Raindrops on Roses: Weekly Photo Challenge

I looked out at the ethereal water droplets bathing the garden and I couldn’t help myself.  I had to go out and get soaked taking these pictures. This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge since the theme is Spare and the sky had all this spare water in it (so it rained a lot):

Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – tiny snail nestled amidst the petals.
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – an adamant ant.
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – and leaves too!
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – the drip is about to fall
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – screw the roses, give me the thorns (!)
Raindrops on Roses invoke delight and inspire
Raindrops on Roses – the water has turned this rosebud into a glimmering jewel.

Seen anything wonderful today?

How to Handle Your Rabbit

I got this infographic about how to pick up and hold a rabbit, in an email from Pets At Home, and while I know how to look after my bunnies, I thought it might be useful for anyone with a rabbit (or considering getting a rabbit) just to see one of the ideal ways to handle a pet bunny.  There are other ways you can hold a rabbit that will still bring them comfort and reassurance but this is definitely useful if you’re thinking of getting a beautiful rabbit (don’t worry about the “rabbits are calmer when they can’t see,” all of my bunnies like to see what’s going on when they get picked up). I think this is helpful whether you’re getting a bunny either as a houserabbit or a garden rabbit.  Bunnies are especially popular to buy over Easter time, and I urge you to wait until four weeks after Easter if you’re getting a bunny, because that’s when the shelters (and Pets at Home’s adoption section, where 3 of my 5 rabbits have come from) start getting inundated with unwanted Easter bunnies.  It’s a very, very sad situation and I wrote a story about it last year to show what life is like for a lot of rabbits, from the rabbit’s point of view.  People buy them, don’t understand how to care for them, then leave them in a tiny hutch and throw food at them once a day (if they remember).  If the rabbit is lucky, the owner finally admits they were wrong and gives the animal up for adoption so it has a chance of a loving home, but many owners of unwanted rabbits don’t bother.  No animal wants to live like that and I’d like to think that all my readers are compassionate enough to read my other rabbit care articles before getting a bunny.  It’s very tragic that the most popular rabbit article on my site is “what to do with an unwanted rabbit” and last year it made the top 10 after Christmas and Easter (and after Christmas this year).  Anyway, here’s the infographic. Click the picture to enlarge:

how to handle your bunny rabbit
How to Handle Your Rabbit, by Pets at Home VIP Magazine.

I don’t own the image, it’s copyright to Pets at Home, this post is not sponsored and no affiliate links, I just thought it would be a useful resource for people with rabbits who aren’t members of Pets at Home VIP club (if you live in the UK, I strongly recommend you join them because it’s free and you get loads of benefits such as discount vouchers and free magazines with useful information like the infographic above).  You can join in any Pets at Home store or online.

Would you ever get a rabbit?  Have you already got one?

Bunny Pictures: Fifer the Half-Wild Bunny

Fifer is half wild. That means, against all odds, he is also apparently half domesticated. That’s the bit I can’t believe sometimes.  Physically, it’s most obvious that he’s part-wild in his fur: of our five rabbits, he’s the softest, silkiest, snuggliest little bunny (which makes him slide out of your hands when it’s vet time and he doesn’t want to be caught), he can run the fastest and is literally invisible when he’s in the garden because of his colourings, and he plays by nobody’s rules but his own.  I love Fifer so much, he’s my little tinypon where Katie is my giant bundle of squishy.

He looks so regal.
He looks so regal.
And he loves Katie a WHOLE lot.
And he loves Katie a WHOLE lot.

Bunny pictures: Katie

My camera’s still not got a battery. Luckily, I took loads of rabbit pics this week. Today’s star is Katie. Someone dumped her in a box outside my vets. So we adopted her. Katie-boo is my biggest, squishiest rabbit.

Katie is poised to make a break when I come to let her out.  She always thinks she's escaping it's so funny.
Katie is poised to make a break when I come to let her out. She always thinks she’s escaping it’s so funny.
Katie is on the outside, looking into her run wistfully.  The open door is 3 feet away.
Katie is on the outside, looking into her run wistfully. The open door is 3 feet away.
Katie never stops eating.  Never.
Katie never stops eating. Never.  And she’s so cute when she eats.

Here is a vid that proves that she never stops eating:

Bunny Picture: Sebastian Washes His Face

In accordance with the new posting schedule, here’s two pictures of Sebastian washing his face; he’s our little grey Netherland Dwarf bunny.

