Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Blob Thing Goes Gardening With A Herbalist In Morpeth

Blob Thing speaks:  [Honest, he does.  People don't seem to believe me that he is the one writing all this and that I am just the one typing it for him.  He's very clever.  For a soft toy.]

I've asked my person what I should talk about next.  She didn't know.  She would probably prefer it if I didn't talk about anything for a while so she can write the things she wants to write.  My person has her 250th blog post to write which is quite a milestone.  She also wants to finish writing the draft of a Christmas story that my creator got her to write.  [No.  You know that isn't quite true Blob.  You know she only gave me a half sentence prompt and I did the rest.  And you know she only gave me the prompt because I asked her to.  So don't blame your creator.]  That doesn't matter.  The point is that you're writing a story and I think you would prefer to be doing that right now not typing my words.  [Well you're right there Blob.  So get on with it.]

Last night we had a look at some photos of my adventures and we made a list of some of the adventures that I haven't talked about yet.  I didn't sleep well last night and they don't make sleeping tablets for soft toys so at three o'clock I found myself thinking about it.  Should I write about the beach at Alnmouth?  Should I write about the Sunday Assembly?  How about the time Winefride and I did a fun dance in a cafe with one of my creator's friends?  There's even a video of that one.  Or maybe I should finish my description of Greenbelt because I want to do that.

No.  None of those things today.  I have decided to write about an adventure day I had five months ago.  Five months ago tomorrow to be exact.  That was the day my person took us to explore some of Morpeth.  The first of July.  The start of the second half of my first year of life.  Ooh. Wow.  That's exciting.  It's just a month until my birthday.  I wonder if I'll get any presents.  My Morpeth adventures seem good to write about because tomorrow I'm going to be going back to Morpeth and I think I'm going to be fed cake too.  This time Winefride will be there too.  I hope she likes it.

This has been a year in which we have walked to Morpeth - another adventure for me to write about and there's a video from that day too.  It's of me, Winefride and my person playing on a slide.  It was a wonderful day and we got to eat strawberries at the end of our walk.  Also this year we have walked from Morpeth.  That was one of my first ever adventures.  Just about.  My person took me out with her and then she forgot that I was there so I remained marooned in her bag until over half way through the walk.  Don't worry though - I've made her go back again so I could see the things I missed out on first time.  And this has been a year in which we have walked in Morpeth.  That was a very good day too and we discovered lots of pretty things.  I wanted to play on the swings in Morpeth but it was raining at that point and my person didn't let me.

We arrived in Morpeth on the bus and walked down the main street to the river.  On the way we passed the Bagpipes Museum.  Yes.  It's true.   Morpeth has a museum devoted to bagpipes.  We went in and had a quick look but I have to say it wasn't the most exciting part of the day for me.  Bagpipes are okay in their place, which isn't necessarily in the main shopping street of Newcastle.  I like some pipe music and we even own some CDs with pipes of different kinds.  My person is telling me that we should listen to her Kathryn Tickell and Davy Spillane albums again.  I hope she spelled those names correctly because I wouldn't have been able to do it.

Then we crossed over the river.  We didn't use the busy road bridge because behind the bagpipes we found a quiet footbridge.  My person took pictures from the bridge.  When she blogs about the day she can include them all.  I don't want to post them because none of them show my happy face.  I am happy to show some pictures that aren't of me.  But not all of them.

Here's one not of me.  Taken from near the bridge.  This shows the River Wansbeck.  It's a weir.  It's been at least two days since I last included a picture of a weir.

We followed a little lane from the bridge and entered a park.  This was Carlisle Park and I got a bit confused because we weren't in Carlisle.  I want to go and explore Carlisle one day.  It's a very long bus ride away but that's no excuse and my person should take Winefride and me to see it.  Next year.  When it's a bit warmer.  All we would have to do would be to get the bus to Hexagon and stay on the bus.  I want to go back to Hexagon too.  Maybe next time I'm there I can be very brave and go into the prison even though that's a very scary place.  Yes person, you must take us to Carlisle.  It won't cost you anything.  So don't make excuses.  I promise we'll behave on the bus and I'll help you look after Winefride if she gets bored.

We walked up a hill in the park and I started to feel good about being in Morpeth.  Already the park was proving to be a richly rewarding revelation, reaping righteous rewards.  [Er, Blob ... I think perhaps you're taking alliteration a bit too far there.]  Having walked up the hill we looked across to a big castle.  At least it looked like a castle.  But my person says that it isn't a castle at all.  She says it used to be the court house.  Not any more.  Now it's filled with apartments.  Expensive ones.  The kind of apartments where your towels are washed for you and someone makes your breakfast.  I think it should be a castle though.  A castle with a very strict court that makes you clean the roof and look after the park just for dropping one sweet wrapper on the pavement.  I dread to think what the penalties might be for dropping a takeaway wrapper.

We had just walked up a hill.

And we stood at the top of lots of steps.

But what was at the bottom of the steps did look interesting.  So we climbed down all the steps.  If we had known that we were going to end up at the bottom of the hill we might not have walked to the top of it.  We might.  People do that kind of thing.  Anyone climbing a big hill knows that in the end they will be back at the bottom of the hill.  They do it anyway.  For fun.  For the view.  For the satisfaction of having climbed to the top.  I want to go up some big hills one day but it's difficult to reach them from here on a bus.  My person should work out how to get to some bigger hills next year.  Perhaps she will go to a bigger hill one day when staying in the Manchester home.  There must be bigger hills near there that she can find using a bus.  Or even a train.  I like trains.  I don't think I'll ever climb Everest though.  But wouldn't it be amazing if I did?  Just think of all the photos I could bring back from the Himalayas.  I could be the first small pink soft toy to climb Everest and I would get in the record books.  I could be.  But I won't be.  We haven't even finished exploring Tyne and Wear.  It's a bit soon to think about exploring Nepal.

And we did find something very nice indeed at the bottom of the steps.  We found a pretty garden named after a man called William Turner.

The plants in the garden are mainly ones that William Turner put in his book.  Turner was born about 508 years ago in Morpeth.  He didn't stay in Morpeth as an adult but Morpeth is proud that he was born there.  He wrote "A New Herball" the first clear survey of English plants.

Turner also wrote a clear survey of wines.

Here are some pictures of me enjoying the garden named after him.  It was very nice.  I preferred being by the river later because I like rivers but this garden was pretty and I liked it.

