Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Antacids - indigestion medicines

Did you know ... it has been alleged that people who have taken antacids or indigestion medicines at some time during their life are more likely to develop food allergies? Many develop allergy towards gluten and some find that they have problems with certain food groups these are wide ranging. It is wise, if at some point in your life you may have taken medicine to aid with heartburn, indigestion or other wide ranging acidic problems resulting in impaired digestion problems in later life (including bloating, stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, headache, nausea, and so on) to visit your doctor and ask for a food allergy test.

. . . Eureka! I must be a detective.

Initially I had used the web to try and track down the breed of the cat that keeps knocking at my door. As my endless looking appeared not to show any pictures that really looked like this little visitor - I decided that I may have better luck looking through reference books.

I had almost given up hope but determination spurred me on then ... there it was a picture so similar and characteristics to match - I knew that I had found out the breed of this unusual cat.

It is called a 'Ragdoll' cat and apparently starts life off as a white kitten - their colouring and marking occurs gradually over two years. They are the cat for first time owners being extremely gentle in disposition ... disliking hunting they are ideal for bird lovers. They can grow to a maximum of 20 lb or 9 Kg. There are a few colours that the white kitten can change into ... chocolate, lilac or blue, seal, white socks (mitted), or bi-coloured. They are known as the gentle giants of the cat world. It was probably as late as 2000 before Ragdolls were truly considered to be pedigree cats.

Now ... having discovered that you can actually have a cat that is so gentle - does it make you think "I would like one!" :)

Snow, snow, SNOW ...

Today we have had the first snowfall of 'the Winter' - however it is still Autumn. This is the first time since 1934 that there has been snow in London during the month of October. Not only has it snowed but in places it has settled. They have forecast freezing conditions ... so watch out and take care everyone!

Old time tradition

Saturday saw the end of British Summertime and we all turned our clocks back one hour to herald in the Winter. Winter has always been an important part of the British calendar. Years ago ancient Britons stood at Stone Henge and watched the sun and waited for the days to become longer - a celebration for man through the ages.

I always look forward to the extra hour in bed and somehow with the change in the season my body clock seems to respond well to this wonderful old time tradition. Years ago they tried out double-summertime - where the clocks didn't go back in October ... this only really benefits people in the South of the country where the days are naturally slightly longer. To the rest of the country it was a most unpleasant experience ... so let's keep this lovely old time tradition.

Rustic roomy roost

My husband came home with this lovely little present for me today - a roosting pouch. It is made of natural material - all I have to do now is to decide where to place it. I think it may be best placed on either the apple or pear trees as these are places that my cat never climbs so the birds will be quite safe roosting there.

Rustic respite

It's nearly the end of October and the hedgerows are bursting with the fruits of the rose family. These are the hips of the common dog rose that have pushed their way in between the hedge that separates my garden from next doors. The hawthorn which is also a member of the rose family also has bright red haws now. Many people collect all of these free offerings of nature - and for those of you that would like to know ... an avid fan of these gifts once told me that the leaves of the hawthorn taste of 'bread and cheese' - a regular ploughman's lunch!

Knock, knock ... who's there?

Over the last few weeks, a cat has turned up regularly at our back door. It has enormous blue eyes and unusual markings and compared to our own cat is quite large. It must have been watching our cat very carefully as she doesn't have a cat flap but a large cat bell along with another home made knocker which is all but worn out. When our cat decides that she wants to go out she comes and finds one of us and is insistent that we follow her to the back door. She usually parks herself in front of one of us (mainly me) and looks up. If her message is ignored she begins to flick her tail at a leg and if that doesn't work she jumps up and will get as close to a face as she can and play eye-to-eye. It rarely comes to that.

When the weather is warm the back door is permanently ajar but when the weather becomes cooler then the door remains shut.

This blue-eyed cat has been coming to our door increasingly over the last few weeks and has the most insatiable appetite. He will (I think it must be a he because of the size of his head and, of course, body) eat an entire packet of cat food followed by a tin of fish followed by kibble ... a veritable tiger!

Last night - it was dark - in the early hours, about 3.30 am when I heard a bang followed by another bang and another. I was up and in the kitchen - but where was the noise coming from? Bang, bang - then the handle on the back door began to move up and down. There is glass at the back door and I couldn't see a figure ... but if it wasn't a burglar then what was it? As I looked out shining a bright torch the answer stared back at me - it was a cat burglar ... yes the stray cat had come for yet another meal. What could I do but feed it? Yet I don't fancy being awoken like this night after night. My cat has not taken a liking to this particular stray so there presents itself yet another problem. In the meantime meet "cat burglar - the cat with the bright blue eyes."

The bull

I have always lived in Worcestershire, it is as they say, in my bones. It is a very beautiful county and if you stand on any hill you can see for miles as the scenery undulates into rises and dips as far as the eye can see.

