While shepherds washed their socks…

Christmas greetings fiends

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Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, Meri Kurisumasu, Felicem Diem Nativitatis, Blithe Yule – these are a tiny selection of those famous greetings from all around the world – you can match them to their country and read all sorts of things about the stories, customs and traditions of Christmas here.

 

I like; ‘Felicem Diem Nativitatis’ best, which is Latin and hints at the nativity!

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I’m playing a shepherd, amongst other parts – a Wiseman and Herod (thankfully, not the donkey), everyone wants to play Joseph but, how could that ever work for one of us fiends!! Paws make it a little tricky to hold small people, even if they are wrapped in swaddling clothes.

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There’s a Christmas Carol about the part the shepherds play in the Nativity, here’s the first verse:

 

While shepherds watched

Their flocks by night

All seated on the ground

The angel of the Lord came down

And glory shone around

And glory shone around

 So, it seems, one dark night, just outside Bethlehem, where the shepherds looked after their sheep, an angel appeared before them and the glory of God shone around them – they jumped, I would have done too. Luckily, the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, I have good news for you – today in Bethlehem a Saviour has been born for you. You will find the baby lying in a manger.’

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What an amazing experience! When the angel had left, they said; ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem to see what’s happened.’ They headed off and eventually, after asking around as one stable looks much like another, found the baby Jesus lying in a manger and when the shepherds returned to their sheep, they praised God.

Another excellent Christmas carol is the ‘Good King Wenceslas’ one. (Mums have a bit of trouble pronouncing that at Midnight Mass after a couple of dry sherries). Us fiends like the line about ‘the feast of Stephen’ – what was that all about, was it a feast with turkey and those little sausage and bacon things? No – it’s the old-fashioned way of saying; a day that celebrates Saint Stephen. King Wenceslas was a  saintly fella too, the carol tells how he went through the deep snow and freezing weather to help a poor man who had no food or firewood – the gift of food and firewood was ‘a feast’ to the poor man.

You can find all the stories, words and links to singing the Christmas carols here.

Well, fiends I must get back to the Nativity rehearsals, now where’s that tea towel……

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Happy Christmas fiends and wishing the whole world a peaceful New Year.

 

Until next time.

Rx

 

Henry the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Hello again fiends,

We all know Rudolph but, who’s Henry? Another reindeer but, we’ll get to him a bit later.

We only really hear about reindeer at Christmas time – I’ve met a few of the other type of deer at Richmond Park in London  – they are related but, have some differences.

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Deer live in meadows, parks and forests, and they’re not really built for heavy snow, they’re a fair bit bigger than me! Reindeer live in very cold places and have much thicker coats and special hooves for walking on ice and snow.

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The most famous reindeer is Rudolph of course! He was different too with his famous, very shiny, nose. But, because of that difference he became a real hero.

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He lived in the North Pole with Santa. He was a happy and lively fella and loved playing in the snow (which is probably why his nose went red – the cold does that, unless you’re a dog, and it can make your nose run too so, always good to have a tissue in your pocket).

One Christmas Eve, the other reindeer teased him because, his nose was very large and bright red, he looked different. Rudolph was sad that his fiends were laughing and he was afraid that Santa wouldn’t choose him to help pull the sleigh.  He decided to go and see Santa and the Elves anyway, they were always kind to him and never once mentioned his nose.

He helped them wrap and load up the presents – the elves did the selloptape bit as, that’s not easy when you have hooves. When Santa was ready he called the eight reindeer he’d picked to pull the sleigh. Rudolph started to slowly trudge back to his den to watch a Christmas special or film.

The others pranced around as though they were warming up for Strictly Come Dancing, or something just as glittery, and proudly took their places to pull the sleigh. Santa looked around him and noticed how foggy it was. He was a little worried that they wouldn’t be able to see their way as, they didn’t have fog lights and they’d have to miss the Christmas Eve delivery – can you imagine that!?!

Luckily, he spotted Rudolph and he had that very famous idea!

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He sang out: Rudolph with your nose so bright –  won’t you pull my sleigh tonight!”

You can sing-a-long to the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer song here.

Santa hitched him up to lead the team – everybody cheered, they loved Rudolph and said what a very special fella he was………..even though he was different.

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That brings us back to Henry the reindeer – he’s different – he’s wooden and looked stylish though, a little plain for the festive season but, when Auntie Jules fiend Stephanie saw him she knew he could become very special at Christmas too. Using her very, clever florist skills  she bought plain old Henry to life –  now he has pride of place and is the star of a very special Christmas display.

Look how good being different can be!

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Until next time

Rx

All About Autumn

 

Hello fiends!

Another busy week and all sorts of exciting changes going on, from the Great British Bake Off news to the start of Autumn; the season when all of nature starts changing and getting ready for Winter.leaves-1 It’s a great time for me and my fiends to go for brisk, crisp walks in the colourful woods and countryside.

