Posted in Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

Morecambe Bay: St Patrick’s Chapel and the Stone Graves

St Patrick’s Chapel and the stone graves

Heysham, near Morecambe, Lancashire, overlooks Morecambe Bay. At first glance it doesn’t appear to be a big place or have much of interest. But explore a little deeper, past the housing and the small village centre. There is the nature reserve where I once learnt about willow weaving. There is the ferry port where Simon and I sailed to the Isle of Man for a holiday. There is the nuclear power station…

But drive on past the ferry port and head to Half Moon Bay (not very well signposted in my opinion). Park opposite the little cafe (operating as a takeaway when we were there because of Covid restrictions), enjoy a hot drink, and then walk towards a modern artwork along the cliff.

Created by artist Anna Gillespie, SHIP is a sculpture of two figures sitting on the bow and stern of a ship. It is a celebration of the landscape and maritime heritage of Morecambe Bay, with one man facing ‘the old’ of St Patrick’s Chapel while the other man looking towards the ‘new’ of Heysham Nuclear Power Station.

Anna Gillespie’s SHIP at Half Moon Bay

But we had no interest in ‘the new ‘ today, so turning our backs away from the power station, we continued along a path towards the ‘old’. This is the fascinating St Patrick’s Chapel, a ruined Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, standing dramatically on the headland. The ruins are believed to date from the 700s or 800s. An excavation dated the site even earlier to the late 500s or early 600s.

St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

Author Karen Lloyd, in The Gathering Tide, writes: “There’s a local story that St Patrick, after whom the chapel is named, landed at Heysham bringing the Christian message from Ireland, founding one of the earliest Christian Oratories and communities on the headland.”

An information board about St Patrick’s Chapel

Archaeologists have found graves in the grounds of the Anglo Saxon chapel, these were of a later age and included the remains of a Viking woman, buried in a shroud, along with a decorated bone comb.

St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

It is thought that Vikings travelled to Heysham during the 900s, from Ireland and the Isle of Man.

The rock-cut graves atop the headland are a puzzle. Karen Lloyd says they “exude mystery and enigma.” Unfortunately there are no grave goods left and so impossible to identify a date for them. Karen says: “It’s thought they pre-date the first chapel to be built on the site. The 7th to the 11th century was a time of huge flux and change at Heysham that witnessed a mixing of cultures and belief systems”.

Curiously, while researching about the tombs afterwards, I read that they appeared on the cover of The Best of Black Sabbath CD.

The stone graves

According to Wikipedia, when another excavation was held on land below the rock-hewn graves, more than a thousand ancient artefacts were found. It turned out that people lived here 12,000 years ago.

The church of St Peter, again a Grade I listed building, sits behind the ruined chapel. An Anglo-Saxon church was once located here and even earlier back, in the 600s/700s, it’s thought a church was originally founded here. The church’s architecture dates back to various times – including the medieval ages – but was completed in 1864. Unfortunately we were unable to enter, I expect due to the restrictions at the time. It was a shame as I would have liked to have seen the Viking hogback stone (a grave cover dating back to Viking times) but we did have a wander around the graveyard. It’s a beautiful, atmospheric place to be buried, overlooking Morecambe Bay. At the back of the churchyard was a path taking us back to the ruins.

St Peter’s Church, Heysham

It would be a very peaceful place to be buried.

We passed through Morecambe on the way back home. I think this sunset encapsulates the spellbinding splendour of the Bay.

Sunset over Morecambe Bay, as seen from Morecambe Promenade
Posted in Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

Morecambe Bay: Beware of Quicksand

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay in Lancashire is beautiful. If the weather isn’t great, it can be moody and atmospheric. And on a bright, clear day, it’s even more spectacular when you can see the magnificent Cumbrian mountains in the distance.

But whatever you do, don’t ever walk across the sand without the Queen’s Guide.

I went on a fundraising walk across the Bay in 2012 for a local charity called Galloway’s. There was a group of us following Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s Guide to the Sands. He had his trusty stick and his vast knowledge of the terrain, having been the Guide for many years. Needless to say, we all got across safely. Tired, wearing dirty boots on our exhausted feet, maybe a little smelly of damp mud, water and sand, but we got back safely.

