Category Archives: Animals

Things for which I am grateful #364 – Miscellaneous.

When I first started doing Things for which I am grateful, one for each day of 2014, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it. Now, on the penultimate post, I have far too many. So rather than pick just one I’m going to give you a miscellaneous list of all the ones that didn’t make it – but could have quite easily. (Lucky you.)

The point I’m trying to make is that we are very lucky in the ‘west’. And, even though I gripe on about our Tory overlords, I feel very fortunate to live in England.

The sun. (The big orange ball of fire, not the newspaper.)

England. (So much history, beautiful scenery and towns.)

History. (I love history.)

Wind turbines. (I think they’re cool.)

Thai food.

Chinese food.

The industrial revolution.

The sea. (I love the sea. And would love to live by it once again.)



The Romans.

The Greeks.

South Africa.

Elvis Presley.


Public transport.

Sri Lanka.






New Zealand.

Optometry. (I wouldn’t be able to see without my glasses.)

My ex-wife for having our children.


Monkeys. (I do love a monkey.)

My neighbours.


Penny sweet tray.

The Peak District.




The dictionary.






Uilleann pipes.

Sub-atomic particles. (Where would we be without these little jaspers? Nowhere, that’s where.)

Martin Luther King Jr.

The BBC. (Kiddy-fiddlers aside, they’ve done some great stuff.)

The Guardian.


Erik Satie.

The emergency services. (Police, fire, paramedics.)

So, as you can see, plenty for me to be grateful for. But the point is, not what I am grateful for – what do you have to be thankful for in your life?

Wonder what’s in store for the last one?


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Love – Things to be grateful for #354/365

Where’d we be without Love, eh?

Here’s where.


Not a pretty sight.

What kind of love am I talking about?

I think there are five basic types of love:

1. The love of one’s family.

2. The love of one’s friends.

3. The love of one’s pets.

4. The love of one’s children.

5. Romantic love.

The love of family, friends and pets are pretty similar in some respects – when, no matter how big a dick you are – they still love you despite all your shortcomings.

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True, your friends get to choose you, whereas your family and pets don’t have an option. Still, it’s always reassuring to know that someone is there for you even if it is only a disgruntled pooch.


Romantic love is a biggy. It’s probably the most euphorically ecstatic feeling a human being can experience. (Apart from synthetic drugs.)

It is also the most agonisingly painful when it isn’t reciprocated.

I suppose some people never experience true love. And that’s a tragedy. Some people do, then lose it. That’s just life.

I have been fortunate to have experienced love a couple of times, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to share that feeling with another human being.


Of course, none of those relationships lasted and some were mind-meltingly painful to recover from. (Or was that the synthetic drugs?) But I’m still glad I got the opportunity to experience that sensation of pure bliss.

Finally, the love of one’s children. I was a very late starter. I had children in my early 40s. And something changed inside me. Literally. Chemically. I imagine it sounds quite odd to someone who doesn’t have them.

I have never known love like it. I would die for them. I would kill for them. Love is utterly unconditional. Non-negotiable.

Of course, they can be little shits at times too. Then again, so can I.


Love can save your life.

When you’re at your lowest ebb, contemplating the futility of existence – it is often the thought of the people we love that can help save us from the abyss.

So, for all of those types of love I am very grateful. I know that if I never experience romantic love ever again, I will always be satiated by the fact that I have the other four. Well, the cat’s a bit shady, so maybe three.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 20.29.00


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#64/365 – Rain

I love the rain.

Which, when you live in a country like England, is pretty fortunate because it pisses it down all the time. (Not keen on it when it’s accompanied by a bitterly cold wind, mind.)


There’s something very cleansing and liberating about it.

That said, hearing it can be just as joyous as feeling it – the sound of rain against a Velux, or the cascading rhythm of droplets on leaves.

Where would we be without it, eh? Here’s where…


Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, too. And I wouldn’t say no to swapping the North of England for the South of France for six months of the year.

But, let’s face it, we wouldn’t have This Green and Pleasant Land, or the Emerald Isle, (not to mention flowers and crops and animals to feed off the land), if it weren’t for a spot of rain now, would we?


Peak District



Unworried sheep

Unworried sheep

Sorry, couldn't resist. But there is some grass in the background.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. But there is some grass in the background.

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Things for which I am grateful #48/365

No, not hedges.

What’s inside them. Well, inside this one in my front garden.



There must be about a dozen of them nesting in there. And what I love about them is their chatter. They chirrup away all day. It’s quite easy not to hear them if you’re pottering about the house with the radio or TV on. But, I tend not to have either on during the day. So I can sit and listen to them singing away while I’m writing at my laptop. It really is so simply beautiful.

They take it it turns to fly off and gather food. Well, when I say, take it in turns, it might be the same one going back and forth. I have no way of differentiating between them.


The only time they are quiet is during the night and if I approach the hedge. I sometimes wonder what their whispered chirps are saying to each other while I am watching them.

Sparrow: Jack! Jack, it’s that bloke again.

Jack: What’s he doing?

Sparrow: He’s just staring.

Jack: At the hedge?

Sparrow: Hu-uh.

Jack: Is he wearing a hospital gown?

Sparrow: No. He’s smiling.

Jack: At the hedge?

Sparrow: Pretty much.

Jack: That’s it, we’re moving.


Then I go for a lie down.

But, the point I am trying to make is, that there are plenty of beautiful things all around us, if we only stop to look and listen.



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Things I am grateful for #39/365



I used to be a wolf.

In a past life.

A grey one – obviously.

I lived in a snowy clime.

My pack and I made our home in a cave atop a mountain.

I would sit outside, my thick fur covered in snow, wind whistling about my ears – watching, through squinted eyes, for a threat.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

I was never a wolf.


I was a cheeky little monkey.

Okay, some facts about wolves:

They live in North America, Eurasia and North Africa. And are about the size of a German Shepherd. But look bigger because they have much thicker fur.

All domestic dogs descend from wolves. Fact. (Yes, even those scutty little ones.)

Domestic dogs’ eyes open much earlier than wolves, so they have more senses with which to explore the world. Hence, ‘blind’ wolves rely on smell at a much earlier age. Ergo, smell is much more of a powerful sense than vision. A wolf doesn’t ‘see’ you – it smells you.

Wolves are family oriented and couples are monogamous. They tend to comprise of a ma and pa, a couple of elder siblings, a range of middlings and a few pups. Somewhere between eight and forty depending on how buff the pappy is and how big their terrain is.

Wolves are different, in that, the alpha male isn’t usually challenged by an offspring for supremacy. It’s invariably from a lone wolf who has been outcast from another group.

Wolves, after bringing down a prey, let their kids eat first. Similar to leopards, but unlike lions.

A lone wolf will not attack humans*.

*Okay, they will attack humans if, a) their cubs are in danger; b) you are between them and food; c) you are alone.

If you come across a lone wolf, the chances are, it will bow its head and give you a wide berth. Then again, don’t get too comfy, ‘cause it might just be going back to get the clan.

Lone wolves attack things smaller than themselves. So you should be okay. (Remember, you are the equivalent to a bear to them.)

Never fear a lone wolf – they hunt in packs. Make a big noise, flap your hands in the air, hopefully it will run off.

(Unless you’re near its young.) If it isn’t backing away, you back away – very slowly. This will assuage her/him. They don’t want to eat you – just for you to go away.






Wolves get a lot of bad press due to the whole werewolf thing, a folklore which developed in Europe during the middle ages. But other cultures, such as Native Americans, revere them.

Anyways, I think they’re cool.

They’re even thinking of reintroducing them to parts of Scotland. I hope they do.

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