Friday 31 August 2012

Dear Mother.

Dear Mother,

We are so far apart and yet we are so close together. You live in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.  I live in Leek, Staffordshire, England.   Eight time zones apart and a distance of about 4600 miles.
Almost every Saturday we chat on the phone.  And your calls, your love, your support and encouragement, have seen me through the toughest times of my life.
Oh how I miss you.  And today, August 31, 2012, this very special day, I dedicate this posting to you, my beloved mother.
My mother does volunteer work.  Every few months she goes into Vancouver on the bus and the rapid transit system to look after and serve meals to "the old folks".  Dear mother, have a peaceful, positive eightieth birthday.  I love you.

Gary xx

Blog Air Charter Flight.

Ah yes, 'Blog Air', in its latest attempt to diversify, to try new markets in the blogging sky, has come up with the charter flight.  All seats are in the same class.  No distinction, just a no-frills experience where all bloggers are treated the same.
And so, what happened next on the inaugural flight of  Blog Air charter?  Thought you'd never ask.  Due to some misunderstanding, some bloggers were caught unaware and had no idea that it was a charter flight.  Chaos and confusion ensued.
A self-obsessed, self-promoting blogger ended up sitting beside a shy, humble and oh so unassuming blogger.  The self-obsessed, self-promoting blogger went on and on and on...about how great they were and how important it was to check out the links on their blog that linked back to all their other fabulous, must read postings.  The shy, humble and oh so unassuming blogger, fell asleep.  This was an outrage!  How dare anybody not pay attention to them!

An alleged comedy blogger ended up sitting beside a sarcastic blogger.  The alleged comedy blogger proceeded to bore the hell out of the sarcastic blogger with their so-called comedy.  'Hey friend!  My comedy has been compared to that comedy 'genius', Russell Brand!'  'Oh?' replied the sarcastic blogger, I'm thrilled for you to be compared to Russell Brand, a comedy genius who looks like a reject from a "Pirates of the Caribbean" audition.   Well done, you!'

And horror of horrors.  A crude dude blogger who insisted that almost every other word was some sort of Anglo-Saxon derivative, was sitting beside one of those most exciting of bloggers.  Yes, the crude dude blogger was sitting beside a lady blogger who wrote such incredibly riveting stuff about how she, the hubby and the kids went to McDonald's and had an extra portion of fries!  She starting telling the crude dude blogger about the thrilling, adventurous life she led.  She even mentioned that her next posting was about how she put some extra chocolate chips in the cookies!   The crude dude blogger said, 'That's f**king awesome!  F**king fantasy!  I bet you and that hubby of yours had some right f**king orgies in your kitchen!'  To which she replied, 'No, not really, but he just loves to add to some extra cream to my coffee.'
And then there was the 'extremely popular' blogger with well over a zillion followers, sitting beside a blogger with very few followers.  Now then, the blogger with over a zillion followers had only a couple of comments on their latest posting.  This same blogger's icon could be seen all over the blogging world and they would leave token comments stating, 'Great post!  Thanks for sharing.  I follow your blog.!'  The blogger with very few followers had several comments on their site.  This might just tell you something.
Anyway, the blogger with over a zillion followers discovered that the blogger beside them had only a few followers.  The zillion followers blogger yelled over at the flight attendant.  'Excuse me, this must be a mistake! Get me a seat next to somebody who is popular like me!'  'Sorry sir', stated the flight attendant, 'this is a charter flight and all are seated equally.  However, the exit door can be found just over there.'  

Aha!  Look who's the pawlet, sorry, who's the pilot of Blog Air Charter Flight.  Yes indeed, it's Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest airline pilot!

'Hello bloggers, this is your captain speaking.  Captain Penny.  Welcome to this charter flight on the blogger's favourite airline, Blog Air.  We are cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet and expect to arrive at 'Blogland' international airport at approximately six P.M., local time
Please enjoy your flight and remember to rejoice in the diversity of blogging.  All different, all equal in a sharing, caring community.  Thank you for flying Blog Air.'  

Monday 27 August 2012

That Ribbon Would Be Perfect For My Rhythmic Gymnastics Routine.