We can see farmers harvesting their crops, leaves starting to change colour on the trees, the sun’s lower in the sky, it’s getting dark a little earlier and our mums might need to wear a cardigan as, it’s chillier.When the weather’s like this; the chemical that makes leaves trees green (Chlorophyll) begins to break down while other chemicals (including Carotene) remain to give the leaves their fantastic yellow, red and brown colours.

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Fir trees and other Evergreens don’t change colour or drop their leaves. Squirrels often build their nests, called a dray, in the Evergreens as, it’s warm and sheltered.

Today I saw a squirrel busily collecting acorns and nuts ready for the winter. Isn’t it clever they remember where they’ve hidden them. Mind you, I never forget where I’ve hidden my bones…then I can spot if my fiends; Buster or Max are trying to snaffle them.

Here I am guarding my stash.leaves-1-1

 

I wondered how did Autumn get its name? It seems the name ‘Fall’ was used here in England in the olden days –  now it’s mostly used in America. It’s short for; ‘fall of the leaf’.  ‘Autumn’ comes from the French word ‘automne’.

Other words we’ve got from our French fiends include; ballet, café, mousse and omelette!

Us dogs love running and playing in a pile of scrunchy leaves and Hedgehogs are glad for the leaves too, using them to help make their den when they hibernate – the time they sleep through the coldest months of winter.presentation1

A great thing for you with colourful leaves is; make a bird picture by sticking leaves together onto paper or card or with drier leaves create some leaf prints by painting the leaf and putting it’s imprint onto paper like the ones below– Aunty Jules used do the leaf prints on spare, plain wallpaper and then use it to cover her schoolbooks. You can see how to do those and lots of other leafy craft ideas on websites including: Activity Village and Nurture Store.dd

In the woods today I spotted loads of different nuts and berries. Mum collected elderberries and juicy blackberries to make homemade jam and bake a yummy crumble! thh98331j8And don’t forget Conkers from the Horse Chestnut tree – they’re great for the famous conkers game and also look very good on the nature table or in an Autumn themed display.

Have fun spotting the wildlife and with your blackberry bakes!

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Until next time fiends.

Rx

Stop, Look, Listen!

Hello fiends!

Well, all back at school now and mum says despite some recent sunny days; it’s very nearly Autumn, where did this year go!

That means it’ll start getting dark earlier (sigh!) so, we’ll be seeing the Cats Eyes working and brightly shining in the roads. Remember, they make driving on roads safer but, what makes actually crossing a road on foot, and paws, safer for you and me? Mums, dads and teachers at school tell us all about it – let’s remind ourselves of the best bits………….

Mum has taught me to ‘sit’ at every single kerb and I’m often on the lead in town – sitting and leads are for us dogs only of course! Think you’d get some pretty funny looks if you sat down!

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This week mum and me visited our fiends at Woolacombe School, we met their really nice Lollipop Lady. She saw us safely across the road, whilst wearing a VERY bright coat, you can’t miss seeing it day or night!!

The Lollipop Lady’s coat and lollipop sign work a bit like the Cats Eyes, remember we talked about them before, and shine brightly when it’s a dull day or night-time by reflecting light. This is also sometimes called Hi-Viz.

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You can get Hi-Viz bags and trendy clothes, especially good if you’re riding a bike or skateboarding. They glow really, really brightly when just a little light shines on them. For us dogs there are Hi-Viz leads and collars that have special liquid in that glows in the dark.Cool!

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Good things to do when there’s no Lollipop Lady or Man; find the safest place to cross, stop just before you get to the kerb, look around for traffic and bikes, if something is coming let it pass by as it could be going much faster than you think, listen and when you’re sure as you can be its safe; go straight across the road – don’t run – you might trip over!!

When you can; it’s best to cross at a Traffic Island, a Pelican or Zebra crossing – it would be fun to see a Zebra on a Zebra crossing! Or go over the footbridge or under an underpass.

Even if it seems like a really, really quite little road always: Stop, Look and Listen – a car or bike could drive around the corner or whizz out from their driveway. Push bikes and some of the new environmentally friendly, electric cars are almost silent so, you must always look both ways just in case you don’t hear them. We’ll talk about cool electric cars another time!

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Mum said in the olden days, they had The Tufty Club to help them learn and remember about road safety. It was fun and there were badges, stickers and games. Tufty the squirrel and his animal friends reminded you how to cross the road sensibly. Tufty said it’s good to hold hands with your fiends when you cross – but don’t muck about in the road!

Finally, fiends if you’re lucky enough to have an ice cream van that stops near your house – don’t be so excited about your ’99’ or lolly that you forget to Stop, Look and Listen!!

