Archive for the ‘fund raising’ Category

I have posted before about our two Rescue Romanian Dogs.  I have also mentioned the plight of one of them, little Eddie who was abused and tortured: he had his tail cut off, was hung from a tree in a metal snare and left to die


and then hit on the head with a metal spike, to kill him.  This missed his skull but made a hole in his nose through which a bone and tissue destroying bacteria has entered, destroyed the inside of his nose and is now in the bones of his skull, giving him a life threatening disease: we are crowd funding to try to raise money to pay for life saving veterinary treatment for him.


We are being supported by a local charity who are helping by circulating information: all their Trustees are donating and trying to raise his profile.  Two local Newspapers have run stories on the dogs including with photos of me, which I am not keen on but they wanted them, so there we are.

(My recently dyed hair to celebrate my 70th birthday is showing up well!!!)

Now a UK author, Milly Johnson, has joined in and is holding an auction on ebay giving bidders the chance to name a character in her 15th book and to liaise with the author about the character development, receive signed copies and a hamper of goodies:

so if you like her books you might like to go over and check it out at


Several of you kind readers have already donated and I am so humbled and grateful by your support and that of people locally who know about poor little Eddie.

Given the awful things happening all round the world I sometimes question whether I should be trying to raise money for one little dog rather than for other charities, but as has been pointed out to me, this gives some people a focus, an idea of something practical they can do to right some terrible wrongs, and raises the profile of stray dogs in Romania.  It also makes people feel happier knowing that a fairly simple gesture will make a huge difference to another sentient being at a time when a lot of us feel powerless to help millions of other animals and people.

At the risk of boring you silly, I will once again leave the link to the crowd funding page at the end of this post for those who have not visited here before, and will end with a photo of Eddie sending you all lots of licky kisses:)




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Some of you may be aware of little Eddie, our Romanian Rescue dog.


He has several injuries resulting from a life of abuse and torture, the most obvious being the hole in his nose.  I am adding a link to his crowdfunding page at the end of this post on which you read more about his past.

The vets have now had the results of the tissue cultures and swabs: he has a bacterial infection (rather than a fungal one) which is responsible for the destruction of the interior of his nose.  In one way that is good because fungi are harder to eradicate than most bacteria. But the bad news is that not only is the infection in his nose but is also in the bones of his skull.  Therefore, if left untreated he will die.

The bacteria entered his system through the large hole in his nose and have been steadily chomping away internally.  The vet has two treatment plans ready to go, Plans A and B.  We all prefer Plan A which is the simplest and involves eight weeks of targeted antibiotics followed by, if the infection is defeated, plastic surgery to his face to close the hole and help his poor old nose.  Plan B will involve opening up his nose further, packing the whole space with gauze and inserting a tube down which antibiotic will be dripped twice a day, as well as continuing with the oral antibiotics.  When the bacteria are dead, his face will have to be reconstructed.  Sounds horrid, but the vet, a famous vet in the UK, is sure that it is possible to achieve a good result eventually.

Of course, the pet insurance will not pay anything because they state, quite correctly, that it is a pre-existing condition.

It was this TV vet who suggested the crowdfunding as he thinks Eddie is such a deserving case!  Actually, I think that perhaps the vet himself could have offered to waive or reduce the fees, but perhaps he will contribute to the crowdfunding;)

So, we begin medicating tomorrow and will be keeping our fingers crossed.


If anyone feels moved to read more about Eddie follow the above link: if you feel like contributing, however little, it would be a real act of kindness, but sharing the link would be really, really helpful too, so that as many people as possible have the chance to read about little Eddie’s amazing story.  Thank you:)

And, as for me, well I completed a 19 day water-only fast in June/July and now am intermittent fasting, eating only in a four hour window during the day.  All to see whether I can reduce or remove the cancer.  But during those four hours I eat for England, which is fun:D


Image result for greed for food(From google images.)

Husband has been taken on a weekend trip by our son so I am having an indolent and selfish three days doing exactly what I please, as I please.

Oh yes, and a man crashed his car into the driver’s side of my car yesterday, so something else to sort.  Really, I wonder exactly how many balls I can juggle at once!!!!!


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So . . . . the longest silence from this site?

What’s been happening?

As ever with life, good things and bad.

A lovely short break in Paris (view from my tiny courtyard studio  flat)

DSC02167where I was lucky enough to meet up with blogger friend Chlost for an afternoon and evening meal with her and some of her family.  That visit was full of memories to treasure.