Here are some more facts about William Turner:

He was famous for teaching his dog to steal hats from the heads of bishops.

He published the first printed book about birds.

He was imprisoned for preaching without a licence.  He later got a licence and became a priest.  And then he was thrown out of the priesthood for his views.

He died at a place called Crutched Friars.

After exploring Turner's garden I felt I needed a rest.  Especially as I knew my person was about to make me climb back up the hill.  There was a highly suitably place to sit and I basked in the sunshine, taking advantage of it because I didn't think I'd be seeing much more of it.

I was glad that my person had taken me to Morpeth.  It was proving to be a very surprising place.  The best was yet to come.  Stepping stones.  I like bridges.  And I like stepping stones.  I am glad that I'll be going back to Morpeth tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to it and I think I'll get to see the stepping stones again too.  I like stepping stones.

There.  Finished.  Now my person can get on and do some of her own writing.  If her fingers aren't too tired from doing all of my writing.  Okay my person.  We can stop now.

[1723 words]

Monday, 28 November 2016

Blob Thing Completes His River Irwell Expedition In The Rain

Ooh.  It's quite exciting.

I've just booked to go and see my creator.  She lives a long way away from me.  I could never hope to flap my dress and fly that far.  Not in one day.  I think if I did try I wouldn't go the way the coach goes to where she lives.  I would take a more direct route.  It's much prettier.  And it's much shorter too.  It would probably still take me three days to fly though.  At least.

This week is going to be very exciting too because on Friday Winefride and I are going to be taken to the Great North Snowdogs farewell event and we will see all our dog friends again.  I'm hoping that we get to see the dog called Patchwork who lived in Kielder which is also a long way away.  We want to have our picture taken with Patchwork.  We would also quite like to sit on the dog who lived at The Sage because he was on a big platform that made sitting on him impossible.  I wish the people at The Sage hadn't forced their dog to live on a platform where he couldn't go for a walk.

It's all quite exciting.

The day I've been telling you about in my blog was quite exciting too.  I'm not sure I want to repeat the excitement of nearly being eaten twice but there were plenty of other exciting things to smile and whoop about.

We had been walking along the banks of the River Irwell, a short river that starts in some hills that I want to go and see next year and ends in the middle of Manchester where it flows into a big canal.

As we walked we looked through a very long fence to our left and kept seeing graves.  Lots of graves.  My person likes graveyards.  She does and she doesn't care if you all think her strange.  She says graveyards can be very pretty, very peaceful and very calming.  This particular graveyard had ever so many graves.  We passed a section of very plain gravestones, all exactly the same size and shade of grey and then came to a section of much more ornate graves that had been decorated with all kinds of things, like shrines.  This was a Roman Catholic section of the graveyard.

My person said that she wanted to visit the graveyard.  Not that day because it was already raining quite hard.  But one day.  And we've done it too.  We've been to the graveyard.  On a much drier day.  We took Winefride with us and we all had a lot of fun except my person started crying at one point when reading some of the inscriptions to infants who had died.  I had to comfort her.  Winefride ran off and played and we thought that would be okay if we kept an eye on her.  But then she climbed up a tree stump and got stuck in a hole in it and I had to rescue her.  My person was useless.  She didn't help me at all.  She just stood back and made me do all the work to extricate my sister from her unfortunate situation.  She just stood back and took pictures of the scene.  I'll blog about it one day and show you just how unhelpful my person was.  The pictures are nice.  But I think I would have preferred some help and my person could have helped in an instant.  Sometimes I wonder about her priorities.

So that first day we just walked past the graveyard.  It was raining quite a bit and we knew that after the graves we would come to a road.  My person had looked on the map on her phone and spotted that there was a bus stop nearby.  She had decided it would be better to stop walking, catch a bus, and go and get dry.  No more adventuring for Blob Thing that day.  I agreed with this decision.  For once my person was being sensible.

We got to the road okay.  We got to the bus stop okay.

And then we encountered a problem.

There were no buses on a Sunday.  None.  Not even if we waited for three hours.  None.

What to do?  In the rain?  On a road with no buses?

The sensible thing would have been to walk up the road.  It would perhaps only have taken us ten minutes and we would have reached another road.  And another bus stop.  With regular buses.  Even on a Sunday.

That would have been the sensible thing.  We stood in the rain and my person pondered what to do.  Should she be sensible?  Twice in one day?

She decided to be not sensible.

She decided the best thing was to carry on walking along the river.  In the rain.  With no jacket.  Because that's just the kind of woman she is.

At the time I complained and asked her, "Why don't we just walk to another bus stop?  It's only just up that hill."  She said, "It's okay, if we go this way it's just another few miles and then we'll be somewhere I know we can find a bus stop."

So we carried on walking and in retrospect I am glad.  We saw lots of pretty things that day - things we took Winefride to see too after seeing the graveyard.  The rain didn't spoil the afternoon.  But I did hide away in the bag quite a lot.  My person didn't have a waterproof jacket.  But I haven't even got waterproof skin.

We crossed the Irwell at the road and found ourselves in Bury.  We're not in Salford anymore Dorothy.  A sign announced that we were at the edge of Drinkwater Park.  I didn't want to drink the water but I like parks.  So it was a thing of gladness to find that our route entered the park.  To be honest it wasn't in our route.  My person knew where we were going.  There was a signpost pointing to where we were going.  It wasn't through the park.  It wasn't even on the same side of the river.  But the park sounded more fun, even in the rain.

We saw pretty things like this.

It might have been pouring with rain but I still wanted to take time to pose for a photo.  I'm glad we've taken Winefride to the park too and she has seen what I saw.

We saw this plant.  Cow parsley.  I think, although it seems a funny name for a plant that doesn't look like a cow.  It's very pretty.  That's not to say that cows aren't pretty.  I like cows and met some near another lake we walked to.  But cows don't look like cow parsley.  Unfortunately we saw a lot of another plant too and took photos of that.  It was called giant hogweed.  There's a lot of it there.  The Wikipedia article about Drinkwater Park has a section about flora and fauna.  The only photo there is of giant hogweed.  Horrible stuff.  This plant was much prettier.  And much less evil.

We carried on walking and passed a wide flat area.  It was still very wet but we were happy.  I was surprised by how happy my person was being.  She was having fun and being very obvious about her enjoyment of being outside.

The rain kept getting worse.  I sat in the bag mostly and didn't even take time to have my photo taken.  Not even when we got to this part of the river.  My person had to jump from the river bank across a deep gap to the top of an old wall to take this photo.  She did it again when we went back with Winefride and she took some very nice pictures of us there.

