Tag: England

Yet another amazing story about a dog’s skills

Who knows whether it was a smell, or a sound, or what…

This is a story from England. From a town called Tow Law, a few miles to the south-west of Newcastle. As wikipedia explains: Tow Law is a town and civil parish in County Durham, England. It is situated a few miles to the south of Consett and 5 miles to the north west of Crook. 

Anyway, the story was published by The Dodo and is reproduced below.


Dog Out On A Walk Finds Someone Very Stuck In A Stone Wall

He wouldn’t leave until his dad agreed to help 💞

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Published on the 25th February, 2022

A guy and his dog were out on a walk one day through a field in Tow Law, England, when the dog suddenly became very interested in a nearby stone wall. After looking a little closer, the pair found a cat — who had somehow gotten himself completely stuck in the wall.

The RSPCA was called and Inspector Ruth Thomas-Coxon drove over to try and help. She was hoping that it would be as easy as just gently pulling the cat, later named Freddy, out of the wall, but she quickly discovered that he was much more stuck than that.

“Initially it looked as though he’d chosen to tuck himself inside the gap, but he didn’t try to run away when we got closer,” Thomas-Coxon said in a press release.

Thomas-Coxon weighed all her options and decided the best way to free Freddy would be to take apart the stone wall.

“The owner of the paddocks and wall came out and, between us, we removed some of the stones to dismantle the top part of the wall and free the cat,” Thomas-Coxon said. “He made a dash for it and jumped into another part of the wall, where we were able to catch him.”

Even though Freddy was definitely stuck and needed help, he was also not super pleased about being rescued by strangers. Once he realized he was safe, though, he calmed down, and Thomas-Coxon took him to the vet to get him checked out.

“Vets found he was in fairly good health, although he had some mats in his coat, which they removed,” Thomas-Coxon said. “He was a sweet, friendly cat, so I wondered if he was a missing pet, but he was not microchipped. I made some inquiries nearby, put up a poster where we rescued him and also put his profile on PetsLocated, but, unfortunately, he’s not yet been claimed.”

Freddy is settling into the shelter well, and if no one comes forward to claim him, he’ll be put up for adoption. From being stuck in a stone wall to a potential forever home — Freddy’s come a long way.


It’s a strange story in the sense that the cat was not claimed so who knows where he had come from. But his future is much better, thanks to the RSPCA, and if he is adopted it will be to a good, caring home.

Autumn ramblings.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,”

The sub-heading is the first line of the poem To Autumn by John Keats.  The full poem closes today’s post.

Old habits from England die hard.  My way of explaining my reticence to adopt a whole panoply of American words including Fall.  Of course, it’s the perfect word to describe this time of the year but, nonetheless, Autumn feels like its ‘hard-wired’ into my personal vocabulary.

With the Summer heat behind us, the task-list for jobs to be done outside can no longer be fudged by “it’s too hot to work outside just now” excuse!

Frankly, the weather at the moment is so beautiful that it’s a privelege to be out in the open; to be enveloped by Nature.

Autumn colours on the trees along our Northern boundary.  Mt. Sexton in the distance.
Autumn colours on the trees along our Northern boundary. Mt. Sexton in the distance.

One job that we have been engaged in is installing a couple of raised vegetable beds on the flat area that used to be a tennis court.  We had the asphalt base torn up a few months back.  Yesterday, saw the first of the two beds filled ready for a crop of Winter vegetables to be planted in the coming weeks.

Anticipating eating our own vegetables for next year.
Anticipating eating our own vegetables for next year.

So many wild creatures, large and small, are storing up their body reserves for the long Winter months.  Our neighbours, Dordie and Bill, regularly feed the wild deer and we have joined in as well.  It’s fascinating to see how quickly they work out that we are not going to harm them.  The picture below shows a young deer that allowed me to jump off the tractor, go indoors to find my camera, and return to snap the gorgeous, pretty creature.

Trusting little soul.

There’s been a couple of posts that I want to refer to because they underline the fact that humans are so prone to forgetting that we are of the wild, from the wild and connected to the wild.  That’s for tomorrow.

Thus will close today with a recent Autumnal picture of the early-morning mists across our open grass area.

Misty Autumnal mornings
Misty Autumnal mornings

So to that John Keats poem:

To Autumn

John Keats (1820)

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

English, as she are spoken!

Sent to me by Richard Maugham – truly gorgeous.

You think English is easy? Well, we think a retired English teacher was bored and came up with this.