A wedding in Scotland of two gay friends: small but perfect in an old stone House on the edge of the water in Oban.

Image result for manor house oban

Staff who were thrilled to cater for their first ever gay wedding and threw themselves into making the experience wonderful.  A super trip but I was ill on the way home which began a series of medical encounters, of which more later.

A 70th Birthday party to keep close to the heart.  Two years in the planning.  I hired a boat on Lake Windermere in the Lake District: with balloons, cake, farm food, Ceilidh band and magician and . . . well 80 friends and family members from all part of my life.  To spend two and a half hours in a room where every face took one back to fond memories from one’s life was an experience too huge to put into words.  But perhaps a post with photos to follow?

And then the biggie – a diagnosis of malignant cancer.  Always a heart-stopping moment. Apparently I have a rare lypo-sarcoma.  It has been growing for two years, misdiagnosed four times.  But most General Practitioners in the UK never see even one in a lifetime, so hardly surprising.  The final diagnosis came all in a rush with hospitals and doctors ringing me at home and general panic ensuing on their part.  Then a rushed appointment in London to see a European expert in this type of cancer.  An interesting diagnosis: huge tumour, but low-grade.  Unlikely to metastasize at the moment, but could change its nature at any point. No help from chemo, radiation or immunotherapy; only extensive, radical surgery.  Prognosis: scar minimum of 12″ with the likely removal of a whole major muscle mass.  It sounded like brutal surgery from the 1970s.  May prevent me from walking again.  Likely to return every two to three years with repeat surgery each time to remove it.  Little research done because it is so rare – fewer than 400 a year in UK.  Healing – a problem: large hole, drains, infections, etc etc I will not bore or disgust the faint of heart with the gory details but they made for ghastly listening.

That sent me into retreat, hermit mode: no wish to share.  I refused immediate surgery as I needed more time to process all this.  It took a great deal of digesting.

Finally I and the surgeon came to a compromise: I insisted on continuing on with a holiday I have planned in October this year to China, while I am still mobile. He agreed to postponing surgery until November this year as long as I have MRI scans to monitor the tumour.

I’m still not sure I can face the surgery.  I have terrible sensitivities/allergies to all known antibiotics, pain killers and anaesthetics with the least reactions being agonising migraines, continuing through to hallucinations, fever, infections and complete collapse.

So, the first thing I did was go on a 19 day water only fast.  Then I have been eating a ketogenic diet.  Just in case these regimes might at least help shrink the tumour a little.  Let’s face it, I have nothing to lose but weight and possibly some benefit to gain.  But the surgeon warned me against offers of help, which will be useless, and cost a great deal.  Nothing like proffering hope;)

More on this topic if I can face it and if anyone is interested in my journey, wherever it may lead.

Then the last few days we have been in the south of the UK visiting the Supervet, a specialist vet, with one of our little Romanian rescue dogs, Eddie, who is written about in the post on 1st march 2016.  When we adopted him we did not know about his current wound problems.  He has suffered much abuse in his life and now we are worried about the wound on his nose.  He had his tail chopped off, was hung from a tree by a metal snare round his waist and left to die, Capture

and finally someone tried to kill him by hitting him over the skull with a metal bar with a spike on it.  They missed his skull and hit the top of his nose instead, hence the hole.


He was rescued, put on a lorry out of Romania, got to the UK and then us.  Of course we insured him, but predictably the insurance company will not help us as they say everything is a pre-existing condition.

Our local vet knows no-one who can help – hence our visit to the Supervet. We were met by a delightful New Zealand surgeon who sat on the floor with Eddie, and began by saying that everything was possible, for a price.  (I wish my cancer surgeon had that attitude!!)  Eddie stayed overnight and underwent some procedures and now we await the results of tests but we have been warned that reconstructing his nose will cost from £2,000-£6,000.  Now,  we try to be responsible animal lovers, so we will do what it takes: if we have to take out a mortgage on the house we will.  The nurses who all loved little Eddie immediately said, “Go Crowd-Funding” and the surgeon said that he is a very deserving case.   Now I know nothing of such things but they were insistent that I give it a try.


Do any of you know about crowd-funding, what it is and how to go about it?  My immediate thought is that it sounds like begging, and that is anathema to me.

