I have spotted my very first flowering daffodils of the year – in Crickhowell. Near the allotments, these early, optimistic bulbs always flower earlier than most – I wonder if it’s something to do with a rich run off of nutrients – but this year they have excelled by blooming early in January. Dad always used to say that as kids, they were lucky to pick a real daffodil from the garden in time for St David’s Day. At this rate, we’ll be picking them on Christmas Day.
Whenever I see the daffs coming out, I always remember a friend’s story. The daffs had come up through the grass alongside their front path and were close to flowering. Her 6 year old asked what they were. A little distracted, she told him they were bulbs, they were lovely and would probably be out by the weekend. Saturday morning saw him sitting on the grass watching the still-closed daffodil heads intently. When she asked what he was doing, he replied, “Waiting for the bulbs to light up.”
What do you buy the person who has everything? That’s what I wondered as my partner’s birthday loomed recently. And what did I come up with? A pair of guinea pigs. There is reasoning behind it, but it’s not relevant. All you need to know is that he was thrilled with them!
All Creatures Great and Small in Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran offer a wonderful re-homing service for small animals, as well as cats and dogs. They also had a pair of Dagu’s, (which were extremely entertaining), pet rats, (they make fabulous pets) and several beautiful bunnies, but my partner’s childhood memories were of his guinea pigs, so I did manage to stay strong and choose those; and just those, as tempting as it was to re-home everything.
There are numerous ways to support this fabulous Charity as well as re-homing. They have three charity shops and are always glad of volunteers, they offer all sorts of ways to donate, including adopt a animal, where you get a certificate and updates on the animal, corporate sponsorship, and even have a wonderful refurbished multi-functional room available for hire for just £5 per hour. Most recently they had an appeal for towels, to use for bedding, so there are always lots of ways that you can help. If you think you could offer some support in any way at all, please call 01633 866144 or pop into www.allcreaturesgreatandsmall.org.uk to find out more about their wonderful work and facilities.
Working outdoors in the driving wind and rain with my brother last week and he muttered, “We must be mad – you wouldn’t put a milk bottle out in this!” It’s not easy, I must admit, and one of the hardest things for me is keeping my toes and fingers warm. I few years ago I was told I had Raynaud’s Disease which would explain the awful discomfort and white fingers, and made me realise I wasn’t being quite such a wimp after all. It is a ‘real’ thing and is actually quite common, affecting around 1 in 6 people. In people who have Raynaud’s, the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature – or stress. This causes a Raynaud’s attack where the fingers change colour typically white, blue, or red and they can be painfully numb, which I always thought was a contradiction of terms.
February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month and they are asking people to ‘raise their hands’ and awareness for the condition. There is a simple test to take online to see whether or not you are affected by it, and an online shop that sells silver gloves and socks. Made using 12% pure silver thread, they minimise any heat loss from the body by actively reflecting 95% of the body’s energy back to the skin. Being very light, the gloves can also be used as liners under gardening gloves and claim to be a great asset if you have eczema, digital ulcers, Raynaud’s or other rheumatic disorders.
The 12% silver long socks help keep the skin to a constant temperature of 37°c and will therefore help to keep the feet fresher in the summer as well as warmer in the winter. The gloves start at £9.50 and the socks at £13.00
So, it appears it’s true – every raincloud has a silver lining!
More details at www.sruk.co.uk