called John Rowley made a copy of the model for his patron, Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery. Henceforth any such model would be known as an Orrery.However, in the first century BC Cicero claimed that the Greek philosopher Posidonius, had built an orrery showing the daily movement of the sun, moon and five known planets. It may have resembled the Antikythera mechanism.
Main fragment of Antikythera Mechanism - probably the first known orrery
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
There is a Human Orrery at the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland.
The University of St Andrews has an Electric Orrery showing the inner and outer solar systems.Thank you to Denise Nesbitt and her merry band for their work in organising and hosting this meme. To see more Os – and perhaps join in – please click here.

Face of the Week #9 A noble face

When our first child was a few months old Barry was part of a team that went on expedition with John Blashford-Snell to Ethiopia for two months. They were the first men to traverse the whole of the Upper Reaches of the Blue Nile.
The team spent their time in wild country and the people they met had never seen white men before. Though there were armed bandits in the bush the villagers they met were extremely hospitable and the team medics were able to treat some of their ailments.
On his return, complete with some unwelcome intestinal bugs, Barry brought back this lady for my parents. She lived with them until their death and now occupies one of our walls. I think she is beautiful.
Thanks go to Sistertex from 'Spacial Peepol' who organises and hosts this entertaining meme. Click here to see more - and perhaps join in?

Sunday 25 April 2010

Today’s Flowers #90 Phalaenopsis

Phalaena is the name given to a group of large moths. The name Phalaenopsis means 'Phalaena-like' as the flowers of some of the sixty species of this orchid are described  as resembling moths in flight. Thus Phalaenopsis are sometimes referred to as Moth orchids.
These showy flowers are native to south-east Asia from the Himalayas through the Philippines and as far as northern Australia. Most of them are epiphytes, growing either on other plants or on man-made objects like walls. Some are lithophytes, living on rocks. They gain moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air and rain.

Gillian and Paul gave us a Phalaenopsis last year (it was actually for my birthday but what's his is mine and what's mine's my own his)
It flowered beautifully for a long time and after the last flower had dropped I put it on the  floor in the conservatory where it remained undisturbed by the dogs or Winston and the late lamented Monty. Then Gus joined our merry band and, in the manner of all pups, chewed everything he could reach. (He's currently working on the stairs and stair carpet!)
I had fears for the future of the orchid and removed it to a safer location and hoped it would recover. Just before Easter I was delighted to note new growth on the stems and tasked Barry to record the development of the buds. We now have one flower open, five buds developing and nine or ten more threatening to appear!

Thanks must go to the Today's Flowers team who work so hard to organise and host this meme. To see more lovely blooms - and even to join in! - please click here.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Camera Critters #107, Pet Pride Walking the dog

Our three younger grandchildren haven't any pets of  their own and enjoy playing with ours when they come to stay. Walking the dog is a favourite activity and Buddy is a good candidate. His eyesight is very poor and so he is always on a lead. It gives him confidence and there's no fear of him heading at speed in the wrong direction. He is a quiet and well-behaved old boy. Here it's Louis' turn to hold the lead. You can see from his face that it is a serious business!
Thank you so much to the organisers and hosts of these two memes. To see more please click on Camera Critters or Pet Pride.

Round Robin - Anything in Threes

I came across this meme on Gattina's 'Keyhole Pictures'  and thought it looked fun.
It's Spring in Berkshire, UK, and things are happening in the garden.
Lily of the Valley are emerging from their winter sleep and twirling their way upwards.
Hyacinths that are just showing a hint of the vibrant pink they will become
Thank you to Carly and Karen, the organisers and hosts of this meme.To see other Round Robin 'Anything in Threes' please click here.

Friday 23 April 2010

Weekend Mailbox #2

I'm using 'Postbox red' for this post!
These stamps were sent to me last year by Sarah from 'Circles of Rain'.
It may not be possible to read the information so I have reproduced it below:-

The earliest known surviving posting slot was placed in the wall of Wakefield Post Office in 1809. Britain's first roadside pillar boxes appeared in the early 1850s but, in remote and less populated areas, a cheaper and more practical alternative was needed, resulting in the development of smaller post boxes. Initially, they were installed in walls, buildings or brick pillars; later designs were also attached to lamp posts.
At the top right hand corner: Early posting slot Wakefield (1809)
From left to right:-
George V Type B wall box; Edward VII Ludlow box; Victorian lamp box; Elizabeth II Type A wall box

Thank you to Gemma from 'Greyscale Territory' for originating and hosting this entertaining meme. To see more - or even to join in - please click here.