So, lots going on here.  Some lovely, some dreadful, life’s rich tapestry really.  I’m never too sure what to post because I would hate to depress anybody: I’m not depressed myself, just rather unhappy and over-whelmed at the moment.  But if people would like to follow any of these stories I am happy to write about them.

Over to you folks.  I will follow the directions suggested by any comments:)

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I have felt hugely supported by those of you who have contacted me.  Thank you so very much.

I have had comments here on the blog, on Facebook, phone calls, emails, and a wonderful bunch of Spring Flowers sent to me through the post.

(Image from Google)

It has been a surprise to realise that some people actually quite value this little blog: very humbling but also so encouraging:)

And you all struggle to improve your part of the world and spread help and compassion as you are able.  It is inspiring.  And although I feel rather self indulgent having written about my own struggles as if I were alone with my feelings it has been hugely helpful to have this concrete proof that I am not alone in feeling thus.

Some of you have explained to me how you manage with these feelings:

Several have said that they find it necessary to keep some distance from events in order to avoid becoming submerged or immobilised by the cruelties and unhappinesses we hear about.

Unfortunately I was born/developed without firm boundaries and seem to be on one end of the empathy spectrum which has become unhealthy for me.  I have always felt a deep connection to, and embedded in, the world around me and find that distancing myself is not an option.

I have heard of instances of friends deliberately ‘passing the baton’ to the younger generation and allowing themselves to take a back seat after a lifetime of work and struggle to improve situations.

But I was born a fighter: I have always had to fight, I know no other way.  It has got me through some terrible times but it leaves an impossible feeling of impotence when one comes up against a fight that one cannot win.  This is a large part of what is upsetting me at the moment.  I don’t understand the point of my existence if I cannot make a difference.

Others blame social media, in fact media in general, for spreading so much hyped news and melodrama.  There is a huge amount of truth in this.  Reading all the petitions that come my way has exposed me to knowledge of injustice and cruelty that I would never have known about without these organisations.  In fact one friend just signs and never reads because she says she cannot survive the huge amount of unhappiness they represent.  Others never sign because they cannot take any more exposure of the harsh side of life.

Based on your and others’ comments I have been doing some research.

Professor Nicholas Christakis from Yale (Director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale) makes the point that Networks will magnify whatever they are seeded with.  His research has demonstrated that meanness will ripple through Social Networks, as will altruistic behaviour.  Networks will magnify Ebola and fascism and violence and unhappiness but also they will magnify love and altruism and happiness and information.

He is the author (with James Fowler) of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.

Here’s his TED talk:

He makes the point that much research (as well as common sense) shows that the people around you influence your behaviour. In fact, they influence it a lot more than you might think and probably more than you’re comfortable with admitting.

But here’s the really unexpected part: not only do your friends affect your behavior, so do their friends. And their friends’ friends. Here’s Nicholas:

“Across many different kinds of behavior: voting, cooperation, smoking, weight loss and weight gain, happiness, cooperative behavior, public health behaviors, we and others have been able to show that people are very meaningfully affected by the behaviors of other people to whom they’re connected. And here’s the kicker: they are also affected by the behaviors of people to whom they’re not directly connected.

When your friend’s friends quit smoking or your friend’s friend’s friend become nicer and more cooperative, this ripples through the network and affects you. Similarly, when you make a positive change in your life, when you start running for example, or you participate in our democracy and you vote, it ripples outward from you and can affect dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other people.”

So, these are my thoughts going forward.

Instead of being influenced and manipulated by Media Networks I am going to try to do good and improve what I can through them.  I don’t mean that I am going to try to somehow change all you readers of my blog: you regulars are already way ahead of me in trying to do your bit in the world.  But I do want to try to shed the occasional ray of light into dark places and catch some of the occasional visitors here who may not know some of the worst practices.

Instead of being beaten down by all the petitions illustrating tragedy, I am trying to change how I view them: thank goodness for people who are turning a spotlight on these dark parts of life.  They have found out, and are trying to publicize and change, the horrific practices going on.  Without these petitions the cruelties would still continue but unabated and without possibility of change.  I will contribute a small amount where I can and circulate the news and offer emotional support.  Not much, but better than nothing.

I have discovered so many kind, compassionate people in other countries who devote their lives selflessly to helping people and animals.  They have been there working tirelessly, I just did not know about them.  Now I shall search them out on the Internet and through word of mouth, and not be a passive recipient of the News that someone else decrees I should know about.