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Stay safe fiends and Zebra’s.

Until next week!

 

Bake Off is on!

Hi fiends, how’s it going?

The Paralympics kicked off this week and I’m loving cheering everyone on. Have you been watching? I’ve also been very excited every Wednesday evening because The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens.

I really love watching the show, like most people across the country! Last year’s final had an average of 13.4 million viewers and was the most watched show of 2015. Did you know that every morning the crew bake a Victoria sponge in each oven to check they are all working? That is A LOT of cake!

They also all have to buy their own ingredients, but if someone forgets an ingredient on the morning of filming, they have a runner standing by at a local supermarket ready to save the day.

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I have all my ingredients ready to go.

I love watching the technical hallenges because they make really interesting things, like last week when they made dampfnudel and things didn’t go too well for most people. Actually the rest of you really enjoyed that too because it was trending on twitter.

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Let the technical challenge BEGIN!
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Hmm, yes… this one passes the taste test.

Last years winner, Nadia, even got to make a birthday cake for the Queen! That is really cool. It looked pretty tasty too…

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For the first time ever this week, the theme of the show is BATTER! This is something I’m very excited about because I love to bake and cook with batter…

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… although its a bit of a pain when it comes to washing up. Thats why it would be good to be on Bake Off because they never have to wash up, the crew do that for them! Although saying that, Mum normally cleans up after me hehe.

Remember (how could you forget!?) to watch the first ever Batter Week Bake Off on Wednesday evening at 8pm on BBC1.

Until next time fiends,

R x

Back to School

Hello fiends!

It’s that time of year again when we all buy new pencil cases, get our hair cut (or fur) and try on our uniforms only realise how much we’ve grown since July! It’s time to head back to school.

I’ve decided that I might give it a go this year, I know I am only three but that is 25 in human years so I think I am quite old enough to start my education! (you can see how old you are in dog years here)

I want to go into schools to help teach my younger fiends about how to look after animals, especially dogs! I will teach them things like not to leave us in hot cars or at home alone for too long and what food we can and can’t eat!

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For example, here I am teaching a fiend that some drinks like fizzy pop aren’t good for dogs, we LOVE water just as it is.

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I have already learned lots in my three years, like how to use a computer and drive a car… although I have needed help from my fiends. So I think it’s only time to return the favour.

 

What are you looking forward to learning about this year at school (or at work for the grown ups)? I have really enjoyed learning about how to use the computer and be safe on the internet in the last year, but this year, as you might have noticed, I have become quite interested in science. So I have decided to learn a little more about the world around us through science! I will share with you what I learn!

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I hope this week isn’t too tough back at school fiends! And if you’re about to have your first day, have fun! It is so exciting.

 

Until next time fiends

 

R x

Wind Energy and How Every Dog has his Day!

Hello Fiends!

I hope you all celebrated Dogs Day in style this week. I certainly did…

 

This week in my blog I am going to be looking at solar energy, and in particular wind turbines. This is because I have noticed more and more turbines popping up, and there have been lots of stories about wind farms being built off the coast of Britain! Aunty Jules says she sees them on her journeys quite often and lots of children always ask what they are and how they work!

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They use the kinetic energy (that means movement energy) of the wind which turns the blades of the turbine and transfers this energy to a generator which is housed in the centre of the turbine. Of course, this is me making it all much simpler for us all to understand… it is much more complicated than that.

 

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Courtesy of Pacific Greentech

The wind is produced because of convection currents in the Earth’s atmosphere, which are driven by heat energy from the Sun. As a result of this, the kinetic energy in wind is a renewable resource which is great because it means as long as the Sun is there, we will have it! However, some people don’t like wind turbines because they can be considered an eye sore and when they turn they can be noisy.

 

My fiend Ellie told me that where she works at Glyndebourne, they have their very own wind turbine. It produces enough power to provide 95% of the energy for Glyndebourne Opera House, which is amazing when you think of all of the energy used in one show alone! Lighting rigs are not cheap to run!

 

Because of the need to have wind, you find wind turbines in windy places. That is why people want to build them out at sea. I always notice how windy it is down at the beach! This is good too because you can’t see or hear them as much.

 

Do you have any wind turbines or maybe solar panels near you? I’d love to see some photos of just how HUGE they are! If you’d like to know more about the science behind the turbines, you can take a look here.

 

Until next time fiends,

 

R x

Teg and Kate Humble

Hi there fiends!

Hasn’t it been a fabulous week for the Olympics! I loved watching the track cycling and gymnastics, and all of it really! I am a bit sad its over but I’m looking forward to the Paralympics which start on the 7th September.

This week I watched TV with Mum and I was wowed to see I was on screen!