As a child, one of my friends lived on a farm. It was a medium sized farm and even then farmers often needed to diversify. So this farm had heifers, pigs, rabbits, chickens, fields of grain and pet ponies. One day my friend invited me to see a young calf. The calf had been parted from his mother and was ready to step into the world on his own. He stood proudly in his own stall and I stroked him - I completely melted when he looked at me with the biggest of eyes. I wondered why he was in the stall and not out on the main pasture. The answer surprised me - apparently all young male calves have to be inspected by a vet and if they do not pass the vet's inspection then they are castrated and become bullocks. This particular little male was so handsome (handsome being one of the things that a vet looks for) he would surely be allowed to spend his life as a bull. My friend said she had been told that it was that very fact that might make the vet reject him ... this little 'bull' calf had beautiful big eyes with the longest of lashes. We waited for several days for the vet to arrive and every time I stroked him I hoped that he would be all right and allowed to grow into a full sized bull.

The vet eventually came ... he inspected the little calf but shook his head sadly he couldn't allow the little calf to become a breeding bull and so the little animal was castrated and sold. I can't tell you how sad this made me ... it's a good job that I'm not a farmer - I think farmers must have some very unhappy days! :(

Little note: heifers are female cattle that are bred for the meat industry they are sometimes allowed to have one calf before they are slaughtered. Bullocks are male cattle that have been castrated and reared for meat production. Female cattle that are allowed to calf more than once are used for milk production. Bulls are male cattle that show the finest characteristics of a particular breed and are used to fertilise cattle of the same breed to retain the best features of that specific breed.

Gurkha follow up ...

For those who have shown interest into the Gurkhas plight - I was pleased that with this particular online petition they actually keep you informed and today I received the following email:

I'm delighted to be able to say that the Gurkha Justice Campaign now has over 55,000 signatures - thank you so much.

I've recorded a special video message for all the supporters of the Gurkha Justice Campaign which you can see at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=InjrGSHMQ2I and you can find more information at our newly updated web site www.gurkhajustice.org.uk

Please do make sure all your family, friends, colleagues know about the petition at www.gurkhajustice.org.uk - I REALLY want to get more signatures, and need your help. If everyone getting this email could encourage just 20 friends to sign, we'd beat our target immediately.

I was delighted to be in Westminster on Monday at the third reading of Lord Lee of Trafford's Immigration (Discharged Gurkhas) Bill in the House of Lords (http://tinyurl.com/3nekbe). The bill was unopposed in the Lords, and now goes to the House of Commons - if there is enough time in this session. Although it's apparently quite rare for a Private Members Bill to get accepted by the Government, I hope they will do so in this case - it simply does everything we want. We just need to convince the Government to agree.

After the third reading debate was over, I went to a meeting with some real ex-Gurkha heroes including Honorary Lieutenant Tul Bahadur Pun VC who served as a Chindit in Burma with my father. At the meeting, it was fantastic to receive pledges of support from lots of MPs, peers and campaigners from all parties (and crossbenchers) to support Lord Lee's Bill.

Many people have asked for a petition form they can give to family and friends - this can be downloaded from http://gurkhajustice.org.uk/gurkha_campaign_petition_form.pdf or they can sign up on the site directly.

With warmest good wishes,

Joanna www.gurkhajustice.org.uk

PS. As you can see in the video, I've made good use of my Gurkha Justice t-shirt this week - a really simple way to show my support for the campaign and get the web site address out quickly. So many people have asked where they can get one that we've set up an online shop - so you can buy a Gurkha Justice t-shirt or sweatshirt and help spread the word with pride too.

You can buy from http://gurkhajustice.spreadshirt.net - every item sold from this online shop will make the campaign a small profit which will be used to further promote the cause.

Gurkha petition

Your chance to put right an injustice to the few ... it costs nothing ... all that is required is your name on a petition on the Web. Please visit The Gurkha Justice Campaign Petition

The Gurkhas are the name that has been given to the soldiers that originate from Nepal and fight along side our troops. They have in many instances given their lives to save ours. There are a few of these brave men who left the service before 1997 and have been refused the right to live in our land. They are wonderful, lovely gentlemen who are asking for our help ... please visit the above link and if you can open your heart to them ... then please leave your name. Thank you. http://www.gurkhajustice.org.uk/

For those who may wish to find out a little more about the Gurkha's then a post has been written by a fellow blogger at The Spitting Vessel

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Cat's cradle

The cat is constantly purring ... she purrs first thing in the morning whilst waiting for her breakfast, she purrs when sitting on the mat by the back door, she purrs as she walks past flicking her tail with deliberation so that it whips at the shin. This year we decided to buy her a new bed - it's made from material and so the walls have plenty of give in them and it has a soft pad for a mattress. It didn't take long before she sauntered over to it to test it out. After a short while I could no longer hear her purring - it had in fact changed to a loud snoring ... this is the first time that I have heard my cat snore ... she must have been having a deep and wonderful sleep. :)

Six, sixth ... in fact all the sixes

What is happening with the media lately ... stop and listen and hear how many, in the world of television and radio can no longer pronounce any word that is connected to 'six.' What on earth am I talking about you may be saying under your breath ... but it is true - we are now hearing people say "sick, sickty, sickth .. and so on" whereas they should be saying "sicks for six, sicksty for sixty and sicksth for sixth" ... and I think that it sucks when people in the public eye don't at least try and pronounce this wonderful word correctly.

