Saturday, 27 August 2011

Raise your glass(es) to this!

The other morning I heard the mail land on the hall carpet with a soft thud. It would be a large envelope for sure and before I could make my way there ..

... I heard a scuffle and ripping and lots of oohs and aaahs ....

my hares and squirrels had gotten to the package before me!
and the envelope lay in shreds at the bottom of the Parker Knoll and innocent faces greeted me all round!

and up on the chair was Seramr, my own hare, with a shred of envelope stuck to her lower lip

not that anyone noticed me mind you!
as all my nameless baby hares were too interested in reading my article that was just published in the latest edition of Scottish Islands Explorer magazine about how I give my hares their names!

There were lots of exclamations as they avidly read on ..... 'Island Incidents' by Annette Tait

One quiet evening in a tiny Edinburgh flat a mousy brown hare with a bright determined expression came into the world. He was definitely a boy with his masculine shape. The glint in his eye said he wanted a purposeful life with a name to reflect it. I’m Annette, a Scottish textile artist and I make soft-sculpture hares in the still of the night. Each one gets a name and an individual story.

We searched the stars and ancient mythology before we came upon a map of Scotland, with its many islands along the jagged coastline. "How fascinating. Just imagine the names!" the hare exclaimed. So we chose a few and began to explore their significance..

Inchtavannach is a tiny island filled with oaks. Long ago there were roe deer here. Well, hare wasn’t keen about huge trees and wanted company so we moved on. But he did love the soft ending. "Say it again," he cried. So I put my tongue near the roof of my mouth and produced a very soft sawing noise. "Hikh," I whispered , explaining that the ‘ch’ at the end of a word is, in Scotland, nearly always pronounced ‘hikh’.

Perhaps Mousa? It's from the Norse meaning ‘moss’. So hare would have a comfy bed every night, plus the world’s smallest sea-birds, the weak-limbed storm petrels which come to land to breed, nest there in a colony that get special protection. Well, hare thought, these tiny birds could cause him worry all day long struggling about on their feeble legs. So, no thanks.

Maybe the unpronounceable Sgeotasaigh? It had some rather fetching rocks and small trees and in Gaelic you say ‘scotsay’ instead of my ‘ss-gee-oh-ta-say-gi-hikh’. However, hare wasn’t keen on the Gaelic pronunciation, he much preferred my convoluted version instead.

Oxna comes from the Norse for ox island. Hare was terrified of being trodden upon, so no. How about rhythmic Trondra with Shetland ponies, seals and porpoises and an annual event called Da Peerie Neep -‘The Wee Turnip’ - with activities like ‘Toss the Neep’? Hare felt it could be dangerous and so he took a rain-check on this one.

Hare liked Papa Little - a peat covered place meaning ‘little island of the priests’ in Old Norse. On hearing that hare threw a small pout and said he would much prefer to live with papas instead. "Oh, and don’t forget the mamas too!"

The Shiant Isles are three privately owned islets, with sheep and sea birds. There is apparently a sizeable colony of black rats. Hare gulped and pressed his little body against me and gave a shiver. It was a no go!

Hare liked the sound of Fetlar, it had purpose. I thought so too. It’s known as ‘the Garden of Shetland’ and hare licked his furred lips, thinking of all those carrots and kale. It happens to be the most important breeding site in the UK for the red-necked phalarope, with over 50% of its population. That is from only about 30 - 50 breeding pairs. Hare’s face lit up.

"I have red too," he cried, opening his amber eyes wide. The plain-coloured papa phalarope does the nest-sitting and the mama is the pretty one. " Well, that's decided said hare. I shall be called Fetlar and it will be my job to help the papas on the nests safeguard the eggs and make sure all the babies grow up well. The mamas will then have time to preen and look beautiful, as mamas do!"

and this is Baby Hare Fetlar, who already has his forever home with a mama who loves the Scottish Islands and mountain climbing, so Fetlar has a very happy life! and this is his story -

Fetlar loves to spend time down by the beach, though not actually on the sand. He much prefers the coarse wind whipped grasses up on the dune edges instead.
None of the other hares like to play there and mama was wondering what he does all day long. Well, Fetlar said that he had a very important job to do and as long as mama didn’t tell anyone else he would let her know. Mama patted his head and said ofcourse she wouldn’t be telling anyone, wondering what the big secret was.
Fetlar grew a little glum and said that he was a very bad boy a while ago and since then he has been trying to make things right. Goodness! thought mama, but he went on, he said that one day he was running around with not a care in the world, careering thru the spiky grasses when suddenly he tripped and landed on a nest with three eggs. In his fall he disturbed one of the eggs, knocking it out of the nest. But thankfully it was undamaged.
There was a huge commotion and the next thing he knew he was lying in a nest of his own fur! and he had two angry parents staring down their beaks at him! Fetlar had disturbed papa and mama phalarope’s nest and the papa was not happy and had called the mama to come and sort the intruder out. After they had ruffled him up a bit, he got a good talking to.
Fetlar learned that there were not many phalaropes nesting here on the island, they were really rather rare, so every egg was as precious as gold. He would have to pull his socks up if he insisted on playing by the beach.
Fetlar was not proud of his impulsive behavior and said to mama and papa phalarope that he would love to help protect the eggs then, all the phalarope eggs, to make it up to them, and that he would start straight away. By straight away he meant the next morning after he had cleaned up his dishevelled fur ofcourse. They thought that was decent of him so the very next day Fetlar started on his nest egg duties.
He helps to patrol the filled nests, making sure there are no hungry big egg-eating seabirds about and keeps any egg removers in check. That’s the hard bit, those egg-removers. Usually they are humans and he has to be careful as he is only a small hare, but if he sees any humans he makes a loud thump with his hind foot and all the sea birds come flying in, ready to attack, even the egg-eaters too, as the humans are indiscriminate as to which eggs they steal. When the attacks happen Fetlar makes sure to hide otherwise he is covered in small presents from the air and mind those sharp beaks and claws, plus he’s not wanting any more disheveled fur thanks!