April 23rd – St George’s Day

St George is the patron saint of England. He is also the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia as well as a host of cities and the island of Gozo and a number of professions, organisations and disease sufferers. Spread a bit thinly, isn't he? He is surrounded by myths and legends but little is known of him for certain.
April 23rd is also celebrated as William Shakespeare's birthday (Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you . . . ) though there is no exact record of his birth. It is the date of his death, too, though there were some intervening years – 52 to be exact – in which he wrote 10 historical plays, 12 tragedies, 16 comedies, 154 sonnets and 5 poems. The authorship of some of these works has been questioned many times.
Most English-speaking people can probably quote Shakespeare, sometimes without realising they are doing so. When does a quotation become a cliché?
'All the world's a stage.'
'Neither a borrower nor a lender be.'
'Brevity is the soul of wit.'
'Cowards die many times before their death.'
'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'
These words slip so easily from our lips, so wise, so succinct. Try rephrasing them and realise afresh the gift for language with which William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, was blessed.

Thursday 22 April 2010

SkyWatch Friday Season 4 Episode 41 April sky with red kite

We have had beautiful days in Berkshire this week. The sky was blue - and for a few days unsullied by con trails! On Tuesday I was excited to see a red kite soaring in the skies around our house. These birds are scavengers rather than birds of prey but the local populace seemed not to know that - or was that just me misinterpreting the busy, noisy activity in and around our garden?
I managed to capture 'my' kite as it wheeled gracefully in ever-widening circles. By the time Barry grabbed his camera the kite had exhausted the feeding possibilities and moved away to pastures new.
We are seeing red kites quite frequently now and I applaud the people who have worked so hard to enhance their breeding opportunities and to reintroduce them to previous haunts.
Grateful thanks to the SkyWatch team who organise and host this meme each week.
Click here to appreciate more beautiful world skies.

April is the cruellest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
From 'The Waste Land' 1: The Burial of the Dead T S Eliot (1888 - 1965)
I cannot agree with Eliot's sombre reflection.Certainly April is changeable, perverse and unpredictable in her habits,but when the sun shines and birds sing and buds unfurl into fresh green leaves and scented blossoms and delicate flowers it is a month to be lauded and applauded.
April violets - Viola - in the garden
We have never planted these in our garden but they appear each year and are spreading, to our great delight!
Dog violets - Viola riviniana -  in the forest today
(Pity they weren't Viola labradorica!!)
For me April is a soft and gentle month of new life and optimism, of a promise fulfilled and a pledge renewed that more is to come.
April's colours are subtle; there is not the extravagance of the summer flowers that bloom to excess, each brighter and showier than its neighbours to attract the butterflies and bees. Roses are overblown - forget-me-nots never!  
Forget-me-nots - Myosotis - appear every year, mostly blue, occasionally pink or white, they are pretty, unassuming little plants.
The last few days in my corner of the globe have been wonderful - warm, bright, breezy and loud with bird song. Already there are many butterflies and bees busily following their instincts and each day brings new delights as more almost forgotten beauties reveal themselves.
Exochorda - the Pearl Bush
Always at this time of year, almost unbidden, the choral piece 'All in the April evening' comes to my mind. I sang it as a girl at school and have always loved it. In this video it is sung by the  Glasgow Orpheus Choir.

Lily of the Valley - Convallaria majalis - comes twirling its way to the surface.
Honesty - Lunaria rediviva - is a biennial plant. Its flowers are usually purple, sometimes white and attract, bees, butterflies, moths and flies which pollinate them. Some of its popular names are Silver dollar, Penny flower, Moonwort. Flower arrangers like to use its papery silver seed heads in their displays.
April sun gladdens the heart and makes the spirit dance. The sap is rising and, as Alfred Lord Tennyson  (1809 - 1892) so aptly wrote, 'In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.'
More than 200 years earlier William Shakespeare (1564 -1616)  wrote 'verses' that appeared in 'As You Like It'. It has been suggested that the banality of the rhymes and lyrics was a deliberate ploy by the bard to show his playful side. The words have been set to music by a number of different composers. In the following video the work is sung to Thomas Morley's music. He was a contemporary of Shakespeare so perhaps his rendering is the most appropriate!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

