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.

. . . Happy New Year!

At the end of this year we add an extra second on to the time … this is done to compensate for the Earth’s gradual decrease in speed as it turns on its axis. Another event for celebration is the bell at Westminster is 150 years old. The name given to the bell is Big Ben and it was cast in the foundry at Whitechapel in 1858. The bell strikes out the old year and welcomes in the new and it’s dong’s ring out over London but are transmitted over the airwaves on both television and radio.

“Dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong-dong …

HAPPY NEW YEAR … to each and everyone of you – may this be the year that you have always dreamt about that offers you all that you desire, gives you love, hope, wisdom and most of all peace.”

Big ben

Bewitched branches and boughs

There is wide belief in country lore that discourages the use of woods (cut branches) in flower decorations. Many people believe that to bring cut wood over the threshold invites back luck, danger or even illness into the home. So steeped in superstition is this act that it is often rare in some places to find shrubs near to either the front or back doors of houses or cottages. The reason being that a piece of branch might accidentally snap off and be carried over the step without the knowledge of the occupier. Rose bushes, lilacs, and woodbine are therefore planted several feet away from any entrance.

Only soft green stems may be used in posies and bunches of flowers. Some people go so far as to ban cut roses and honeysuckle. Blackthorn and May blossoms have always had links to disaster and so are not seen in vases. Although maidens who got married during the month of May often picked the tips containing the blossoms of the hawthorn and wove them into a head adornment. It has to be remembered that there is an old saying that many use even today - “Marry in May and rue the day.”

It has to be wondered with such superstitions, how did holly, mistletoe and ivy ever come to be used as decorations during the Winter time. Not widely known but many people would keep these decorations for a full forty days before removing them from their homes. Decorations made from woods should not be removed until Candlemas Day – the second day of February.



To bring good luck into a household – make a small nick into the branch of a tree and gently rub a mistletoe berry into the crack - juice, pips and skin. Tie around the crack with either straw, hay or cotton threads and leave in place for one week. Remove the tie after seven days. Await to see if the mistletoe grows a shoot. If it does, then so comes good luck for the person who has planted it. (Must be worth a try for those who have some mistletoe!)

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant – it lives off other plants usually trees (oak and apple are probably the most common) and obtains its nourishment through the sap of the tree it lives on. It was used as a fertility symbol many years ago (now only seen as ‘kissing under the mistletoe’) and has medicinal properties. It was best know for treatment of arthritic conditions and high blood pressure. It is known to contain histamine, choline and viscotoxin. Recommendation – don’t use mistletoe to treat your own ailments best advice – see a doctor!

Cosy Christmas comfy cat

Over the last few days of Christmas the cat has been confused. Her daily routine was altered … her little spot on the windowsill where she likes to sit to attention and peep through the curtain nets was straggled with a rope light. It didn’t stop her trying to creep to her favourite place but she did it with pursed lips and on a type of ballerina tip-toe full of grace and very disarming. The television was on more than normal but this didn’t prevent her from sharpening her razor like talons … being a cat she is always prepared. She is never without a meal – there is a banquet awaiting her at all times … but being a cat she must always be prepared for that one time when she may come back home to an empty bowl and then she will have to put those talons to use to catch her dinner!

She prowled and prowled and tailed every family member she could find … why was it so different from usual? In the end - this busy, black and white feminine feline female gave in and turned onto her back and fell into a distant dream world. I couldn’t resist taking a picture and by the time I had clicked twice she had turned onto her tummy and forced her eyes open a crack … you could say she is a Christmas cracker!




Little note – for all you turkey fans remember that turkey meat of any kind should never be given to cats or dogs – it allegedly is impossible for them to digest and can therefore lead to dangerous health issues.

… he came

Father Christmas came (and for all those fans of Pantomime) – OH YES HE DID!! For there was a small present under the Christmas tree without a name and it was surely mine. But you must be wondering what was the magical present that Father Christmas thought I needed? He knows that I have spent a lot of time on my feet because as we know Father Christmas knows everything … well here is the little present that he left for me. I had other present too from friends and family but this one, I know, was from Father Christmas …




My magical soft knitted slippers with octopus sucker bottoms … just to stop me slipping and sliding about!