I have taken out an annual subscription to a newspaper (now in magazine form) called Positive News. 

Image from Google

When I first picked it up in a local hospital I was suspicious of the title: is this another bland “Everything is fine, everything will be alright” kind of journal.  But it is not: it was begun by one of our most respected BBC Foreign Correspondents, who went on to become an Independent Member of Parliament, and is now the Patron of the paper.  It just tries to give a more balanced, less dramatic and more informed view of news, instead of regarding good news as no news.  I find it a wonderful counterbalance to the usual stuff pedalled by our 24 hour news culture.

Although I find it a hard fact, everything in this world is recycled eventually, one way or another.  And this includes both human institutions and human behaviour.  Everything tends to decay and corruption and needs to be remade or renewed.  This seems a waste of experience and effort as well as being painful: but it is what happens and I must come to terms with this.  This is why accurate history teaching is essential in education.  So whereas I will do my best to help maintain the good that has been achieved I must accept that the process will necessarily involve some letting-go along the way.

I have been reading about life in the UK in the C10 and C11.  When you could literally not call your soul your own: when you could not decide which crops to grow: where to live: whom to serve: whom to marry: where there were no options for most people: when cruelties and tortures were rife.  We have made progress for the majority of the population in this country although in recent years some of these safeguards have appeared threatened.  The wheels of history grind so slowly.

Despite the bad weather I have made contact with more people than usual, as a result of the adoption of our two Romanian stray dogs:-

eddie 1 031

1 In my last post I mentioned the kind, unexpected gift from the woman at the call centre for an international hotel chain.

2 When investigating dog harnesses for the car I spoke to the Managing Director of a company.  It turns out that she has adopted strays from Greece and the Gambia and supports a Rescue in Spain.

3 When staying in a hotel with the first of our strays all the staff came over to fuss here and fell in love with her.  A guest passing through saw her harness which mentions the Dogs Trust and complimented us and said she contributes every month.

4  The Dustmen stopped their cart for a chat and wanted to know all about the dogs and what was happening in Europe to unwanted animals and children.

5 At the vets the nurses came and crouched down and were so kind to these poor, mistreated pooches.

6  When out walking people stop and talk and are so interested and kind.

7 I have met the wonderful people who foster these animals as part of their resettlement programme.  These people are not rich but devote their lives to helping others.

8 Friends have come over to help look after our other animals and help me socialise these dogs.

9 The landlady of a pub came over to meet the dogs and to make a fuss of them.  They were welcomed warmly, not turned away as ‘unclean’.

10  On several occasions parents of children in a local park have brought them over to make friends saying, “That dog looks like a friendly one”.  The care and gentleness of the small children who asked which part the dog would like stroked and could they give them a treat.

I have met all sorts and all kinds of people in the last few weeks: all working people, mostly not well-off, but full of the milk of human kindness.  I have found it to be true, that those who have compassion – have it for all: it is such a fallacy to say that people either like animals or humans.

And religion and culture are not the definition of compassion either: some people from cultures who do not value dogs have been interested and surprised and happy to make friends with our dogs too – despite an initial hesitation.  I have learned about the people working hard in Romania, Greece, Spain and the Far East, to mention just a few, rescuing, treating, combatting cruelty, often at considerable danger to themselves.

Through research I have discovered so much good being done by so many:-

For example, the ex-soldier from the UK who has raised the plight of the lone children refugees in Europe, despite being taken to court for his compassion.

The unfailing efforts of Greek Islanders who leave their own work to pull drowning refugees from the Meditarranean.  Over and over and over again.

The Palestinian men who are striving to rescue their Zoo animals from slow starvation and illness despite the troubles in their own country.

The brave whistle-blowers in Thailand who are slowly winning round their Government to halt the deliberate torture of animals for food.

The people offering free health care, legal advice, physical care and food here in the UK.

It is a disgrace that so much evil is allowed to flourish in the world: but the bad news is totally unrepresentative.  There are legions, literally, of good, kind people, quietly and determindly helping.

They are not sitting back comfortably in the UK as I have been doing, feeling depressed and hopeless.  They are out there working hard.  I am so grateful to have discovered a little about some of them.  They, and you, have saved my emotional sanity.

This blog will go forward, but will try to highlight some of these wonderful people, alongside my own little sorrows and joys.

