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Wellbeing, gardening, bees, flowers.

Gardeners at allotmentChanging lives with like minded volunteers enhances wellbeing, gardening, bees and flowers.

Chat, joke, sing and dance, but understand differences, love not hate, we are in this together.
Working together in green spaces, enhancing nature, saving the bees from extinction, reducing global warming, trying to save the planet. Living life to the fullest for enriched lives.

Regular community gardening means that we get low-intensity physical activity.

There is evidence that gardeners live longer and are less stressed, pointing to both the physical and mental health benefits of gardening.  Sowing seeds or planting bulbs in your garden or at the allotments benefits many things.

Bees pollinating flowersGrow flowers, pollinators to save the bees. Flowers provide bees with nectar and pollen, which worker bees collect to feed their entire colonies. Bees provide flowers with the means to reproduce, by spreading pollen from flower to flower in a process called pollination. Without pollination, plants cannot create seeds.

Plant trees to reduce global warming. Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, theoretically planting enough trees should reduce carbon dioxide.

By gardening, the exercise you get from doing so burns off a lot of calories, relieves stress, lowers your blood pressure and spending time outside is good for your bones.

Wellbeing at allotment plantingWalking up down and all around the garden or the allotments, breathing in the fresh air, glancing at the green spaces, the wild flowers and the trees, listening to the birds and the insects as they search for feed or as they start their journey to migration or hibernation. Very heart warming.

Gardening is good for your mental health and enhances wellbeing, gardening, bees and flowers. You feel pride and joy as you work hard, to enhance nature. Sowing seeds by hand with great care, ensuring that the depth and the spacing of each seed or bulb is within its limits as per instructions for impending growth. Learning all of the time.

While the plants and trees grow, they inhale and exhale, so, the carbon that plants absorb from the atmosphere in photosynthesis becomes part of the soil when they die and decompose.

Wild birds help gardening by eating the plant eating insects to feed their young and by consuming weed seeds, to keep away unwanted plants.

By community gardening, mental health blossoms.

Isolating in the Garden

garden_isolating_rainbowbizHi my friends, I walked my first 6 laps of the back garden at 2pm this afternoon.  Sometimes when I’m walking around the garden a bee buzzes past me as if to say hi Daz, thank you for tending the wildflowers that provide pollen and nectar for us bees and other insects.

Today I’d only been outside for 30 seconds when the bee buzzed by. I have the feeling that the bees wait for me these days.

As I walked the garden there were clusters of daisies and dandelions, both of these wildflowers are important plants for pollinators in the UK daisies are important plants for pollinators, including beetles, ants, and moths.

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Dandelions are not the first source of pollen for bees. The pollen from dandelions is of poor quality, but better than nothing. They do provide a good source of nectar. A lawn full of dandelions is better for bees than a weed free lawn, but not nearly as good as a garden with a variety of plants and no dandelions.

So today I’ve walked 6 laps of the back garden and I’ll be walking 12 laps as usual today. Staying at home and exercising in my back garden is good for my self-isolation and saves me from catching the #covid19 virus. So therefore I am protecting the NHS and saving lives, including my own life.

Love from Daz xx

The Birds and Bees in the Back Garden

Bushes in the GardenWalking into the garden for light exercise and to listen to the birds and the bees is good for my body and my mental health.

Listening to the whistling of the birds or the buzzing of the bee brings happy smiles to my face and takes away any feelings of stress.

We need to look after and care for the birds and all of the insects in our gardens. Just like us, the birds and the insects need to eat and drink to survive diverse whether. I provide of fresh tap water in dishes for the birds: Birds need water to Bird Feederdrink and to bathe in, to keep their feathers in good condition to keep their body isolated in the winter Insects can drink water from the morning due, plants, fruit, raindrops or from the edges of ponds or puddles. Garden birds will eat, slugs, snails, worms, caterpillars, spiders and fruits berries from trees. Insects will eat leaves. Sucking insects poke tiny holes in leaves and draw the juices out of them.

Written by Daz Cook.

Social Distance in 2020

Social DistanceSo we are in the midst of the most incredible times of our life we are having to learn to social distance from our friends, family and the rest of the community.  Covid 19 has completely changed our way of live, how we work and how the Country is operating. I had never given social distance a thought before, what a different world we are living in.