It’s quiet and peaceful the night before Christmas Day. No matter who we are or where we come from more and more of us participate in giving gifts around this time of year. Those who have children say that the presents are from Father Christmas … and I have seen practically every faith and nationality join in with this. So I think that this is a special, magical night where we can all enjoy the warm glow and special feeling that we get when we give to others. It’s a night to remember our neighbours especially if they are old or lonely – and if we have nothing to give we can at least offer a friendly smile, a ‘hallo,’ a little of our time.


I have always enjoyed this night from a very little child. This time of the year nights are often very, very quiet … my mother used to say that this was so that if I was very quiet and still I would be able to hear Father Christmas’ reindeer as they landed on the roof with the sleigh. She would say ‘listen very hard and you will hear the bells on the harnesses.’ Every tinkle in the wind was a possibility – but those who know anything about Father Christmas know that if you are caught awake then he doesn’t leave any presents at all.

I think I had better go to my bed now – for although I’m an adult and enjoy giving small gifts to others … I have to confess I do enjoy receiving the odd gift myself!


Greetings of the Season to Everyone!

A special vote

There are many wonderful blogs that I know of and one particular one has entered a certain competition. Competitions vary in the world of blogging but this particular one is reliant on the number of votes cast by other bloggers.

This particular blog has been around for quite a while and I confess … that I visit it every day. It has a wide variety of topic and a lot of care and love is put into its content by its owner. Well done Lainy for producing such a wonderful blog and managing to keep it fresh and updated with such a fine mixture of topics!

Random Ramblings ~~~ votes for ~~~ Lainy's Musings


Please click here for details of the competition


and please click here for the Home Page ~ HOME PAGE

For all other details about this competition please click the link up above.

The Royal Mail

It is almost Christmas and the busiest time of the year for our Post Office. I have often heard of the way that many post office workers go out of their way to get mail delivered. Today, I have reason to thank them for we have received a Christmas card that was so badly addressed that it could quite easily have been delivered to another house in another road in another town!

So thank you post office workers I take my hat off to you ~ a job very well done ~ beyond the call of duty and beyond expectation. What a wonderful, magnificent job they do … three cheers for the staff at The Royal Mail … hip, hip, hip hooray!

Pause for a pose

The cat appears to bring out her female side when she settles into her soft bed and today she lay semi-alert (of course, cats are always alert – they only appear aloof to put their prey off-guard) looking extremely comfortable with her front paws slightly crossed. The display … paws for a pose – shows that there must be surely no animal on earth more relaxed than a cat!



Spend, spend, spend …

According to the experts we all need to spend, spend, spend our way out of recession. Every member of every household needs to purchase to make the economy more buoyant. A few extra items allegedly is all it will take.

I have decided to make my contribution … and have purchased a new Morphy Richards iron with a stainless steel sole plate and a packet of chocolate dipped ginger chunks.

Has anyone else had a little spend?

Puss in Boots

There was an icy chill in the air and frost was forming on the ground, glistening like a billion diamonds in the moonlight. My son came in the front door and was quickly followed by the cat who entered at the back door. My son took off his shoes and the cat bounded over to them and snuggled her head into each one in turn. Then she stretched out both paws and placed one in each shoe. She has never done this before and probably will never do it again so I thought I would share it with you.

The cat warms her paws …

she has to be Puss in Boots

she has to be Puss in Boots2

She has to be Puss in Boots3


She has to be Puss in Boots!


During the last few days I have received a few awards and so would like to dedicate this little post to those who have kindly passed these on to me and also those bloggers that I am giving these awards to:

The first award has been presented to me by Dr Susan Gregg of Toltec Insights … this is a lovely blog that I have been visiting for a long time and if, may be, you haven’t had the opportunity of visiting it yet then why not take a flying trip over to it now … Enjoy the journey to Toltec

Susan has passed ‘The Marie Antoinette for bloggers who Speak the Truth’ Award on to me.

MarieAntoinette Award or Speak the Truth Award

I would like to pass this award onto the following blogs – so you will need to click onto the links and find a lovely person and you will see why I have chosen … Sandi's Pregnant with Cancer and her second blog called Nothing off Limits

Two other special blogs that offer intrigue, love and fascinating facts and belong to a friend from over the ocean, Lainy with two of her four blogs … Lainy's Musings and Our Journey to Forever

And for those who like to stroll through a lovely land of wonder and beauty then take a peep behind Shinade’s The Painted Veil

The second award has been presented to me by Charm of The Journey … which is an unusual blog that offers us all something different so if you have a little time then it is just a click away and the tickets are free for The Journey

Charm has passed this lovely ‘Great Buddy Award’ on to me.