Morecambe Bay

But one day in August 2020, Simon and I visited Silverdale in Lancashire, overlooking Morecambe Bay. We walked along the beach towards Arnside, a little village located at the southern edge of Cumbria. I showed Simon the town across the bay, and told him that I believed it was Grange-over-Sands. I added that there was no way we could cross over there without the Queen’s Guide because of the danger of quicksand.

We carried on our walk, taking a route away from the beach, towards Arnside Tower, an ancient fortified ruin which deserves its own blog post. After a takeaway drink at a little cafe in Arnside, and a spot of plum picking, we headed back towards Silverdale, this time along the beach.

Curiously, while there had been many people on the beach earlier, these had all disappeared. It felt like we were the only ones, which might sound romantic except for what happened next, which was more reminiscent of a horror film.

Looking back, I remember signs warning of the danger of quicksand but assumed it meant sand further out. Of course, I knew it would be daft to trek across the Bay. I had said the very same thing earlier. But as we were walking very close to the edge of the beach, near the rocks leading away from the seaside towards the path, I thought nothing more about it, even when the sand started getting thicker, wetter and sludgier. The tide was coming in, yes, but it was still far off. No need to panic…

Morecambe Bay

Thank goodness for my new walking shoes!

But new hiking shoes or not, it really was getting harder to actually walk through this diabolical sand. Alarmingly, I also realised that I was slowly sinking in with each step I was taking.

The realisation hit me. This was no ordinary sand, this was quicksand. In my naivety, I had assumed the quicksand was lurking ‘out there’ but actually it was here and I was in it and I could no longer move. I was sinking and I could not move my legs.

Simon was faring no better. Even worse, he was further out than me and carrying a heavy rucksack. Even Simon was in difficulty.

It was time to start panicking.

Morecambe Bay sands

Thank goodness we weren’t too far from the safety of the rocks. Thank goodness Simon had the presence of mind to push me so I could clamber onto the cliff. I had lost one of my new walking shoes in the process but, again, thank goodness Simon found it (thinking it was a floating piece of litter at first) and threw it over to me before it was swallowed up by the mud.

One down, one to go. At first I assumed it would be easier for Simon to get out but he was a little further away and in the time that I had scrambled to safety, he had sunk even more. Despite his strength, he was having difficulty lifting his leg to take a step.

He was stuck.

It was like a horror film with a swamp monster hungrily looking for victims. The scary thing is that there really have been fatalities over the years. Perhaps the most famous case recently is the one of the Chinese cockle pickers in 2004. Tragically, 24 of them died.

Quicksand is a serious and deadly issue.

Treacherous sands

So these thoughts were going through my increasingly hysterical mind while I stood on the rocks. I felt that if I ran off to look for help, Simon would have disappeared under the sand by the time I got back. At one point, I desperately held out my handbag towards him to cling on to as if that would have helped.

Just as well Simon is clearer-headed than I am. Using determination, strength, willpower and sheer focus, he managed to lift one leg out of the muddy sand – and then the other. And again. One leg … at a time…

It was a slow process which felt like longer. But he got there.

Now there were two of us on the rocks, disbelieving as to what had just happened.

Simon told me that if he hadn’t have been able to get out, he would have tried to use his rucksack as leverage to propel him forwards. Watching survival expert Ray Mears on television has its uses!

The picture below shows a very muddy and relieved me.

Muddy clothes and a smile of desperate relief
The treacherous sand

Facts about Quicksand

  1. Quicksand is ‘loose wet sand that sucks in anything resting on it’ (Concise Oxford English Dictionary). It forms in ‘saturated loose sand when the sand is suddenly agitated. When water in the sand cannot escape, it creates a liquefied soil that loses strength and cannot support weight’ (Wikipedia).

2. Guides to the Sands have used laurel branches for marking safe routes. They have done this for centuries.

3. These ‘brobs’ are seen in Turner’s paintings of Morecambe Bay.

4. According to Wikipedia, it is impossible for a person to sink ‘entirely into quicksand due to the higher density of the fluid…sinking beyond about waist height is impossible’. However, ‘continued or panicked movement, however, may cause a person to sink further… it can lead to a situation where other factors such as hypothermia etc may harm a trapped person’.

