2011 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.


I decided not to do the postaday challenge, choosing the postaweek challenge instead, so my stats are a lot

lower than many of you who opted for the daily challenge – and I take my hat off to you!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2011.

 (WP short-changed me there, because in actual fact, it was 11,104).

If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The following details are in the report, but I want to make a special mention of my five most active commenters just incase some of you don’t click through to the report. 

These were your 5 most active commenters:

Thank you Nancy, Elizabeth, Frizz, Raising Daisy and Tilly – you are awesome!


My thanks to all my blogging buddies for your support and friendship throughout the past year.

I appreciate each and every one of you.

Because you my blog has thrived!

Dogs Die In Hot Cars-Fact


Yesterday I enjoyed a morning at the beach – but my afternoon was ruined.

The Good

The temperature yesterday was 31 degrees here in Australia (it’s our summer now), so the hub and I decided to have some time out at the beach to try to cool down a little. We went to Woodgate Beach, which is the last open surf beach in the state of Queensland going north, before the Great Barrier Reef starts – there is no surf after that.  It’s a bit off the beaten track, but well worth it, as you can see – this is what awaited us.

There was only one other person on   the beach, right at the other end, so we basically had it to ourselves. The water was crisp, clear and clean – and oh, so cool! There were lots of cuttlefish bones scattered all over the beach that had been washed up, so we collected some for our friend who has a cockatiel. Birds just love the stuff, and it’s good for them.

The Bad

On the way home we stopped off at a shopping centre to pick up few groceries. As we were parking the car, we could hear a dog crying very loudly and as we scanned the parked cars, we saw it at a window of one of the cars. The window was only open a tiny bit so the poor little mite wasn’t getting much air in there, and it was so terribly hot. The dog was extremely distressed, and other people had gathered round the car wondering what to do. Someone said they had reported it to the supermarket who said they would call the owners on loudspeaker to tell them to get to their car quickly.

In a situation like this, every second counts and I couldn’t bear to wait around listening to that poor little dog, so I headed up to the supermarket to report it again; just as I set off, I saw the owner making his way to the car. You can imagine how angry I was, so I went over to tear him to strips for putting his dog in danger like that – but another woman had beaten me to it. She was livid – yelling at him, and really giving him a piece of her mind. That’s what I wanted to do, she stole my thunder – but I could see it was having no effect on this man . . . I think he’d shut off his ears to the colourful language that was coming out of her mouth!

So I waited my turn . . . .

When the woman left, I approached the dog owner calmly, and keeping my voice soft and low, I started talking to him about the dangers of leaving his dog in the car on such a hot day. I wanted to rip his head off but that wouldn’t have got me anywhere, or helped the dog, so I was quite surprised at my tactical approach!

Anyway, it seemed to work, because he calmed down and listened to me, heck, we even had a two-way conversation about it. They say that a touch can calm a person down, so I put my hand gently on his forearm – just for a second – and it worked, because he started to talk to me more. I patted his dog, all the while explaining the danger he had put his dog in, and the tragic consequences.
I explained that it can get unbearably hot inside a car on a sunny day, but even when it’s not that warm, say, 72F/22C outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 117F/47C in less than an hour. Isn’t it better to leave the dog at home where he can keep cool and has access to his water bowl?

It takes a dog six agonizing minutes to die in a hot car.

I hope and pray that I got through to him.

Our pets are precious – please don’t let them down, they rely on us.

In spite of seeing incidents like this being reported in the news on a regular basis, why do people still take the risk – even leaving children in the car on a hot day?

We are just not learning, and sometimes with tragic consequences.

My UK Trip – The Scottish Side


On my recent trip to the UK I re-visited my birthplace in Scotland, catching up with family, going down memory lane and it was very special part of my whole trip.

Our first week was spent in the small picturesque town where I was born, Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, about 20 miles south of Edinburgh. Peebles has a population of about 8,000.
My heart skipped a beat as we got nearer, passing through stunning countryside – and then I remembered why I loved it so much – rolling green hills covered in purple heather, nosey sheep grazing in paddocks, (sometimes wandering onto the road), narrow lanes wide enough for only one car, dry stone walls covered in lichen – everything exactly as I remembered from my childhood.

I was going home!

About Peebles
The town of Peebles lies where the River Tweed and Eddleston Water meet (known locally as “The Cuddy”). The River Tweed is world famous for salmon fishing, and interestingly, Peebles Coat of Arms comprises of three salmon – with one going against the flow!
Initially a market town, it played a big part in the woollen industry of the Scottish Borders up until the 1960’s, and my father worked at the local mill for many, many years.

The town has been a Royal Burgh since 1152 and the rule of King David I, and is steeped in history.

13th Century Cross Kirk. I walked past these church ruins every day on my to and from school, and never gave it a second thought!



15th Century Tweed Bridge - magnificent!