Thank you, thank you, to all of you, and to all of them.  I’m OK now:)

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When we moved into our run-down and delapidated 200 year-old stone cottage we had restrictions placed upon us by both the mortgage company and the local Council.

bingley 2009 024

The mortgage company demanded that we replace all the old, wide, floorboards with narrow modern ones, and also replace the old plank doors which had latches, with modern panelled doors with doorhandles.  The Council demanded that we fill in with concrete all the drains in our back yard.  I refused point blank the former requests (being a cussed young woman even then) and covered the drain holes with stone flags so that they looked as if placed out of use, but were in fact just concealed.

We moved at the beginning of January, and were immediately faced with heavy snow:

2010-02-09 late winter bingley 107since we were living in one upstairs room with no heating other than an open bedroom coal fire, and one cold water tap downstairs hanging from the ceiling by baler twine, this was grim.  However, that is another story, and we just about survived.

But come the thaw and Spring, came the rains.

And 20 minutes after the first heavy shower began the kitchen began to flood.  When we were up to four inches and rising rapidly I went down the lane to our middle-aged neighbours (they were locals born and bred) to ask for help, my husband being unavailable.  The neighbour’s husband said we should not be flooding because the drains in the yard were built to avoid that very occurrence.  He came straight up to our cottage, helped me lift the stone flags off the drains and immediately the water began to vanish away; in the 40 years since we have been here we have never filled in or covered those drains again, or been flooded.  The drains run from the back yard, which is built into the hillside, under the cottage, and then release their burden 20 yards further on, into the lane in front of our house.

Thus began my relationship with these neighbours of ours who were to prove good friends indeed.  All through that first winter the wife invited me down to sit by their roaring fire, get warm, and have tea and scones with them each day at 4.0 pm, tea time.  One day she went to her old upright piano and began to play.  Tunes I had never heard before.  She gave me a dog-eared booklet full of songs, words which were equally new to me.  They were the Stannington Carols.  The original, old, country carols which still linger on here, although they have vanished in the rest of the UK.  They are named after local pubs, farms, cottages, cross roads and lanes.  And I love them.

Titles such as, Sweet Chiming Bells, Spout Cottage, Back Lane, Malin Bridge, T’owd Virgin ( The Old Virgin!), Stannington (our local village).  Later, when I joined a local choir, I had the opportunity to learn the alto part and sing these carols around the area.  But they are not the province of choirs alone: each year the local pubs are full of people who all know these carols, and there is standing room only for several hours of carol singing, robustly accompanied by alcohol.

They are quite distinct in style, repertoire and performance from the conception of carolling which arose in Victorian times.  These village carols predate the more well known carols by at least a hundred years, being composed by working people in the 1700s and 1800s. In fact, this singing of these carols in the pubs is the norm.

The tradition was explained to me thus: when England had her Civil War, Christmas was banned by Cromwell and consequently the singing of carols in church was also forbidden.  The country folk refused to give up their customs and took to singing in local houses and hostelries. Later on as the Church relented these carols were allowed back into Church services.  However, in Victorian times they were often considered to be too rowdy or lacking theological accuracy and were spurned once more. Thus for centuries the pubs have been the refuge of our local carols, and still are today, although sensible churches also give them ‘house-room’ now if they wish to please their congregations.  Musical accompaniment was not always available and thus the performance of unaccompanied part-singing has continued to this day.

Hearing the robust country voices, often with no music or words, just belting out these old carols in harmony, red-faced and enthusiastic makes one feel one is living, for a few hours, in a Thomas Hardy novel.  This is no conscious keeping-up of some outdated social practice, but living, breathing local history, which is lived and loved.

Sometimes the local silver or brass bands also come along to provide some accompaniment, and if there is a portable organ, that is wheeled out too.

The following Youtube clip contains 16 of our carols sung locally and I do hope you will take the time to dip into them, they are unique, and I love them.  As each ends, the next will begin automatically.

The Guardian newspaper has written about the singing in my valley at :


So, whatever your tradition, your culture or your celebration at this time of year, from mine to yours, I send you the very best of wishes for a Happy time from this village in the South Pennines of Yorkshire.

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On my recent trip to New York I saw these two cheerful chappies above the ice rink at the Rockerfeller Centre.  Whatever your views of the Salvation Army these two were putting their hearts into the job of fund raising.  This was only a small piece of them dancing, they went on for ages and must have been getting extremely tired.  But they put a smile on nearly everyone’s faces who passed by.

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