Sebastian washes his face.  He is such a Sebasti-pon!
Sebastian washes his face. He is such a Sebasti-pon!
...And then he washes his paws because they needed washing too.  So cute.
…And then he washes his paws because they needed washing too. So cute.

Bring on the Bunnies!

Okay so I promised bunnies, and whilst I’m not the post office ladies and gentlemen I deliver!

Banacek jumped onto the sofa and stole my toast.  I stole it back, of course, but the audacity of it amuses me.
Banacek jumped onto the sofa and stole my toast. I stole it back, of course, but the audacity of it amuses me.
Banacek tries to make a burrow.  For some reason the idea of bunnies and duvets in the same geographical location makes me squee slightly.  I need to leave the quilt on the floor more often (it's waiting to be washed and doesn't fit in our tiny basket).  So precious.  Unfortunately, this was the only picture because the little bugger psychically knows when I'm reaching for the camera and instantly runs away.
Banacek tries to make a burrow. For some reason the idea of bunnies and duvets in the same geographical location makes me squee slightly. I need to leave the quilt on the floor more often (it’s waiting to be washed and doesn’t fit in our tiny basket). So precious. Unfortunately, this was the only picture because the little bugger psychically knows when I’m reaching for the camera and instantly runs away.
Banacek acting nonchalant and chewing a box immediately after burrowing into the duvet because he knows I'm wanting to take pics of him doing cute stuff.  The boxes are his "projects."
Banacek acting nonchalant and chewing a box immediately after burrowing into the duvet because he knows I’m wanting to take pics of him doing cute stuff. The boxes are his “projects.”
Cleo on the other hand doesn't mind the camera as much.  She has spent the last two years demolishing that cardboard folder, which I used to use for lesson planning.  Now it's almost down to the metal rings.  I think it's the only folder I've got in the house that wasn't coated in plastic, so I'm glad she picked that one.
Cleo on the other hand doesn’t mind the camera as much. She has spent the last two years demolishing that cardboard folder, which I used to use for lesson planning. Now it’s almost down to the metal rings. I think it’s the only folder I’ve got in the house that wasn’t coated in plastic, so I’m glad she picked that one.
Folderol! Cleo sees the camera and decides she's going to copy Banacek and get silly about it too.
Folderol! Cleo sees the camera and decides she’s going to copy Banacek and get silly about it too.
Katieboo!  I see you!  Katie runs excitedly through her flowerbed.  It's her daily version of walkies - I let her out of her run (which is half the garden) and she mows the other half for me.  She is my little lawnmower.
Katieboo! I see you! Katie runs excitedly through her flowerbed. It’s her daily version of walkies – I let her out of her run (which is half the garden) and she mows the other half for me. She is my little lawnmower.
Three, snuggly, bunnies.  Three, snuggly, bunnies.  See how they sit there and do nothing.  See how they sit there and do nothing...  Sebastian's in a separate run because he keeps attacking Fifer.  But they both love Katie.  But Fifer saw her first so she's housed in her primary relationship but I do let her and Sebastian have time together too when I can.
Three, snuggly, bunnies. Three, snuggly, bunnies. See, how they, sit there and do nothing. See, how they, sit there and do nothing…
Sebastian’s in a separate run because he keeps attacking Fifer. But they both love Katie. But Fifer saw her first so she’s housed in her primary relationship but I do let her and Sebastian have time together too when I can.
Fifer pretending to be a plant.  He's pretty convincing unless you're out there with him.  A few times I've gone to the window and been like, "where has Fifer gone?  Has he escaped?"  But he never does.  He's half wild so we have to keep an eye out for escapings.
Fifer pretending to be a plant. He’s pretty convincing unless you’re out there with him. A few times I’ve gone to the window and been like, “where has Fifer gone? Has he escaped?” But he never does. He’s half wild so we have to keep an eye out for escapings.

Cute bunnies! Rabbit lawnmowers! One washes face; another sleeps, eats dandelion.

It’s Soft Soft Sunday, and here are my seven favourite cutest bunny pictures of my rabbits from this week.  In the spotlight this week are Katie and Fifer because they did some really adorable things while I had my camera to hand for a change (usually they dodge the camera):

Left: Fifer, Right: Katie.
Left: Fifer, Right: Katie.  This is a run I’ve set up in our front garden to get the grass mowed by bunnies.
Fifer strikes a pose.
Fifer strikes a pose, surrounded by grass he and Katie have cut down for me.
Left: Katie, right: Fifer
Left: Katie, right: Fifer.  Tired from lawnmowing, the bunnies settle to some flopsy time.

