About Maria Matthews

A published writer and avid reader, who likes to take a quirky look at the world about her. Bob is the steady anchor in a house governed by the mayhem of two parents and two grown children who have left home but frequently drop by to either check out the fridge or check in with Bob and Ellie. Maria's free time is divided between family, work, writing and volunteering.

Gardening friends

People who don’t garden think it is tiresome, a never-ending job. A little like exterior housework I suppose.

However, I find it therapeutic and I am never alone.

davdav

20180525_153945742212402.jpg

We have a new visitor but he is a pretty young and scrawny looking Robin, we will have to feed him up.

Advertisements

High and low..

The garden is full of promise. I look high for Apple blossoms. When I find loads I think a little like Mr Homer Simpson,

…hmmm apple tarts. Bob, he looks low on the ground and finds  …strawberries and I know he adores ice cream, so he thinks of them.

Everyone is different but food does feature a lot in our lives, don’t you agree?

A little white lie…

Before anyone panics Bob is doing well. We are delighted with his fighting attitude even though we always considered him to be a lover rather than a fighter. He is taking the tablets, taking as much exercise as he ever did..and continues to smile.

Though not in this picture as I mentioned the word ‘cat`and as you can see , he discovered it was a lie to get him to move.

A Trip to Venice

From the moment we landed, we began to relax. The city is a vibrant but relaxing place to visit.

20180416_114043[1]

The hotel was great, the staff even better than great, helpful, polite and always on hand to offer advice.

20180414_181756[1]We managed to squeeze in, a trip to a glass factory, the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery, a ghost tour of the city, two walking tours, a boat trip through the city and many lazy meals in the huge variety of restaurants.

20180417_135303[1]

The icing on the cake was the weather, as we came from cold and dull to brilliant blue skies and warmth of 20 degrees.

20180414_181105[1]

The Question about GDPR

I believed, that the GDPR new regulations are simple. How wrong am I?

After attending a course, we are now shredding our way through every file in the building (at work).

Data is everywhere and we are all affected because we hold onto telephone numbers and email addresses, forever. To that end, I now believe that I should contact everyone on my blog email list and ask for their consent to hold onto their email address.

Why do I want your email address?

To contact you, if and when I get a book published that will be worthy of anyone’s attention. And to alert readers or potential readers/reviewers that it is on sale at €0 or .99cents.  For example:

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

So if you do not wish me to contact you about a book offer. Please let me know in the comments box below and I will delete/ wipe/remove your email address from my contact list.IMG_7752

 

On a much brighter note – Bob is fighting on and still swallowing pills but wagging his tail and making the most of life.

Time for pills

Regular visitors to this site will be aware that our champion smiling Norwegian Elkhound, Bob is now approaching 14 years.  As the old man of the house, he had slowed down in the last four months but since Storm Emma and the snow, it became obvious he was not doing well.

A visit to the vet provided some helpful advice and the introduction of pills to his, and our life. Until now he was on omega’s, which he accepted like smarties.

“He won’t like these tablets (cardisure) but you cannot give them to him with food” we were told.

Arriving back home, I sat beside him. With a tablet in hand, I said, “Bob, it would make life easier for you if you could simply eat this.”

A  single slow wag of his tail and in a single gulp the offending tablet was gone. So it continues, he is now on four tablets (as one of the original ones, didn’t agree with him) and eating them like smarties.

The point of this post is Bob still makes us smile by his simple trust in all we ask of him another reason for having a four-legged friend in your house, wouldn’t you agree?

Lazy Days

Time is short for everyone these days so I have decided to be just like Bob and make this a short and sweet post.