Hi, yes it's me, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.  I realise you've been anxiously waiting for another must read article from me.  I noted that a few bloggers have said they cannot think of anything to write about.  The solution, if you have a dog, or a budgie, or a rabbit, or an iguana, or even, heaven forbid, a cat, is let them take over the peeboard, I mean keyboard and share to an expectant world, their words about unconditional, non judgemental love.
Besides, with me taking over this site, it lets Gary, the human I so kindly allow to live with me, take a bit of a break so he can reflect upon all the writing tips I've tried to teach him.
Arf! Arf!  Yes indeed, I have received the "Fabulous Blog Ribbon" award from a human who recognises what a marvel, what a talent I am.  Thus, I wish to thank that lovable Canadian human, Joylene Nowell Butler for the award.  Joylene, who writes an amazing blog and is a published author, can be discovered, if for some strange reason you've never visited her site, right here  >>>>> Joylene Nowell Butler, Suspense Author .

That ribbon would be perfect for my rhythmic gymnastics routine.

Oh my, here are the rules in accordance with this award.

1 : Post the rules on your blog.
2 : Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3 : Name five things you love.
4 : Name five things you hate.
5 : Pass the award onto five other bloggers.

Five Fabulous Moments.  

1 : The day I first met Gary's son, Tristan.  I knew, right then and there, that I would go and live with him.
2 : The day I realised that I could "Google" myself .  I typed in "Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star" and wow, there is loads of stuff about me, yes me, modest me.
3 : The time I went out wearing sunglasses and fooled the 'puparazzi'.  Nice not to be hounded, for a change.
4 : The realisation that whenever I do a pawsting, sorry, posting, the number of visits on this site go through the ruff, I mean roof.
5 :  The wonderful feeling I had that my very own award, "The Gold Framed Dog Blog Award", spread joy and wonder around the world.

Five Things I Love.

1 : I love Tristan.
2 : I love Gary.
3 : I love humans who treat us animals with the same love and affection we show them.
4 : I love the sun shining through the window.
5 : I love to go for walks and observe the magic of the great outdoors.

Five Things I Hate.

1 : Thunder and lightning.
2 : Fireworks being set off outside my home.
3 : Seeing my humans sad.
4 : Watching other animals on television and finding I cannot be with them.
5 : People who are cruel to animals.

The Five Bloggers.

1 : Ten lives and second chances  
2 : CindyLu'sMuse  
3 : BrownDogCBR  
4 : Four Legged Views 
5 : Inside the chicken coop  

I would ask you kindly, if you have never visited the above blogging links, to check them out.  And you might of guessed they all have some sort of animal theme.  All of them passionate about demonstrating the unconditional, non-judgemental love that we animals so freely share.
Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses, Penny xx

Thursday 23 August 2012

An Award Passed On With The Ideals Of Positive Reinforcement.

I have had the privilege of receiving "The Versatile Blogger" award from Danielle whose blog can be discovered over at this site : Sweet Tea Reads .  Thank you, Danielle and I hope folks who have never visited your site will go and check it out.
Now then, there are rules attached to this award.   
1 : Add the Versatile Blogger award to your sidebar.  
2 : Do a posting about the award.
3 : Thank the blogger who bestowed the award and have a link back to their blog.  
4 : Share seven completely random things about yourself.  
5 : Nominate five bloggers for The Versatile Blogger award and inform each person that you have forwarded the award to them.

Fair enough, those are basically the rules.  However, I'm going to partially break the rules.  I've bored you enough before with seven random facts about me and so I'm giving that a miss.  I also want those who I forward this award onto know that I need no acknowledgement whatsoever.  Just do with it as you wish and know that this is my way of letting you know how much I admire what you are doing.  
In theme with my most recent postings, I'm going to pass on the award to five bloggers who are doing their best to embrace the power of positive resources, distractions and affirmations that are conducive to mental health well being.  If you have never visited the following five sites, I would kindly ask you to check them out.  Thank you.

Once again, to those five recipients, please do not feel any pressure to acknowledge the award.  Just know you have my total respect and admiration.
And thanks again, Danielle.  And to you, my friend, if you are feeling alone, need some inspiration in moments of despair, have a read, interact, with the five bloggers on my list.  I thank you for your time.  

Sunday 19 August 2012

Steps In The Right Direction.

There have been times when I felt like a distant spectator, too scared to be part of it all.