See how many times that you hear it pronounced incorrectly ... if I could have a pound for every time that I have recently heard it said wrongly I would have a small mountain of coins by now!

Slithering soapy suds

I had my arms in the sink in warm sudsy water up to my elbows as I was hurriedly swirling away washing-up the breakfast dishes and placing them onto the draining board. The cat was sat at my feet and flicking my leg with her tail ... she had had her breakfast which was a small saucer of chicken and turkey morsels in a type of runny sauce and another small saucer of fish with a few mouthfuls of kibble. She miaowed and flicked her tail with more deliberation ... she wanted seconds. My cat always wants seconds ... she's Oliver Twist! "In a minute." I said to her as I carried on washing the 'pots.'

Finally, sink empty - I pulled out the plug and the water and suds all swirled away. At the very bottom of the sink in amongst the dregs of the soap suds there appeared to be a stone. I hasten to add I am not used to finding stones in my sink. When I picked it up ... it turned out to be a baby snail ... At first I thought it had been cooked in the warm soap suds but after a short while its soft flesh began to undulate and eventually it popped its head out and looked at me. Although I hadn't put the snail in the sink or even can't think how it could have possibly got there ... I felt guilty ... so I took it outside and placed it onto a leaf and it began to slither about. I am hoping that it was fine after its slithering soapy ordeal. :)

Baby snail that was found in the sink!

Indoor suntan

Like most of the intelligent world I have concerns on the environment and so changed all of the light bulbs inside the home to 'energy efficient' ones.

Today, whilst watching the news on the television my ears pricked up as they began to discuss energy efficient light bulbs and the 'dangers' that they pose ... I should have know better - as the more I listened, the more I realised that someone was trying to use 'scare tactics.'

Apparently, dangers allegedly do occur but only if you sit within one foot to eighteen inches of a 'spiral type,' energy light bulb for one hour or more every day. This is the distance that the UV rays apparently travel. To most people this would probably mean sitting either under a reading lamp or table lamp. If any bulbs that may be in your home are ones that are used for very close work then it may be advisable to change them over to the other variety as they contain an extra layer for safety and look like the traditional old style light bulb.

Are the energy efficient ones worth changing over to? Well yes they are for not only are you doing your bit to help with the environment of the planet you are also decreasing the cost of your electric bills ... they are so much cheaper to run. For those in hot countries - using the energy efficient bulbs also helps to reduce the need for air conditioning as they do not produce the heat of standard light bulbs!

The best apples fall

I have always been fascinated with words and as a child would hang on to words and ponder their meaning. I would hear my mother and grandmother talk as they stood peering into pans and so from a very young age knew what was meant by an apple falling. It is something that I believe only happens when Bramley apples are cooked. The apple is quickly sliced into a pan containing a tablespoon of water and sprinkled with sugar then it is cooked on the gas and very quickly it becomes a light and fluffy mass that can be bottled to make compote, eaten with sweet creamy custard, allowed to cool and added to cakes to make them more moist, served inside scones with a blob of fresh cream, used as a side sauce when serving meat or game, lightly placed onto ice-cream, poured warm over steam puddings ... the list is almost endless. The secret is to let the apple fall - at its peak in this process it becomes frothy to produce the very best of English puddings!

Stre-e-e-e-etch - but I can't reach

Sunday arrived and I looked at the apple trees ... so many large apples ... out of reach. Time, I thought, to get out the step ladder and a long handled snipper. Well - it's a good job that no-one could see me (at least I don't think they could) for try as I might and stretch as far as my body allowed itself to be distorted in an upwards direction ... I couldn't reach one single apple. There appears to be nothing for it but to play the waiting game which means that all of the remainder of the crop will most probably end up bruised on the floor. Once an apple is bruised it has to be cooked almost immediately or the flesh becomes discoloured and the taste is ruined! You may well have heard the expression 'one bad apple spoils the barrel' this is very true as mould will spread throughout any stored ones if just one contains a damaged skin.

The big apple

We are still gathering in the harvest of the hard fruits and so far the largest of the apples we have managed to winkle down from the tree tops sits majestically on a sheet of A4 paper above. It weighs in at 1lb 3oz (539 grammes). Shall I bake it, make it into a pie or apply crumble?

Old people's day

1st October is a very special day - it has been put aside for the celebration of every person who is half-a-century or older. It is a day for reflection for all those who have given their time in acquiring knowledge and giving back something to this most wonderful planet that they were born on.

It is not saying that everyone over 50 years of age is old - but rather acknowledging their wisdom and experience. In many cultures this does not have to be pointed out - but for the first time it is now recognised by all in this new and very special day known as 'Old People's Day.'

Happy Old People's Day to everyone.