Sadly, we have had to temporarily close our social enterprise, which means our Hippy Shop has closed it’s shop doors and the online shop too.  We have also had to stop both our weekly community groups, the Arty Folk and Friendship Group and Digging Deeside too.  This has affected some of the most marginalised members of our community.

Zoom Online SocialIn order to keep contact with people, Sarah and myself have taken it upon ourselves to telephone, message, text and email the people we support in order to offer a friendly point of contact at this very worrying time for us all.  More recently we have started to host weekly Online Socials using the incredible Zoom software, which has proven a great hit.  Many people have joined in over the past couple of weeks in various different ways, from sitting chatting, to playing musical instruments and we even had a music quiz the other week.  It is so nice to “see” people and keep in touch, it gives me a sense that we are all in this together, helping each other.

Growing at HomeOn a personal note, I have started to take regular exercise each day, whether that is a YouTube workout and even a ballet session (yes me and ballet)!  I have also dusted my push bike off and got it roadworthy after years of no use.  Now I am enjoying the freedom of a little fresh air whilst cycling around my local streets every few days too.  As a family we have been growing lots of fruit, veg and flowers in our garden and encouraging others to do the same. I have even started blogging again!

It is really difficult to look for the positives when we are seeing thousands of people are dying every day from this horrific virus.  However, I am remaining as positive as I can and making the most of lockdown time that has been forced upon me.  I hope you are too.  Stay home and be safe. Sue.

Melissa Etheridge Tour Review London

Melissa Etheridge Review London – 27.04.15

RainbowBiz ReviewThere has never been any secret that the founders of RainbowBiz have been long time fans of musician and vocalist Melissa Etheridge. So imagine our excitement when we found out that Melissa would be playing in London this year. Of course we planned a few days around the gig as we don’t have a holiday break very often. We booked a budget hotel, and got a great deal with Virgin Trains and left North Wales full of anticipation.  If you have never heard songs by Melissa Etheridge, her live performances are always outstanding.  Melissa is highly committed to giving her all at live shows. After releasing her most recent album “This is M.E” earlier this year,  the Melissa Etheridge solo concert was never going to disappoint.

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We arrived at the venue an hour or so before the start of the show.  The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a stunning building, an old theatre with stained glass and beautiful décor. A truly intimate place for any concert, but especially so when the star of the show is so in touch with her audience. This was a “Solo Tour”, which means (obviously) that there was only Melissa on stage with a huge selection of her guitars, pedals, drums and a piano.

Melissa Etheridge is an absolute joy to watch live, and has so much fun on stage, building each track starting with drum loops, acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, she is exceptionally talented and versatile. With a voice to rival Janis Joplin in her prime, Melissa filled the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with her mix of rock, blues and soul from the heart.

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She clearly felt at ease with her audience as she chatted about her Radio 2 interview with Sir Terry Wogan the day before with Lucy Spraggan and went on to joke that she used to be intimidated by the British accent. This made a few giggle as we always thought of Melissa as being pretty feisty.  You can hear the full interview here.

The Set List

Opening with “Chrome Plated Heart”, then on to the more rockier “I’m the only one” and “Come to my window” Melissa’s vocals were raw and evocative throughout.  New songs from the album included the bluesy “Ain’t That Bad” and “Monster”, anthems like “Take My Number”, “Like a Preacher” went down really well and the very personal “Who are you waiting for” which was written by Melissa as part of her vows for her wedding last year to her best friend and partner in life, Linda Wallem. Melissa even managed to fit in “Gently we row” the beautiful song from “Fearless Love” written for her daughter after a fan in the audience held up a hand written request for her to sing it.   Iconic “Like the Way I do” from 1988,  possibly her most famous song was saved until last, everyone was dancing and singing along.  The atmosphere was electric, Melissa was on top form and clearly thrives on live performances. We can’t wait to see her again!

Melissa Etheridge Meet and Greet 2

If you have never experienced Melissa Etheridge before,  she is a passionate blend of American rock and blues with  flavours of Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and even Bruce Springsteen,  but with an unique magical ability to lure audiences deep inside her soul.  You will have a chance to see her in Europe in July as more tour dates have been released here.

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RainbowBiz met Anita-Jo from New York

From a personal point of view it was fantastic to meet some of Melissa’s fans, Anita-Jo who recognized us from Twitter as the girls from “RainbowBiz”, she had flown in from New York especially for “This Is M.E”.  We loved meeting Frank Cverna, Wolfgang from Germany, Bodil and Tanya from Denmark and Nikki Lamborn, Been and the “Never The Bride” team from the UK.

