2021

Hello dear reader 🙂

I wish you a positive and healthy 2021.

Below, is an update. I tried keeping it brief.

I hadn’t meant to be away for so long. When living with chronic poor health you have to prioritise with far fewer things as energy and ability allow.

I had the assault to sort out, a book to write, dogs to take to-and-fro the vet and I slept a lot. I wasn’t in the right state of mind to blog either.


Talk of the assault follows/you may wish to skip…

I found it incredibly difficult talking about – and dealing with the aftermath of – the assault that happened end of July last year, which resulted in a poor, disappointing outcome. I feel let down by the police and the powers that be since my attacker wasn’t prosecuted nor punished – despite the mental and physical trauma (the thumb of my dominant hand still broken, six months on), the lengthy statement I gave and visits to the doctor and hospital for x-ray scans. The attack was taken too lightly; I was called paranoid when I mentioned the connection between an abusive family member and the attacker who are friends. Next time I will know that I won’t be protected by the law.

It is insane when one has to watch their back from close-blood-family. I continue to keep my physical distance and whenever the aforementioned abusive family member attempts to connect in any manner, she receives the Stone Treatment. Well, I found out it’s officially called that, but all I have in mind is to keep silent watch over her – a kind of emotionally distanced wariness that entails keeping her in check – whenever our paths must cross. There are no normal affectionate words from me. There is no space for relationship-building discussions when one is being continually abused by that person. That person does not have your best interests at heart. They want power over you. They want to use and exploit you for their own sick twisted end. I’m aware of her now and again complaining to our mother that I don’t want a relationship with her. How insane!

End of talk about assault…


And so, in my heightened anxiety and anger, I withdrew inside my writing world. I had a crazy deadline to meet – self-imposed, just to see if it was possible to complete a book of short stories relating to my favourite animal and genre before Halloween.

Outside the cocoon, the yap of the China virus, the reminder to be utmost careful, yet people are still approaching you TOO NEAR, and people are holidaying here like it’s the end of the world.

John and I took my little dog, Twiglet, to the vet. I realised to my horror that both testicles hadn’t descended – just the one – which carries a high risk of cancer. I love my dogs too much and I couldn’t put Twiglet through that. Thank goodness the operation went well. The only drawback is, he’s putting on weight too easily. Poor little dog got immensely hungry after the op and turned into a wider twiglet shape – that was straining the very definition of the word twiglet. The weight is, fortunately, back down now.

Here, a recent photo of Twiglet:

It was at the vet’s, on two occasions that people – other animal parents – got too uncomfortably close. Whenever I have to go out I respectfully try to keep a distance. I haven’t a great immune system, so it’s for myself and them. An elderly lady, seemingly in good health, noticed my hesitation at passing her by at close quarters whilst we admired the flowers at a gardening centre. She said it was alright for me to pass by if I didn’t mind. We’re aware of the infection, and by that I mean we’re all aware: just that some aren’t taking it seriously. It seems it’s fatal for some certain people (80s+, chronically ill, people with obesity, people of colour?) and mild for others. I much prefer to physically distance myself from others than to wear a cotton facemask. I have asthma and it makes it even harder to breathe – thus, in my country, people with asthma are exempt from having to wear one. The facemasks aren’t 100% at keeping the virus at bay. But I do ‘suffer’ wearing one when seeing the doctor, out of respect for him/her.

I think the best anyone can do is to strengthen their immune system (vitamin C – ascorbate acid, 1 level teaspoon; vitamin D in countries where there isn’t much sunlight; zinc; adequate protein – women need to watch out due to losing blood with menstruation; daily walks outside; reducing stress; keeping body weight to normal levels). And minimise physical contact with others. When the vaccines are working we will not have to worry too much.

I took some photos with my new Canon PowerShot:

Usually I did photo-taking with my Kindle Fire but the camera quality worsened since the last time resulting in blurry photographs. I yearn for a DSLR to take macro-photography of insects and flowers, but could only stretch to a Canon PowerShot SX 730 HS. It has a stupendous erection(!) zoom resulting in brilliant photos of the moon (scroll down to see).