I am dog crazy, always was and always will be but sometimes I don’t get that people fail to see the benefits that we get from having a four-legged friend in the house. The bonus in our house is varied;

  1. Getting rid of scraps is no problem as Bob is always too happy to help out. It doesn’t matter what type of meat or veg is left over, he will gladly reduce the amount heading to the bin.
  2. Getting in our 10,000 steps a day is not a huge problem in this house as Bob gets a very short sedate walk and then the crazy collie gets her fast-paced walk or jog. She is not limited by terrain either, beach, riverside, fields or roads Ellie will take them all on.
  3. Finding a person to give you a hug (Bob) or nudge (Ellie) to help reduce stress levels is a handier way of bringing down blood pressure than trying to remember to take pills.
  4. Time – on the odd occasion when the batteries in the clock failed, our friendly four-legged friends were highly reliable regarding meal times.
  5. Then there are the amazing way dogs can assist people, – Therapy dogs, Assistance (guide) dogs, Search Dogs, Security Dogs, Cancer Detection, The trouble with this one benefit is that it takes time and patience to find which category the dog fits best with

Happy Mothers Day everyone!

 

20180207_114330

Two pups gaining access to a bus

20180224_151005

Willow learning from Bob

20180228_104008_002

Ellie, making snowballs

IMG_20180309_230540

Bob doing what he does best, relaxing

The Beast and Storm Emma

Image

happy birthday bob

For the last five days here in Ireland, each time I turn on a radio or tv the topic is the same – the weather. It is proof that we are obsessed with the weather when;

Every supermarket is in danger of running out of bread and milk etc as the shelves are emptying as fast as they are filling.

Families are putting planned day trips on hold because the weather is going to be “horrid” bad.

And every double coated husky is being subjected to having to wear a coat or jumper!

Bob objects to wearing anything other than his own fluff! The closest thing he wears to a coat is a high viz mini coat to let traffic know he is out and about.

Ellie – well we would have to catch her first and that would take more time, effort and energy than it is worth.

In the meantime, both of them acted like it was their birthday when the snow finally fell.

.Nice snow, best present a Bob could get… he proved it as he began to eat the snow around him.

bob eating snowellie playingellie

 

Guest Post. Lieve Snellings, Photographer and Childrens Writer.

I was delighted when Children’s author Lieve Snellings offered to share some tips on photographing nature.

Nothing gives more peace than photographing nature.

 

About 10 years ago I was introduced to the heavenly pleasure of nature photography. I was so charmed seeing all these pretty animals and birds in our Quebec garden. I had seen cats washing, but here I also saw birds, squirrels, groundhogs… doing the same. Observing them was so much fun.

hello fellow nature lovers

I don’t know if these lovely creatures have emotions like humans have, though I could hear them talk. And Margot the woodchuck (above)  started to tell me I had to publish their story, to show small and big kids that all creatures in nature are living beings and that they love to live too.  Of course, Margot wanted to play the first violin in the orchestra, but that was OK. She loved to share the attention with her family and friends.

It was Margot, who told me about Eufrazie the hairdresser and how she created a special hairstyle for every critter, also birds, when some festivity is coming up. It was exciting to see all those birds with this special haircut. I had to photograph them and share this with you all.

coiffeuse

Maybe you are interested in how to photograph birds too. I’m glad to offer you  here 14 easy tips:

  1. If you want to start photographing birds, you do not have to go far. It is best to start in your garden or street or a park or field in your area.
  2. It is important to get to know the behaviour of the birds you want to photograph. Around what time of the day do they show up? On which branch do they usually sit? Do they show up alone or in the company of others?
  3. Use a tripod.
  4. Hide, make use of a shelter, something you’ll not too visible. An old paravan, with an opening to pierce the lens of your camera through can also be a handy thing to hide.
  5. Don’t make sudden movements.
  6. Birds adhere to the same habits, they regularly return to the same place. Choose a spot, prepare your camera and wait until the bird returns to that spot.
  7. Set your camera to a fast shutter speed (S in high number) and the aperture or diaphragm as large as possible (F in small number) – this is to allow as much light as possible to come in and to make the shutter speed as short as possible.
  8. Take your photos in the larger format (highest megapixels) because otherwise, you lose a lot of quality when you make a cut-out afterwards.
  9. Make sure you are dressed warm enough because you may have to sit still for a while.
  10. Pay attention to the foreground and background.
  11. Birds like to fly against the wind direction to keep more control. So when you choose to photograph birds in flight, draw with your camera in the flight direction.
  12. Experiment with different points of view.
  13. Photographing birds is in fact, like top sport. Patience, exercise and perseverance are important.
  14. It is pleasant to have a bird encyclopedia or a bird app on your smartphone or tablet so you can look up which birds you just saw and learn more about them.