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“Melfie” Melissa Etheridge’s own image

 

Melissa Etheridge Meet and Greet 1

Links and more information for Melissa Etheridge

 

You can also find our more information about Melissa Etheridge on her website www.melissaetheridge.com follow her on Twitter @metheridge and on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/melissaetheridge

We are on Facebook www.facebook.com/rainbowbiz/ and Twitter @RainbowBizUK also Instagram www.instagram.com/rainbowbizuk/ plus LinkedIn and many more! All our links are available from our website.

 

Annie

rainbow_biz_annie3Annie has one amazing tale to tell!  She found us, yes at Powys Country House the day after our wedding.  We heard screams from the garden, the kids shouting “It’s a rat, it’s a rat”, then one of our sons, Isaac, casually remarked “It’s not a rat, it’s a poor skinny ferret”.  Of course, after that moment there was no going back, the kids were instantly in love with “Martin” as he was known at that point.

A rescue party was sent out for supplies, ferret food, flea treatment, vitamins, bedding, etc.  Within an hour or so “Martin” was made comfortable in his very small hamster cage, kindly gifted to us by our hosts at Powys.  So several days past, and “Martin” was very happy sleeping, eating and going to the loo, this was his routine for the rest of the holiday.  I fully expected to find him lifeless one morning, as he was so weak, clearly suffering from malnutrition, completely emaciated and covered in ticks.  However, we were due to leave and left with a dilemma, we can’t possibly release “Martin” into the wild, contrary to popular believe, ferrets are not wild animals.  So it was agreed by all that it would be best for us to take “Martin” home with us and give him the most comfortable days as we could…

rainbow_biz_annie1Over 15 months later and “Martin” is now the very fabulous Annie!  No he did not undergo a gender reassignment!  As soon as we returned home, we took “Martin” to our family vets, who quickly informed us that he was a she and had been left in season for far too long, this can be life threatening for a ferret as it causes them to become anaemic.  So Annie was immediately given injections to take her out of season which then enabled us to have a hysterectomy performed to ensure she stays fit and well.

Well…. she is certainly FIT AND WELL now, she is one crazy fun loving adorable ferret! She gives the whole family hours of entertainment and fun.  She has her own house in the back garden which is a very posh wooden shed, complete with beautiful bay windows!  Annie has an amazing climbing frame which enables her to sleep safely at various heights in her house on one of the four hammocks she uses.  She has a dinning room and a separate bedroom, together with a playroom and separate toilet facility.  Annie particularly likes her daily visits from “the Mums” as whilst her living quarters undergo a vigorous clean, Annie gets the free run of the shed, which includes a play in the fabulous wood store.

rainbow_biz_annie2Annie does enjoy coming into the house from time to time, and even helps out with some of our online promotional work when she’s not busy playing!!

She is by far the cheekiest member of our fury family, she has a real character that I certainly would never have believed possible in a ferret.  I’ve grown extremely attached to Annie, I feel like she was sent to be with us as a very special wedding gift, perhaps from someone who could not be at our wedding.

It made me so sad to find a photograph of Annie when we first found her, so sad in fact that I didn’t want to post it on here.  However, if you would really like to see just how poorly she looked when she found us, then you can view the first photograph we ever took of her here.

This video clip was taken only a couple of days ago, you can see how cheeky she gets just by watching this very short clip and perhaps understand why we love her so much.

Thunder

rainbow_biz_thunder (4)So this morning I sat down in the office and thought “I think I’ll do a quick blog”, then after sitting quietly for several minutes thinking of what to blog about, it all became very clear!

As if on cue, Thunder decided to jump up onto the desk beside me and do what he does best…. sleep!!  You will see from his gallery, it is a pastime he is very found of, and he can pretty much sleep anywhere.

rainbow_biz_thunder (10)He is a “Pixie-Bob” cat, a cross between a Maine Coon and a Bob-Cat.  There are two variations, a short haired version with polydactyl feet and a long haired version without the extra toes but both with a tiny “bob tail”.   He was an ex breeding cat, and has contributed to several litters, before he was spayed by his breeder.  Thunder came to us when he was 2 years old.  I had researched the breed.  Pixie-Bobs are a very people orientated cats, similar to a dog in many ways.  Liking to be in water and eating huge amounts with his big jaws, Thunder is a law unto himself.  He demands the most expensive cat food we have ever seen, but he is worth it.  If we don’t give him that, and try to change his food, he literally starves himself and won’t stay in the house.  We suspect that he may frequent several people’s homes and ask for food in each (pretending that he has not been fed for days!).  The dogs are probably pretty jealous of this fact as they are only fed once a day!