We bought some robin food when online shopping for the dogs’ meds for the year. I then realised we hadn’t a place safe enough to offer it up to the small birds (they need Safe Spaces too). So we then got an inexpensive but well-built, wood-built bird table, sent all the way from Poland. I lightly sanded, acrylic painted and varnished it. It hangs in the same tree as the bird house.

The very same morning I hung up the table we had two visiting robins! You cannot imagine how happy that made me.

Below are some more photos from my garden:

Hibernating hydrangea:

Rosehips:

And with an ‘effect’:

The plants are sleeping in the garden, though some are awakening. They look messy. While *others ‘didn’t get the memo’. It’s too cold to garden yet.

*Morning Glory:

A close up:

Here’s a photo of the succulents on the bathroom window sill. Complete with spider-web (I don’t have the heart to evict the spider):

And my bedroom cyclamen. The poor thing has grown into a straggly mess, in search of more daylight:

And a close up:

For those who are wanting to lose weight, I recommend 24-hour fasting. It really works! I’ve been fasting ever since reading Doctor Jason Fung‘s book The Obesity Code: the bestselling guide to unlocking the secrets of weight loss for five months now.

I fasted in my early twenties but was afraid it wasn’t healthy. If fasting is done correctly, it is indeed healthy. I find it much better than severely cutting back calories. I now aim for 1500 calories a day with more protein than carbs.

Here is that beautiful photo of the moon I took:

Christmas was quiet, nice enough. I was grateful for the festive food (I cooked salmon in our airfryer since the conventional gas oven is broken), the gifts, the company of each other, the animals, and a warm house.

I handmade Christmas cards for John’s and my mothers:

and:

Did I finish my book deadline for Halloween? If I had kept a certain story short, I believe I would have finished all the short stories on time. Instead, this particular short story, DOG BUSH, grew and grew into a novella. So, it’s a compilation of nine short stories and one novella. About 40,000 words so far. DOGGED should be out by this October.

Here are some January 2021 primroses for you:

.Take good care of You. xo

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Copyright Faith McCord 2021

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in Cactus and succulent plants, dogs, health, life, nature, plants, short story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Professor Dolores Cahill, immunologist + molecular biologist 22.09.20 – How to protect your immune system

Fabulous lady, someone who really knows what they’re talking about regarding the coronavirus. PHD immunology; Degree molecular biology.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/rrIRmHjChccH/

#health #self-care #immune system #corona

Posted in coronavirus, health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Beauty: A Dragonfly (photos)

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Sunday night upon entering the kitchen I heard a furious humming of wings and slapping of body against the ceiling fluorescent light tube. I immediately thought of fairies! When I saw it I still thought of fairies. It was really big this poor panicking flying insect.

I could see it was a dragonfly.

I shouldn’t have done what I did next which was to stand on a stepping stool (the ‘kick-along’) to try and capture it inside a clear plastic container. Three times it settled on my outstretched hand as I cooed to it. On the fourth attempt I gently caught it. I brought it through to the front room to look at the dragonfly under the craft light there.

I was amazed by its enormous eyes covering most of its head. I marvelled at the strong aerodynamic body and the metallic wings.

I took a poor quality photo and short film from my kindle. It was all I could do not having better equipment.

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I then took this fascinating little creature outside to deposit it in one of my flower tubs. For a moment it refused the flower and jumped on my hand. I had to gently nudge it onto the flowers. It paused a moment and then flew off into the night sky.

:::::::::::::::: ARE YOU ABLE TO ID THIS DRAGONFLY FOR ME?:::::::::::::::: 

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“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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Note: I wanted to write up this post earlier in the week but the assault two days later took up most of my time.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in nature | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Today’s Beauty: Oscar Dandelion! (photos)

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Photos taken yesterday of beautiful Oscar Dandelion. It’s amazing how much love dogs give. I am grateful for that.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in dogs, pet | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Hello Ruby – fun computer coding for kids

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I’d like to share with you a 2nd educational site for children. I’m not affiliated with them or the other people from the Parents’ Britannica. If you think this may be of interest to you or someone you know please read on for more information or share.