Read all the way to the end and appreciate how much work this took to put it together!

      • The bandage was wound around the wound.
      • The farm was used to produce produce.
      • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
      • We must polish the Polish furniture..
      • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
      • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
      • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
      • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
      • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
      • I did not object to the object.
      • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
      • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
      • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
      • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
      • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
      • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
      • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
      • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
      • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?

Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends.

And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning.

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.  In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.

It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so…….it is time to shut UP!

Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.


What a wonderful exploration with, of course, more beautiful examples yet floating around.  A couple come to my mind.

One is if the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.

I will close with a quote reputed to have come from Ronald Reagan, who argued that, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

A crisp recovery!

Lovely item from last year.

Reported on the BBC News 31st October, 2012

Hedgehog trapped in crisp packet in Weston-super-Mare


A baby hedgehog which found itself stuck in a crisp packet has been released after a three-and-a-half hour rescue involving six people.

The animal became trapped after it crawled into the empty wrapper in a railed off area near steps in Weston-super-Mare.

A shopkeeper heard rustling and saw the hedgehog – now named Crispian – stick his nose out.

Workers had to cut through the railings and help rescuers reach the hedgehog.

Jules Bishop, from Prickles Hedgehog Rescue, said Crispian crawled into the area as he was attracted to the warmth of the packet and the smell.

“He’s thriving now and will be here all winter as he’s so tiny,” she said.

“I want to thank all the people involved because obviously without their commitment and dedication this little hog would have had no way to survive.

“He was very, very cold and dehydrated when I emptied him out of the crisp packet.”

Do drop in on the website of Prickles Hedgehog Rescue, from where this gorgeous picture was found.

out and about in soft release on a summers evening
out and about in soft release on a summers evening

Playing with words

Just something silly for the week-end, with thanks to John H. for forwarding it.


When chemists die, they barium.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

Broken pencils are pointless.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.

Velcro — what a rip off!

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

The recent earthquake in Washington,DC was obviously the government’s fault.

The mystery of nature.


English starling

Ginger I. who works at the Payson branch of the Humane Society of Central Arizona recently sent me the following video on the magic of a flock of starlings.  It’s … well, you watch it and fill in the rest of the sentence; I ran out of words.

A short film that follows the journey of two girls in a canoe on the River Shannon and how they stumble across one of nature’s greatest phenomenons; a murmuration of starlings.

A murmuration is a…

/merr’meuh ray”sheuhn/, n.

1. an act or instance of murmuring.

2. a flock of starlings.

Ginger also included the following in her email,

A mystery of nature:

No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite.

Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. The starlings’ murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practised by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds’ quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.

Despite their tour de force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a decline in suitable nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after their evening ballet.

Two young ladies were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in the short video above. Watch the variation of colour and intensity of the patterns that the birds make in close proximity to one other.

I also quickly found a second video on YouTube that seemed worthy of including in this Post.

This astonishing sequence was filmed by wild life cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter who is currently sailing around the UK in an 18 foot boat. You can follow his journey and see more of his work at www.keepturningleft.co.uk.

Now I know that as I get older I seem to be turning into an emotional mess!  But a very happy mess!  I mention this because both films had me in tears.  Why?  Not really sure.  But I sense that when one looks at such beauty, such real pure magical beauty, and then reflects on the stupidity, greed and shortsightedness of mankind the contrast is almost too much to handle!

And another Saturday smile

With enormous thanks to Neil K. in Devon for forwarding these,

The Importance of walking

Walking can add minutes to your life.
This enables you at 85 years old
to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
home at $4,000 per month.

My grandpa started walking
five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he’s 97 years old
and we have no idea where the hell he is.

The only reason I would take up walking
is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

We all get heavier as we get older,
because there’s a lot more information in our heads.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Football – and the winner is ……. money and the lust for fame.