The torment of clinical depression means I have good days and I have bad days.  With determination and reaching out for positive resources, positive distractions, the bad days are further apart.
It takes a lot to challenge my fears, to get out of the house, get out on the road and find the destination that brings the tantalising magic of adventure.
I first met my friends, Julie and Philip, who now live in Cardigan, Wales, when we all worked for a mental health charity based in Stoke on Trent.  We are no longer involved with that charity and we have our various reasons.  I, for one, got disillusioned by the lack of support and encouragement.  I was vulnerable and that was exploited.  I felt taken for granted and the awful irony was that the charity actually reinforced my mental health issues.  Instead of feeling empowered, I felt used and disrespected.  My genuine empathy for those who needed help and reassurance, was undermined by a charity that seemed to put funding before the powerful ideals of empathy.  I moved on and we all moved on.
Julie and Philip have now set up a new mental health charity in Cardigan, Wales and I'm trying to be, from a distance, an integral part of it.  We are determined to show compassion and understanding to those who are needing a helping hand.  We are determined that this charity will demonstrate that there is no shame in having mental health issues and that one doesn't need to feel alone.  Time to eradicate the unfair stigma, the stereotypes, the labels, that still surround mental health concerns.  We are, very much, all in this together.
If you are needing support, or know of somebody who might appreciate support and live within a twenty mile radius of Cardigan, Wales, Julie and Philip have meetings that can be of mutual benefit.  No matter what, if you are struggling, need someone to 'chat' to, there are various resources online that can be of help.  I used to be the moderator on a mental health 'chat room' and it was the stepping stone for a number of those who wanted to pursue other avenues in their recovery.

Here is the link to the charity that Julie and Philip have started:  STEPS TO MENTAL HEALTH   They welcome your interaction, whether it be via a meeting, or if you just wish further information.

Please realise that mental health concerns can happen to anyone.  Those who would stigmatise, must understand that a negative environment can overwhelm any of us.  That's why it's imperative that we reach out and be here for each other.  I am not ashamed of who I am and through further awareness and understanding, we can finally remove the stigma still surrounding mental health issues.  Yes, we are all in this together.  All different and all equal.  Help each other, we help ourselves.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

More Tales From Wales.

On Wednesday afternoon, August 8, I set out for my latest adventure to Cardigan, Wales.  From Leek via Market Drayton, Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Newtown, Llangurig, Aberystwyth and finally, Cardigan.  A distance of about 157 miles and a driving time of slightly over 4 hours.
Yes indeed, driving in Britain can be quite the long, drawn out process.  Unless you are near a motorway.  Even then, a motorway can seem more like a gigantic parking lot.  And thus, with little choice and with no satellite navigation, I encountered the occasional mystery roundabout.  This would be the roundabout where I'm expecting to see a name of a place I've mapped out.  Only to find that the roundabout indicates I'm heading for 'Upper Lower Piggy Bottom'.  This means I end up going around and around and around the roundabout until I decide to follow that very slow moving tractor.
For the next few miles, I'm stuck behind a tractor, going uphill, on a narrow, winding road.  There is now a long line of cars behind me. Finally, there is a safe opportunity to pass the tractor. Just as I'm about to pass the tractor, the driver behind me overtakes me and the tractor.  I still have time to overtake and now I'm starting to accelerate to an amazing 40 miles per hour.  Then I get stuck behind a motorhome, going uphill, on a narrow, winding road.  

However, the journey was worth it.  My friends, Julie and Philip, took me from their home near Cardigan, to this location, Cenarth Falls.  A distance of about 9 miles south of Cardigan.
Here is the bridge at Cenarth Falls.
The next day, August 10, we headed to Tresaith beach, about a 10 minute drive north of where my friends live.  Here is the signpost to the beach.  Getting to the beach from the nearby town of Aberporth, entails walking down a steep path along some very high cliffs.
A view from the cliff on our way to Tresaith beach.
My friend, Philip, taking in the breathtaking panorama.
And a couple of canoeists on such a glorious, sunny day.
A first glimpse of Tresaith beach.  Do you see the waterfall in the middle of the photo?
Tresaith beach.
The waterfall.
A look back towards the beach from near the waterfall.
Evening was drawing in and the sun cast sparkles of light upon the sea.
On this, the third day of my journey, I looked upon the reflections in the sea.  And yes, fleeting glimpses of dolphins, brought on a sense of excitement, of awe, of wonder.  There they were, a trio leaping in and out of turquoise waters.  I listened to the crashing waves and the crying of the seagulls.  I dipped my toes in pristine seas and I knew, I just knew, that the positive journey that I felt in Wales, was only the beginning.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

The Cardigan That Suits Me.

No, not that type of cardigan!  Never see me in a tacky cardigan, complete with pipe and comfy slippers. Oh no, not me.

No, I'm referring to Cardigan, Wales.  This is a photo of the harbour in Cardigan, Wales, I took last July.  I've been wanting to visit my friends again for just over a year.  Yet my concern for my son's well being, made it difficult for me to contemplate even going away.
Now that he has some upcoming temporary work, I can finally feel okay about heading to the Cardigan that suits me.