Fetlar is looking forward to a comfy spot on your shelf, he doesn’t mind if it isn’t too comfy though as he is used to the spiky sharp grasses prodding him every day. Plus he will need the window open so he can go about his daily duties of watching the nests. He rather likes doing it and now that things are back to right he still wants to keep watch. Plus he’s looking forward to meeting all the babies that he’s been watching over. He rather sees himself as a phalarope-uncle-hare.
Would you like to come and help him infact? He could use another set of eyes on the beach. Ofcourse he will have to tell all the mamas and papas about you, plus the egg-eaters and the other birds because as soon as they see you they will most probably cover you in presents from the air and give you a piece of their beaks. After all, we do have babies at risk here.

well, well, Seramr was very impressed! and after the fray abated she took the magazine aside to read it again in peace.
She was awfully proud of me and asked if I had ever been to any of the Islands?
I had indeed, I said to her, I had been to Skye and maybe one day I may make it to Fetlar (if the seas are calm as I'm not a very good water traveller).

Seramr borrowed my new spectacles that came in the mail the other day, as my eyesight is getting a little fuzzy. Infact until I started wearing my glasses I had no idea how unfocused my world had actually become!
'cripes! the writing is awfy blurry!' she exclaimed, peering thru them ...

I got my glasses for the whopping cost of £13 - no joke! These are prescription glasses and were made to my specific and uneven eye measurements (one is a lot worse than the other!) and I took 3 months of faffing around before finding and ordering the pair I wanted. (I was rather put off that the high street stores all boasted of getting 2 pairs for only £80 ... and being a 'canny Scot' I wanted to see the money I could save :)

so I bought them from GlassesDirect. Normally this pair is £39, but I bought a £9 buy-it-now deal from Groupon, the special voucher discount UK company, and I only had to pay £4 in postage extra!
and voila! clear sight restored!

(if you would like me to email you via groupon so I can get £6 in my kitty for a referral please let me know :)
(and the fine print ... you have to purchase their deal within 72hrs of me recommending you for the £6 to go thru)
well - I did say 'fine print' and it took me ages to find that disclaimer in their site ...
(and now that I have my wonderful glasses I can read the fine print :) ~small gloat~

so I can raise my glass(es) to my canny purchasing and the lovely people at Glasses Direct and Groupon and to John the editor of Scottish Islands Explorer for very kindly publishing my article in his magazine!!
thank you John!
shall treat you to a dram if we ever meet!

I have some new mamas and babies going into my shop very soon,
tailes being written now for Mama KissAndTell and babies Fomalhaut and Regulus ...
and Mama Always and her baby Satevis are already on their way to their forever home

and pretty Mama Hare Heart will be in my shop soon too .....

just let me find my glasses ....

... now where I did put them? ....

Thursday, 18 August 2011

so, er, like i said before .....

Baby Hare Sprig was mighty pleased that people have been listening in to her story over at my AudioBoo page!

She scampered over to tell Arabella who was dining on some treats

Yeah! I know! exclaimed Arabella - I only heard her read the story about 10 times before she was happy with the way it sounded!

Sprig thought it would have been simple enough to read it just the once?
... then she spied the tasty treats Arabella was gobbling and was about to ....

latch her incisors around one when they both heard a commotion ......

the squirrels that had been tail-less and tale-less were now tailed and taled and making their way into my etsy shop

cripes! then they saw the 'tails' at the back of my computer thingy and scampered incase I put 'labels' on them

I moved the 'thingy' the other week (is it called a tower?) and my gosh! there were a thousand cables here, there and everywhere all streaming from the back.
I became slightly faint just looking at it all! and a little nauseous!

And as in all hardware relocation projects there is always a huge reorganisation of these electrical snakes, so being hardware-technically-challenged I very labouriously tagged and marked every spot. Plus the computer was still plugged in so it was not as if I could just pull cables out and stick them in later and hope that it would all work fine and dandy.
Anyway, about a few hours later, I had neatly coiled and sorted snakes and a marked spot for every thingy that stuck in somewhere at the back.
Goodness help me when I have to update my external removable memory drive thingy (they're all thingys to me :) and look where to put that!
Always makes my heart flutter ..... and yes, I have been found trying to jam a circle pin into a square slot :)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

don't say BOO! to a .......