Well, the England v Germany game was tragic of course. But it wasn’t because:

  • the England team lost
  • they played not only badly but moronically, with an idiotic rush upfield of the whole defence as if it were the last few minutes of the game, thus allowing the Germans to score more or less at will
  • they repeated a few minutes later EXACTLY the same error as described above
  • the Germans scored a goal straight from the kick-off, which BBC commentators said they had never before seen in an international match
  • many of the players seemed “tired”, though this didn’t seem to trouble other players of the Premier League who were playing for other countries
  • the English players mostly plodded about like sleepy elephants compared to the racing panthers of Germany (resisting the temptation to say ‘panzers’)
  • the 5 million quid manager didn’t seem to have a clue; playing people out of position in a 4-4-2 formation that NOBODY else uses
  • there were no specialist wingers; quite useful for getting behind the defence and lobbing in crosses, a strategy that seems as foreign to the manager as he is himself
  • the same person was clearly unable to motivate and organise his players; as he speaks a different language this is not all that surprising – NO OTHER NATIONAL TEAM has a foreign manager, but we have to be different
  • the manager – with three goals needed in 15 minutes  brought on Emile Heskey as our ‘last hope’,  no doubt a worthy person but with a very poor goal-scoring record
  • the forward with the best goal-scoring record of all the English team (Crouch) hardly got a look-in
  • the players were clearly disorganised and uninspired
  • there seemed to be little real leadership on or off the field, with rumblings of discontent in the camp
  • for all of the above the FA is paying this hopeless manager nearly £20,000 per working day of the year

No, all the above is or was silly – or perhaps a better word is “pathetic”. The real tragedy concerns the goal that wasn’t.

The Goal that wasn't ....

Of course, this was every bit as silly as the rest of it, FIFA looking completely ridiculous by its refusal to contemplate the use of technology to enhance “fairness” (a concept I am quite keen on but which seems a bit out of fashion generally). It seems that some of the vastly-paid and expensively-hotelled world-ranging FIFA executives think that technology would “reduce the drama”. I am seriously hoping that Argentina “do a Lampard” on Germany in the Friday game so that the idiocy of this policy will be rubbed in, especially to the (rather sadly) gloating Germans.

But we STILL haven’t got to the tragic bit, which is that the Germans missed a chance to be remembered for ever as the team that owned up to a goal. Neuer, the German goalkeeper, has said that when the ball rebounded from the bar and went in (as it clearly did) he at once reached behind, grabbed it and hoofed it upfield “so that the referee wouldn’t think it had gone in.” which of course (being blind) he didn’t.

In other words, Neuer KNEW it wasn’t a goal but didn’t say so. With this action he joined the serial cheats, divers, “get-an-opposing-player-sent-off” and Maradona “Hand-of-God” players who will do anything to win. These are people to whom the concept of sportsmanship, fairness, honesty and “doing the right stuff” are alien.

In the case of Maradona, the ability of humans to reach the peaks of irony was once again illustrated when before the World Cup started he made a plea for “fair play”. I am unaware that he has ever apologised for his own cheating, but of course it is much easier to urge other people to behave in a certain way than to do it yourself.

Anyway, I do not claim the English would have done any different; we’ll never know. Just as we’ll never know what the score of this match WOULD have been HAD the goal been given. What we DO know is that we’ll be thinking for the next forty years about how silly and unjust this was just as the Germans have been whinging on for the same length of time about 1966. It could and should have been so different. HAD the Germans gone at once to the ref and said: “It was a goal”, they would have been moral heroes for the rest of footballing history rather than remembered (by me at least) as just another bunch of cheats.

The tragedy of course is that a TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY was lost to make a pitch for honesty, fairness, sportsmanship and decency. What an example that would have been to everyone, especially our kids! And WHAT A CHANCE to dump for ever and ever the image of football as a cheats’ activity dominated by the false Gods of money and fame as well as the stereo-typed image that some idiotic Brits have of Germans as unfeeling Nazis.

No, their instinct was NOT to admit the goal and to benefit from an unfair error. Sad … for the next 40 years we’ll be talking about the unfairness rather than what a wonderful gesture they made.

Oh, and as for 1966, let’s lay this ghost to rest. There was NEVER ANY QUESTION that it wasn’t a goal. The referee and linesman on that day BOTH said it was a goal and it is obvious from the reaction of the players that it was a goal, even if in those times the cameras were not as sophisticated as today’s and cannot definitively PROVE it was a goal. I am afraid this 1966: “It wasn’t a goal – we wuz robbed.” stuff is a bit like the urban myth: “The German army was stabbed in the back by politicians.” that Hitler exploited after WWI.

Well, for me the World Cup has lost some sheen; it is all so silly, nationalistic and rife with unsportsmanship. All that one lives with (one is used it these days), but the missed opportunity to make a moral stand is one I deeply regret.

I hope it is clear that this has NOTHING TO DO with my being English. Had our boys done the same I would have been just as sad, even more so, as – perhaps stupidly – I would like to think we are made of better stuff. However, football is not cricket and even cricket is often not cricket today either.

By Chris Snuggs