In the next four pictures, watch Katie eat a dandelion in realtime:

Katie eyes up a dandelion.
Katie eyes up a dandelion.
Katie bites dandelion
Katie bites dandelion
Katie eats dandelion.
Katie eats dandelion.
Katie moves on to find new nibbles.
Katie moves on to find new nibbles.  This whole sequence took about 10 seconds to unfold.

What did you think of Katie and Fifer’s cute bunny adventures this week?  They had a lot of fun exploring places but all my cat-proofing (which has stopped the other 6 cats getting in) hasn’t stopped one persistent feline from trying to get at the bunnies when they’re out of their run (which is all the area behind that fence next to Katie in the final 4 pics), so I have to supervise them outside rather than from the kitchen window, which limits what I can do when they’re outside, so affects how long they can be out, which is a shame.  Fifer is more timid and gets a bit scared about being loose in the garden if I’m outside, because he’s part wild and doesn’t relate to humans very well, so he hardly comes out while I’m there, but Katie will nose my legs and play chase with me sometimes.  She’s come a very long way from when we first brought her home and she was too scared to come out of the travel box for over an hour, and Fifer was the bravest out of the two of them!  I sometimes forget we haven’t had her for a full year yet, and that we’ve barely had Fifer for a year, they just seem so much like part of the family and I get bunnysick for them when we’re away from home, and they miss us too (all five of our buns usually won’t say hello for the first 24 hours when we get back from holiday just to show us that they are displeased that we let someone else come and feed them).

Anything Can Happen Thursday: Terrible Houses

If you’re trying to sell your house, there’s lots of things you can do to spruce it up and get a better price, more views, a faster sale.  These people did none of these things.  I wish I could say they were aware enough to lower the prices into fixer-upper territory.  They did not:

At least you wouldn't be able to see all the toothpaste stains in the sink????
At least you wouldn’t be able to see all the toothpaste stains in the sink????
The above bathroom was accompanied by this kitchen, where you would have to be child-sized to actually open the cupboards and get anything out of them.  I've seen wider passages on boat galleys.
The above bathroom was accompanied by this kitchen, where you would have to be child-sized to actually open the ancient cupboards and get anything out of them. I’ve seen wider passages on boat galleys.  Also, Egads, the floor!

This next house didn’t quite measure up where it counted:

Another delicious bathroom design.
Another delicious bathroom design.  Let’s hope the new owners never need to fix the cistern.
In the same house as above, they should have used a spirit level at some point during the fitting of this kitchen...
In the same house as above, they should have used a spirit level at some point during the fitting of this kitchen…
...or a measuring tape.
…or a measuring tape.

Adding a few personal touches to this next home really helps potential buyers see themselves living here:

rghargrahg;rjhk  hwthrw ehwlhewl khwetglkweg kewlt
Where does that third window go?  Into the land of helpimdrowningunderallthisclutter!
The house also sports a psychedelic wall, for all you fans of LSD.
The house also sports a psychedelic wall of killer Yoda owls, for all you fans of LSD.
And who could forget the kid's bedroom, where you can pre-destine him/her to have PTSD before he/she even joins up.  Let's be fair, it's clearly a boy's room.
And who could forget the kid’s bedroom, where you can pre-destine him/her to have PTSD before he/she even joins up. Let’s be fair, it’s clearly a boy’s room.
Clearly the second child was NOT being pushed into being a soldier.  I sincerely hope they wanted him to DRIVE the train.  And yes, again, clearly a him.
Clearly the second child was NOT being pushed into being a soldier. I sincerely hope they wanted him to DRIVE the train. And yes, again, clearly a him.
This place could feature on some TV series about hoarders.
This place could feature on some TV series about hoarders.