..... to a squirrel!!
did you know the saying is 'don't say boo to a goose'? I didn't! I had to google it. Anyway, there are no geese here - only squirrels and hares!

and if you are the type of person who prefers to listen instead of read then you will be pleased to know that I have now started to read aloud and upload my baby hare and baby squirrel stories as 'boos'

and if you'd like to hear me rambling on for 3 minutes with your morning coffee or evening cup of tea then please visit my AudioBoos page.
(ofcourse you could just go there to hear what I sound like too - I do have a bit of a Scottish accent with a mish mash of other strains in there as well)

My first ever story is of Baby Squirrel Sprig who has a papa deer! did you ever?! and isn't she such a pretty little lady?

I recorded it 3 times before I was reasonably happy with my mutterings so I hope you are able to understand me if you decide to listen in.

and after that first attempt I was rather excited and recorded Baby Hare Forever and the twinkling stars straight after!
Forever has many admirers on etsy since I listed him last week.

I want to thank Rhiannon from StarryBlueSky for introducing me to AudioBoos via her blog!

I've been thinking about lots of different avenues for my short stories and perhaps a 3 minute morning boo, or an evening bedtime story boo would be a nice way for you to enjoy your cup of tea?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

never too early ...

to welcome winter squirrel babies!

with beautiful does and snow on their sides

or handsome stags and sparkly golden eyes

or ospreys hunting for fish in the lochs below

and since I don't do trends - ever - then I have decided to skip the palaver of Autumnal madness that is sweeping the merchandising in (online and 'real') stores at the moment and go straight for Winter - why the hell not?!

er .... could just be me who thinks like this eh??
after all - wasn't it just Christmas in July last month??!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

the simple things in life

this is my new baby hare Forever

he adores the stars with their twinkles and sparkles ~ and so do I

and when life gets in a little bit of a disarray then it's nice to keep things in perspective ~ so just follow the images below if you have ... 'been having one of those days....'

note Earth

and, er, Earth again

and eh, foh-geh-dah-bout Earth - note the Sun

er, still see the Sun?

so, like I said, nice to keep things in perspective eh?

and don't sweat the small stuff :)

Forever loves twinkles and sparkles and he has been lucky to see them in the night's sky and mama's eyes!

Forever was born on the coldest of starry nights and when he opened his eyes and saw the sparkles in the darkness he was transfixed! Infact it took a few minutes for him to stop looking at the stars and look at mama and when he did he could see the twinkling stars reflected in her big brown eyes and he immediately fell in love with her! She kissed him gently on his tiny nose and hugged him.
Every night since Forever has waited excitedly for the dusk to fall and the first stars to twinkle. He spends quite a few hours gazing up and taking all this beauty in. Usually he sleeps in a little at breakfast time but mama doesn’t mind because these celestial wonders must be appreciated and sometimes even the simplest things in life, like enjoying the twinkling are forgotten in our pursuit of life and happiness. So mama lets him gaze at the stars as often as he wants.
Forever knows that the other babies don’t get to stay up as late as him and he’s very grateful to mama. He has seen falling stars and shooting stars and new stars being born and old stars dying, infact if you would like to know about what stars get up to at night time then just ask him. He can tell you lots of secrets! And on cloudy nights when the stars need to recuperate from their night time shows then Forever is busy writing away in his journal everything he can remember about them.
And during the day he spends a lot of time looking for the stars in the other baby hare eyes, as he has discovered that everyone has a night time star living in their eye, he just has to catch it’s twinkle when they are looking at him!

Forever is looking forward to making himself cosy on your armchair, with a view to the night’s sky ofcourse! He would also love the window open so that he can go out at breakfast time, well a late breakfast time, to visit mama and the other babies.

He is very excited about watching the stars from your place and you are welcome to watch them with him too! mind though, no complaining if you get a sore neck from all the looking up for hours on end. And it is a patient pursuit as well, so if you don’t see a shooting star in the first week or month, then please don’t get miffed. They are pretty rare, you just have to keep your eyes open and make sure you don’t blink too often either because they don’t last very long and you could miss one that way too! plus during the day Forever will be gazing into your eyes to discover the stars in them – even humans have them too!

When I was holding young Forever today for his etsy photo shoot he suddenly looked up at me and said that he can see quite a few stars sparkling in my eyes!
so I gave him a hug and said that perhaps some of the galaxy had been visiting me? and that infact I could see rather a few stars in his eyes too - not just one! and on hearing that he gave me a big smile and his eyes sparkled some more!

- nice to keep life simple eh?
smiles and hugs :) xoxo :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Dilemma ...

3 rabbits - 1 piece of turnip, 1 shred of greens ....

... like I said - the dilemma ....

(er, don't think I don't realise that 2 are non-breathing, that makes no difference because the food just disappears! believe me :)

Seramr, my very own hare + Arabella who is getting on very well and full of energy + Arabella's little toy baby rabbit