Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Relief - Puppies Arrive

Having had 4 litters; 2 with Ruby and then 2 with Amber and thoroughly enjoying the experience, I thought of repeating it with Ruby's great-granddaughter Pearl. So when she came into season at the beginning of August I set about finding a stud. All went well, (sort of but that is another story) and on Tuesday 10th October Pearl had 7 lovely puppies.

This was a huge relief.

When Pearl had successfully been mated, obviously I told friends and family. Many many people regaled me with stories of litters that had had problems. Some of these tales of woe were horrendous. Several people implied I was lucky to have had 4 trouble-free litters. I have to say this freaked me out. I became anxious about the impending event and worried about my pet Pearl. My imagination worked overtime. Every day it threw up a new catastrophic scenario ranging from deformed puppies to losing Pearl.

I knew this was just a reaction to the stories I had been told. As stated in "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, using my "system 2" and examining the evidence I concluded things probably would not be as calamitous as I envisaged.

Despite my feelings of doom, I decided to replicated the behaviour I adopted with Ruby and Amber, who both had uncomplicated litters. I would not change the routine Pearl and I had.  We would take the same walks, still explore new places and most importantly for me we would continue to go out and about in the motorhome. I would treat her pregnancy in a matter of fact way and try to remain calm and not let Pearl know how anxious I was.
Pearl and her new puppies

This seems to have worked. Pearl is fine as are the puppies.  In fact she seems a little stir crazy. She does like to go out and does not seem too concerned about leaving her puppies.  She had the puppies relatively easily and they are at 8 days old all thriving.

On closer examination of this situation, it is a mirror of my experience of the recent explosion of news. It is wonderful knowing what is going on but most of the news is of difficulties and problems. Also there is little follow up of various stories.These events are rarely put in context of the bigger picture.  Hearing of such problems can cause a person to change their behaviour out of fear of what MAY happen. It is for this reason I am very very selective about what news I listen too.  It has nothing to do with fake news, it is all to do with TOO MUCH news.

I recently saw on the TV two items on programmes nothing to do with news but which I found life enhancing.

The first concerned an old man of about 80 who was evacuated during the war. He was sent to this big posh house with 29 other children. A school was set up and they were all given a plot to grow some food. This encounter changed this man's life. He was most grateful for having had this experience.

The second concerned Prince Charles helping to save a big grand house.  The restoration and end product had to offer work for local businesses, employment to local people and educational experiences for local school children. It was wonderful seeing the children dig up vegetables and make them into a soup. It was heart warming to hear of a couple of people whose lives had been changed after gaining employment because of the new house.

I would like to hear more stories like these to balance the current diet of doom and gloom that seems to pervade usual news. 

Enough of this seriousness.  

I hope you enjoy all the puppy pictures.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

National Memorial Arboretum

Many people I speak to are unaware of the National Memorial Arboretum. This is probably due to its being created only recently. 

A tree commemorating a soldier
It was the brainchild of David Childs, who during a visit to Arlington Cemetery in the States was inspired to institute something similar in the UK.  

From the outset, unlike Arlington, it was not going to be a cemetery, it was intended to be a place to celebrate and remember the lives of people with the planting of living trees so creating an oasis of peace, joy, hope and tranquillity. 

 Also, it was felt all those who served our country in the many different ways, should be appropriately recognized and honoured.  The aim of  “..this living memorial is to offer families and friends of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country a green and pleasant land to remember their loved ones.” 
An Army Memorial

The Arboretum was to include everyone from all over the UK with no caveats. In order for people to feel the place belonged to them all pertinent groups and organizations have been encouraged to participate.

The Remembrance Centre  provides information. There is space for exhibitions, a restaurant as well as a cafe and delightful outdoor spaces,  “Heroes Square” and “The Boyes Garden”, where views of the arboretum can be admired whilst having refreshments. And of course there is a shop.  

Also to be found in the Centre is The Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness. This was created to offer all peoples of whatever faith or persuasion a place of calmness, peace and serenity. Every day at 11am An Act of Remembrance is held in the Chapel.

There is a charge for the Remembrance Centre. However, it is free to sit in “Heroes Square”, visit the shop, cafe and chapel and to wander around the grounds. Throughout the year a range of events are held both in the Remembrance Centre and the grounds.  Details can be found online at   http://www.thenma.org.uk/events-and-news/forthcoming-events/
WW2 Polish Forces Memorial

The Arboretum covers 150acres and more than 50 000 trees have been planted.  The Armed Forces Memorial is by far the largest and commemorates all those who, since WWII, have been killed whilst on duty or due to terrorist acts. 
WW1 Memorial
However, there are over 330 other memorials honouring both military and civilian organizations. One of the newest additions is the RoadPeace Memorial dedicated to all those killed on our roads. 

Then there are the many trees planted in remembrance of individuals creating woodlands that now support an ever increasing diversity of wildlife.