Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday season

Just wanted to wish you all a very peaceful remainder of the Christmas period and all the best for the New Year.

The warmth of these holidays and the wrapped-up days of winter-time, Christmas and all other festivals of the season can bring so much joy, and I look forward to them every year. They can also come at a difficult time for many if they coincide with pain or loss. I haven’t actually posted on here recently as we’ve been having a very difficult time in our life away from the pets, and it can be so hard to keep up with day-to-day life and especially with festivities in the midst of a dark period.

This blogging community though, over the past year, with so many people writing for so many different reasons and working through so many aspects of life, has been one I have valued very much; and wanted to wish to everyone reading, whatever your circumstances, all the peace and light the season can bring.

 

Hope to get back to writing about our boys early in the new year, but for the time being just wanted to wish to all my blogging friends a lovely week and all the very best for 2017. ❤️

Happy Advent ✨🕯

It has been a lovely first day of December in our little home, starting with opening an advent calendar for the wee ones first thing (Harvey can’t believe his eyes, below!!). Thought I’d be doling out yoghurt drops to the other three at every morning’s door-opening (in a vain attempt to keep everybody happy at once!), but was pleasantly surprised to find the dandelion-treats chocolate replacements are already happily divided into quarters – just perfect for our four!

At the stables, the cosied-up pony was very glad to enjoy an advent treat while his breakfast was made, licking his lips on the meander out to the field.. 

Plenty of time with both the house pets and the horse was a wonderful start to the day, love winter mornings allowing for that. By far my favourite part of a December day though is the evening, without a doubt. Door bolted shut against the wind, candles lit, advent candle taking up centre stage; it’s such a simple and cosy time. My old faithful advent calendar is one with a distinctly pet theme too – a lovely card one my mum brought to me years ago in one of my university flats with a painting of a dog and cat watching and waiting for home-comers in a festive doorway, as was always the way when I was growing up.

Had all four of our boys out this evening for a lovely long play – when they could tear themselves away from their game of the moment, burying themselves in packing paper in a Christmas shopping box, they were happily watching the candles flicker – especially Reuben and Perry, with this being their very first Christmas when it comes. 

Wishing a peaceful Advent/December to all. X

In Praise of Pets ❤️

Sometimes, no matter how grateful I am for all the blessings I have, life can be challenging. Some nights, I inevitably arrive home floored by the busyness or worries of the day.

I’m not sure I can remember a time, however, that standing here, in the stillness – side by side with my fluffy-necked pony, lights twinkling across the dark water – didn’t help to clear the fog a little; and, even in the worst of times, that his ears flicked towards me, always listening, didn’t provide comfort at least in some small way.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are distant echos of the very same – the hugely significant role pets play in the life of a family etched into them. Often, whenever I feel down or overwhelmed even now, I find myself remembering sitting as an anxious schoolchild, buried deep in an armchair with my arms wrapped tightly around our old springer spaniel – a crazy dog with very little common sense but emotional intelligence and kindness in spades – stroking his silky ears and knowing all would be well.

Now, my days are still gratefully bookended by quiet solace with my family and my pets – give me an evening in with my wee boys tumbling around,  a ramble with my parents’ dogs or an hour in the stable or field with my pony, and time and time again my perspective on life is shifted, all the better for the moments of companionship with my four-legged friends.

Throughout my childhood and adulthood alike, the animals I’ve been blessed with have given me so much to anchor me in the storms of life – offering their trust and loyalty against the odds, providing warm welcomes at the end of every day, and altering my outlook when I’ve needed it most. ❤️

 

Caring for the little ones… the peace at the end of the day

Driving home last night at the end of a long and busy day, there were more thoughts in my head than I had a hope of getting to line up – until, that is, I reached the animals. First, the horse, drawing into the farm on a dark night and flipping the lights on in the barn, feed piled into his bucket and the stable door propped open before grabbing his headcollar and my torch and making my way across to the gate, from where I could just make out a few heads raising briefly in interest from their grazing down the hill and then, all making short work of identifying me, just my own boy’s bobbing as he made his way up the hill, confident of a reward when he reached the top.

Making our way in he was straight into the stable and nose straight in the bucket in spite of the fact that our autumn/winter routine is only a few days old, and stood happily chewing while I fussed around him with fly sprays and brushes in his short time in before back out to the field – not yet time for the overnight stays of the thick of winter. 


There is nowhere more still and more calming to me than the abandoned barn at night, our presence and the orange glow of the strip light above our heads the only disturbance in the silent yard, shrouded in darkness at the top of the hill, with the lights of the city across the water the only twinkle in the distance. We made our way back to the field gate where we part ways with a quiet and steady clopping of shoes on the track; and, C sorted for the night, I wound my way on and drew up once more outside home, still turning over so many topics in my mind, when the little ones all lined up to demand attention.

Little Rosie must have heard us mention her 100th birthday at the weekend as in the last couple of days she has all of a sudden looked her age overnight, struggling a little to get around her cage and sleeping more than ever. Although her teeth seem ok, some of her hard food seems to have been a bit of a trial in the last few days, so had her some soaked biscuits and a little rearrange of her cage to keep things close, handy, and up no slopes. Nursing her and making sure she had everything she needed while she used my scarf to nestle in and give herself a clean took all my attention – there’s no space for anything else when the wee ones are needing care.

 

Harvey and Ty, our little mischief, don’t need too much at the moment, but are always there to politely line by the bars and ask for some attention and a wee jaunt out of their cage all the same. We are celebrating Ty being fully back to health and off his anti-biotics now – in spite of being prescribed the good-tasting one, the sight of the syringe made him make this face……

 

… while Harvey, by contrast, became VERY interested in voluntarily finishing up any medicine we didn’t manage to force feed his poor brother!


As my husband despairingly said, it always seems to be the wrong rats who get ill! We’ve had this in the past too, with our old boy Chae spending years watching Winston and Pipkin be syringed medicine for their recurring respiratory infections while he always sported a very left-out expression, had to have some yoghurt to keep him the same, and was the only one of the family never to need it! Still, Ty’s plight is over, and the boys were doing fine last night, both in a very cuddly mood.


The pets we have in our home and have had over the years always bring so much happiness and good times; but, more than that, even in the times they need more help or support or aren’t 100% at their best, bring such a stability, routine, and steadying sense of purpose to every day. Looking after our little mischief is one of the highlights of my day, and especially when things are busy elsewhere, is a retreat and a focus I am so grateful for. 

Have a wonderful Thursday – and a wonderful Autumn Equinox 🍃 🍁 🍂 all, from all of us. x

At the break of day 

Early February always seems to me to be a time of change and new light – a time to open our eyes and take in the different outlooks the world all of a sudden has to offer, after what invariably seems like a long January often most definingly of darkness and unimproving weather.

This February, still in its early days and finding its feet, arrived at the end of another cold snap as the most recent storm of the  winter relented and moved off, leaving behind a dazzling display of nacreous clouds, a unique phenomenon reaching us unexpectedly in a breath-taking and calming swirl of pastille colours as the good weather replaced the bad; the new sight of blue skies mingling with the reflected goodbyes of the storm.

In the first few days of this month, I have watched – side by side with the horse in the field or from the house as darkness wanes, doing the morning pet feeds and making coffee – as the sun has risen and light has crept into our dark days in so many beautiful ways, watching with the hope of a new season as the night gives way to the break of day.