We reached the second of those bridges.  It was time to cross the river again.  The bridge once carried a canal but the canal had gone.  The view was still there though.

We crossed and followed a tow path high about the river.  It was very muddy and we could hardly tell it was a tow path because there wasn't much evidence that there had ever been a canal.  Never mind.  And it was very wet.  The tow path seemed to go on for ever but I know that was just our imagination.  Eventually we reached the end and reached our destination too:  Clifton Park, back in Salford.

We didn't take time to explore the park, deserted because of the weather.  There was only one car in the entire car park.  We left the park quickly - it would still be there another day - and climbed up the hill back to a bus stop.  My person was right.  This bus stop had buses on a Sunday.  Lots of buses.

And so we returned to the house and got dry.

All that was left to do was to drink tea and smile at what had been a very lovely day indeed.

[1512 words]

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Blob Thing Nearly Gets Eaten Again And Asks A Pertinent Question

Blob Thing speaks:

It was being a very lovely day.  A very lovely day.  It's true that a greyhound had kidnapped me and my person had nearly ended up calling the police.  It's true that a wolf had nearly eaten me.  But it was a very lovely day.

You remember that.  Next time you have a day in which you are kidnapped by a greyhound and nearly get eaten by a wolf.  Remember.  That though there might have been some difficult moments there can still be a great deal of blessing and beauty in a day.  I could be moaning about my day.  I could.  I could say it was a very bad day indeed, what with the kidnap and the near death.  I could then point to the heavy rain that began to fell during the events of the post ahead.  I could even point to the fact that I nearly got eaten twice that day.  And I could tell you it was a rubbish, rubbish day.

But I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to tell you it was a lovely day.  I met geese.  I crossed the river on the back of a black swan.  I saw some beautiful things.  I spent time with my person and we were under natural light.  We saw lots of plants and only one of them was one that could bring my person out in big blisters that need treating in hospital, just from one touch.  [It could, but fortunately it didn't.]  Yes, that plant is everywhere.  My person says that she has seen far, far more of it this year than she has ever seen before.  I think that's partly because my person has been outside far, far more this year than she ever has before.  But I also know it's because that horrid evil weed is spreading quickly even though we also saw signs that people are trying to control it.  We saw lots of giant hogweed that day and I had my picture taken with it and I even considered writing an educational blog to teach you the difference between giant hogweed and cow parsley.  You can find that out for yourself though.

It was a lovely day.  How could I pretend it wasn't when we saw pretty places like these.  These two photos we taken in the same place.  We were hardly out of the major urban areas.  In some ways we weren't.  If you were to look away from the river you would see housing estates beginning quickly and they rose up to Pendleton and Salford Shopping City.  We were still central.  But it was very pretty.  And it would get prettier - we found a massive park that's officially in Bury.  Just look at this.

And just look the other way.  How are you supposed to drive your boat up the river Irwell when it does things like this?

Oh, okay.  Just one giant hogweed picture.  Here's some.  Somebody has been here trying to control it.  When we went back to the river with Winefride we saw that somebody had been working very hard to control it.  They chop off the top of the stalk - which might be several metres tall - and pour poison inside to kill the plant.  You can't just spray this plant with something from the garden centre.  You have to pull out the big poison guns.  And even with all that work there was a lot of hogweed, with new hogweed sprouting everywhere.  I found it quite scary.  Maybe next year we'll go back and have a look to see whether all the hard work has worked or whether the entire river Irwell is just a mass of giant hogweed with it's evil stalk that oozes demonic fury from every patch of Satanic red.  I don't like giant hogweed.

Fortunately it's not all hogweed.  Here's the river, the path and another bridge.  I like bridges.  That's another reason we need to go back.  So I can have my picture taken with every single bridge we pass.  I'm not even in this photograph. We could start walking the Irwell at the Manchester Ship Canal and I could have my picture taken with the bridges and then I could find out about them all.  I'm sure my person wouldn't mind doing that for me even though there are so many other places she wants to explore.  [Yes Blob, I think I'd prefer to explore them than to revisit this walk.]

A very lovely day.  But then we had an episode that I don't care to repeat.  If ever I get to see the bridges again I don't know what we're going to do about this section.  Maybe there's a path on the other side of the river and we wouldn't have to pass this way.  Or maybe I could just hide in the bag and keep an extremely tight hold of Winefride's reins.  I don't want to lose her.

The walk had been going so well apart from the kidnapping, near eating, scary geese, scary hogweed and getting lost before we had even found the river.  It was a lovely day.

But.  Then up ahead I saw this creature appearing from the undergrowth:

A tiger.  A tiger!

It wasn't on fire like the burning bright one in the poem.  And I didn't know whether or not it possessed any fearful symmetry because at that point I could only see one side of its body.

A tiger.  A most fearsome beast.

But this one looked quite friendly and I decided that I should have my picture taken with the tiger.  My person got her camera out and pointed it at the tiger and I got myself into the shot and my person pressed the shutter.  This was the result.  I was smiling and very happy because I hadn't ever met a tiger before.  It was all going so well.  I thought.

There warning signs were there.  Just look at the tiger's face.  Can you see how it had changed its expression between the first photo and the second?  The difference is small, just micro-expressions.  But I can see them and I'm sure a well trained human would be able to see them too.

I should have paid better attention.

Because it was at this point everything went a bit wrong.

The tiger suddenly pounced, a massive shape landed on me and for the second time that day I was held in the mouth of a fearsome animal.

That would probably be enough to spoil most people's days.  But not me.  It was a very lovely day even though I spent some of it in the mouth of a tiger and some more of it involved in a three way fight.  Me and my person versus a tiger.  Two against one.  That hardly seems fair.  It's true that the tiger's claws are bigger than my person's and that I haven't got any claws at all.  But it still seems a very unbalanced contest.

I don't need to tell you the details of our battle.  Maybe another time.  Not now because I need to go out soon with my person and she's not even dressed yet.

All you need to know is that eventually I got free and that the tiger crawled back into the undergrowth.

It was a most frightening experience so you can probably see why I wouldn't want to walk along that path again.  I don't want to be dinner for a tiger or for anyone else.  I am not anyone's dinner.