rainbow_biz_thunder (9)We have just had a huge amount of building work done to our property.  It was a pretty messy experience for all of us, including the animals.  The dogs were covered in dust, rubble, plaster for weeks.  The cat decided that he did not wish to visit during the day when the workmen were here, so he got up at 7 am each morning and went out for the day until about 8 pm at night when he decided that they had all gone home.  He has still not really got used to the new lay out of our home, the bedrooms were the sitting room, and the living/dining room was our old patio, so it looks incredibly different.  rainbow_biz_thunder (11)We now have all wooden flooring, which is great with pets but I think Thunder used to recognise the house by the smell of the carpets (which had to go!).  So now he arrives home and yowls very loudly until he has been fed on his perch (an oak drop leaf table in the kitchen where the dogs can’t reach) and then yowls to go back out.  We are trying to get him to stay in through the day again, as I think cats are safer going out through the night.

Thunder is so strong minded and he will do exactly what HE wants to. rainbow_biz_thunder (12)That is why he is such a big character within the family unit. He makes it his business to come over and greet visitors, as our dogs do and demand some attention if HE is in the mood.

We have already found a fabulous local cattery and he has stayed there for 5 days previously. I do believe he was quite grumpy initially, but as he had his very expensive food to hand, he soon settled into a routine and “was a pleasure to have stay”. However, on his return home he chose to ignore the whole family including the dogs! It took us another week to win him round for cuddles again. I guess not even Thunder can resist the charms of Scooby Doo 😉

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Daisy and Keano

rainbow_biz_dk9It is quite difficult for me to remember what year I brought my long awaited small ball of fluff home. Daisy was the runt of a working springer spaniel litter from a breeder in Withernsea, near Spurn Point in East Yorkshire.   I received regular photograph updates to show her progress, including a photo of her standing in the middle of the the shared puppy milk clearly trying to make up for being half the size of her brothers and sisters! She has always been a character with real strength which became  apparent after she collided with a pick up truck when she was let out of the front door where we lived at the top of a hill.  She then spotted Isaac, our middle son setting off down the hill on his skateboard.  Daisy thought it was a game and chased Isaac all the way down the hill but didn’t stop when Isaac did.  It was incredibly upsetting for Isaac to witness Daisy hit the truck.  The truck did not stop either.  Daisy was left on the road with her eye clearly damaged beyond repair unable to move.  She was bundled carefully into our car and immediately taken to the vet where they gave her a check over and put her on high pain relief.  She couldn’t walk, and her leg was assessed as severely nerve damaged.  Her hips were all broken, so she was pinned and platrainbow_biz_dk3ed, her eye was removed and sewn up, and then it was a waiting game to see if she would need her leg removed.  I gave her daily physiotherapy,  hourly care and many cuddles as she was unable to walk.  Taking her out to the toilet was difficult as I had to sling her back end in a towel so she could walk with her front legs.  After a few weeks, the vet checked her again and said that the nerves in her leg were reacting slowly and that meant that she would be able to keep all 4 legs.  Needless to say, it was a very difficult time.

rainbow_biz_dk5During this time of recouperation a friend of a friend told me that she was having to rehome her 4 year old dog Keano to the Dog’s Trust because the council did not allow her to keep dogs. Personally, I would have moved house in order to keep a family member, but this was her decision. I had a (very quick) think, and agreed to adopt her.   Keano moved in and became Daisy’s sister and protector. She encouraged Daisy to move around which was good, and cuddled up to her at night.