Posted in Thoughts on life and spirituality, Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

Morecambe Bay: Sunderland Point and Sambo’s Grave

Sunderland Point

Lancashire’s underrated scenery is often ignored in favour of its more popular, more famous, more spectacular neighbour, the Lake District. Lancastrians will often head to the Lakes for a day’s hiking or a weekend away (I am no exception, look at my previous mountain rambles detailed on this blog!) Holidaymakers will drive past the county in their bid to reach Wordsworth’s Paradise of the Lakes and Mountains. Even my Lonely Planet Walking in Britain book features the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and the Lake District but apparently there are no walks to be had in Lancashire! No scenic beauty!

Wrong.

There are many beauty spots in this very county and one such is Morecambe Bay, a destination crammed with nature, beauty and history.

Sunderland Point

Even in the modern age, there are places of stillness and tranquillity where you feel far, far away from the 21st century – and one such spot is a remote village called Sunderland Point. Author Karen Lloyd describes it as “if a warp in time as well as space had been crossed. Take away the street lights and TV aerials and you could imagine yourself back in the 18th century”. I cannot help but agree, that too was my impression of this unique olde worlde place.

It sits at the southern end of Morecambe Bay, at the end of a tidal causeway – which helps give it an isolated feeling – and overlooks the River Lune.

But behind this serene exterior lies a dark past. This lovely, tiny hamlet of only a few houses, which overlooks such a peaceful scene, actually has a tragic history.

Sambo’s Grave

There is a spot in this remote haven called Sambo’s Grave. Sambo (the name given, no one knows his real name) is believed to have been a black slave boy, possibly the only survivor of a shipwreck off Sunderland Point, although no one really knows his story.

In 1796, this grave was erected by Rev James Watson – about 60 years after the death of ‘Sambo’.

This remote hamlet was once seen as important because of its connection to slavery. In the early 1700s, the village was developed as an outport for the neighbouring city Lancaster, which was heavily involved in the slave trade.

According to Karen Lloyd’s The Gathering Tide, between 1736 and 1807, around 29,000 slaves were carried from West Africa to the West Indies on Lancaster’s ships.

However, Sunderland’s contribution to the slave trade was short-lived. By the end of the 1700s, Sunderland was no longer the go-to port. There were problems with the River Lune silting and competition from new ports – the newly constructed neighbour, Glasson Dock, and the much bigger Liverpool. Sunderland Point had now become ‘Cape Famine’.

It is strange to see a juxtaposition of beauty – the scenery, the tranquility, the wildlife – and the horror of the misery and suffering of slavery.

The grave was erected 60 years after the boy’s death

And yet, have we, the human species, moved on? Perhaps not. There are still atrocious human rights abuses taking place all over the world on a daily basis.

Our species can send astronauts out to space and to the moon, create vaccines and boast about AI and the latest technology, and yet too many humans still don’t know how to treat others with even the most basic levels of compassion and respect. How to treat others in the same way they themselves would like to be treated.

But I still have hope that one day our descendants will have a future where people can live alongside each other in harmony and peace. One can only hope…

Sambo’s Grave

Information about Sunderland Point comes from The Gathering Tide by Karen Lloyd

Posted in Gardens, lifestyle, self-sufficiency, environmental issues, adventure

Christmas Greetings

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas from all the residents at Cosy Cottage….

Tom and Tim

.. And all the best for 2021.

It has been a difficult year for many of us and this Christmas may feel very different but I always feel that this time of year is one of hope, both for religious/spiritual (Jesus’ birth) and seasonal reasons (looking ahead to spring). And so I send you my hopes that 2021 will be a better year for us all.

Cosy Cottage will be taking a break from blogging until January 10. See you in the new year. 😊

Posted in Chickens, Gardens, Pets

Tribute to Florence

Florence

Just over three years on from her arrival at Cosy Cottage, Florence crossed over the Rainbow Bridge following a period of ill health.

Florence’s life and death left a bigger impact on me than I thought possible with a hen. It was Florence who really showed me how complex and lovable chickens really were. And what an impact such tiny creatures can have on their human guardians.

She made me smile and worry and feel protective.

