A stalwart defender

This short story was inspired by something I see every day, most times that I leave the house in daylight.

I should introduce myself. I am¬†reasonably tall, dark and (according to my wife!) handsome. My wife and I have been together for a couple of years now, and we live in a small place in the suburbs of the big city. It’s not much, but it was a self-build project (I’m handy like that) and the wife has made it cosy and inviting inside. I always look forward to getting home at the end of a long day. Up with the lark, that’s me, and then out for most of the day. You know, the original ‘hunter-gatherer’ type, working hard all day to provide for the family. It feels like I’m on the go all day, just trying to keep the family fed, although of course my wife does her bit as well. She’s a bit tied up at the moment –¬†we’re¬†expecting additions to the family, you see, so she’s home more often than not now. I’m definitely a family man, and I’d do anything to protect the clan, and the home. And that’s what led me to tell you a little of our story.

Our home is cheek by jowl with this block of flats. The people who live there are quiet though, and don’t bother us. Actually, they have helped us out in the past when times have been a bit hard, by giving us food fairly regularly. We’re really grateful for that, it’s helped us get through many a fallow time.¬†Everything was fine until a few months ago. I was out and about, conducting my normal daily business (as you do) when I noticed this fellow in one of the flats giving me the evil eye. I thought I’d have a second look, and would you know it! As I went nearer, he came right at me! I backed off and thought about this for a bit (whilst keeping the flat in sight – it was a bit near to home to be letting him completely out of my sight). I decided to go up to the window, quietly, and see if he was still around. Maybe I’d been mistaken. I might have imagined it. You know how it is when you have a million other things on your mind, especially with a new arrival expected any day. I slid past the flat, and there he was! Mirroring my movements, from the inside of the flat, it really shook me. I didn’t want to tell the wife, as she has enough on her plate, but I really needed to sort this bloke out. He looked a bit like me – a decent size, and dark too, but¬†far more sinister if truth be told.

I couldn’t have this bloke, whoever he was, threatening the wife and family home, so I decided my only option was to pluck up the courage and chase him off. It might turn a bit nasty, I thought, but if he was like most of the other bullies I’ve come across, he’d be scared off pretty quickly. So I stood still for a bit, the flat in my sights and talked the talk to myself. Then, I flew at the place I’d seen this threatening looking bloke, and gave him my best shot. But blow me, he came straight back at me and hit me just as I threw one at him. Again and again I gave it to him, and each time he retaliated at the exact same moment. I kept it up for a while, but after a bit my head was hurting, my muscles were tired and, if I’m honest, my ego was bruised. I limped away, vowing that I’d be back and I’d beat him next time.

I’ve been back every day since then, and every day we’ve been even. Out of the corner of my eye I notice that he retreats at the exact same time I do, and when I’m a little distance away from the flats I can’t even see him. But he is always there when I arrive. I can’t worry the wife, this is a man’s work and though I might not be the brightest bulb in the box, I’m damned if I will give up my responsibility for protecting me and mine. It’s a tiring situation, but I’m determined not to give in, so I’ll be back. And I’ll keep going back every day until that big, smug, vicious thing leaves for good.

I forgot, I didn’t tell you my name. How rude of me. I’m Mr Crow, and the wife and I live in the birch tree by this block of flats. Third nest from the top left. But I’d appreciate it if you’d wait a while before visiting, or at least give us some notice, as we’re expecting the chicks to hatch any day now.

Fairtrade Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate!

The world truly is a bright and sunny place to be! Hurrah and Huzzah for the people at Cadburys who have ensured that AT LAST I can eat my favouritest chocolate in the whole world without feeling guilty about the little children who have been paid farthings in order to make production of this sweet sweet chocolate possible!

Imagine my delight when I was in the supermarket and I saw this gorgeous baby adorned with that lovely blue and green logo on the side! However, I have a confession…

dairy milk

I got it home, thinking that it would be a wonderful addition to my little giveaway, so I took a photo of it, and carried on with what I was¬†doing. However, unfortunately muscle memory wasn’t to know that I¬†was having a giveaway and so the next time I looked down, it looked a little more like this;

finished dairy milk

I apologise most heartily – the gorgeous, creamy, chocolatey goodness called to me in a voice sweet and clear, and I was powerless to resist. However, I have been¬†back to the supermarket, just to make sure that it wasn’t a figment of my (frankly, overworked) imagination, and replaced it with this;

bigger and better

Yup, as a measure of my guilt, contrition and (boundless, so it would seem) generosity, I substituted the previous paltry 49g bar for a whopping 230g of the best chocolate EVER! You just know that this alone is going to bump the postage way up!