Great Buddy Award

This I am passing on to Heidi as she is always full of helpful hints and she spends a great deal of her time reading and commenting on other peoples blogs. Heidi has a factual blog that is both rewarding and interesting and for those who want to improve their health and aspect then a wander through her blog is a must … so click for a trip of wonder and learning at Health Nut Wannabee Mom

The third award has been presented to me by two separate bloggers ~~~ firstly by a blogger affectionately known as Windmill who is full of wit and cheers us all up with his razor sharp fun (but mind the gales) at Windmill on the Hill and secondly was also given to me by Allena who not only a lovely disposition but also a delightful blog that I hope you are all tempted to tip-toe to called In The Eyes Of The Beholder

Friendship of flowers award

This Friendship award comes with a beautiful verse that should also be linked not only to the people who have awarded it but also to those who you pass this award on to. Here it is:


“And lovely are the blossoms That are tended with great care, By those who work unselfishly To make the place more fair. And, like the garden blossoms, Friendship’s flower grows more sweet When watched and tended carefully By those we know and meet. And, if the seed of friendship Is planted deep and true And watched with understanding, Friendship’s flower will bloom for you.”

The Blogging world is a place where new bonds of friendship are being created every day and so this award will speed its way through the blogging community but whilst on its way I would like it to pause and make its home on the following blogs:

A special blog that tells of a special person with a life full of challenges please visit Laane in her special world in Laane on the World

And another blog that has both entertainment factor and useful hints as well as an author who is both friendly and committed in the blogging world is Tahtimbo so take a short click to a special spot at Everyday Living

Happy blogging to everyone!

Easy exercise

England is full of interesting places that are lovely to visit. Some are ancient, littered with remnants of old buildings and walls and when you place your hand on the stones that once were part of our ancestors vibrant communities a strange and wonderful feeling occasionally surges through your body. Perhaps it’s a minute thread that enables part of something within in us to lock on to a life that is now lost or may be it is something else. In many of these sites visitors are left with a deep inner peace which doesn’t appear to be obtainable any where else in the world. These ancient stones pull away the fears and stresses of modern life and seem to energise the whole being … so when I get the opportunity I love to go to these places gently stroll around them and touch the stones and just see if I can feel anything. Only once have I felt a sense of darkness … a deep foreboding as though something dreadful had occurred near to a specific place where I was standing.


Redditch in Worcestershire is an old town. Parts of its history can be found buried in many ancient documents. Much of the town and surrounding areas are fairly new and come under the term ‘New Town’ as they were created as an overspill for the overburdened built up areas of Birmingham. As more and more new properties and roads were added so the innovation took hold and extra trees, bushes, nature walks and so on spread their way through this lovely picturesque area of the county.

One of the places that is a suitable area for all ages to visit is Arrow Valley Park which is almost on the border of Warwickshire. In the middle there is a large shaped lake that is home to a wide variety of fish and birds. The lake has a pathway all around it that is a mile in length – so wherever you choose to start from by the time that you have strolled around it back to the place where you first began your walk then your adventure will have measured one full mile.

There are fishing platforms for those who enjoy the sport, yachts for the sailing community, other varieties of boats, feeding stations for youngsters to throw out small fistfuls of food for the water fowl and wild birds, places to picnic and a beautiful peace garden (pictured below).

Peace Garden



Feeding platform at Arrow Valley Lake

Clustrmap change

For those who have added Clustrmap to their blogs there is now a new addition to add to the fun of the red spot challenge (seeing how much of your map you can cover with red spots) – they have now added listings so that you can see where your readers are coming from:




For those who wish to add Clustrmap (just for fun) Clustrmap please note it is best located as high up the blog page as possible to capture as many visitors as you can. As many bloggers receive visitors whilst using Entrecard it must be noted that owing to speed droppers that are fast blog runners some of these particular visits are not picked up by any external counters.