I confess that though it was a very lovely day I felt a bit sorry for myself.  I'd got lost.  I'd found my route shut due to a closed footpath.  (Not that this stopped us in Chester-le-Street when we ignored the closed footpath signs.  And then later got lost twice.)  I'd had my way blocked by an army of geese.  I'd been nearly eaten by a wolf.  I'd been kidnapped by a greyhound.

And now this.  The indignity of it all!

It was a very lovely day but at that moment I started to cry and cry and cry and I kept asking one question and I was wailing loudly, asking my person again and again:

Why?  WHY?  WHY?

It was a fair question.  Why?  There didn't seem to be any good answer.  Because there wasn't one.  Sometimes bad things happen to good small pink soft toys.

My person sat down on the riverbank with me and held me tightly.  We rocked together and she squeezed me.  And she sang a quiet song to me.  We rocked gently and I buried my face into my person and cried some more.  Slowly as she stroked me I calmed down.  I still didn't know why things kept trying to eat me.  We stayed like that on the riverbank for quite some time before I felt able to continue my walk.

We were glad that I was able to continue.  And we set off once again along the Irwell.

It was at about this point that the rain begin to fall more.  My person looked at the map on her phone and discovered that quite soon we would reach a road and that there was a bus stop not too far away from our crossing point.

We would get to the road.  Wait for a bus.  Go back to the home.  Get dry.  Drink tea.  And relax until my creator arrived and then relax some more.

That seemed like an excellent plan to me.  And it seemed like a top rated plan to my person.

An excellent plan.

A plan that would fail.  Catastrophically.

But that's something for my next blog post.  Don't worry.  We didn't die or get eaten.  But we did get very wet.  [No Blob, we didn't get very wet.  I got very wet.  You hid away in my waterproof bag and made me carry you through the bad weather.]

[1662 words]

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Blob Thing Meets Lots Of Animal Friends By The River In Manchester

My person is a silly woman sometimes.  I don't think it's her fault.  She just is silly.

This morning she took Winefride and me to a church fair.  She planned it all carefully.  I think we were going to have a good time and that we would meet some of the people my person used to go to church with when she was a preacher man and when she used to write sermons sometimes.  That was a long time before I was born.  She believed the words she said in her sermons.  I've read a couple of them.  Some of what I've read I agree with.  All the bits about being good to each other.  Some of it I don't agree with.  Back then she still thought that believing in Jesus - and believing lots of things about him - were an essential for her life and for the futures of other people too.  She doesn't believe that now which is good because I think I would end up having lots of arguments with her if she did and then Winefride would get upset.  My person still quite likes Jesus though and still owns more Bibles than most Christians.  Strange.

Anyway.  I was telling you how she is silly.  You might think she's silly for believing the kind of things she used to believe.  You might think she's silly for not believing it now.  You might think she's a very silly person for allowing me to dictate all these things about her and to happily keep typing about her own silliness without telling me off and chucking me across the room.  But it's okay.  Most of the time she doesn't mind being as silly as she is and she is learning to laugh about it.

Today we went to the fair.  My person checked the time of the fair.  She checked the date of the fair.  She read those details.  She checked again.  And again.  She must have checked half a dozen times so that we would know exactly when to leave the house.  She had worked it out to the nearest minute.  Nothing was left to chance at all.  Nothing.  My person can be like that.  Work it out thoroughly so that she knows exactly what belongs where and when it will get there.  When a journey goes wrong it can be majorly stressful for my person.

We went to the fair.

And we arrived at exactly the right time.

But we arrived at exactly the wrong date.

Yes.  My person is silly.  She took us to the fair a whole week early.

She had read the date over and over again.  But it was in her head that the fair was today.  After all, a fair somewhere else was today so surely this one would be too.  Her head did that.  And once done, no amount of reading and re-reading the correct information could change the wrong information engraved within her.

That's the way her brain works.  Fortunately she laughed about it, even though she had missed the other fair to go to the one that wasn't on.

Yes, my person is silly.  Frequently.

Enough about her silliness.  I want to share a little more about my exciting day out when we walked along the River Irwell.

I'll let you in on a secret now.  I have walked the second half of this walk again.  A couple of months ago my person took me back there and we took Winefride too.  We walked along the river again.  A long section was hard.  The first time we walked along one side and it was very muddy under the trees.  The second time my person decided that the route along the other side would be better.  It wasn't.  It was worse.  But we made it.

And then after our exciting walk - since my creator wasn't going to be home for hours - we went to a place called Farnworth.  We all like Farnworth.  The chip shop has good chips.  The cafe is very friendly and doesn't play horrid music.  There's a shop selling very rubbish imported toys, bad enough to disappoint even the least discerning child.  We like looking in that shop.  And most importantly, there are some very good charity shops.  My person has always bought at least something in Farnworth.  That weekend we bought a unicorn just like my friend Adduno and we gave him to my creator.  Last time we went my person bought a skirt which made my creator very jealous indeed.  My person says it's ultra-swish.

And then on that day, after Farnworth we went to visit a shrine.  My person was very silly there too.  We walked into the shrine and people were praying in front of what is either the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus or a wafer depending on your beliefs.  They were being silent.  And then my person failed to turn off her phone properly and suddenly, at the highest volume the phone could manage, came some not subtle at all Southern blues-rock by a band called Gov't Mule.  My person is silly.

But that's not the day I want to tell you about.  Maybe one day I should take pictures of Farnworth and show you what a wonderful place it is.  I could go to a big park there too and show you that.

On the day I'm telling you about I had just avoided being eaten by a wolf and then met some very spiritual worms.  It will be obvious to you that I preferred one of these experiences to the other.

We left the worms behind and I met lots more creatures and they let me have my picture taken with them.

First I met a caterpillar and lots of ladybirds.  I liked the ladybirds because they had arranged themselves in the right order.  They should have been in a straight line too but at least they were in the right order.  There were nine of them and they had different numbers of spots and they were using their counting skills well.  My favourite ladybirds were the second, third, fifth and seventh because those are prime.  I also liked the eighth, because he was a cube number and he also proudly told me about being part of the Fibonacci sequence.  The sixth said that he was a much better ladybird because he was perfect and because it's much better to be a triangle than a cube.  But how can you make a judgement like that?  I like triangles.  And I like cubes.  Which is better?  Neither.  They are both needed.  It's like asking whether an autistic person or an allistic person is better.  Neither.  And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Walking onwards I met a duck.  I'd already ridden across the river on the back of a black swan that day so didn't need to ride on the back of a duck but it let me sit on its head and we walked around for a while quacking together and singing an amazing song about a duck.  Nooooo.  Not the one with the lemonade stand.  The duck didn't like that one and said it got quite annoyed because people kept wanting to sing it.  A tip for you:  Never sing the duck song to a duck because it's likely to bite you on the nose if you do.  A second tip for you:  Never sing the llama song to a llama.  I haven't actually met a real llama but I think llamas must be very fed up with hearing that song.  Try to be original if you meet a llama.  Sing them a song about Jesus.  Sing them a song about a different Jesus who joined the circus and worked part time as a pancake juggler, part time as a daredevil motorbike rider, and part time as the woman taking the admission money.  This different Jesus is a girl Jesus you see.  Or both a boy and a girl.  Jesus is big enough to be both.  If other humans can be both then it would be no trouble at all for Jesus.

