gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Out with the Old and In with the New

It’s January. A new year, a fresh start. And yet, like the two-faced god Janus, a time to look back as well as forward.
Mr G, smallest Gillyboy and I spent a few days of what we call twixtmas in Portugal helping grandma start to pack up her beautiful home to move back to our damp and grey little island. Not an easy task for anyone to box up a lifetime of memories, embracing them in bubble wrap, hugging them with cardboard; deciding what to keep, what to pass on, what to discard.
We did take time to holiday in this most beautiful of holiday destinations too. How we loved the sunshine and a chance to recharge our solar batteries for the start of the New Year. There’s nothing I love more than the freedom of kicking off my shoes and walking along the shore.

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On New Years Eve I had a chance to reflect on 2014 as the waves lapped at my feet. Last year here at The Coop there were big celebrations, excellent holidays, good times with old friends and family, as well as the challenges, worries, troubles, illness and losses that make life, well, real life. Looking back it was good to recall all those who walked alongside us, giving encouragement, support, even just by being there.

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Looking ahead at a bright and shiny new year, there are many things to look forward to- planned holidays, significant anniversary and birthdays. There are challenges and issues that will need to be addressed; potholes, sinking sand, big waves that we cannot foresee standing here at the start of the year.

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What footprints will we make through the year? What shores will we find ourselves on? Will life be calm or stormy?
Like grandma, we all have a new start this New Year. We may not be moving house or changing country, but we are all moving on. New jobs, new struggles, new babies, new challenges, new friends, new interests, new attitudes, new beginnings. We hope to make wise choices in what baggage from the past to carry with us and what to leave behind. The lessons of 2014 giving us courage to meet head on all that is to come in 2015.
2015. A new chapter. Maybe even for some a whole new book. It’s life.
Let’s Live it to the Max.

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Writing 101- Lost and Found

Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.
So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.

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If you worked in the lost property office for Transport for London you would never know what would find its way to your shelves next. Over 5 million items a year are found, lost on buses, trains, taxis and Underground carriages.
Hats, gloves, umbrellas.
Books, phones, crutches, walking sticks, dentures.
A jar of bull’s sperm.
Three dead bats.
A stuffed puffer fish.
A theatrical coffin.
An urn of ashes.
Two human skulls.
A machete.
Water skis.
A 14 foot boat.
How could you lose a 14 foot boat?

I lost something in London on the night of the Millenium. It was my child. To say this was one of the worst experiences of my life would not be too much of an exaggeration.
As a family we went to central London to witness the amazing fireworks and to be part of something very special for a new year, a new century, a new Millenium. We headed for Westminster Square, to be near Big Ben to hear those famous chimes. There were nine of us- grandparents, auntie and uncle, me and Mr G, and our (then) three boys aged 7,6 and 18 months. And a buggy pram. Unfortunately when we got there everyone else had the same idea. Most of them seemed to be well into their celebrations. I don’t like crowds at the best of times, but here it was dark, jam packed, noisy, boisterous, pushing, pulsing, jostling, shouting. They were all having a great time. I was not. We pushed through, holding small mittened hands, pushing the buggy against legs, trying to stay together.
Then Mr G let go of a hand. And a small 7 year old boy just disappeared. Gone.
In a second.
Lost.
I nearly went out of my mind. Even now, 14 years later in dreams I relive this moment.
Grandpa had been leading the way, and family members not freaking out at this point reckoned he would realise that we had been separated, get to a phone and arrange to meet up somewhere quieter. This was back in the day when we didn’t think it necessary to carry a phone everywhere. Can you imagine that now?
The time was 9.20pm. It was 11.30, over two hours later before we were reunited by the banks of the Thames. Thankfully our boy had no idea that anything unusual had happened. Never for a second did it cross his mind that he might be lost. He was with his beloved grandpa, and he was safe. He had a long walk around a crazy city and queued for a long time for grandpa to use a Phone Box. And now here were mum and dad looking so pleased to see him! And the promise of fireworks!
Happy New Year. happy New Century. Happy New Millenium.

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Looking Forward to 2013

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Hen keeping and blogging have been two new discoveries for me in 2012. We never know what is ahead of us in a new year, but I am looking forward to reading more of your great hen blogs out there, and keeping you up to speed with our own goings on here at Gillybirds Manor. And thank you for your support interest and encouragement from all over the world.
So Happy New Year, here’s to 2013.

PS we finally got to see the Hobbit in 3D, it lived up to all our expectations and imaginings, here’s a wee photo from a fellow blogger, photobomb Betty which made me laugh!

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Bilbo and Betty have a wee chat in Bilbo’s home in the Shire.

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