Saved From Death Row By Singing Happy Birthday!

Hi Peeps,

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Happy news today about Patches the terrier, who was due to be put down in a Mildura dog pound in Northern Victoria, Australia.

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The 17 year old dog had belonged to an 82 year old immigrant from Italy, called Eddie Vassallo, and he and Patches had been together for a very happy fifteen years.

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Unfortunately, when Mr Vassallo suddenly died the dog just got lost during the upheaval.

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Mr Vassallo’s daughter was distraught when she realised that Patches had become lost in the disruption and immediately started trying to find him, although she lived in a long way away, in Sydney.

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The whole family loved their father’s little dog

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They had happy memories of him sitting on their dad’s knee, listening to him for hours while he sang Italian songs.

It was a family tradition, that when they had a birthday, their father would ring them up to sing Happy Birthday, and Patches would join in with him and sing with great gusto.

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Just the thought that he could be in a dog pound somewhere was horrifying to them.

In fact he could have been in one for three weeks and could therefore be due to be put down.

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A Victorian Dog Rescue Centre foster-carer was trying to help Miss Vassallo in her urgent search and she finally located a terrier fitting Patche’s description in the Mildura dog pound, sitting on ‘ Death Row‘ and soon to be put to sleep because no-one had claimed him.

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When asked if she could prove that he belonged to someone else, Kaye Grivec asked the dog to sing Happy Birthday with her.

As she began the song, Patches apparently looked at her with soulful sad eyes, before joining in with her.

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Patches had been saved!

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Miss Vassallo is now making arrangements to bring him to Sydney so that he can live out his life with his family, as her father would have wanted.

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Ahhhhh!

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Have a fine Sunday and don’t get lost yourself!

J,x.

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Tatton Park RHS Flowershow 2011

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RHS Show

Tatton Park.
Cheshire.
July 20th- July 24th.

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Once again many people enjoy admiring the exhibits in this wonderful show, and as usual there are many wonderful displays on view to an admiring public, and of course everyone has their own favourite one.

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Mine is the flowerbed which was chosen to represent ‘the very best of Birmingham‘.

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I think that the ‘flower-power’ Mini car is an inspired idea, which called up all of the 60’s memories of my youth.
It was an iconic car, used to great effect in the Michael Caine movie ‘The Italian Job‘.
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I also enjoyed the ‘numberplate’ touch, ‘cos it’s those little things that mean a lot!

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The British Motor Company, BMC,  produced the much loved Mini car at the Longbridge factory, with the first stylish car leaving to production line on 26th August 1959, to great public enthusiasm.

I particularly loved the ‘Union Jack’ version!

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This continued until 4th Oct 2000, by which time they had produced ‘approximately’ 5,387,862 of those lovely cars, at which time the there were problems

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The entry was created by as part of the Birmingham City Council submission for the Flowerbed Competition section…..These most excellent pictures are with the compliments of the Daily Mail!

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There were other very inspired entries, such as a one ton train similarly smothered in blooms, a WWII Lancaster Bomber, and a Victorian Bathing Hut.

Excellent fun.

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Even the deer wanted to get in to have a peep at it.
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It makes a nice change to write about something nice and flowery today.

It is a promising start to yet another welcome weekend….which has been forecast as being hot again on Sunday.

So things are picking up here after these weeks of torrential rains.

J,x.

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Alex: A Life Fast Forward.

Hi Peeps,

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So here we are, having arrived at Friday again….gateway to the weekend and the promise of more fun.

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Our past week has been a good one indeed, with Big H continuing to improve in leaps and bounds.

Even his self-injections are becoming easier for him now.

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For the first month, he has found that actually inserting the needle was quite a hard thing to do, with the business of preparing the needle and dosage etc being the easy part.

It was the last few seconds that was the problem.

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No matter the concentration, and firm intention, to insert the needle quickly and with aplomb, it was just not happening.

Since the episode of being carted off to hospital, he has had the shakes , and this would happen quite violently at the last minute.