My person is shaking her head at me.  Because she can't quite understand how I got from meeting a duck to talking about a gender-fluid Jesus in a single paragraph.  It wasn't hard.  I got there because I am extremely clever for a small pink soft toy.  I'm far more clever than my person expected I ever would be.  Sometimes I say things that she wouldn't ever think of.  Good going for a toy.  She is amazed sometimes because she thinks it is a simple matter to have this blog.  Just share a picture like this - of me riding on a dog - and that's that done.

But no.  Because I have my own voice and my own being and I like to use it.  Sometimes when we're out my person lets me choose what we're going to do too.  She would never have ridden on the narrow gauge railway if I hadn't said we should.  Next time we go I want her to spend the extra money so that I can drive the train.  They allow that.  And I want to drive a train.  Not many small pink soft toys get to drive trains, or ride on swans, or have blogs, or tell the world how silly their people are.  I am the luckiest small pink soft toy in the world.  By a long way.  And I've got Winefride too.  I am the luckiest.  And Winefride is the second luckiest.

And then I got to ride on another dog and that was very exciting indeed.  Because the second dog was a racing greyhound.  I had to hold on very tightly because she ran so quickly.  My person couldn't keep up at all.  I think the greyhound was showing off a bit.  Like I was in the last couple of paragraphs.  She wanted to show me how fast she was and she ran all the way back to Manchester Victoria station, where I had started my walk.  That was a bit worrying because I was now miles away from my person and that's a frightening prospect unless I am at home.  Fortunately the greyhound listened to my request to run back along the river and so we got back to my person who was still standing there looking very anxious and panicky indeed because she thought she might have lost me.  She already had her phone out and was going to phone the police to report a missing soft toy.  She gets scared if she thinks she has lost me and checks regularly to see that I'm still there.  I don't know how she would cope if she did ever lose me.  It doesn't bear thinking about.

After the excitement - and worry - of the greyhound, sitting with this calming creature was a big relief.  She looks a little bit like by creator's cat.

I met one more animal that day.  An owl.  Owls are meant to be particularly wise creatures aren't they?  This one wasn't.  This one was as dotty as a fruitcake.  I couldn't get him to say anything sensible at all.  But he did make me laugh as he danced around the path and sang about hobgoblins and tigers and sea anemones and the light of the moon.  A very mad owl.  But harmless and very cuddly.

We left the owl and continued our walk along the river.  For a while we saw no more unexpected animals.

The river was beautiful.  It would get more beautiful.  It would also get a lot more wet.  Well, the river wouldn't get more wet.  You can't get much more wet than a thing that is water.  But the air would get more wet.  Soon after this it began to rain.  And it didn't stop.  It rained more and my person - who had no coat - got quite wet.  She didn't mind.  And neither did I because when it got too wet I went and hid in the bag.

Next time I'll tell you more about my river adventure.  I'm afraid that there's another very frightening thing to talk about.  But don't worry.  I survived.  I am still here to tell you these stories.  It's okay.

[2056 words]

Friday, 25 November 2016

Blob Thing Learns The Wisdom Of The Worms In Manchester

Blob Thing speaks:

I'm going to speak less today.  My person says so.  She says that her fingers were aching after my last two posts because I talked so much and about so many different things.  So today she's only allowing me to talk about a little bit of my adventure walking along the river Irwell.  My person wrote a blog post about the Irwell too last night, about the time she walked along a small section of it in the middle of Manchester and Salford.  Or rather, on the edges of Manchester and Salford because the river is the border between them at that point.  I didn't feature in my person's blog even though I was with her.

Yesterday I told you about a scary experience I had when I was nearly eaten by a wolf.  It was a narrow escape but I was basically unharmed.  We continued our walk along the river and I met some more creatures.

These were worms.

I didn't know what a worm was and my person has had to explain for me.  It was a little confusing for me because one evening I had been sitting with my person and she had been channel hopping on the television rather than doing something even a tiny bit useful.  She came to a programme and the people on it were talking about a wormhole.  Apparently that's like a big tunnel in the universe and they would go into the wormhole in one place and leave it in a place a very long way away.  I'm not at all sure that's possible but if it was I would quite like to have a wormhole so I could go to places a very long way away.  I would go and see my creator.  I would go to the seaside.  I would go to the top of a mountain without climbing it.  But I haven't got a wormhole.

The creatures I met were worms and they didn't have anything to do with wormholes.

The worms were very friendly and they slid along the ground into different positions and as they did so they invited me to join in with their sliding.  They talked to me too and what surprised me the most was the way worms talk.  When a worm talks to a small pink soft toy its words somehow appear on the ground.  That's handy.  My person couldn't hear the worms.  But she could see the words and they were seen too by the lens on her camera.

I don't want to say much.  These photos are the words of the worms.  I am with them because they were kind enough to invite me to join in with their games.

My person says that this post is more like she was expecting all the posts on my blog to be:


I could say a lot more.  My person thinks she should take the words of the worms literally.  That she should actually lie very straight or squirm or do wiggly tricks.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that.  It's a lot of fun to do these things.  Once I had sorted my photos for this post I tried to get Winefride to do them.  She enjoyed herself doing all that squirming and wiggling.  She wasn't so happy to just lie very straight and wanted to skip straight on to the "Do it all again!" section and start squirming and wiggling again.  She laughed lots and lots and is still bouncing around from the fun of it all.

It's not the end of it though is it?  There's a much deeper message to the words of the worms.  They weren't just teaching me a little game.  They were teaching me, in wormly mystical terms, of the spirituality and philosophical basis of their worm society.  It's just their worm society.  There are lots of different worm societies in the world, even more than there are different kinds of worms.  You couldn't expect full conformity between earthworms, tapeworms and the Lambton Worm could you?

