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March 2018

Last Weekend: My Housemate’s Hunt For A Cockatiel

By Happiness & Joy, Life, PetsNo Comments

Steve’s new Cockatiel – Charkuro

Last weekend my housemate, Steve, and I set out on the hunt for a cockatiel. Steve had wanted a cockatiel for years and decided it was finally time to get one.

We scoured all the local pet shops. Most of them weren’t getting any cockatiels in for few weeks. But then we went into PAWS Pet Shop. They had three, two females and one male. We instantly fell in love with the male, who is cheeky, chirpy and curious.

The staff at PAWS Pet Shop are knowledgeable, genuinely care for the animals (evident by clean cages, fresh food and water and gentle handling) and were more than helpful. In fact they were superb. I should add here that I’m not getting paid to say any of these things. I was just impressed with the small local business and want to spread the word.

We left PAWS Pet Shop with the cockatiel, a cage, some food, some toys, some sandpaper and various other bird-related bits and pieces.

While Steve was trying to think of a name for his new pet, I started calling him Charlie or Cheeky Charlie. Steve made me chuckle by saying: ‘You don’t get to name my pet.’
‘Well what do I call him until you think of a name?’ I replied.
‘The Bird.’
‘Okay. I’ll call him “The Bird.”‘

Luckily for “The Bird,” Steve came up with a name the following day: Chakuro. He’s the newest addition to our household and settling in well.


Another photo of the extremely cute and chirpy Chakuro.

Blog soon,



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Book Review: Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
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Some people are a mystery. What they think, what motivates them to act in the way that they do and why they tell the half-truths or lies to those closest to them. The reasons for all of the above are only known to themselves.

In Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett, Rose is a mystery.

Rose is married to a sweet man, who allows her the freedom to spend all day doing what she loves – driving. For Rose the destination isn’t important, just the journey and the freedom it brings.

Rose discovers that she’s pregnant and takes off driving across to the other side of America. She leaves her husband a simple note.

Rose heads for St. Elizabeth’s. St. Elizabeth’s is a former hotel, that is run by Roman Catholic Nuns. It is a place where women go to complete their pregnancy, give birth and then give their baby up for adoption.

But nothing works out like Rose planned. Rose meets Son, a handyman more than twenty years her senior. She finds a place in the kitchen, helping Sister Evangeline out with the cooking. Sister Evangeline and Rose become close friends, but that’s because Sister Evangeline accepts that Rose will never open up about her past or herself. Rose also meets the kind June Clatterbuck, who owns the land St. Elizabeth’s is on and lives across a field.

There’s nothing I could writes in this review to explain the brilliance of this Patron Saint of Liars. The first person perspective is perfect and the changes between the three main characters happens at exactly the right times.

The description is ideal, informative and ignites the readers imagination. The pacing, set over a lifetime is impeccable. Each of the characters and their development is superb.

Patron Saint of Liars is a pleasurable read, that captivates throughout and will leave the reader wanting more. It is Patchett’s writing at her very best. It would make a blockbuster of a film.

I don’t grade reviews, but if I did Patron Saint of Liars would get 12 out of 10. You simply must read this fantastic and life-changing work of fiction.

Review soon,



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The first day of Spring – What the pagan festival Ostara is all about

By Nature, PaganismNo Comments

Today marks the first day of Spring and is also the pagan festival of Ostara (pronounced O-star-ah). So what’s Ostara all about?


It’s about new beginnings, rebirth and fertility. Ostara is an equinox (equinox is latin for equal days), the day and night are in balance. After today, the days will get longer and the nights will get shorter. The days will not only get longer, but warmer as well.

At this time Nature renews its self and new life begins: new buds appear on trees, plants like daffodils rise out of the soil, hibernating animals with come out of hibernation and many animals will give birth to offspring.

For pagans it is about new beginnings, such as starting new projects. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the renewal and new life in nature.

Symbols for Ostara include eggs (as practically all life comes from some sort of egg), rabbits (a fertility symbol), lambs and honey.

Colours associated with Ostara include yellow, orange, red and light green.

I intend of celebrating Ostara by planning some new creative projects.

Blog soon,


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The People that are Ignored or Forgotten – Homelessness in the UK

By Life, ThinkingNo Comments
homelessness-in-the-UK Whenever the temperature really drops, like it has today, I think of people that are homeless. No scratch that, I think of people who I see as homeless – those that sleep on the streets.

I usually donate to my local homelessness project The Brick and hope that those sleeping on the street keep themselves warm enough to survive the bitter and bleak night.

If I’m totally honest: I find it utterly shocking that the UK, as one of the richest countries in the world, has homelessness and rough/street sleeping. At first glance homelessness could be easily resolved by ensuring suitable accommodation for everyone.

But the truth is that homelessness is a complex issue. Why? Because people are complex. There are also a range of complex issues that lead to people becoming and remaining homelessness.

The causes of homelessness or contributing factors include:

  • Poverty, being unemployed, being underemployed or losing source of income.
  • Unmanageable debt.
  • Addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
  • Mental illness – including depression, anxiety, bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and personality disorder.
  • Domestic Abuse – including violence.
  • Breakdown of relationships – both romantic and with family, friends or others.
  • Chronic physical illnesses or diseases.
  • Physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse or neglect.
  • Having a family history of homelessness (according to Shelter).
  • Transformation or regeneration of areas – leading to unaffordable house prices, mortgages or rents.
  • Criminal and/or antisocial behaviour including being in prison.
  • Being in the care of Social Care or being in the Armed Forces.
  • Changes to benefits and social security administration and/or payments.
  • Poor social support networks or isolation.
  • Death of carers for dependents.
  • Having no right to work or claim benefits/social security.
  • A combination of the above.

There are two different types of homelessness: 1. People that are sleeping rough on the streets, park benches or doorways. 2. People that are living in temporary accommodation. People in temporary accommodation maybe housed by their local authority in a bed and breakfast or cheap hotel, or maybe sofa surfing staying with relatives or friends.

We don’t have a handle on homelessness in the UK. We don’t have accurate figures of people that are sleeping on the street. Local Authorities are once a year required to go out and survey the population of people who are sleeping rough in their communities.

However in 2010 the Government changed the rules for local authorities (see Evaluating the Extend of Rough Sleeping by the Department for Communities and Local Government). These changes have impacted the annual reporting of homelessness, significantly reducing the numbers of people counted as rough sleeping or people that are sleeping in the street.

It is too easy to ignore or forget about people that are homeless. I’ve ignored people sat on the street when I’ve walked through the High Street of various town centres. The cold weather triggers me to think about people who are sleeping on the streets. But most of the time, if I don’t go into town centres, I forget about people who are homeless.

Here are some ways, that wont cost you a penny, to prevent people that are homeless from being ignored or forgotten:

  • Educate yourself and others around homelessness.
  • Use your skills, talents or hobbies to promote awareness of homelessness. A good example is this blog post, I’ve written it to raise awareness.
  • Email your local politician and ask them to campaign for people that are homeless and raise the issue in parliament. Politicians have the power to make positive changes to reduce and prevent homelessness.
  • Donate old items to charity shops that specifically support homelessness projects.
  • Volunteer your time in homeless projects.

I once heard someone say: You are only ever two paydays away from being homeless. I can’t remember who told me this, or the find the first person to say this on the internet. But I believe it to be true.

Like I believe that anyone could end up becoming homeless, it would just require the right causes or circumstances to become present in your life.

So take action for people that are homeless, because one day it could happen to you. Or to someone that you love. You wouldn’t want yourself or someone that you love to be ignored or forgotten.

Take care,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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