She made me laugh, like the time she was brooding and stubbornly insisted on sitting on a plant pot after I closed the coop door.

Broody Flo

She taught me to be more patient and caring during her illness.

And to be less screamish about mealworms!

Flo first arrived with her two sisters Jemima and Dottie in 2017, they were slightly older than her by a couple of weeks. The difference in Florence and her siblings was apparent straight away. While Jemima was quiet and reserved and Dottie was chatty, they were both confident in themselves and about humans. No, they did not want to be picked up, thank you very much, but this was only because it was their personal preference. They were not scared of humans on arrival. Merely tolerated them.

Florence, on the other hand, was terrified. When she saw a human, she flapped her wings and made a big fuss.

“Murder! I’m being murdered!”

It’s hard to believe now but this state of fear was really the case for the first few weeks of Flo’s life here.

Florence

She was a real little scaredy chicken.

Was the sky going to fall in? It was, it was!!!

Oh dear, poor Flo.

Dottie would then helpfully peck her on the top of her head to put her back in her place.

And then, as I wrote in https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/florence/

Florence changed from a frightened Cinders into a confident and charismatic Cinderella.

She became popular with all. When my godchildren came to visit, she proved a big hit with Noah, five at the time. As she was the only hen laying, she was the most amenable for being picked up. Which she was. A lot. But Flo’s patience shone through.

Dad admitted she was his favourite and Mum described her as the “best hen”.

I think it was because of her personality, but the eggs would have helped too.

Of all the chickens, she was the best layer. During spring and summer (except when brooding), she laid eggs nearly every second day. This year there was no brooding so she broke all records for her egg laying.

No mean feat for a little Pekin bantam.

And the eggs were absolutely delicious.

She knew it too. How Flo boasted about her eggs after she laid them! Her egg song proclaimed her eggs were the best of all the world! Not just the world, the universe!

But she also had her broody moments, where she proved very stubborn indeed. She was going to have chicks and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Florence and Jemima

Her broody adventures can be seen here: https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/brooding-buddies/

and here: https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2019/08/17/the-broody-sisters/

Jemima, Dottie and Florence

Flo was very independent, often seen doing her own thing, digging away for worms. Worms was her favourite food. Whenever I held a bag of mealworms, she would be jumping, trying to grab them from my hand. When I started digging, she would be first there, eagerly anticipating tasty creepy crawlies.

She was also demanding. Especially first thing in the morning when she would insist that it was time to be let out of the coop.

Did I say she was popular with everyone?

Hmm, maybe not the neighbours.

There’s a reason why the girls have longer lie-ins these days.

I used to have to run to let them out during the early mornings before a squawking Florence would fly and jump angrily at the coop door.

“Let me out! For **** sake, I’ll be missing the worms!” I could imagine her screeching.

Florence had her ups and downs with her friends. She never had any ‘besties’ and was often on her own, digging away. Although when it was brooding time, she was often seen cuddling up to Jemima, her fellow brooder.

Dottie always seemed to patronise her, pecking her in a “I’m bigger and older than you” sort of way. But it was Mabel who she had a real feud with. A feud that started a year ago when Florence was brooding – in what Mabel perceived as her nesting space.

This summer, Florence had a welcome break from Mabel when her enemy was stuck indoors.

‘Staying at Home’ like a good girl during lockdown? No, she was brooding, waiting for imaginary eggs to hatch. Sometimes – the irony – she would be in what Flo would think was her nesting space and Flo would fuss and grumble until I took Mabel out and left Flo to do her hard work in peace. Eventually Flo realised that there were other levels and other corners in the coop, which could also be used to lay eggs in.

But when Flo was out enjoying herself and saw her broody foe come out of the coop, she would give a loud screech.

“**** off!”

And sometimes she would ‘swear’ for no known reason.

Ava and Florence investigate the wood shavings

Flo always came across as a sweet girl so her reaction to the new kids on the block, Mabel and Ava, was very surprising. The pair came to Cosy Cottage a year after Flo, Dottie and Jemima. Of course, I had heard that chickens could be hostile to newbies to the pecking order but somehow I expected more of Florence.

But no, instead of acting like a good neighbour, when she saw the new ladies, she flew at their coop in a fit of anger.