All the best, Faith xo

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Hello Ruby

Hello Ruby is the world’s most whimsical way to learn about technology, computing and coding. We are all about curiosity, playfulness and logic.

We provide tools for kids, parents and educators to learn to understand programming in a fun and creative way. Our story started off with a book that is now published in over 22 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Dutch and even Finnish.

You can read more – https://www.helloruby.com/about

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Fun + FREE activities – https://www.helloruby.com/play

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Resources for teachers – https://www.helloruby.com/loveletters

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Note: I just want to say, please don’t feel overwhelmed by your child starting to learn computer coding – it is possible!

Long before the internet, somewhere bang in the ’80s I was a nine year old sitting in front of a BBC B computer. My dad was always buying the latest ‘toys’ that took his fancy and us kids – just my sister and me, my brother had no interest – were excited to have this mini amusement arcade at home. We played Bug Blaster, King Kong and other tantalising games.

When I got bored with the games I looked at the manual that came with it and keeping a note-book, learnt some basic coding. I learnt how to create coloured words against the black screen and sci-fi sounds. I remember using the GOTO command repeatedly. I used it in my games where pictures were non-existent and it’d read like some kind of game-novel where you pick the direction the adventurer was going in – and suffer the consequences of bad choices. No, I didn’t go on to become a professional programmer although my older cousin became a professor at computer science – he’d only visit us in order to use the computer for free and it surely helped him. The BBC computer was quite expensive and thus the cheaper competitors, Spectrum and Commodore 64 were more popular.

Eleven years ago I bought myself a computer domain but I knew nothing about website programming. I thought it can’t be that different from learning a language from another country. After all it isn’t Brain surgery! I’d already self-learnt German, a 2nd language, by living and working in Germany, but I’m not talented at learning languages even though I love words and some German words make beautiful sense!

Tasse = cup

Untertasse = under cup / saucer!

And the objects are sort of like people with different sexes –

Die Waschmaschine = the (female) washing machine

Der Trockner = the (male) dryer

I’d picture the above words with a man and woman couple washing up and drying the dishes at the sink after dinner.

I didn’t remember a lot of the definite articles though, I was a workaholic and for a few years also a step-mum so I didn’t have much time. My German friends/colleagues grew bored when I asked about grammatical things, I cannot blame them. The German definite article always changes depending on how the word is used (nominative, accusative, genitive, or dative case) – quite confusing to other people 😮

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/german-english

https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/german-easy-learning/the-cases

I had a German friend who spoke perfect French because her mother was French. She tried helping me with my German since we lived together (with some students in a flat share in a grotty part of Heidelberg). She’d say “that’s female because it’s beautiful!” And we’d laugh.

Anyway, back to the website programming from eleven years ago. I thought I CAN do this! John egged me on – you CAN do this! I don’t know why he had so much faith in me. I looked about on the net and found many free resources from lovely people who had taken the time, interest and financial cost to share what they knew – a big thank you programmers and developers! I copied and pasted and did it all by hand using a free editor – then I’d tidy it up later to make it look pretty. I’m a ‘detail person’.

Of course some strange things happened and there were mini frustrations, but I ploughed on – after all, no longer able to work due to my injury, I couldn’t afford a professional website programmer. You DO learn by your own mistakes, an important aspect of any learning. I wanted so much to put my art, crafts, and stories up. Working away at this became my job and took my mind off my unrelenting pain. And when it was done I was pleased with how it looked and worked.

It is do-able! Whether it’s websites or any other kind of computer programming, it CAN be learnt. And starting from young is the best time.

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Sommnia – by Faith copyright 2005

 

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Parents.Britannica.com *FREE* things!