The words spoken were a game in which was hidden the deepest of worm truths, shared with me.  It was a large privilege to have it all shared with me.  The profundity underlying advice such as "Lie very straight" is mind boggling.  It's one of the two statements of ideal behaviour and practice in their society.  The other is of course "Do it all again!"  The first things they said show the theoretical and mystical basis for the practical tenets.

I would love to be able to tell you all about this.  I think, five months later, I have managed to grasp at least some of the meaning of the words.  I'd love to explain it all to you as clearly as I can and help you understand the richness of the worms.

But I can't.

Because my person says that I have to keep my post very short.

She says I have to stop now because it's already longer than she wanted it to be and her fingers are already aching.

So you'll probably never learn worm spirituality and ethics.

You can blame my person for that.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Blob Thing Nearly Gets Eaten By A Wolf Along The River Irwell

Blob Thing says:

It was a very long time ago.  They were good days, days of sweet innocence.  I was less than six months old.  Just about.  I had been having a very good year since being born on New Year's Eve in a house in Greater Manchester.  The year had started slowly.  I had lived in that house until being collected by my person.  She didn't know quite what to do with me because she had never had to look after a blob toy before, least of all an autistic blob toy.  I spent much of my early life sitting on her bed, spending my days with the other friends in her bedroom.  During the year more friends arrived, so many of them that some of them have to live in another room.

I lived my whole life there.  My person liked having me around but didn't know that I would develop to be such a well rounded person.  She liked the fact that I was a gift to her from my creator, just like my friend Portal, and so she kept me close at night.  But I didn't go anywhere.  It wasn't until nearly the end of April that I was taken out for my first adventures.  Towards the end of April my person had a day which transformed her life too but I wasn't there for that one.  She got sent out of the house and was ordered to find at least one thing that was a thing of joy.  She ended up taking a random bus and found several things of joy.  But I wasn't there.  Coincidentally we're going back on that bus today for another adventure.

It was just a few days after that transforming day that my life was transformed.  My person went out on an adventure she had planned - a walk that began at a bus stop on that bus route and ended at another bus stop on that bus route.  That sounds a bit dull doesn't it?  But it was a walk that included a river, a long sandy beach, clifftops and art along a promenade.  I think it must have been my creator who suggested that my person take me with her.  A friend to have with her.  My person agreed and she took the very first photos of me taken outside on that day.  The very first.  That was the 25th of April.  My first outing.

My life and character have transformed since then.  I've been on lots of adventures.  My creator suggested that my person write a single blog post about them.  Later she suggested that I get my own blog.  And it turns out that I am much better at writing my blog than my person ever was.  To start with she wrote it all.  Then I changed things so we would discuss the adventure and she would write from our discussions.  Now I dictate it.  Sometimes that means the posts go in directions neither of us expect.

My life changed in the biggest way at the end of July with the birth of my sister Winefride.  She has changed everything for me.  But on this day, a very long time ago, that I'm talking about today, there was no Winefride.  She was as yet unborn and undreamed of.  Life was very exciting though.

On that particular day my person and I had gone for an afternoon walk.  We had taken a bus to the centre of Manchester and were now walking along the banks of the River Irwell.  I was enjoying the walk.  Especially as it hadn't yet started to rain.  We took lots of photographs in the portion of the walk before the rain.  Less photographs when it was raining somewhat.  And then none at all in the last couple of miles when it was raining lots.  My person had only planned to walk about three miles.  Instead we walked eight.  Mostly in the rain without a coat.  My person is a bit weird sometimes.

As we walked further from the centre the river began to get more pretty.  I think it we had walked even further it would have got even more pretty.  My person wants to do that another day and see how far she can get up the river.  She also wants to walk down the river from where we began that day, past Strangeways prison and beyond to the countryside.  Here's the river.  On the right is a housing estate.  Up the bank to the left is a park.  It was all very pleasant and we still hadn't walked far.

It started to get increasingly pretty and there were lots of bridges.  We took pictures of some of the road bridges but this one is a foot bridge.  We wanted to take pictures of it from the other side too but there were two people who met on the bridge, a man and a woman.  They obviously had some kind of disagreement because they shouted and shouted and got louder and louder and said more and more words that I found difficult to hear.  I'm very glad that Winefride wasn't there to hear them.  She's non-verbal but you can almost guarantee that if she did pick up words to say - and probably say over and over again - they would be some of those naughty words I heard shouted from the bridge.  Winefride would probably be shouting out ******* or some other such word that I would have to asterisk out and she would be laughing and laughing and shouting the rude word without any notion that it might not be the most appropriate thing to do.  These two people on the bridge shouted so much and said so many mean things that I got worried about them and worried that one of them might end up leaving the bridge and entering the water below.  So we stood at a distance and waited until the two people parted again, still shouting.  It's very sad.  What could possibly merit such shouting?  I don't know.

Our walk progressed along the river.  And then things got worrying.  We saw a question on the ground.  A question.

What time is it Mr Fox?

I knew what time it was.  I knew very well.  It was about half past three.  I'm making that up.  I don't know exactly what time it was.  That's just a guess because I know it was the afternoon.  It might have been earlier than that though.

But the question was being asked.  What time is it Mr Fox?

All of a sudden an animal jumped out of the bushes by the side of the river.  It was Mr Fox.  Except he wasn't a fox my person says.  He was a wolf.  Later my person said that he had changed his name to Mr Fox because children nowadays aren't expected to know what a wolf is because (we thought) there weren't any wolves left in England.  There weren't wolves left in England when my person was little but children then still had to know what they were.  When my person was little they asked a similar question and played a game based on it.

What's the time, Mister Wolf?

The animal jumped out and opened its big mouth and said "DINNER TIME!"

I knew that was wrong.  It wasn't much past lunch time.  Certainly not dinner time.  I knew that wouldn't be for hours yet.  But this creature said it was dinner time and he seemed to think it was his dinner time.  This wolf looked hungry, as if he had dropped his lunch by the water and ruined it, just as my person had dropped our lunch a couple of days earlier.

He looked ravenous.

And I didn't think that he would want to eat our last remaining packet of really-not-very-nice pea snacks from Aldi.  The geese hadn't liked them.  And I didn't like them either.  I guessed they wouldn't be to the taste of Mr. Fox.

He sprinted up to us as fast as he could, all the while shouting "DINNER TIME!"