Towards the end, when I looked after Flo in my house, she proved to be a determined girl as she battled illness. A scratch on her eye developed into an infection. She went to the vet on two occasions, receiving antibiotics, an injection and painkiller. But despite a brief recovery, she took a downturn and never recovered.

On her last day, I thought she had gone but then she half opened her eye … as if to say “goodbye”.

Florence

Goodbye Flo, a golden girl in colour and personality, the garden and coop feel a lot quieter without you.

* For those who don’t know, Rainbow Bridge is a poetic term for the afterlife for animals.

Posted in Chickens, Pets

Florence’s Illness: Part 3

Florence

I had been feeling hopeful and optimistic. Florence’s eye seemed to be less painful, she was opening it much more. She was also moving around more and showing natural behaviour such as wiping her beak across the floor (later on I realised this was to keep her beak short and trim). She was grooming herself and feeding and drinking by herself too.

But then she had what I decided was an ‘off day’; an euphemism indeed as it turned out.

Florence at the start of her illness

The next Monday morning she did not jump out of her box. So I took her out and noticed she had a cloudy eye. I tried to give her cabbage, something that only a day ago she had been trying to grab off my fingers. But this time, when I tried to hand feed her cabbage, she kept missing where the cabbage was.

I hoped it was a temporary blip and she would feel better the following day. But she was just the same.

Florence

Florence went back to the vet who told us (I had gone with Mum) she had an infection. He gave her an injection and gave us antibiotics to take with water.

So this time instead of eye drops, Flo had antibiotic mixed with water via a syringe. There was still painkiller from the last vet visit, so she continued to have that too.

Simon came over for a week and together we looked after our poorly patient.

Curiously she often made a purring sound when Simon or I held her. I had not noticed this before and wondered if she was in any discomfort, but when we looked at YouTube videos of hens purring, it was believed that these were contented chickens.

Florence

Maybe Florence was aware she was in a safe place with people who wanted to help her?

Flo had stopped exploring and tended to sit in one place. I thought this was because of her eye and being ill but when I saw her trying to move and wobbling instead of walking normally, I realised that she needed rehab. So each day we gently lifted her up and down in an attempt to strengthen her legs.

As well as antibiotics, we had to make sure Florence had enough water and food. Whereas before she was capable of drinking and eating by herself (as long as the grain was spread in front of her so she could pick at it), this week she needed to be hand fed. So we would put grain and corn onto our hands so she would eat off them. If we dipped her head towards the water bowl she would sip it. We would get a general idea of whether she had enough to eat or drink by feeling her crop (at the front of a bird, it should have a bulge before bedtime) and her poos.

That week she was very weak but still had an appetite. I truly believed that if I continued with the ‘rehab’ of gently trying to strengthen her legs, finished the course of antibiotics, handfed and made sure she had enough water, with a matter of time she would get better, even if it would be as a pampered house chicken.

One thing was that when she had a poo, she always moved away from it. But the following week I found poo stuck to her feathers. Her personal hygiene had gone downhill. She was no longer preening herself as she had done in her early stages of illness. She was no longer wiping her beak on the floor. Simon had noticed her beak seemed to be growing. We tried to carefully file it slightly with an enamel board. I hadn’t realised that hens wiped their beaks on surfaces because they were filing them down.

Her mobility kept decreasing, despite my rehab attempts. A few weeks ago I had increased the number of tea towels for her to walk around on. Now I was increasing my usage of them to support Flo. She was hardly able to stand or sit unaided, falling to one side.

By the end of the week, Florence’s attempts to eat by herself off the floor or tea towel had decreased. I had placed a brick (like a table) with grain spread across it to help her, so she wouldn’t have to reach for the floor. But towards the end, I would find her pecking in mid air, brick or no brick. So my attempts to hand feed her increased. There were days when Flo received water via a syringe and her grain was mashed up with water and again, this was given via a syringe.

I contemplated taking her to a vet again. Except this time, there was nothing a vet could do, in my opinion. It would be for one thing and one thing only. But it felt like it would be the right thing for Florence. I mused, deciding I would ring later that day and make an appointment the following morning.