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The poor thing ended up hitting his leg with the incredibly sharp needle, just like a sewing machine, leaving lots of holes….or…..suddenly jerking about and leaving swastika like scratches around the eventual point of insertion.

Other times, he would cause big holes that bled copiously down his leg.

And the huge bruises that resulted, probably from gripping the flesh of the intended site far too hard!

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In the end, I was ordered not to watch until he cracked had the problem.

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But he eventually got control of it, and now he can inject like a champion….he is the Scorpion King, thank goodness!

The whole thing is amazing, and of course it is saving his life.

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It is wonderful because just a few years ago there would have been nothing that they could have done to help him.

We are so lucky.

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It was all brought home to me last night, when Big H went out to play computer games at his friend’s house.

I stayed in and watched a programme on BBC3 at nine o’clock.

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It was called Alex: A Life fast Forward, and it was amazing even though I cried my eyes out at the end.

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It told the story of Alex Lewis, who had bone cancer, which was discovered when he was about 17.

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Instead of feeling sorry for himself and feeling hard done to, he decided to live the short time he might have left, in a positive and life affirming way.

He crowded his life with ‘firsts’, and enjoyed experiencing new things and new experiences, and enjoying his friends and family to the full.

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When he reached about 21 he had done everything but truly fall in love and get married to ‘the one’.

And he even managed that!

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What a beautiful young man he was, truly likable, charming and engaging….and brave….as were his family and friends….and his wife.

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Do you know, I think that this film of his last years was a gift.

I think that it will have an effect upon everyone who sees it, and in future when I get a bit down I think that I will remember him and be helped to get over it.

I think that his life may have been far too short but this programme was a fine legacy and everyone should watch it.

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So, a meaningful night for me and no doubt many others.

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You should watch the BBC 3 ‘catch-up’ service and meet him yourself.

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He died shortly after his 22nd birthday.

God Bless Alex.

J,x.

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Haiku: Red Letter Day.

Red Letter Day.

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There is little wrong

With a day that contains both

Chocolate and sex.

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this one is for P.

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From Godzirra To Seriously Frightening Stuff.

Hi,

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So it is that time again.

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There have been new reports that a ‘Loch Ness Monster‘ has just been spotted by an Alaskan fisherman in Cadboro Bay.

It was said to be from 20′ to 30’ long with humps on the back.

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So, it may be Nessie enjoying her holidays, or it is a new one!

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Photograph of the event.

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Oh, come on now, you know  that little wonderments of this kind are what makes the day more enjoyable!

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Of course, these sightings actually take place in various watery locations all over the world.

For instance….in Japan….4 years ago.

I don’t know what on earth they are saying of course, I would need to be seriously drunk before I could do that.
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Now for some totally real and sensible stuff….but still monsters from 7,000′ under the sea.

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While we are on extreme subjects….have you ever wondered what the world would be like if the world were just +1 degree warmer?

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Or +2 degrees warmer?

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Or +3 degrees warmer?

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Or +4 degrees warmer?

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Or +5 degrees warmer?

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Or +6 degrees warmer?

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Whoaaah!

Things are getting really, really scary!

What do you feel about it?

J.

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A Frog Of Your Own.

Hello, Hello,

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Good morning once more from the damp depths of England’s more northern parts.

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I risk being unusually repetitious this Wednesday morning when I tell you once again that it is raining….with knobs on!

Unfortunately everyone is beginning to look our more usual pale-green again, as those lovely slight tans we obtained earlier in the year are being slowly washed off.

And we are probably shrinking from being continually soaked in water!

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I am also sorry to have to report that my hanging baskets, which were looking refreshed and unusually verdant, are now being beaten down by the relentless barrage of monsoon-like raindrops.

Now they look somewhat sad and scrawny, probably just a lowly 3 on the ‘hanging basket 1-10 scale ofwonderfulness’.

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However, do not despair, because there is still sunshine in other areas of our life at the moment.

Big H is actually beginning to feel great.

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He began his new regime of daily injections of Growth Hormone about four weeks ago, and we are totally thrilled by the changes that it is quickly bringing about.