It was quite scary.

Then it got scarier.

Because it turned out that Mr. Fox the wolf was ravenous for me.

He wanted to eat me.  A small pink soft toy.

It's true.  He picked me up in his mouth just as my person was trying to take his picture.  These pictures were taken afterwards, once we had managed to pacify Mr. Fox and convinced him not to eat me.  There's another picture that was taken at the moment he grabbed me in his mouth.  I'm not smiling in that one I can tell you.  I didn't allow my person to post that photo because it scares me now a bit and also because it's very embarrassing because you can see right up my dress, all the way round.

It really was frightening to nearly be eaten by a wolf.  His teeth hurt but fortunately didn't do any lasting damage.  My person reacted quickly before he could run off with me back to the bushes and eat me.  She dropped her camera and reached out to grab me but she didn't manage it and then she had to chase the wolf and chase the wolf and hope that she could catch up before she had to stop running which wouldn't have been very long because she's very unfit.

Fortunately she was able to get close to the wolf and she reached out and grabbed his tail.  And she pulled.  Hard.  And pulled again.  Harder.  The wolf let out a big yelp because his tail hurt so much and he dropped me out of his mouth onto the ground.  The wolf tried to run off but my person wouldn't let go of him and gave his tail another pull.  How he howled.

My person held on tight and the wolf began to cry.  It served him right for trying to eat me.  We wondered what we should do.  My person first made the wolf apologise to me.  She then made him promise to not try to eat any more people even if he was hungry.  He should go and apply for help at a local foodbank just like a million British humans are having to do because they can't afford to feed themselves under the austerity policies of the British government.  My person told me I should include that sentence.  My person said that eating people is wrong, especially when there are foodbanks.  My person said that if she ever heard that the wolf had tried to eat another person she would come back and pull his tail again, even harder, and pull it so hard that it would feel like it was going to come off entirely.  My person spent a long time telling off Mr. Fox until she knew that he wasn't going to eat anyone.  My person did very well.

Afterwards I had the respectable pictures taken with the wolf and we sent him on his way with our last packet of pea snacks.  They might not have been as tasty as a small pink soft toy.  But they were food and the wolf would just have to have those until the foodbank opened the next day.  Mr. Fox skulked off into the bushes and we never saw him again.

As we walked on we met some more animals.  But they were far more friendly than a ravenous wolf.  First we met a cat.  It was very friendly even though it looked very worried about something.  It never did tell us what the matter was.  I think it might just have known that it would be raining soon and that it was going to get very wet because its owner had gone out for the day to Stockport.

And then we saw a black swan.  The swan was very friendly indeed and even let me ride on its back.  We crossed the river and came back several times.  It was lots and lots of fun and I think my person felt a bit jealous because she was too big to ride on the back of a swan.

As it turned out, we were to meet lots more animals by the river.  I'll tell you about them next time.  I have to stop now my person says because we have to get ready to go and catch that bus I told you about.  We're going to go to a museum at a colliery today.  My person has been challenged by my creator to take a picture of a "busy exciting hat."  Maybe we'll see one.  After the museum we're going to walk in a park and then we're probably going to a cafe before coming home.  It'll be another great big adventure and this time I will have my sister Winefride with me too.  She would have loved riding on a black swan.  She wouldn't have loved nearly being eaten by a wolf.  Or by a tiger.  But that's a story for another day.

[2178 words]

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Blob Thing Meets Guardian Geese On The River Irwell In Manchester

Blob Thing speaks:

I have been looking through old photos of my adventures and I have been reliving some happy memories of my life.  I am nearly eleven months old now and am looking forward to celebrating my first birthday and looking back on a year that I could never have predicted when I was a newborn soft toy.  I got called Blob Thing because that's what I appeared to be.  A blob of pink wearing a dress and a smile.  It was never expected that I would turn out to be so clever or to have so many adventures or to be a good friend and companion for my person.  I have been a very fortunate toy.  And then in the summer my sister was born too and that's the best thing that's happened in my life.  She is incredibly wonderful.

Today I want to talk about an old adventure, or at least part of it.  It happened a very long time ago.  Four days before my half-year birthday.  My person was staying with my creator and on that particular Sunday afternoon my person had to look after herself with no help or company from my creator.  I asked her what we should do because I didn't fancy staying in the house all afternoon and evening just watching a television.  I wanted to go out somewhere.

My person suggested that we should go for a walk.  She has quite a lot of walks she wants to undertake, or at least start, in the Manchester area.  It's a big place and it's not all noisy city streets and crowds and all the other things my person finds difficult.  She decided that we should get the bus into the city centre, where it is all noisy city streets and crowds.  And then we should start walking and see how far we would get.  It wasn't a random direction though.  No it wasn't.  She said we would get the bus to Victoria Station, find the River Irwell which passes nearby and follow it upstream for a while.  Just a short walk probably until we got out of the city centre and then we would go home and rest.  In that way we would have started a long walk.  She wants to walk up and down all of the local rivers - and the ones in Stockport too - and the canals as well.  She wants to walk lots.

I thought that sounded like a good idea.  We would go.  And we would hope to stay dry.  It wasn't going to rain was it?  My person isn't always good at weather prediction.  On a recent visit to Manchester she was asked by my creator whether we needed to take our coats with us on a short trip to a liquorice shop in Atherton.  My person assured my creator that of course we wouldn't need our coats because it was a very warm and sunny day and to take a coat on such a day would be silly.  My person was wrong.  We got stuck out in almost the worst rain that Manchester has ever seen.  Without even a coat.  Winefride and I were able to take shelter in a waterproof bag but my person and my creator got very, very wet.  Fortunately they laughed lots about it.  And then they listened to the thunder for hours when they got back to the home.

It was the same on the River Irwell day.  My person thought it wasn't going to rain.  It did.  But she didn't mind that much because it was quite warm and the rain wasn't like the rain in that storm.

