Monday, 22 March 2010

Sports Relief Mile Run - 2010

The Sports Relief Mile Run 2010 took place at various venues around the U.K. to round up the Sport Relief weekend 19th to 21st March ; to raise funds for charities in and outside the country. Over 165,000 runners participated.
As at last night , a total amount of £31,633,091 had been raised.

There were slots of 1, 3, and 6 miles runs at the various venues.
I was at the Victoria Embankment venue , in London.


Some of the famous faces at the Run:
Christine Ohuruogu (800 metres World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist)
and , below left: the "King", Daley Thompson ( Decathlon - Serial World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist )

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Guess Who! The Conservative Party Leader.
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Becks and Smithy!




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Monday, 15 March 2010

Crufts Dog Show 2010.

Last week, dog-lovers from all over the world were treated to exciting displays and entertainment from man's best friends , dogs.
It was four days of fun at the world- famous annual International "Crufts" Dog show.
This is the Pet show which I look forward to every year because I am a dog lover and , annually, "Crufts" is guaranteed first class entertainment !

The Cruft Dog show has been held since 1891, when the founder Charles Cruft started it in London .
This year's show took place in the NEC Exhibition Centre in Birmingham ,from 11th to 14th March 2010 . It ended on Sunday night, the 14th, with the "Best of Show" ceremony and the selection of the overall winning "Top Dog" from over 22,000 dogs which participated in the various dog groups of the competition.
The trophy being competed for was the Crufts Best in Show Trophy.
This is the most prestigious title and trophy in the dog world!

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Once again , as in previous years , we were treated to outstanding displays of intelligence and skills by these wonderful animals!
The dogs were superb in every way!
The winner this year was a beautiful, confident and delightful dog called Yogi, a Hungarian Vizsla breed. He had won the Crufts "Gun Dog Group" award two days earlier and 16 awards in previous competitions over the years!
Winning the " Crufts Best in Show " trophy was the only award which had eluded this amazing dog .
After achieving his dream title on Sunday, seven year old Yogi,could retire now in great style; with fame and glory !
Congratulations Yogi! Good boy! Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!

Winner of CRUFTS 2010 - YOGI

Best in Show winner - Yogi - winner

As usual , CRUFTS was a very entertaining display of beautiful dogs and the various skill they had learned . All sorts of major dog breeds were represented.

Diverse breeds of Dogs
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Dogs' qualities like their agility , composure , balance , looks , grooming , temperament and obedience were taken into consideration before choosing the overall winner.
Toy Dog Group

The most entertaining displays of the week-long show were the Agility Competitions between dogs from over twenty Dog Clubs in the U.K. and the Dancing dogs !
Crufts 2010 was indeed a fun-filled family outing for the thousands of people who thronged the venue at Birmingham .

Dancing Dogs

Agility Displays

Like in previous years ,all the dogs were well trained and beautifully groomed .
I have always wondered how the dogs could remain calm and well behaved; without quarrelling , barking excessively and biting each other in fierce dog-fights!
I guess the dogs knew they were on show in a very important competition ; being watched by thousands of people!
Some of the dogs even knew when they won or lost in their events.
The winning dogs became very excited and happy ; changing their strides to respond to the prolonged applause from the crowd ; while some of the losers were visibly upset.
Lots of cuddles, kisses and sweets from their owners , soon comforted the dogs!

The other group which drew a lot of applause was the "FRIENDS FOR LIFE" group.
This comprised of mainly Guide Dogs for the Blind or Disabled persons and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
Also included in this group were several dogs who had achieved outstanding feats in protecting and caring for their owners .
This year, in this group were the two stars of CRUFTS 2010; Treo , the Army hero dog and his handler ; Sergeant Dave Heyhoe.
Treo and Sgt. Dave Heyhoe
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Treo , " Officer and Gentle Dog"

The celebrity dog and his handler received a standing ovation when they came on stage, on the final day of the Crufts 2010.
Treo is a black Labrador from the 104 Military Working Dogs, in Leicestershire , U.K.
A few weeks earlier , Treo had been awarded the Dickin Medal , the animal equivalent of the elite Victoria Cross,the highest military award, for his gallantry in battle and his meritorious service to Queen and country!
Treo, the remarkable dog, was able to successfully, detect and sniff out the "daisy chain bombs" planted in several road sides by the Taliban, in the Helmand province ; thereby saving hundreds of lives of the soldiers he was working with in Afghanistan.
The Dickin Medal was presented to Treo by Princess Alexander .

TREO the Hero receiving his medal from Princess Alexandra .

Treo ,the War Hero , on duty at the Battle front in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Another Crufts Show has come and gone.
May this delightful show return , next year and many more years ; to enrich us with the usual fantastic displays which prove that the Creator has given all His creatures , in-built talents and abilities.
If animals ,dogs, can be trained to perform like these; then all living creatures are teachable and potentially useful!
Given the proper training and opportunities ; marginalised human beings , in every society, could perform a thousand times greater feats than they are achieving now.
All God's creatures are bright and beautiful in deed !

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Spring has sprung!