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Yesterday was a red-letter day.

We actually went for TWO walks…..TWO!!!!!!

This is a man who until very recently could sometimes only manage to find the energy to take one very small walk every few days….and was often shattered afterwards.

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Things are on the up and no mistake.

Far less time spent with him falling asleep in the chair, and he is being far more alert and chirpy generally.

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It is like having a new man, without needing to go through the divorce and the dating and kissing a shedload of frogs.

Better just to keep the frog that I have!!!!

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So, I hope that your own life is going swimmingly, (see how obsessed I am with watery things whilst undergoing this St Swithin’s nightmare!)

And I hope that you are content with a nice frog of your own….or that the frog of your dreams is just about to jump out of a nearby pond and fall in love with you….Notice that I am going all watery again here!

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So, off you paddle now and make a splash in your own particular pond…. whether you are a big fish in a small one or a little fish in a big one….or even a very impressive BIG fish in a Big pond….in which case WHOAHHHHH!

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See’Ya, J,x.

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You Absolutely Cannot Miss This!

Hi Folks,

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I have just seem something absolutely wonderful, and I want to share it with you.

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A humpback whale was trapped in a discarded fisherman’s net in the Sea Of Cortez, off the coast of California.

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Luckily for the whale, three men in a boat saw what they thought was a dead whale lying in the water, but on closer examination were amazed to hear it breathe.

One of the men dived into the water and swam alongside the stricken creature to get an idea of the situation, as it seemed to be helplessly entangled.

He said that when he reached the dying whale, they looked into each other’s eyes for long moments, and it was an overwhelming connection.

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He tried as best he could to send an unspoken message of his intention to help, and he hoped that the animal would somehow trust him to do so.

It was a dangerous thing to be so close, because the whale was obviously in dire straits and afraid and desperate.

The would-be rescuer could easily have been killed by the massive creature.

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After finding that the nylon rope was holding the whale’s fins tight to the body and weighing down it’s tail to about 15′ under the water, the man made his way back to the boat.

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Once the boat was maneuvered close to the creature the men began to try to use one small knife to cut through the net and pull it away as quickly as possible.

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The whole process ended up taking about an hour before the whale was finally free.

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The rescuers were then enthralled when the  animal then stopped a short distance from them, before beginning to jump for joy.

It stayed with them for about 60 minutes, seeming for all the world to be thanking them for the gift of life.

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Wonderfully for us, the whale was filmed during the whole thing, so that we can share the whole amazing thing.

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The equally amazing man who jumped into the sea, is one of the founders of the Great Whale Conservancy Programme, which helps protect whales from damage caused by passing ships.

It was Michael Fishbach.

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How nice to see such happy endings.
Have a whale of a day yourself!
J,x.
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A Lost Sheep Comes Home.

Hi,

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How is your week going so far then!

Mine has been quite interesting.

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Yesterday, I received a comment about a poem of mine which I uploaded last year, called Lost Sheep.

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Here it is….

Lost Sheep.

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He is a little lost sheep

Through no fault of his own

Out beyond the locked gate of the pen

Prey to the sharp teeth of isolation

Alone in an unknowing world.

Please rescue and return him

In a condition as good as new

Safe in the world of the functioning.

Surely it is not a lot to ask,

For is the lost sheep not the most important.

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The comment was as follows ….. Hi! I used your poem in a piece of art on another website, if that’s ok? I credited you and linked it back to here, but if you’d rather I deleted it, that’s no problem :)

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So I went to the site to take a look at what had been done with my poem.

And this is it.

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It is very different this way don’t you think, with a different plaintive air about it, caused by the change of the ‘his’ to ‘her’ etc.

It was interesting to see Sian’s work and her take on it….as well as it being nice to know that my own work had spoken to her personally.

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So, if you want to visit Sian’s site, and look at her ideas, here is the link for you to do so.

Give her some nice comments too, we all like them!

Enjoy.

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Rain, Rain Go Away!

Hi,

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Good morning to yourself.

And so we all begin a new week, all untouched as yet!