I think Daisy must be 7/8 and Keano 11/12 years old now.  Time has really moved on. I joined a Springer Spaniel forum online and had some amazing support from other spaniel owners who I did not even know personally.  A couple of owners even sent me donations to buy Daisy a special teddy and a bone!  There are some wonderful people in this world!  To look at Daisy you would never know she nearly had to lose a leg, obviously she has one eye, but she has adapted to life so well.  When she runs her tail rotates like a helicopter, I think this is because one back leg is much stronger than the other.  We love them both dearly, Keano is an old lady now, she has a grey muzzle and likes to sleep a LOT!  They are extremely sociable and love to meet new dogs and people, but probably would not like a burglar so much.

rainbow_biz_dk6rainbow_biz_dk7Daisy’s favourite thing to do when we go to the park is to squeak from the other end of the field to ask for the ball to be thrown.  She doesn’t ever actually retrieve the ball, but likes to be near the location where it will land so that she can have half a chance of catching it before Keano who runs after the ball and retrieves at as you would presume a dog would.  You can imagine Keano’s expression when Daisy catches the ball then runs into the undergrowth to hide it!  Daisy is a VERY messy dog, and will locate a bog/stagnant puddle from the other end of the field, she then runs for it, stands about in it, and then usually lies flat (very flat) into the murky water to encourage all of her fur to be covered!  She then emerges in dark brown bog dog sludge looking extremely pleased with herself!  All we can do is laugh, because she has never been any different.

Keano has just found a new lease of life since we have had wooden floors laid in our new extension.  She has a new game of hiding her tennis ball under her blankets, then pounces on the blanket after dragging it out of her bed to try to relocate it.  Once she has found it, she drops it up the hall way and runs to catch it, then when she is too tired to do that she lays on her back with the ball in her mouth break dancing!   She is a very tidy dog and does not like to stand in puddles.  She also dislikes standing still when we are out for a walk and starts to howl very loudly to make us move on. Dogs!!!

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Taz and Skully

rainbow_biz_kids4Those of you who know us on a personal level, will know that I lost my two beautiful Border Collies, Taz and Skully, nearly two years ago, both aged 18 years!  Yes, for 18 years my furry ickle friends, or “the kids” as they were so affectionately known, stuck by my side, through thick and thin.

Anyone who has lost a pet they have loved will understand that it really is just as painful (if not worse) than loosing a human family member.  I’m not ashamed to admit that to this very day I still miss them both so much, that I do still feel physical pain in my heart and I do still think about them both several times a day.

One of the best ways I’ve found to deal with this loss is to remember all the fun times we had together and believe me, we had thousands!

They first arrived when I was living in Scotland and I myself was a mere twenty something!  They were such a handful, I’m thinking I could perhaps compare the lifestyle change to actually having had twins!!  My whole life took a different direction at that point and I started to grow up and accept my responsibility as a “mum” quite seriously.  They became a huge part of my life very quickly and that is why they became fondly known as “the kids”.  Living in Scotland was a fabulous life experience and one I perhaps should blog about too.  It gave us some of the greatest “fantastic adventures” of walking in the hills and exploring stone circles, kicking up the fallen leaves and rolling around in the freezing snow.  The kids would run for miles and miles, bouncing with excitement and collecting sticks as they went.  Sticks, thousands of sticks, I would find them everywhere, if only the kids where around now, they could collect firewood for the burner 😉

We moved around a little and thinking back, the kids must have moved house with me a total of 6 times.  They never complained, always adapting to their new environment with a sense of excitement and wonder.  Anyone who met them formed the most amazing love of them almost instantly, even those not so keen on dogs would begin to admire their fabulous characters.

Skully – a slender lady, with an extremely high IQ level coupled with lots of common sense. She could out play anyone at “ball” and was often found challenging anyone who would dare take her on.  I once sat on the living room floor face to face with her for 4 hours 35 minutes, repeatedly rolling to ball back to her while she demonstrated a combination of nose nudging and fancy footwork to return by throws.  It was quite a spectacle to watch and even more fun to take part in. Of course, she always won!

Taz – a sensitive fella, always up for a cuddle and some good old fashioned dog food.  He was a big softie, he was always ready with his “tugger” but could be easily distracted with a tasty dog treat!  Taz was extremely fluffy and from time to time, referred to as a bear.  He would sit before you with his head slightly tilted and encourage you to have a big bear hug. Although he was much bigger in built to his sister, he would obey her every look and follow her lead at all times, he certainly knew who was alpha female!

rainbow_biz_kids12Even now as I type this blog, remembering the kids, I look up to see a photograph of them at my desk of when they first met Santa.  I don’t believe in thinking about Christmas before December, but every day I think of the kids and the fabulous times they shared with me.  I really do hope that one day I can be with them again.

Rest in Peace my beautiful kids, Taz and Skully xx

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