That afternoon, as I worked from home, I gazed towards Florence, who was wrapped up in her tea towels. She didn’t look like she was moving. I went over to check and she half opened an eye.

Florence during her illness

A little while later, I went over to her again.

No movement.

No breathing.

No more suffering.

Goodbye Flo.

Florence during happier times
Posted in Chickens, Pets

Florence’s Illness: Part 2

Florence appears to be recovering

Over the next few days, Flo started to have a routine. She would wake up, I would take her out of the box and place her on the tea towel. Her bowls of food and water would be put in front of her. As she couldn’t see very well out of one eye, I spread her grain on the floor in front of her and she pecked away.

At first it was one tea towel that was placed on the floor as she didn’t go far. Then it was two…

Then I noticed her exploring even further afield; she started heading away from her tea towels and towards the rug. A softer surface, it made sense. It was great to see her using her common sense and it was even better to watch her moving more.

Florence exploring. There are feathers on the floor as she was moulting at the time

I started putting her tea towels on top of the rug, along with her grain and water. I treated her to mealworms and little pieces of kale and cabbage which she loved. Apart from the greens, which I mostly gave her by hand and which she started looking for, I knew I could leave Flo to her own devices. She pecked the rug for the grain. Sometimes she missed, but often she finished the grain which had been put there.

Flo was pottering about more in my living room. She no longer felt tied down by the tea towels or rug.

Florence

One Monday afternoon, two weeks on from the start of her illness, I noticed her walking around, before settling down on top of some small boxes. It was getting dark and Florence was ready for bed. It was the first time I had seen her do this and it was a joyful moment as it was such a natural, healthy hen behaviour. Saying that, I did take her down from her makeshift ‘roosting spot’ and put her back into bed aka her box, laid with towels.

Florence looks for a roosting spot

The following morning I got a fright when I heard a noise coming from her box bed. It was Flo, flapping her wings and jumping on top of the box!

And for the next few days Flo jumped/flew out of the box herself.

I started making up plans in my head on how to reintegrate her with the other hens.

One of the days I put her into a see-through cage for half a minute and put her into the chickens’ enclosure. They looked at her; she looked at them with her good eye. And then I brought her back into my house.

One step at a time. I had high hopes though. At worst, if they didn’t accept her or if she never regained the sight in her left eye, she may have to become a house chicken. This was possible with regular cleaning, and a proper pet bed/indoor hen house of some kind rather than a cardboard box.

Florence

At best, she would rejoin the other hens and become part of the pecking order again.

But then things took a turn for the worst.

  • To be continued
Posted in Chickens, Pets

Florence’s Illness: Part 1

Florence in ‘hospital’

It started with a sore eye. How Florence got a scratch or an abrasion in her left eye, I don’t know. Only that one weekend when Simon was here, he noticed she was sitting down in the chickens’ garden with her eye closed. Usually she’d be digging for worms or pottering about. But she didn’t look herself at all.

We took her into the house, placing her on the settee, on top of a tea towel. We couldn’t decide whether it was a general lethargy/health issue or a specific eye problem. So I thought I would keep her in a cardboard box overnight in my living room and see how she was in the morning.

Florence just before her visit to the vet

The following morning, Florence was the same. I rang the vet and made an appointment for 5.50pm that same day. During that time, Florence didn’t move much (I had placed her on a tea towel in the living room next to grain and water).

The vet looked at her eyes carefully, coming to the conclusion that it was an abrasion, a scratch of some kind. He gave me Metacam (painkiller) and Exocin eye drops for Florence to take over the next five days. It was with a sense of relief when I left the vet. Okay, there was a problem with her eye but surely if these eye drops are given, she will recover her eyesight? Not that I was looking forward to giving these eye drops. I’m not the most practical of people and Simon had left by then.

Florence’s medication

Thankfully my parents came to the rescue, helped by the fact that my mum is a retired NHS worker. For the next five days, they came to mine to help out. It was a two-person job to hold Florence’s beak open so the syringe with the painkiller would go in. It required two people to adminster the eye drops. Early on I tried just by myself but it was difficult.

So much for my childhood dreams of becoming a vet…

On the fifth day of Flo’s rest and recovery at mine, I decided it was time for a visitor. Partly to boost Flo’s spirits (having visitors worked for Dottie when she was ill) and partly so the other hens would not forget her.