Anyway, remember, only eight days left in which to post comments and tweet etc and generally get entries. You know you want it!


For your viewing pleasure, and musical entertainment and edification, I present Stringfever playing Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, on a cello…four guys, one cello!

I first met these guys when Neal (the one actually holding the cello!) was only about 4. It wasn’t long before my parents and I found out just how tremendously talented a family this was. I vividly remember, when I was in my early to mid teens, visiting the Broadbents in their home and being treated to an impromptu concert in their living room – it was the most fantastic performance I’d ever experienced at that young age, and it certainly gave me a lot of respect for the amount of work as well as talent that went into producing such wonderful music.

Unfortunately, I’ve not seen them in more than ten years (since before I left home, in fact) but I always keep an eye and an ear open for news of their travels and performances. I am still holding out hope that they will come and perform somewhere near to Cardiff soon, so that I can get to an ‘official’ performance! I’d really like to take at least my older son to see them as he has just started to learn the violin, and I think it would really inspire him and give him something to emulate.

So, as I’m sure you enjoyed their interpretation of ‘Bolero’, I’d also like to share ‘A History of Music’. There are lots of parts of this which I enjoy, but I especially like it when they reach the mid to late twentieth century. Hope you love it as much as I do!

Spring Giveaway – the winner!

To say that I was amazed by the reception given to my first giveaway would be an understatement. If I had expected anywhere near as many entrants, I would have thought up more prizes and shared the love between you all! However, there will be another giveaway in June, to mark my thirtieth birthday, so be sure to come back for that. I’m sure I’ll think of something good to give as a prize!

Anyway, for this time at least there is only one winner, and that is, chosen by a random number generator, Dancing On A Blade Of Grass! Congratulations! I have e-mailed you to get a postal address for my parcel, and I hope you enjoy it once you receive it!

My very first giveaway!

As promised, albeit a little later than intended, may I present my very first giveaway! I’ve been dying to do a giveaway for a few months now, but decided to wait until a landmark, and give away some things to celebrate.

So, here is what is up for grabs;


I tried to find things with a Spring theme, in the colours at least. I am loving these pale blues and greens at the moment, and wanted to pread the love!

First up, and most important (in my humble opinion!) is the chocolate.


Three bars of gorgeous, creamy, organic Green and Black’s milk chocolate. Yum! (I don’t think I need to say any more about that)

Next up is this hand-made (by me, of course!) purse.


It was crocheted with a cotton yarn, so should hopefully hold its shape pretty well. It’s exactly the right size for my digital camera (which is fairly compact) or alternatively would be great for holding a couple of bank cards and some coins when you just want to put some in your jeans pocket and dash out of the house. It has no seams so (in theory!) nowhere to unravel and drop all of your money! Oh, and the button was handmade (not by me, unfortunately) and I bought it when I bought my kid mohair yarn in Penybont on holiday.

Third, I am offering this necklace.


I could have done a better job with the photography, and I apologise for that. It’s made up of glass and pearl-like beads, strung onto fine wire. Very delicate for wearing in the Spring and Summer.

Finally, a greetings card;

baby card

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear of a new baby arriving, I never seem to have a card in the house ready to send off there and then. And if I do, it’s always a pink card with a baby boy having arrived, or a masculine navy blue, and the new arrival is a girl. So, I made this new baby card with that in mind. It is in shades of green (again, the picture’s not so great – sorry!) and you’ll see that on the picture of the baby, there’s a tag in which you can fill in the new baby’s name. It’s blank inside so you can add your own personalised message.

So that’s the bundle. I may or may not add other things before I post it off, depending on whether I find anything worthy of you all!

The Rules –¬†If you want to enter, leave a comment on this post and you will get¬†ONE chance to win this collection of goodies. If you want to have mutiple chances, Twitter it with a link to this post and get¬†TWO extra entries. If you write a blog post about it (again, with a link to this post) you will receive FIVE extra entries. Please leave me another comment with the permanent link to your blogpost/Twitter homepage so that I can go and have a look!

I am willing to post internationally, so have a go, wherever in the world you live. The giveaway will close at 10pm, British Summer Time next Saturday, 2nd May. I will then pull a name out of a hat (or online random number generator, whichever seems like it would be more fun at the time!) and hope to announce the winner next Sunday, 3rd May, subject to other things not getting in the way! So you have plenty of time to spread the word and get more chances to win. Good luck!


***THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED!!! Thank you very much to everyone who entered. Come back in June for my next giveaway, bigger and better than ever before!!!***

Which city do I belong in?

You Belong in Rome

You’re a big city soul with a small town heart

Which is why you’re attracted to the romance of Rome

Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand

And gorgeous Italian people – could life get any better?

Fair enough – I’m not going to argue with that! Easy travelling distance to the Amalfi Coast, yeah, I guess that if I had to pick any city, Rome would be good!

Desert Island MP3s!

desert island mp3s

This is a meme I dreamed up in the car on the way back from the farm, whilst listening to Classic FM, because I was thinking about my favourite music and wondering what my friends would name as their favourite tunes. That made me think back to Sunday mornings as a child, when Desert Island Discs would be on the radio, regular as clockwork, before lunch.

So, the rules;

  1. Name five songs or pieces of music that you would take with you to a desert island for an extended/indefinite stay;
  2. Name the book you would take;
  3. And finally, name one luxury item that you simply couldn’t be without (this sort of assumes that you are dumped on the island with very limited resources and very little in the way of a set up camp).

Once you’ve done all that, tag at least three other people to take part, and link back here so that I can come and read your lists. Go for your life!

So, here are my favourite pieces of music;

  1. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen – never fails to get me up, dancing and happy!
  2. Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ – obviously happy thoughts because of Torvill and Dean’s gold-winning ice dance in Sarajevo in 1984, but also I find it a really uplifting and energising piece of music.
  3. Beethoven’s ‘Egmont Overture’ – I studied this in school, so can pretty much sing every note, and yet I still absolutely adore it!
  4. Any of the songs from the ‘Mamma Mia’ soundtrack – again, I’ve seen the film and therefore have heard the songs many, many times, but each and every song from the film reliably makes me smile.
  5. Ummm, I should have only said four songs, I can’t think of a fifth! I can think of dozens, but it’s trying to narrow it down! OK, have to choose, have to choose; Katie Melua, ‘Closest thing to Crazy’, for those chilling out moments. Done!

My book; I’d choose ‘The Assassin’s Cloak’ which is an anthology of diary entries from dozens of famous diarists through the years. I’d be able to dip in and out, and it’s a good big book so it’d keep me going for a while!

My luxury; no contest. I’d have to have an internet enabled laptop with a wind-up charger! And yes, I know that theoretically a broadband connection is unlikely on a desert island, but this is my dream, and magic can happen! The internet is my single biggest source of information about almost any new thing that I attempt to do, so would be ideal if I were marooned and needed to build a house, find fresh water, dig a latrine etc etc!

As to the people I tag; I pick Jo, WelshPurpleTree, Mum, Dad, Sandie, and Marita. If any others of you want to take part, feel free, and post a comment and let me know so that I can be nosey!

Mystery project

So, I’ve got a mystery picture for you.


Do you know what it is? Can you guess what it will become?

(Sorry, you can tell that there’s not a lot going on here tonight!!)

A Christmas Carol for our time

Courtesy of Cheeky, my four year old son;

Thank you, Enemy Father,

Lemon, Vitamin C



He has been singing this, much to our amusement and to the accompaniment of the laughter of our whole family, for the last week and a half! We have no idea whether it is supposed to be a real hymn, or whether he has made it up himself, based on the sounds of words that he likes!

If anyone can cast a light on the words that he should have been singing, please do! Although we love his version, and don’t intend to correct him! Thus far we guess that the first line should read “Thank you, Heavenly Father”, but don’t have many ideas as to what the second line should be.

I’m sure I didn’t laugh nearly as much before I was a mother!

In a similar vein, when talking about the cold weather, Handsome (my seven year old son) recently suggested that we should all wear ear muffins in order to protect ourselves from potential earache! I love that! They will forever after be ear muffins to me now!

My Mum will be so proud!

I have always been fairly useless at geography, but my mum will be relieved to read this;

You Passed 8th Grade Geography

Congratulations, you got 7/10 correct!
Yay me! I’ve no idea how old someone in eighth grade would be (11? 12?) but I’m happy with that!
Also, I wasn’t very good at science – get this!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

And so, just to show off, have a look at this one!

Your Vocabulary Score: A+

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!

You must be quite an erudite person.

I’ve got a nice big¬†ego now!