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https://parents.britannica.com/

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Not relevant to me personally – although I was a step-mum many moons ago as well as a children’s nanny – but I thought you parents out there might appreciate the new Parents Britannica. 

Including summer activities, family activities, parenting tips, links to other resources and more. There’s also a free newsletter.

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Posted in Learning Course | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hedgerows: Dusk #2

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24th July 2020

It was dusk and I went back to the road with the country hedgerows. They’re flourishing which is good to see. The blackberries are beginning to ripen, the chammomile made an appearance and there were other wild plants growing.

I’m presenting these in time sequence – start-to-finish – with different ‘treatments’. The boys (Oscar Dandelion + Twiglet) insisted on coming along. I had to persuade John.

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Hehe 😀

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“I want my mummy!”

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WANTED! FOR CUDDLES + LOVE

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Part #1

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in dogs, life, nature, plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Hedgerows: Wild flowers + silver linings #1 (photos July 2014)

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July 2014

One day while coming home I stopped off on a road near my house. The wild flowers so struck me with their beauty that I stopped the car and took a few photographs.

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It’s not often that the borders of the English fields are left looking like this: the hedgerows and wild flowers left alone to do what they do, grow wild and beautiful, providing shelter to the mini beasts and ultimately benefiting us. Soon after I took these photos in 2014 these hedgerows were drastically cut back again. I remember looking for the blackberries and they’d gone.

Cutting back the countryside hedgerows so they’re obliterated is also killing our flora and fauna. Some becoming extinct never to return. Those in power have known this for decades. And yet they do – despite saying otherwise – continue to carry on in this way as if it doesn’t matter.

“…an overwhelming 78 per cent of [British] people want farmers to get more support to carry out environmentally sustainable farming practices.”

– Flohre, A., Fischer, C., Aavik, T. et al. (2011) Agricultural intensification and biodiversity partitioning in European landscapes comparing plants, carabids, and birds. Ecological Applications. 21: 1772-1781.

After World War Two and for several years Britain was starving; my parents remembered ration coupons that were introduced not only during the war when they were children, but for some years after it too. Food wasn’t the only thing rationed: Clothing, soap, fuel, paper were as well. Rationing became even stricter after the war, lasting until 1954. For a while, food production within the country remained low, unable to be increased, and food imports were likewise low.

Under the post-war Labour government – prime minister Clement Attlee (July 1945 – October 1951) – a policy was introduced to encourage hedge removal for the sake of producing enough self sufficient food. But it backfired: This was the advent of new farm machinery – mechanised agriculture – and it was crude, eradicating too much of the hedgerows; and farmers became greedy, purposefully removing too much of the hedgerows for the financial rewards. (I suppose who could blame them after such a long time of upheaval and austerity). Today there are grants encouraging the preservation and planting of hedgerows.

I just need to note here that ‘mechanised agriculture’ was the answer at the time for producing adequate food for the growing populations. Food production thereby greatly increased.

I remember the hedgerows along my road (above/below photos) being greatly eradicated during the early 1990s. Then I didn’t realise just how important they are, but I missed them for their wild beauty.

“Some hedgerows are so important that no amount of planting could replace them. The government has brought in legislation to protect hedgerows of key importance (currently in England and Wales only).”

https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/conservation-and-sustainability/advice/conservation-land-management-advice/farm-hedges/history-of-hedgerows/

 

During the CoviD-19 times (October 2019 – 20??), originating from Wuhan, China, I’m noticing the hedgerows and wildflowers in my immediate area of Norfolk (England) flourishing. Growing strong and unhindered against the backdrop of the clearest blue skies (due to the sharp decline in air travel, another outcome of the virus). The local councils throughout Britain haven’t been cutting back the wildflowers and hedges bordering the roads in their usual extreme fashion. (Although, of course, sometimes it is necessary regarding road safety). That is one of the silver linings of this rampant insidious infection.