These houses all had some features that really made them stand out – for all the wrong reasons:

This is a feature kitchen.  Like a feature wall, only under the stairs.  And probably wants covering up.  Or razing to the ground.
This is a feature kitchen. Like a feature wall, only under the stairs. And probably wants covering up. Or razing to the ground.
This kitchen is so embarrassed it's trying to blend in with the walls.
This kitchen is so embarrassed it’s trying to blend in with the walls.
Perhaps one of MC Escher's lesser known works, this bizarre split level bathroom makes no sense - you'd have to be six foot to comfortably use that sink, or three feet to enjoy the toilet.
Perhaps one of MC Escher’s lesser known works, this bizarre split level bathroom makes no sense – you’d have to be six foot to comfortably use that sink, or three feet to enjoy the toilet.
Yodelling? Bowling alley?  Room for a sneaky snooker table?  The real question is, what's the point of the second bath mat??  You can't get out of the bath there.  There's taps in the way.  And a window.  And why are the toilet and bath so close together when there's all this space?
Yodelling? Bowling alley? Room for a sneaky snooker table? The real question is, what’s the point of that second bath mat?? You can’t get out of the bath there. There’s taps in the way. And a window. And why are the toilet and bath so close together when there’s all this space?  So many questions!
This kitchen couldn't decide whether to be good retro (to the left) or cheapass falling apart retro (to the right).  Add to that a third possibility: White goods (at the back).  Are the bars there to prevent the cupboards from running away in shame, or because the owner was a *huge* fan of Prisoner: Cell Block H and wanted the ambience???
This kitchen couldn’t decide whether to be 60s retro (to the left) or 70s retro (to the right). Add to that a third possibility: White goods (at the back). Are the bars there to prevent the cupboards from running away in shame, or because the owner was a *huge* fan of Prisoner: Cell Block H and wanted the ambience???
I hope the arrows are pointing to the way out.  After all, who doesn't want a bedroom with three walls and two radiators and one seamless floor?
I hope the arrows are pointing to the way out. After all, who doesn’t want a bedroom with three walls and two radiators and one seamless floor?

This final house has to win the prize for the worst house ever:

Usually a wall like that separates a staircase.  And the ceiling thing looks a bit high to be a bed nook.  Mysterious.
Usually a wall like that separates a staircase. And the ceiling thing looks a bit high to be a bed nook. Mysterious.
The bath looks like a beached whale.  And why is the loo jammed in a corner when there's acres of space?
The bath looks like a beached whale. And why is the loo jammed in a corner when there’s acres of space?
This room is looking vaguely normal, but very dirty.
This room is looking vaguely normal, but very dirty and with the far right wall full of holes.
And the garden has the same floor as the kitchen.  Is it a failed extension, or did the walls fall off one of the downstairs rooms?
And the garden has the same floor as the lounge. Is it a failed extension, or did the walls fall off one of the downstairs rooms?  But the reason it gets the prize is the kitchen, below:
The sink is in the middle of the room, next to the back door.  The stairs are bizzarre, and if there were ever a house fire, the occupants would not be able to get out.  Also the walls are filthy.  You have to admire the optimism of the estate agent - this beaut was listed at around £80,000 in York.
The sink is in the middle of the room, next to the back door. The stairs are bizzarre, and if there were ever a house fire, the occupants would not be able to get out. Also the walls are filthy.  And that bed does not look like a nice place to sleep. You have to admire the optimism of the estate agent – this beaut was listed at around £80,000 in the north of England.

Doesn’t your house feel clean and well-planned now?  All those little foibles looking a bit tame?  I know mine does!  Let me know in the comments if you’re tempted to put an offer on any of these delightful habitats.

Note: I own none of these pictures.

Travel Tuesday: In Pictures: The Mercure Barony Castle Hotel, Peebles

Last week on my trip to the Highlands, I checked into the Mercure Barony Castle Hotel, Eddleston, near Peebles, for a couple of nights R+R after two days car camping and climbing mountains and whatnot.  Peebles is in the Scottish borders between England and Scotland (far, far away from the Highlands) and we stayed here on our way back down to England.

To be honest, for the price I paid through booking.com, I wasn’t expecting an awful lot.  And the hotel is currently undergoing renovation so there were ambient builders and buildy noises, but they were mostly unobtrusive. There was a spa that I didn’t take pictures of because obviously phones and water don’t mix. But seriously, you have to see the grounds.  I could throw some hackneyed phrases around in a flailure to describe the place, but why TELL you about it when I could just SHOW you?  The Mercure Barony Castle Hotel was very photogenic, and it was pretty damn awesome to stay in a real castle!  Enjoy:

The castle, as it looked from the approach.
The castle, as it looked from the approach.
One of the turrets.
One of the turrets.
One of the many delightful waterfalls in the castle grounds.
One of the many delightful waterfalls in the castle grounds.
Some trees in the castle grounds.
Some trees in the castle grounds.
Intrigued by this mysterious sign, we looked around for the altar.
Intrigued by this mysterious sign, we looked around for the altar.
I was doing a distant staring pose so you could tell I was serious about finding this altar.
I was doing a distant staring pose so you could tell I was serious about finding this altar.
This is Commander Riker calling Beverly Crusher on the Enterprise. I'm on the surface of the planet, and that thing is happening again where I cannot straighten both legs at once...
This is Commander Riker calling Beverly Crusher on the Enterprise. I’m on the surface of the planet, and that thing is happening again where I cannot straighten both legs at once…
I wanted to do a mock-sacrificial virgins pose but the surface was very slippery and wet so clearly it wasn't good sacrificin' weather.
I wanted to do a mock-sacrificial virgins pose but the surface was very slippery and wet so clearly it wasn’t good sacrificin’ weather.
Looking back the way we came.
Looking back the way we came.
We don't know what these barrels be doing here, but there were no hobbits or dwarves around so we concluded that they'd escaped from them and were on the loose somewhere else in the grounds.
We don’t know what these barrels be doing here, but there were no hobbits or dwarves around so we concluded that they’d escaped from them and were on the loose somewhere else in the grounds.
We continued exploring.
We continued exploring.
Another mystery - a secret garden!  I half-expected to see Alice in there.
Another mystery – a secret garden! I half-expected to see Alice in there.
In another direction, the ice house.
In another direction, the ice house.
The silent tragedy of the lone lost glove.
The silent tragedy of the lone lost glove.
It makes the pitiful sound of one handed clapping while it awaits its life partner's return.  A poignant reminder that we will all have to be a lost glove at some point in our lives.  Or am I taking this too seriously?  These gloves always make me sad.
It makes the pitiful sound of one handed clapping while it awaits its life partner’s return. A poignant reminder that we will all have to be a lost glove at some point in our lives. Or am I taking this too seriously? These gloves always make me sad.
A sign for the Mapa Scotland, the amazing 3D relief map of Scotland, built by Polish soldiers, showing all the Scottish mountains; this was a key attraction when the hotel was built but has now fallen into obscurity.
A sign for the Mapa Scotland, the amazing 3D relief map of Scotland, built by Polish soldiers, showing all the Scottish mountains; this was a key attraction when the hotel was built but has now fallen into obscurity.
Repair work on the Mapa Scotland, the current hotel owners hope that the map will be restored to its former glory and become more well-known as it was an ingenious way of mapping such a densely mountainous country.
Repair work on the Mapa Scotland, the current hotel owners hope that the map will be restored to its former glory and become more well-known as it was an ingenious way of mapping such a densely mountainous country.
What castle hotel would be complete without a llama farm on the other side of the ravine where the three waterfalls flow.
What castle hotel would be complete without a llama farm on the other side of the ravine where the three waterfalls flow.
A close up of the llamas.  The blips in the background are wild rabbits who like to hang out with the llamas.  There was also a pony around somewhere.
A close up of the llamas. The blips in the background are wild rabbits who like to hang out with the llamas. There was also a pony around somewhere.
Just beyond the grounds, we found some mysterious Victorian ruins.  But that's a mystery we'll examine in another article.
Just beyond the grounds, we found some mysterious Victorian ruins. But that’s a mystery we’ll examine in another article.

I hope you liked this castle hotel as much as we did.  I can’t stress how amazing the pool, hot tub, jacuzzi and experience showers were as well.  For a very long time I have been petrified of indoor pools (last one we went to, I clung like a limpet to the side, panicking, all my muscles contracted and I couldn’t even swim a single width), but I actually managed to do some swimming here (ok, not the first time we went down, but the second, third and fourth times? I was doing lengths).  The breakfast in the restaurant was also outstanding, I think you could find a satisfying breakfast at their ample buffet, whether you are a carnivore, herbivore, fruitarian or simply a cereal fan; they even had soya milk for my tea!!  I can’t wait to stay at the Mercure Barony Castle Hotel again, and there will definitely be an again, this place was incredible.  I wanted to live there and was genuinely sad to leave.

If you would like to stay there too, I recommend that you use Booking.com to get fantastic rates.

Please note this article contains affiliate links so that if you want to stay in this incredible hotel, you can book it at a low price via Booking.com, which is a website I have used for years to get the best hotel deals and am excited to share with you. Any commission I get doesn’t affect the price you pay for your hotel.