April 21st

On this day . . .
In Italy this date is known as the Birthday of Rome because the Roman Empire was founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC.
Henry VII died in 1509 and was succeeded by his son, Henry VIII.
In 1789 John Adam was sworn in as the first US Vice President.
Charlotte Brontё was born in 1816 in Thornton, Yorkshire.
Noah Webster published the first American dictionary in 1828.
Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Mark Twain died in 1910 in Redding, Connecticut.
HM Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926.
In 1944 French women were enfranchised.
In 1961, at a war crimes trial in Jerusalem, Adolf Eichmann admitted his part in the Holocaust but claimed to be a small cog in the Nazi machine and not directly responsible for the murder of any Jews.
In 1966, Emperor Haile Selassie, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Elect of God, visited Jamaica. The day is now celebrated at Grounation Day.
John W Young, USN commander of Apollo 16, became the ninth man to walk on the Moon in 1972.
In 1983 one pound coins went into circulation to replace paper pound notes in England and Wales.
Approximately 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 to commemorate the reform leader Hu Yaobang. He supported economic and political reforms but was forced by hardliners to resign as a leader of the People's Republic of China.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

ABC Wednesday N is for Noses

Dogs' noses are incredibly receptive.
Buddy Liver Spots is quite deaf and almost blind and relies on his nose to find his way around. To hear him snuffing about in the wee small hours one might imagine a steam engine approaching!

His sense of smell is a dog's most sophisticated sense and a large part of the canine brain is dedicated to interpreting scent. A human nose has 5 million olfactory cells. An average canine nose has over 200 million receptors. The canine sense of smell is thought conservatively to be 50 to 100 times better than a human's. Some have suggested it may be as much as 1000 times better. Scientists explain this by saying that human scent cells may cover about one square inch while a dog's scent cells can cover 60 square inches.

Dogs can pick up some odours in concentrations of one part per trillion. Bloodhounds have 300 million olfactory cells in their noses and it is a matter of record that one bloodhound followed a scent trail for 114 miles.
Even when fast asleep a dog can be brought to sudden wakefulness within seconds through the careful placement of food near its nose.Humans have exploited this remarkable sense, training dogs to discover drugs, detect guns and explosives, find bodies in collapsed buildings, rescue people lost on moors or mountains. Some dogs have been trained to alert their owners to the onset of heart attack, migraine, epileptic seizure, diabetic imbalance, often as much as 30 minutes before onset. It is thought that a change in metabolism or body chemistry generates a different smell detectable to the dog. Studies are currently being conducted to test the dog's ability to detect cancer cells.
Cats' noses are also very sensitive.
A cat's sense of smell is fourteen times greater than a human's. A cat that loses its sense of smell will not be able to function effectively. If an outdoor cat it will be unable to hunt, as it depends on smell more than any other sense to find prey. If it cannot smell even an indoor cat will not eat – cats always sniff their food thoroughly before eating.
The vomeronasal organ (Jacobson's Organ) is functional in both dogs and cats and allows a greater intensity of smell. It is found just behind the upper front teeth and connects directly with the nasal cavity. Cats can often be seen demonstrating the Flehman Response, when, stimulated by a scent, they will open their mouths to enable the vomeronasal organ to open the ducts to the nasal cavity. Some people describe this as a smile, though I have always thought of it more as a sneer!
Thank you to Denise Nesbitt and her team for their efforts in organising and hosting this meme. Find more Ns here and add your own, if you will.

Monday 19 April 2010

Face of the Week #8 Spot the odd one out!

Sistertex from 'Spacial Peepol' initiated this meme and hosts it every week. Please join in by clicking here . . .

Which is the odd one out? Is it the Labrador? Is it the Dalmatian? Is it the black spots? Is it the liver spots? Is it the gender? Is it the age? Too many choices . . . for us, none of them are 'odd' . . .

Microfiction Monday #19

Susan at 'Stony River' devised the brilliant challenge of writing a story in 140 characters. Each week she provides a picture to act as inspiration and the rest is up to . . . fate? Click here to read more – and why not join in? It's fun!
They didn't know how to tell her she hadn't tuned her lyre. Even worse was that she couldn't sing either! Eye contact was impossible.