Dragon fruit

This bright pink, almost cerise, egg shaped fruit that looks as though it is covered in giant reptile scales is usually found on the top most supermarket or green grocers shelves … almost out of reach. Babies wriggle their fingers stretching towards it. Old people look at it oddly and then shuffle off over to the apples. People my age are haunted at the temptation of trying something new, a fruit that looks as though it could have come from an unknown galaxy … and surely must taste nice. I have over the last few years, looked at dragon fruits with a yearning to try something so exotic – like Eve temptation was just a small stretch away. Although I have been tempted this fruit has always been guarded by a serpent … the price. Each fruit has been on sale for approximately £1.79 and compared with 20 pence for an apply and 12 pence for a banana and even 99 pence for a pineapple … it has been marked up at a price that makes the average person wince.

Whilst shopping the other day I saw that five dragon fruits had been reduced to 40 pence each … my chance, at last, to try a new taste. Would it be sweet and juicy or sour like a gooseberry?

I split the fruit in half and like Eve I shared it with Adam. In other words I gave half to my husband. Was it a berry or a droop? All fruits containing all of their seeds on the inside are classified as berries whereas when each seed lies in a separate contained segment they are known as a droop. The flesh was white with little tiny black pips (a berry!). I pushed in a small teaspoon and pulled out an almost perfect sphere of the flesh … my mouth by this time was watering in expectation … I was so disappointed, the fruit was completely tasteless and the small pips lightly crunched on the teeth. At least I have tried it and no longer will I wonder what it tastes like and now it doesn’t hold any temptation over me.

dragon fruit2

dragon fruit

dragon fruit1

Dragon fruit

Cat’s court

Today marks the opening of parliament by the Queen - and the sun is shining down furiously which has melted much of the crispness of the frost covered land.

The cat decided upon early exploration of the garden and ventured out at 7.00 am this morning … sniffing in the coolness before her pads tumbled onto the path outside the back door. She was back with almost the speed of a cheetah and jumped onto the small step stool where she waited patiently for her breakfast. Never has a cat been so spoilt – for she has a full banquet of food … with dishes of fish, meat in jelly, Iams ‘Natures Wellness’ chicken flavour, her favourite dried food of purple Iams kitten and junior roast chicken flavour and Thomas treats. She waits until each dish is placed down before she breaks her fast for the day.

As the sun came out and began to ‘slightly’ warm up the day she again walked to the back door and lightly waltzed off the back step. She moved her pace into almost slow motion as she skirted around the garden’s pathways and finally alighted onto the wheelbarrow which became her thrown and lookout onto her world.





Petal packed Purple Pixie

About six years ago whilst on a family drive, heading in a round-about-way home through the Worcestershire countryside, we found a little village or hamlet called Little Heath. It was coming towards the end of a glorious sunny afternoon when we finally decided to stretch our legs for one last time before returning home. We drove into the ‘crunchy car park’ of Little Heath Nurseries.

Through a wooden gateway and neatly pebbled pathway we proceeded into an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ type shop of all kinds of colourful and magical items as well as the usual seeds and tools. I could have spent a good hour or more in the shop but headed through to the back where the plants sat in neat rows. There at the very front of the shrubs my eyes were taken with a dwarf hebe. The last hebe that I had purchased only lasted a short eighteen months before dying out. Now my eyes twinkled at a bright violet purple flowered variety apparently called Purple Pixie …

Purple Pixie2

Purple Pixie

Hebe Purple Pixie

My fingers are crossed as this lovely brightly flowered hebe has survived five winters and is now approaching its sixth. We have had several frosts over the last week or so and it is still bearing flowers that are in full bloom. (The picture above was taken a few months ago.)


Do you hear owls hooting?

Today, I turned over the calendar page and there facing me to welcome in the last month of the year was a magnificent picture of an owl. A thought suddenly gripped me … how long ago was it when I last heard an owl hoot? The answer is, I sadly don’t know. It was a very long, long, long time ago. There used to be owls hooting all night long. Many a night in the past I have tossed and turned listening to them hooting both near and far. Have the owls in my area all died out?

Is there anyone anywhere that can still hear owls?

The most common owl in Britain has always been regarded as the Tawny Owl. It is small and has a beautiful call that many will have heard … “T-wit-T-woo.” I used to think that this was one owl but in fact it is two conversing … The female strikes up the conversation with “T-wit” and the male replies with “T-woo.”

The male responds so quickly to the females cry or hoot that it sounds remarkably like one bird … “T~wit-T~woo!”




~ Tawny owl ~