Archive | Animalia RSS feed for this section

How Finlaystone House changed the course of my life…

18 Jun

Finlaystone

Finlaystone House, Langbank, Scotland. Home of the Chief of Clan MacMillan…

Unsure of what to do when I left school, Mother saw an advert, Lady MacMillan, Finlaystone House, Langbank, looking for a gardener…went for an interview but she had already employed Benedict, to work alongside Hugh, head gardener. She asked if I could cook, and I said no, but was willing to learn.

 

I arrived at Finlaystone on my 18th Birthday, 25th October 1977.

 

Caroline Lucken taught me cookery and I quickly managed, with Mrs Beaton’s Cook Book and Finlaystone’s wonderful cooker and Victorian kitchen, also garden work, bees and floristry.

 

One day in the news paper in the dining room I saw an advert for BA Degree Home Economics, my WORST subject at school, but exactly what I was learning at Finlaystone…applied & got accepted, so after a wonderful year with the MacMillans I left for Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh.

 

In the summer holidays, twice running, I went to Virginia USA to live and work with & through Finlaystone friends of the family!

 

Did not want to teach Home Economics, and on a trip back to Finlaystone, just before graduation, Judy Hutton asked me if I was interested in becoming a Preparatory School Matron, as her daughter Alice had had a job offer she did not need…I took the position and worked 10 wonderful years, 9 as House Matron, at the school Robin and Judy Hutton’s son and cousins had attended, Horris Hill.

 

Later, when I had my son James, I saw an advertisement for Horticulturist, and with my Finlaystone garden experience, I applied; 10 years Horticulturist in a lovely garden with Mrs Newton, who taught me so much, & I was able to take my son to work pre-school, and in school holidays.

 

As my walking deteriorated James’ father David re-trained as a Tree Surgeon and I supported the business, my horticultural experience invaluable.

 

David, James and I visited Finlaystone with grandmother Doreen from New Zealand, and were greeted by Chief George and Jane MacMillan.

 

I still have so many dear friends connected with my year at Finlaystone, and keep in contact with the MacMillans every Christmas

Advertisements

Shadow…our first & best Ferret.

23 Jul

Son James became interested in Ferrets as a young teen and his mentor Linda found him Shadow. A lovely, and probably deaf wee soul, so gentle and sweet, smelled of honey and very cuddly. He was one of 4 we had, twin females, very small, and one huge one who managed to escape. Here is Shadow…died a few years back & sadly missed x

Shadow

Lusitania’s Dead, Old Cemetery, Cobh, County Cork

21 Mar

As I searched for the three mass graves of the victims of RMS Lusitania at the Old Cemetery, Queenstown, now Cobh, my hair stood on end and my body tingled.

I quickly realised I had just walked over the first mass grave site…a  moment I shall never forget.

Web Spinners, Embioptera, in my kitchen…

20 Mar

Web Spinner

We just found a baby Web Spinner…Embioptera, in the kitchen this evening. I had not seen one for several years, so I am thrilled there is still a colony living under our heating boiler…

They weave a tiny nest, using web and fluff, and the nest I found had the shell of an M&M sweetie incorporated in it…exotic, harmless & welcome little creatures. I am very happy.

Photographer Captures Woodpecker Showing Weasel the World

3 Mar

TwistedSifter

weasel-riding-woodpecker

Aladdin jokes aside, what you are actually witnessing is a remarkable battle for survival as a Green woodpecker attempts to escape the predatory clutches of a weasel. The incredible photo was caught on camera by amateur bird watcher and photographer Martin Le-May who spotted the event in East London’s Hornchurch Country Park.

Since being posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon, the photo has gone viral and has been published by news outlets around the world. Le-May explains that the woodpecker was feeding on some ground-dwelling insects when the weasel went for the sneak attack. Naturally the bird tried to take flight and the pair got as high as 10 ft before landing again where the woodpecker managed to free itself and live another day.

[Sources: Mashable, Slate, Jason Ward on Twitter, Martin Le-May on Twitter]

View original post

Video

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO FOUNDATION

17 Aug

Oba

http://www.olusegunobasanjofoundation.org/

Oba & Goodluck

On February 8, the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation was officially launched at a gala hosted at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. The former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo was joined by an esteemed panel of African Presidents which included President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, with a special video message from President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. Over 1,000 special guests from across the globe were in attendance to support the Foundation’s inauguration.

Video

The Hoopoe, Upupa Epops…Israel’s National bird and my favourite.

13 Aug