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I don’t remember filming that one! It turned out it wasn’t me, but a great episode from Kate Humble called ‘My Sheepdog and Me’. I learned lots about Kate’s dog Teg, a female Welsh Sheepdog, because Kate was trying to trace her heritage and produce more Welsh Sheepdog puppies. Did you know there are only around 2000 in existence at the moment?

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Throughout the episode Kate tries to discover if Teg is a Welsh Sheepdog by using her DNA and comparing it to other Welsh dogs who are certified by the Welsh Sheepdog Society. The study compared Teg’s genes and found that she was 75% Welsh Sheepdog, but also part Border Collie. I am a Border Collie but part Welsh Sheepdog! That explains why I look a lot like Teg, because we must have similar DNA!

Teg even has the same kind of different coloured eyes that I have! Kate said it was just like David Bowie which is what Mum always says to me.

I couldn’t believe that there were more than 20 breeds of herding dog, including the border collie, many of which are now either extinct or in decline. The show had great reviews and if you want to find out more you can read about it here or go and catch up on BBC iPlayer.

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Photograph: Craig Morris/BBC/Tatu Pictures Ltd/Craig Morris

 

I’ve already started getting confused for Teg when I’m out… I mean come on, do I look like a girl!?

Until next week fiends, when I’ll be looking at wind turbines and how they work!

 

R x

Dogs behind the wheel…

Hello fiends! How are you this week? Have you been continuing to watch the Olympics? I was so excited to see how well we are doing and have been barking along in support! Isn’t Jessica Ennis-Hill just amazing!? I’ve loved following the swimming, diving and cycling too. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know I like to do a Tongue Out Tuesday photo (#TOT), like some of these…

 

What do you think? I think it really brings out my eyes 👀 #tongueouttuesday #tot #potd #lfl #dogsofinstagram #pets

A photo posted by Ragamuffin Lewis (@ragamuffinlewis) on Jun 28, 2016 at 12:39am PDT

 

And I was really pleased to see I had some support from Bradley Wiggins when he was receiving his Olympic Gold Medal with Team GB.

 


There is an upcoming episode of The Adventures of Ragamuffin where I drive a car… sort of! I stumbled across a video today of a dog left alone in a car who decided to take it for a spin… It didn’t end awfully well to say the least!

Far worse than my attempt, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for that video soon.

However, not all of us are as careless and crash into supermarkets. Just take a look at some of the amazing things we are capable of with the right training…

Remember fiends, don’t leave your dogs in cars for too long or who knows what might happen! Especially in this warmer weather, it isn’t much fun.

 

That’s all for this week fiends, do let me know what you’re up to, or if you want a mention in my next blog, via Facebook and Twitter.

 

Until next time,

 

R x

It’s a Dog’s Life: Dogs Around the World

Hi there fiends!

The olympics are off to a flying start, even if there have been a few troubles with the accommodation! I watched the swimming yesterday and there are athletes there who are even better at me at moving through the water. Although I still think it’s a pity there is no doggy paddle category.

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It got me thinking about how many people there are around the world, and the countries they live in… and more importantly the dog fiends in those countries! So I thought this week we could look at dogs around the world, starting with here in the UK.

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We get treated very nicely here, I would recommend it to my fiends around the world. Just look at how Andy Murray treated his fiends Maggie May and Rusty when he won his Olympic medals…

 

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America is a lot like here too. Dogs are considered pets and are looked after really well, although sometimes that does mean silly fancy dress!

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It’s a similar story in Italy and France…

However, life in India is very different for dog fiends, much like it can be for human fiends too! Dogs are found outside and on the streets much more, running wild and free with no scary trips to the vet’s! But this does mean sometimes their fur isn’t as shiny and they can get I’ll more easily. It makes me feel very lucky.

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Stray dogs surround an Indian roadside tea vendor as he reaches into a packet of cookies to feed them on a street in Allahabad , India, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Did you know in Saudi Arabia the only way dogs can be kept in the home as ‘pets’ is if they are classed as working dogs!? You find working dogs all over the world, as guide dogs, hearing dogs, sheep dogs, police, drug sniffers, money sniffers and security dogs! Attitudes are changing all over the world, and China – who hosted the 2008 Olympics – are even beginning to keep dogs as pets, which is great because they were not that nice to dog fiends to say the least.

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But my absolute favourite place for dog fiends to be is definitely Nepal. I think I’ll ask Mum to take me there for our holidays next year! They have a whole festival for animals each year and on the second day, known as Kukur Tihar or Khikchã Puja (meaning worship of the dogs), people place garlands, tika (a Hindu marking), and offer yummy foods to dogs to recognise the special relationship between humans and dogs.

They believe dogs are messengers of Lord Yamaraj, the God of Death, and so it is very important to treat them well. So remember that the next time you see me or one of my fiends!

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How do you spoil your pets? Do you live in a different country to me? What is it like? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

Until next time fiends

R x