We set off after lunch and caught the bus to Victoria.  And then we started walking.  My silly person immediately took us the wrong way.  She just wasn't thinking straight.  She knew that the Irwell is down the hill from the station.  She passes the bridge on the bus every time she rides on that bus route.  She knows where it is.  So which way did she walk, confidently striding out from the bus stop?  That's right.  She walked up.  In the opposite direction to the river.  Instead of a short walk down a short road between a music college and a place where my person once went to a big Christian event we walked all the way round the outside of the station, crossed a main road the wrong way, backtracked, and eventually got to where we were meant to be.  My person felt a bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

Once we had reached the bridge we had to get down to the river.  My person knew exactly how to do that.  There was a footpath.  She had found it on the map.  And there was a sign to the footpath too.  She wasn't imagining it.  We walked along a little road to the path.  And that's where our walk went wrong again.  For the second time.  But this time it wasn't my silly person's fault.  We reached a fence and a big locked gate and a sign saying "Footpath Closed."  Oh dear.  Our walk really wasn't going very well and my person wasn't feeling too good and she wanted to give up and go home and drink lots of tea.

But I told her that we should persevere and try to find the river and that once we had found it our walk route should be more obvious.  I told her that we might find excitement along the river and mysteries and unexpected sights and that she would regret it if we didn't continue.  After a while she agreed and as it turned out our detour wasn't one that went on for miles.  Five minutes later we reached the side of the river.

It didn't take long at all and it felt that we had escaped the noisy city streets and left them a long way behind, perhaps in another country.  We happily looked one way.  Up the river.  In the direction we were heading.

And we looked down the river back towards the city centre.  We had only been walking along the river a few minutes and this is how far away the busy shopping areas and football museum were.  They had vanished.  You can't see it in the picture but there was a heron down there somewhere.

My person had to agree with me that it had been worthwhile not giving up.  That's one of our rules that is.  "No giving up."  She quite often wants to give up.  But the rules are the rules.  And thanks to my encouragement she didn't give up that day.  She stood by a river.  The sky was pretty.  It was warm.  The light reflected beautifully on the water.  And she started to feel a lot more calm.  So did I.  It's far more calming to be walking by a river than to walk in a shopping centre.  I don't understand why people don't do it.  We walked for miles that afternoon and hardly saw anyone but if we had gone to a shopping centre we would have seen thousands of people.

We carried on walking.  The route was pretty easy to follow because all we had to do was stay close to the river.  Easy.  We did have to leave the riverside later because a footpath that used to exist got closed off by the university which decided that closing off a riverside footpath would be the best policy.  We had to take a big detour then along a very noisy street and then some quieter streets before we found our way back to the river.  But we managed it and the rest of the walk was worth persevering for.

We hadn't really left the city and passed alongside an estate that didn't look to be filled with rich people.  There were lots of little houses, closed up shops, and no massive gardens or mansions.  That's okay.  The value of people isn't measured by how rich they are or whether they live in a mansion.  All people are valuable.

We were still passing by this estate when, up ahead of us, we saw another problem.  There in the distance our way was blocked by creatures guarding the path.  Creatures the like of which a six month old soft toy had never seen before.  They looked quite frightening and they were blocking the path.  What were we going to do?  Would we have to turn back, give up, and admit that walking along the River Irwell was impossible?  Would we be defeated so easily?  We hadn't been defeated by my person's silliness in going the wrong way.  We hadn't been thwarted by the right way being closed.  Was this the end?  It was scary and I didn't know whether we should approach these terrifying guards too closely.

But my person told me to be brave.  She might just have been saying that to convince herself to be brave.  I don't know.  She told me that she was determined.  She wasn't going to accept that we had come all this way and overcome such difficulties just to turn back now before even reaching the next road bridge across the Irwell.

Slowly we approached the creatures.  As we did I could see that they all looked similar.  With big long necks for reaching out in attack.  With massive beaks for biting and maiming and destroying and feet that looked dangerous too.  They weren't smiling.  I was very scared and there were lots and lots of them and I started to shake.

My person told me not to worry so much and said that it would all be okay.  She told me that now we were closer she could see exactly what manner of guardians these beasts were.

They were geese.  Geese.  That's what she said.  And she probably said it in the way she says words like that.  She said that we were going to be okay and that she had a plan to allow us to pass the geese.  She said the geese were birds and they weren't going to kill us and would probably let us through anyway without any difficulty but just in case she was going to make a sacrifice to them.

A food sacrifice.

I relaxed with this news and allowed my person to take a picture of me in front of the geese as we approached them.  I managed to keep smiling throughout the whole experience.

Here I am again.  This is me.  You can clearly see my lovely Autistic badge, the one that got stolen by the dragon in the Literary and Philosophical Society Library.  I'm possibly the best looking small pink soft toy called Blob Thing in the whole world.  I'm also possibly the only small pink soft toy called Blob Thing in the whole world so I haven't got a lot of competition.  But I dare to say I'm the only one with such a pretty dress and a wonderful badge and I'm almost certainly the only one who talks so much when blogging about his adventures.  My person says I should hurry up with my story.

There really isn't much more to tell today.  My person made her food sacrifice.  She couldn't make a big sacrifice because all she was carrying was a packet of peppermints which she knew the geese wouldn't like.  And two packets of a snack made out of peas.  She offered the contents of a packet to the geese.  They thanked her because it turned out they were very polite geese.  But then it turned out that they didn't like the pea snacks.  My person didn't really like them either and I didn't even want to try them because the looked and smelled and felt so awful.

Here's one of the geese asking my person why she has sacrificed something so rubbish to it.  It looks a bit confused by the situation.

I was a bit worried that the geese would look at our rubbish sacrifice and react badly and then we would be doomed to a painful destruction at the beaks of the birds.  But the goose said that it was okay.  We had tried and that was the main thing.  Trying is more important than succeeding.

The words of the goose made me very happy indeed.  Everything was going to be okay and we would be able to continue our walk along the River Irwell and we might find ourselves lots of adventures along the riverbank.

I will close with a couple more pictures of the geese.  It turned out that they were very friendly birds and I hadn't needed to worry at all.  They were unknown.  But I had turned the unknown into something very scary and I hadn't needed to do that.  I had catastrophised.   I had seen disaster when there was no disaster waiting for us.  I must learn not to do that.  I don't want to ignore danger.  But I don't want to be catastrophising every single day because that's a path to constant panic and not being able to live.  Sometimes it's very hard for me though to not catastrophise.  My head gets into a chain of thought and I get completely stuck there.

These are some of the friendly geese.  There's a hopeful pigeon there too.

And lastly here's a very friendly goose.  I think it was only being quite so friendly because it was the only one out of all the geese who actually liked eating the strange pea snacks we carried.

We left the geese behind.  We were safe.  And so were they.  Other adventures awaited me that day.  It was going to be a wonderful walk.  A wet walk.  With miles of walking in the rain.  But a wonderful walk.

[2304 words]