Happy 1st Birthday 1500 Saturdays !

Saturday 1448 – 27th October 2012.

 Yes 1500 Saturdays is a year old  which of course means I am a year older and nearer my end… Gosh that sounds a bit serious and dramatic doesn’t it?

Let me remind you what this blog was about by repeating what I said on my “About” page when this blog began.

I am getting to the age where I have been considering how much time I might have left on this planet ( I reserve judgement on whether there might be another life) and from that thinking came the idea for this blog.

I figured if I wrote about what I was doing, photographing, talking about or thinking on each of the last 1500 Saturdays of my life then it might concentrate my mind on what is good and bad about life in general and my life in particular.

I feel sure these last Saturdays will be filled with all kinds of physical and emotional journeys as I seek out interesting, useful, relaxing or just downright fun ways of spending these last days.

There will be opinions, ( sometimes contradicting myself I’m sure – well I am a woman after all !)  maybe poetry and always photographs..

I hope you will have fun reading my blog ( or occasionally be challenged, enraged, or have your thoughts positively provoked! ) and please feel free to join in by commenting “

I think I gave you all I had anticipated and much that I did not.  What a year it has been so I thought a review would be a good idea !

( If you click on any of the purple words below they will take you to a relevant post. They will often not be what you might expect so do dive into one or 2 of them and the comments are often more interesting than the posts!)

You have travelled with me to Venice, Sorrento, Ireland, Cumbria and Scotland. ( Gosh that many places ! )

I have visited a beautiful woodland burial site, a 40’s re-enactment, a craft fair, theatres, listened and watched Gamelan (what’s that I can hear you ask!)  and taken you with me on a falconry trip.

I’ve talked about Charities I support – Wateraid, Tree Aid, the Samaritans, Mind and sponsoring a child through Plan.

There have been many times of great joy such as the 2 wonderful days in summer sunshine that I spent with my friend at the One Love Festival; days of music and laughter. 

I’ve had Birthday celebrationshen do’s and weddings. I’ve loved and been loved ( I’m not sharing this bit !! )

I have shared my deep love of the environment, poetry , books,  sculptureart  ( warning on that one) and most of all photography; there have been well over 400 photographs since I began this blog.

I have openly shared that I haven’t always got things right in the past,  when I have been ill, first with work-related stress and depression, then my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis ( which unbeknownst to me at the time contributed in a big way to my earlier stress) and my recovery aided by my new-found love of meditation.

What I have noticed most is how much my compassion and passion for injustice has surfaced again and again during the course of this year.  I have written about the world moving too fast for me, a lot about War and Peace ( no not the book ! ) guns and Wikileaks; discovering anew the activist in me, for which I am grateful.  I’m a great believer that just moaning doesn’t make changes and if you do nothing, nothing changes so I prefer to add my voice to the growing clamour for no more war and more equality in this beautiful world.

“Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore”  ~Hindu Proverb

Well I’m another year older but  I’m fitter, happier and more at peace with myself than I was when the year started which is all good.  When I look at the topics above I realise that I have revealed a great deal about myself  but then I always was an open book; wearing my heart on my sleeve…

Is there more to come… probably!  though I did think about stopping when the year was up, as the blog is pretty time-consuming, but I think I’ll carry on..

Thank you so much to everyone who has joined me on my journey this year and commented.. there wouldn’t be much point doing this if no-one was joining in.

I’m sure you will all have noticed my quirkiness and will have your own opinions about how this year has been and what you might have learned about me and as always I’d love to know what you’re thinking, about any of the subjects I’ve covered this year, so fire away!

Onwards to the next year, whatever it might bring.  I hope you’ll stick with me 😉

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.

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Walking with Birds.

Saturday 1462 – 21st July 2012.

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Last Saturday I brought you a taste of Tango as I celebrated my daughter’s birthday ( it was in December!) by taking her to see a show called Midnight Tango and you can read that post here if you haven’t seen it.

This Saturday it was the turn of my son but at least his birthday is near his celebration as it’s not until Monday. My gift to him ( and to me of course 😉  )took place at the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre and you can read about this great place here

It was a 2 hr session ( which turned out to be 2 1/2)  doing this – to quote from the website

2 Hour Hawk or Owl Experience

An experience you will never forget
On arrival at the centre we invite you to choose a bird of prey to spend time with during your visit.
To start off you are given the chance to sit with your bird for a while during a short talk on your chosen species, then receive a demonstration on how to carry the bird on your fist.
Once you are comfortable with holding the bird YOU will walk with the bird on your fist around our 42 acre centre. The beautiful woodland setting plays host to an abundance of wildlife which you can enjoy during your walk.
Sit for a while in the Flying Field and listen to a more in-depth talk on the history of falconry. Then carry on around the route back towards the reception area to sit with your bird for a while before they are returned to their blocks.
You will then be given the chance to witness a display of one of these beautiful birds in flight.
On completion of the experience we will allow you time to look around the rest of the centre and the wide variety of birds of prey that live here

Very enjoyable experience indeed and I’d recommend it to you. Here are a few photos from the day.

This first one is of the very inspirational Chris Lawton who runs the centre and talks with real passion about his mission to give Birds of Prey a safe, enjoyable life in a natural habitat. Many of the birds have been rescued but they do also breed at the centre.

First thing he talks about is respect for the birds.. I liked him 🙂

You get to choose whether you’d like to walk with an owl or a hawk.

I chose this little barn owl called Mr Pip such a beautiful bird

and my son chose this magnificent falcon ( hope I’ve got that right! )

He doesn’t look too sure does he?   My son that is.. don’t blame him just look at the beak !

We walked through the woods each carrying our birds on our hand protected by a VERY thick leather glove and you can see why if you look at the 1st picture of the falcon.. lethal talons ! When we got to the flying field we all sat at tables resting our arms ! while Chris talked to us about each of the different birds and the work of the centre which includes rescuing rare big cats ( you can read about this if you follow the link to the centre near the top of this post )  and here’s my son and his bird listening intently as well as a few of the other people in the group

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They didn’t always sit so quietly though as my son discovered

This is what my little owl did while the talk was taking place sitting in a lovely warm sun. He wasn’t used to the heat either !

After the talk we made our way back through the woods, gave our birds back then headed to the flying field again where we were each given the opportunity to have a magnificent large owl fly to us. It was the one you can see in the top picture. A great experience!. You stand sort of sideways with your back to the bird, gloved hand outstretched with food held between you fingers, looking over your shoulder as the bird flies towards you, getting bigger and bigger;  it’s beady eyes focused only on the food.

Plenty of opportunity after each flight for the obligatory memory photos 😉

I think the funniest photos of the day were taken by my son with my camera when it was my turn to have the owl fly to me.   As the Owl landed it swept its wing down my face. Not THE most flattering of photos son but very well captured !! and a reminder of a rather exhilarating feeling.

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You always feel like the birds are really in charge and I like that. If you haven’t had an opportunity to do this and you get one I’d say take it !

You can see some other posts of mine from a different Bird Of Prey Centre here

That’s me done for this week.. though I’m sure at some point there may be a few more photos posted on my other blog Photomania which you can find here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.