And through the field of maize, once again, I shall cast my eyes upon the enchanting beauty of Cardigan, Wales.

Once again, I shall look out beyond the beach and drift away to the island of positive thoughts.

Can you sense the gentle, soothing ambience?

My journey back to this wondrous place begins on Wednesday morning.  I shall be staying with my dear friends, Julie and Philip, who have set up a new mental health charity.  Now is my chance to finally be a part of their worthy endeavour.  Now is my chance to start living my life again.
I shall be gone for the next few days.  I'm staying away from a computer and going to my own "klahanie".  Klahanie, a word from the Chinook tribe of the Pacific North West coast of North America meaning, "the great outdoors".
Peaceful and positive wishes to you, my friend.

Saturday 4 August 2012

The High Street.

"The High Street."  A  term mostly associated with Britain to describe the main street of a town where you have your traditional shops, banks and even the great British social pastime known as the pub.  This would be the pub where folks can go and get sloshed out of their minds, especially on Friday nights.  Upon getting inebriated and catatonic, these same folks head to another traditional high street establishment, the kebab shop and order several doner kebabs.  They then proceed to stuff the kebabs somewhere in the vicinity of their mouths.  Soon they get violently ill and puke out said kebabs onto the pavement outside the kebab shop.  

Above is a photo of a traditional pub on a traditional British High Street.  You can make your own jokes in regards to the name of the pub.  I remember the first time I ventured into a pub in England.  Not sure what sort of beer to try.  I asked the pub landlord what he would recommend.  "Bitter?" was his reply.  To which I responded, "No, not really.  Why do you ask?"  And if you are not from Britain and don't know what I'm talking about, please see here : Bitter  
To feel more involved with the local community, I joined a quiz team in a nearby pub.  It was called a "pub quiz."  Unfortunately, my knowledge of pubs was very limited.  One of the ladies on my team enjoyed doing sketchings of people during the intermission of the pub quiz.  She asked if she could sketch me.   "Don't worry!  I've been sketching for three months." she declared.  I answered by saying, "Well, you'd better get some sleep."  Upon realising that I was being literally silly, she laughed.  Then she asked me if she could sketch me in the nude.  To which I replied, "Sure thing.  I hope you don't get too cold!"
And so, The High Street, a gathering place where all the usual shops and business ventures can be found, along with several charity shops.  You've got the bank, the pub, the off-licence, the greengrocers, the fish n' chip restaurant, the chemist, the news agents, the kebab shop and you may have this....

......yes indeed, the "Family Butchers!"  I don't think I'll being go in that shop....

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Get One Award And Get One Free.

Oops, once again, I'm running a bit behind in acknowledging awards.  So, without further delay, you will note I got two awards for the price of one. I was stunned to discover that Petronela Ungureanu aka unikorna at this site, Why I Wake Up Every Day, has bestowed the above awards to shy, humble and oh so unassuming me.
Both of the above awards, the "Fabulous Blog Ribbon" and the, "one Lovely Blog Award", asks that I mention who bestowed these awards upon me.  Right then, done that part in the above paragraph.  I'm also asked to forward the awards onto seven bloggers.  Like the lovely Petronela did, I'm going to forward both awards to my seven lucky recipients.  I'm also supposed to, in accordance with the Fabulous Blog Ribbon award, mention five fabulous moments in my life.  

So here are the five fabulous moments in my life.

1 : The day I bought my first home in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
2 : The day I got married.
3:  The day my son was born and I insisted that my then wife held off from delivering our baby son until it became October Ten to avoid any confusion.  I realised that one day he might move from England to live in North America where they do the dates in reverse. Thus 10/10 works either way.  Okay, I'm kidding about  asking her to hang on until past midnight.
4 : The day I took my son to go and get Penny the Jack Russell puppy and one day, modest internet star.  The look on his face as they first met, was priceless.  
5 :  Tuesday, July 31, 2012.  The day my son was offered, after so much heartache, a temporary job, starting September 3.  And finally, after such a long time, he smiled.  

And now the seven recipients.  I would like each of them to know there is no obligation to acknowledge and I don't need you to make note that I bestowed these awards upon you.  If you so desire, just place the photographs of the awards proudly on your site.  

4 :  A Likely Story   
5 :  PT Dilloway   
7 :  Elephant's Child   

If you have never been to Petronela's blog, I would kindly urge you to do so.  Her site is not only beautifully written, but an awesome visual delight.  Thanks again, dear lady.