Catching Up With Family
We stayed with my brother and his family and it was wonderful catching up. Their daughters, my nieces, are now grown women but they haven’t forgotten me, and it felt good getting to know them again.  This photo was taken in 1986 – the last time I saw them.

My son sandwiched between my two nieces - Happy Days!

My brother hasn’t changed – he still doesn’t talk much, is very easy going and doesn’t get stressed by anything; he just takes things as they come – and I wouldn’t change him for the world. Love you bro!
His wife, my sister-in-law, makes up for my brother in the talking department, (I mean that in the nicest possible way M!), so she brought me up to date on what’s been happening in their lives over the last 20-odd years since I last saw them!
My sister-in-law made Haggis and Stovie Tatties, (haggis, turnip and potatoes)

Haggis, Neeps & Potatoes

for dinner on our first night – all because I said I couldn’t wait to taste some haggis again! Unfortunately, it wasn’t the hub’s cup of tea – I think it must be an acquired taste!

Down Memory Lane
It was very emotional to be back in my birthplace; it holds so many happy memories for me, and my heart was brimming with emotion as I strolled along the same streets I had walked as a child. Nothing much has changed in all these years except for the appearance of two supermarkets!  The same butcher’s shop is still there and it is still the best butcher in town – they sell the best tasting haggis for miles around!
I re-visited some childhood places with my brother – he took me to the school we both went to, we strolled down the street where I was born (now a Listed street), and I saw the very house where I came into the world. As I stood there gazing up at it, Iwas glued to the spot, and all sorts of memories came flooding back from my childhood. We lived there with my grandparents and pictures kept flashing through my mind of my grandfather sitting me on his knee and singing to me – our special song, and I still remember the words to this day.
I remember the day my mother cut my hair short and got told off by her mother, my gran. Apparently the reason she cut it was because I always used to cry when she tried to get a brush through it (it was thick and curly) – and she wasn’t exactly gentle – ouch.

We walked down to the river (known locally as The Cuddy), which runs through the heart of Peebles;

The Cuddy

 The Cuddy is where my brothers and I used to go fishing for minnows and take them home in a jam jar – much to mum’s annoyance!

I even met a real-life Author!
My brother’s wife took me to the Parish Church to meet a local lady called Anne Derrick who has written a book about what it was like growing up in Peebles in the 50’s and 60’s, my era! I got a copy of her book and it was a very nostalgic read for me, re-kindling many memories from my own happy childhood. Thanks Anne, I love the book and the photographs you dug up are awesome!

We had a big family reunion one night, and it was wonderful to catch up with everyone, some I’ve never even met before. That deserves a post of its own, because I want to tell you about a very emotional and long anticipated meeting with a family member.

Big surprise in store, so watch this space!

Have you ever re-visited your birthplace? How did it make you feel?

Puppy Size

This is one of the neatest stories you will ever hear.  You will know precisely what this little girl is talking about at the end!
“Grace keeps repeating it over and over again.  We’ve been back to this Animal Shelter at least five times, and it’s been weeks now since we started all of this”, the mother told the volunteer.
“What is it she keeps asking for?” the volunteer asked.
“Puppy size!” replied the mother.
“Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that’s what she’s looking for.”
“I know . . . we have seen most of them,” the Mom said in frustration.
Just then, Grace came walking into the office.  “Well, did you fine one?” asked her Mom.
“No, not this time,” Grace said with sadness in her voice.  “Can we come back on the weekend?”
The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.  “You never know when we will get more dogs.  Unfortunately, there’s always a supply,” the volunteer said.
Grace  took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. “Don’t worry, I’ll find one this weekend,” she said.
Over the next few days, both Mom and Dad had long conversations with Grace.  They both felt she was being too particular.  “Well if we don’t find one this weekend, we’re not looking any more,” Dad finally said.
“We don’t want to hear anything more about puppy size, either,” Mom added.


Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning.  By now, Grace knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs. Tired of the routine, Mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages.  There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren’t permitted.

Grace walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look.  One by one, the dogs were brought out and she held each one.  One by son, she said, “Sorry, but you’re not the one.”

It was at the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup.  The volunteer opened the cage door, and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.

“Mom, that’s it!  I found the right puppy – he’s the one, I know it!” she screamed with joy. “It’s the puppy size!”
But it’s the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,” Mom said.
“No, not size . . . the SIGHS. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,” she said.  “Don’t you remember?  When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart.  The more you love, the bigger the sigh!”

The two women looked at each other for a moment.  Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and as she stooped down to hug the child, she did a little of both.

“Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh.  When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh.  I knew I would find the right puppy if it signed when I held it in my arms.” she said.  Then, holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, “Mom, he loves me – I heard the sighs of his heart!”


Close your eyes for a moment and think about the love that makes you sigh.
I not only find it in the arms of my loved ones, but in the caress of a sunset, the kiss of the moonlight and the gentle brush of cool air on a hot day.
They are the sighs of God.
Take the time to stop and listen; you will be surprised at what you hear.
‘Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.’

I hope your life is filled with Sighs!!!