I’ve long thought of the positives that emerged from the Second World War despite the terrible loss of life, unfathomable cruelty and hardship. Including a step forward towards equality for women and black people.

The men were away, fighting in the war someone had to get the job done! Women proved their capability doing the jobs that the men used to do: By learning new skills, managing at self-sufficiency, and raising their children alone. No doubt this sparked confidence in themselves, later furthering the cause of feminism. African Americans were likewise proving their abilities when they were suddenly needed as soldiers – while racially segregated within their own military units – and experiencing for the most part, the same rights as the white person while overseas in Britain. These experiences propelled their own equality movement forward for decades to come. In contrast to how well black soldiers/workers in other jobs (both African American and Caribbean) were received by British civilians who welcomed these allies, unfortunately there remained racial segregation of Caribbean soldiers by Britain’s own military leaders.

Another WW2 silver lining: Inventions! Including computers: The Colossus was the first of many computers invented to speed up and crack the Enigma codes. The early computers filled whole rooms, they were enormous. To read about more WW2 inspired inventions click the link below, at the bottom of the post.

I believe there are always ‘silver-linings’ no matter how bad a situation gets. It’s the balance of things. Another positive that emerged from the virus was in many instances, kindness – people volunteering and helping one another.

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This week John and I were watching TV catching the last 20 minutes of a programme about small businesses in the south-west (Cornwall and Devon in England). One person stood out from all the others to me, a farmer called Cyril Cole of Lower Ash Moor Farm in South Molton.

He was a farmer in his later years who delighted in growing and making hay from his wild flower meadows. He liked that his change in farming practices no longer harmed the natural environment – and in addition, since he was one of a few doing this, was making good money from it! We watched him feed and care for a baby Barn Owl to adulthood to give the owl a chance at survival when released again into the wild. This was something he did whenever he came upon an orphaned baby owl. When the programme ended I had to look him up on the internet. I felt sad for his wife Kathleen and family because he’d recently passed away earlier this year. Apparently Kathleen intends to carry on Cyril’s pioneering work on the farm by employing contractors. According to the same article where I learnt about the proposed memorial walk in Cyril’s name, the couple helped others create their own meadows too – making meadow hay wasn’t just a business to them. It’s good hearing about kindhearted people, those who try to make our world a better place.

“I’ve had lots of lovely letters and cards from people who appreciated what he did for them. He’d try to help everybody, not just with the flowers.”

– Kathleen, Cyril’s wife

You can read more about Cyril by clicking the link below.

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Thanks for dropping by, I hope you enjoyed this country hedgerow post. The more I researched it the more I wrote!

There is a part 2 on hedgerows coming soon – about the current ones that are flourishing near me.

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RELATED INTEREST / REFERENCES

UK laws regarding removing/working on a hedgerow

Four out of five adults believe that farmers have a responsibility to look after the landscape and wildlife for future generations

Rationing in the United Kingdom during/after WW2

Mechanised agriculture

Cyril Cole memorial walk

Farmers and hedgerow management

WW2 empowered women including black women and *here*

WW2 Caribbean heroes

African American soldiers in Britain during WW2/The Lancashire Riot also *here*

USA racial segregation in the military

World War 2 inventions

Colossus – the world’s first ever computer

 

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life, nature, plants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Decorated bug houses, seedlings, vegan-sausage pasta (photos)

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17th July 2020

Photos I took of the newly decorated bug houses I recently got from Asda. And the kitchen seedlings of tomatoes – I really must pot them up though it’s probably too late! – and the ‘mystery’ plantlet; and what I cooked that day for our main meal, vegan-sausage pasta. John likes his pasta. I’m not half-Greek like John but I’m mad about black olives! 😉

The insect houses were good fun to paint – I like the bright, cheerful colours. I hope I get some occupants after I’ve hung them on the brick wall outside.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life, nature, plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Patio’s flowers + dogs (photos)

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10th July 2020

Photos I took during a burst of sunshine on the patio.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2020

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in dogs, life, plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments