Category Archives: Life

Happy Birthday Bertie the Travelling Bear

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Sit back and enjoy the ride

Bertie, Croc and me have been super busy the past few weeks. We have lots of ideas for blog posts but don’t seem to be able to find the time to actually sit down and compose one.

3 years ago my mum gave me a little bear to carry with me when I was travelling. She knew I usually travelled with my dog and would take photographs of her posing where ever we went. So, because I was not taking my dog on this journey, Bertie became my new travelling companion and what a journey it has been. I have decided that as I do not know Bertie’s exact birthday that this would be a good day to make his birthday. The day his journey really began.

This is the FIRST ever Bertie blog post I wrote. Three years on we are still writing, photographing and travelling. I promise to add some more blog content soon, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this blast from the past…….. Meet Bertie the Bear

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bertie the Bear!!!

The Power of Speech

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I have lost my voice.

It isn’t until you really loose something that you realise how much it meant to you, or how much you relied on it! I now know how Bertie the Travelling Bear feels not being able to verbalise his thoughts. His only power of communication is the written word.

Without a voice communication has been difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. I have had to be resourceful. My partner and I had the most fun we have ever had in the supermarket this week because all of our communication was done in sign language. We soon forgot about the confused stares from the other shoppers as we fell around, me laughing silently, at the random gestures we were making up. We still haven’t quite worked out a silent sign for milk, any ideas anyone?

I have learnt how to get my computer to speak what I type, and have had fits of silent giggles, making it say random things to people all week. The receptionist at the doctors couldn’t stop laughing when I used my computer to tell her that I needed a doctors appointment and what was wrong with me. I then pointed to the huge “Its my birthday” badge I was wearing when she asked me my date of birth (it was actually my birthday as well, I haven’t gone completely insane).

The other thing I have noticed is, when I speak very quietly to other people, they actually respond in the same way. I have had no choice but to whisper a few words when I can, but the people I have spoken to have lowered their voices and whispered back. I have found this quite amusing and would highly recommend giving it a try!

When I am silent and I smile at other people they start talking, and they don’t seem to stop. I don’t have much choice but to listen, silently. I have had random strangers chatting away to me when I have whispered “no voice”.

Hopefully, my voice will return to normal next week but I have seen this week as some kind of blessing. I have learnt some lessons in communication which I feel will be very useful to me in the future. In the meantime, I will use my silent moments to work out some more random sign language…..ways to sign chocolate anyone?

Friends are the family we choose

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Our last post saw Croc having to make a difficult decision indeed. Did he stay on an adventure, heading into the unknown with Bertie or did he join his family and stay safely huddled on a shelf? Croc chose Bertie and, like all big decisions, now he was back in the car and on the move again he was beginning to doubt himself.

Bertie had noticed Croc’s mood change, which would have gone unrecognised to anyone who wasn’t a friend of Crocs. Croc didn’t really do moods, or expressions or emotions. He did hiding, lurking in pockets and observing the world. This was a whole new experience for Croc and Bertie knew exactly what it felt like.

Eventually Bertie shuffled closer to Croc on the dashboard of the Hilux they were travelling in. Trees and red dirt whizzed by outside but Croc had turned his back and was looking most confused. Bertie nudged Croc, “What’s wrong?” He asked. Croc looked at him with big sad eyes and shrugged. “Let me see if I can help” said Bertie and he launched into one of his tails of travel and adventure. It didn’t seem to help. Bertie sat silently next to Croc and began to feel Croc’s downtrodden mood too. Looking wistfully out of the window Bertie said quietly, “You know, I don’t have a family. I don’t even know who my family are. I do have a friend. The only friend I have ever had and he is like my family. I read once that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” Croc looked up and raised a small crocodile paw and pointed to himself. Bertie nodded and Croc began to smile!

It turns out that Croc didn’t really know his family who were all huddled on the shelf. In his short life he had spent most of it with Bertie, which meant he had chosen his family after all.

Two friends, on an adventure into the unknown. What could be better than that? Croc decided. Bertie said, “It’s not about making the wrong or right decision Croc, it is about having the opportunity to make a decision at all.” Croc smiled and nodded and watched the trees and red dirt whizz past the window. Where to next he wondered?

Ubuntu

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Two female elephants protectively prevent the baby elephant from being taken downstream by the current. Photograph taken whilst volunteering at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.

I have often written about the connection that I feel to nature. I love being in the woods, surrounded by trees, the older the better. I love sitting in trees and feeling the comfortable swaying embrace of them. I also love being around animals, especially dogs.

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Poppy showing me her “happy face” The wind blew and caught her ears at the perfect time!

I have grown up with dogs. My first dog was there from birth and was my protector, my calmness and my best friend. My little Poppy, pictured above, has been my constant companion and has made me smile when I never thought I would smile again. I have worked with elephants, volunteered with animal sanctuaries and at one point felt I had my own animal sanctuary when I owned a disabled guinea pig and a ferocious rabbit who would chase birds from the garden.

Rascal, the most appropriately named rabbit
Rascal, the most appropriately named rabbit

But what about people? I find people harder to connect with than nature and animals. With an animal what you see is what you get. They are very true to themselves and they show their emotions. I have met many a cat who has shown their distaste at your existence.

People I find more complicated to understand. I can instantly feel when someone is not being true to themselves or when they are hiding something and it places me in a position of unrest in their company. I have met people who are selfish and needy, only wanting to validate their own self worth and, I am embarrassed to admit, I myself have been this way at a point in my life where I wanted someone else to desperately show me that I was good enough.

I have also met the most wonderful and open souls. People who are calm, confident within themselves and who genuinely care about other people. They don’t announce their grand gestures on Facebook or for the world to see, what they do they do because it comes naturally to them. I have been very fortunate to have had these people come into my life.

I have included a video link in this post today. It is from a TED talk by a man called Boyd Varty. He talks about the African term of Ubuntu, which is difficult to translate into English but Boyd describes it as “I am, because of you”

Click on the link Ubuntu and find yourself transported to 14 minutes of inspiration. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The little things

 

I feel that it’s so important to make time for the little things in life which make me feel good. 

After waking up feeling particularly low I have been lucky enough to be able to attend a yoga class and I am now treating myself to a well deserved chocolate brownie, pot of tea and an escape into a world of fantasy on my kindle….I feel so much better already! 

Happy Friday everyone. This weekend I hope by sharing a bit of my world I will remind you make time for something little in your life which makes you glow.

A snapshot from my past

I love my film camera!

It’s nothing special, a Pentax MZ 7, but it survived University with me. For the final two years of my degree it was just me and my camera photographing our journeys for my degree exhibition!

Then me squirrelling myself away in a dark room (I still love the smell of fixative) for hours trying to get the perfect print.

I saved so hard to buy my little Pentax and I really looked after it…there’s not a mark or scratch on it! It became an extension of me. A way to show the world a bit of my life, of my experiences.

I find myself, 11 years later, with a new camera…photographing my journeys for the world to see!!!

I’m obviously doing what I am meant to be doing!

Thank you for attending my life long exhibition.