I wish you can enjoy as much as I did and do.

If you want to learn more about my work here is the link.   

Or you can follow me on WordPress : https://lievesnellings.wordpress.com/

Social Media links are: https://www.amazon.com/author/snellings-english

http://www.facebook.com/FotoBoekLieveSnellings

 

 

tap here to visit my website

The long and winding road.

May was busy, cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs. “It is like no man’s land in here,” she muttered. “And where is Ollie? Typical of him to dodge such a dusty dirty job.”

She stuck at it and an hour later stepped outside the small storage space to view all she had decided to chuck out, just as the front door opened.

“Hi, I have arrived in time to take the rubbish out, have I?” Ollie bent to give her a light peck on the cheek when a box full of colourful bottles caught his attention.

“We can’t get rid of these, Dad made them. ” His words sounded defensive and May bit her lip, she was tired of holding on to the bottles of homemade wines and beers.

Her voice was soft as she said it as she saw it, “well if we aren’t going to drink them they might be considered explosive by some people in authority.”

“We will test them tonight. If they taste foul we can clean the drains with them.”

So it was agreed.

At eight o clock, they sat before the tv set, ready to watch their favourite soap. On the coffee table, there was an assortment of dips, crisps and the colourful bottles. The back door opened and their neighbour and friend Liz trundled in, “my tv’s on the blink do you mind if I gatecrash your party?” She smiled at them and then looked pointedly at the assortment on the table.

“Not at all,” Ollie said scooting off to get another class and some peanuts.

“Delighted to have another person to give their opinion on Ollie’s dad’s wines and beers.”

So it began. The first bottle they declared was rank, the next a little bit better so they left the last one aside and began to drink. At 12.30 there was only one bottle left but as May declared, “My eyes are seeing four of you so I think it is time to end this party night. Ollie, will you see Liz to her front door?”

“Of course I will love. Come on Liz.” Pulling her to her feet he linked her arm and with a wave at May he left saying, “I’ll be two minutes, back in a jiffy, they don’t call me twinkle toes for nothing.”

Twenty minutes later there was no sign of him. May was worried.  She went to the front door and saw her husband and her friend arm in arm meandering across the road. Once they got to the other side, he released her arm and with a bow said, “Good night Liz.” Just then a car sped by and the blast of a horn had him wobbling on his feet.

“Ahh hang on Ollie who is going to see you across the road safely. It is like a flaming racing circuit tonight.” Liz bent towards him, linked arms and turned about.

When they got to the other side, Liz didn’t like the look of the stray moggie who hissed and spat at Ollie. “Just to be safe I’d better see you to your house now Liz, come on.”

May watched this performance happen twice. On the third occasion, she videoed it on her phone. Ten minutes of this and her patience grew thin.

She walked over to them. “Hi, Can anyone join in this walk or is it just for the lame-brained?”

“Ahh, you are funny. No. Yes, of course, you can.” Liz’s eyes twinkled at May as stepping between both of them she walked them across the road, and straight up to Liz’s front door. Not taking any chances,  May opened the door, gently nudged her friend inside, and then pulled it shut. After locking the door, she posted the key through the letterbox.

Taking hold of her husband she smiled and said, “Right let us go home.”

“I was just being chivalrous,” he said between hiccups.

“Of course you were love isn’t that why I love you as much as I do.”

Putting a broad smirk of delight on his face Ollie allowed her to lead him home.

pic559418_th