Florence

How could anyone forget Flo? True, but chickens are fickle creatures and I wanted them to think of Flo as still being one of them, one of the flock, one of the pecking order.

So ‘top dog’ Jemima was a guest to Flo’s temporary hospital bed. Florence had been looking very sorry for herself up to that point, her eye closed most of the time, but when she saw Jemima she woke up and chatted or, more to the point, chirruped. It was a one-hen dialogue, a soliloquy. Jemima just looked around her until suddenly she flew at Florence. Thankfully, my parents and I had been watching closely and we managed to get the pair separated quickly.

Jemima (photo taken during a time when she was moulting)

Curiously, Florence looked like she had been defending herself just before Jemima was taken away. And interestingly, that same afternoon she seemed more awake and hungry.

Perhaps the visit had stimulated her after all?

Jemima was now barred from ‘the hospital’ but Florence received a couple more visits from guests Ava and Dottie.

Both were closely watched to prevent any more arguments. They were better behaved than Jemima although Ava did help herself to Flo’s mealworms, ignoring Flo, while Dottie’s visits seemed to send Florence to sleep! Florence’s other eye always seem to close as well when Dottie came to visit.

Dottie

Hope springs eternal as they say, and with the passing days I hoped that there was a subtle improvement even if I couldn’t see it right then.

To be continued

Posted in Blogging, Writing

Third Blog Anniversary – An Ode to Escapism

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Without meaning to, I took a break from writing my blog for three months. I really hadn’t expected to, assuming I would return sooner rather than later. I’m sure there must be many like me who mean to return to their blog but other things get in the way. Before I knew it, three months had flown by and the third anniversary of my blog (in September) had been and gone.

So what have I done in those three months? I’ve hiked 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, spent time with curious children who claim to have lived past lives, visited Africa – to be precise Kenya, travelling on a very rickety precarious train – and have been trying to solve murder mysteries in a small town in Mississippi and a tiny island off the coast of Dorset.

Oh, and then there was the strange case of a secret alchemy group and its connection to brutal slayings in 1600s Aberdeen, Scotland.

A selection of books I’ve read this year

So you can see why I had no time to write my blog when I had the above to contend with!

Truly, I have found books and escapism a godsend this year. It has been one of my mechanisms for coping with a topsy turvy world.

My life may have become restricted in 2020 but my mind has still gone to various fascinating locations, encountering a miscellany of characters and scenarios, and so for this year’s anniversary I dedicate this post to writers of fiction and non-fiction, books and blogs.

I also salute the WordPress community of fellow bloggers. It’s a really friendly, inspiring community out there. It’s been a harsh year for many of us and it’s easy to feel anxious or upset right now but I find the blogging world quite the antidote. It’s a creative, warm and inspiring place to visit and take part in.

Now I’m back, I wonder why did I leave for so long?

If anyone would like to promote their own blog or a particular blog post (or someone else’s), visit https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/about/your-favourite-blog-posts/

For each link I will donate £1 to Butterfly Conservation.

Photo by Cindy Gustafson on Pexels.com

As an extra motivation aid, I’ve also decided that I will try to write a post at least once a week, and publish it on Sunday at 2pm, with an occasional extra post on Wednesday, same time.

We’ll see how long being organised lasts!

Thank you for reading. ☺️

Posted in Environment, Environmental issues

Our World: Covid litterbugs

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It’s 2020 and for many, the world has changed – and yet some things, some people, remain the same.

There have always been humans who throw their litter on the ground, heedless of the fact a bin is just around the corner.

Is it stupidity, for not knowing how to use a bin? Is it arrogance and rudeness? Maybe both?

But my earlier hopes that this pandemic would inspire people to have more awareness and respect for the environment was expecting too much from some members of the human species, it seems.

Now these litter bugs have a new item to discard – used face masks.

Why put it in a bin when you can leave these single use plastic items, covered by germs (maybe of the virus itself), on the ground for wildlife to harm themselves by eating, a child to stumble upon, or a cleaner to have to pick up?

Face mask litter

There are many mysteries in the world and the logic that goes on in the minds of these Covid litterbugs is just one.