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It is still the usual here, with grey skies and if not rain, then the definite threat of rain because of slow-moving low pressure over the UK..

I went out to feed the birds this morning and was surprised to see that the wheelbarrow that I had left out on the patio is almost filled up with rain.

Tremendous…..but the birds probably find it very handy to be provided with both food AND drink.

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Of course nothing is ever properly in balance and soon the cries of drought will be replaced with warnings of nationwide flooding again, because of all the grossly swollen rivers.

Ho Hum!.

The warning forecast from the Met Office is that the heavy rainstorms will continue to keep on coming for some time.

Obviously it is true what they say about St Swithin’s Day then!

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It has always been said, by older people like my own mum, that if it rains on St Swithin’s day- July 15th- then it will rain for the next 40 days following it.

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For those of you who are puzzled by that, I should mention that the Anglo-Saxon gentleman in question lived in the mid 800’s AD and was the Bishop of Winchester, which is a city about one hour south-west of London, and which was the capital of England during Saxon Times.

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So there you are then….on the best scientific authority!!!!!

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You will probably have a damp one, as there does not seem to be much choice.

At least we don’t shrink when we are immersed in water.

J,x.

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From Holidays To Hummingbirds.

Hi Peeps,

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Greetings to you from an extremely wet UK.

It seems that we have had nothing but ferocious downpours and high winds for ages.

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You get up in the morning to the accompaniment of drumming rain and then retire at night to the some beat.

I have to say though, that lying in a warm bed and listening to the rain hit the windows is one of life’s pleasures for me.

Along with Marmite!

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The other benefit is that everything looks to be washed sparkling clean and my pretty hanging baskets are positively technicolour and gorgeous.

And, of course, we are not being warned about droughts anymore either.

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Big H and I have still managed our daily constitutional walks by spontaneously dashing out the moment that it looks like the rain has stopped for a while.

We had a splendid walk the other day when the dark skies and rain suddenly stopped and blue patches appeared quite quickly because of the wind.

We hurried out, and amazingly enjoyed hot sunshine and almost totally clear sky.

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It was a long walk for us and we did not meet anyone else.

When we neared our house again, we saw the dark clouds heading in once more, and rain began to pour down as we opened our front door.

That was a good one!!!

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It is funny really, because the British are great ones for their ‘very neccessary’ holidays in the sun, and this year it is not happening.

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It seems that the recession has caused such a tightening of the purse strings that people are having to make cuts to all unnecessary expenditure.

Utility bills are rising quickly, the pound is not as strong, and basic things such as foodstuffs are more expensive too.

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It has become so bad that the holiday firms are being left with unwanted holidays, and much reduced profits.

They are trying to counter this by cutting the cost of going abroad by offering reductions of over 50% on holidays….even over the most popular periods such as school breaks.

I expect that for those who time it exactly right, there will be amazing deals to be done, and the consumer will truly benefit for once.

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Of course there are strange things that can happen when you decide upon these flights.

Do you remember the ladies who tried to take a dead relative on a flight!

And this week a dead horse was found on an Israeli cargo plane which flew in from Belgium to the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.

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The animal was reported to be a European Warmblood, which was worth about £87,000, and was about a year old.

It belonged to an owner in Illinois.

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The flight was of about 8 hours duration and the cause of death is a mystery which may be solved by an autopsy.

Sad!

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I was cheered up though when I was looking at this clip on YouTube.

it shows a Wild Alaskan Hummingbird drinking nectar from someones hand.

What a pretty little thing.

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I tracked the film back and found that it came from the website of a holiday place called Saltery Lodge, in Alaska.
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Upon further examination of their interesting site, I found this nice clip about a mother bear which is teaching it’s cubs to fish in their area.
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It seems that the films were taken by Scott Kemp, who owns the lodge.
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He has his own photography site if you would like more good stuff….I really like his work.

Here is the link to his beautiful photography.

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However, given that I am a fraidy-cat I would be afraid to be so near to such big wild animals, so just as well the recession will stop me going there and frightening myself with reality!

Have a bear-free one yourself

J,x.

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