Springtime is a period of renewal and of new birth ; not only for plant life but for birds , insects and reptiles.
For all living creatures, it is a time which ushers in a welcome change from the chilly winds, rain and snow of Winter.
For me , Springtime is a very pleasant time. It starts in mid-March and ends by mid May ; it comes with the beautiful sights of fascinating splashes of shades of new green leaves on trees and shrubs and myriads of colours of Spring flower beds.
Some of these spring plants show up as early as in February each year, in London and its surburbs.
They show up every Spring to give us immense pleasure .
Enjoy them while thy last.

Spring Flowers
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Spring , my favourite time of the year , features not only vibrant life and colours ; but also, temperate weather. It is not freezing like in autumn and winter and not sizzling hot like the Summer months of June,July and August.
When I see the tiniest buds on particular trees , shrubs and flower gardens, then I know for sure that Spring is here at last!
Already, in the past fortnight, there have been signs that the weather has changed in London and that Spring time has arrived early this year.
As at this week , there are numerous sightings of Cherry blossoms and Magnolias flowers; and clusters of blue bells , "snow drops" , hyacinths, Lenten Rose , Scilla, tulips and daffodil flowers; which are usually the first to show signs of Spring.
Many major areas in London are lined by these trees and flower beds which come alive in Spring.
They DO give the City a gorgeous look!

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Every year ,I look forward to the "springing forth" in some particular spots in London. One of such "Spring spots" which I look out for each Spring is Hyde Park, London and its beautiful array of varieties of flower beds ; especially its widespread perennial beds of Daffodils .
Daffodils, these yellow cuties, are usually among the first spring flowers to break through the frozen winter soil of house gardens , parks , side walks and wild places!
The most famous Daffodils in the country are those in Hyde Park , London.
They have a Fan Club of millions of people from all over the world who watch for their annual first sighting! Thousands visit these daffodils , every day in Spring and Summer because they have become one of the world-famous "icons of Spring",in London.
This year, as they have done faithfully for years, they are here already; though few in number,as at this week .
But these daffodils are showing the promise of becoming a full carpet of yellow soon; as they did last Spring and in previous years.
I call them "My Faithful Friends"!
( See my blog ," Tides of Life" of 8th April , 2009).
Soon ,joggers, walkers ,riders and sun bathers in Hyde Park will behold gorgeous sights of miles of lovely daffodils like these below.

Carpet of Daffodils in Hyde Park ,London.

Riders in Hyde Park .

Daffodils lining the side walk.

A branch of Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossom Tree

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Thumbs Up for Online Shopping !

Though I shop online , occasionally ; it is not my first choice for shopping.
I had this impression that surfing the internet to buy stuff was the norm for men , home-bound persons and workaholics.
Some people think online shopping is a sad thing to do.
I am not a big fan Online shopping ; like most women are not.
But, in the past two weeks,I have been enjoying the benefits of Online Shopping.
I appreciate the services offered by online stores when I couldn't find time to go shopping and I have had my shopping delivered to my house.

So, recently ,like millions of people do every day,I have sat back in the comfort of my home and shopped on-line.
After a few minutes of surfing on stores websites , deciding on what I wanted, and clicking on my choices of foods , juices, groceries and other household items; voilĂ ! a shopping order is made and paid for ; to be delivered to me with despatch.
It was that easy! Then I had time to do other things .
A few hours later, my door-bell rang and the orders are delivered by the store.
Some of the delivery men have been kind enough even to bring the bulky shopping bags into my kitchen instead of leaving them on my porch for me to carry in.
Who says On-line shopping is not fun?
Do I intend to make it a habit to do my weekly shopping on-line?
Why do more people not shop online , more often?
Online shopping has its pluses and minuses.
But it cannot give the buzz one gets from getting some live retail therapy, in store !
There is a lot of pleasure in being in the atmosphere of massive shopping malls and being surrounded by a vast array of goods to choose from.
Also ,there is the social interaction of meeting people; friends, old and new, in the shops during the peak shopping hours.
Inside the shops, you feel the joy of being alive ; being part of a milling mass of humanity!
Crowds , chatting, laughing and moving around in a shopping frenzy!
Touching , feeling and trying on the items on display; comparing their qualities and prices before chucking them in shopping trolleys.
However , some of these shopping malls in London are HUGE ; about 2 kilometres square!
Sometimes one would tire of the effort and time spent on moving around them ; shopping and carrying the shopping bags to the car parks and then driving home through heavy London traffic.

Shopping online is convenient but I would not buy shoes , clothings , perfumes and cameras on-line .
I prefer the satisfaction of seeing ,touching ,sniffing and checking them, in store , before buying them.
On-line stores could, sometimes, deliver items of a different brand name from the one you requested for; if they are out of stock .
Also, since all on-line transactions must be paid for, never by cash , but with store cards ,credit cards, debit or Master cards or all kinds of "precious plastics"; there are problems of identity theft and card fraud ,leading to theft of huge amounts from victims' bank accounts by criminals on the Internet.
These security risks of Online Shopping have to be managed by the shopper.
To safeguard online financial transactions, most banks and card issuers ,now give their customers the added risk -prevention tips and pin codes to protect their online transactions and frustrate all fraudulent efforts by online criminals.
Caution is the word ; like in any other financial transactions.
With adequate vigilance one could keep on enjoying the convenience of online shopping.
So , I have decided that whenever the need arises , the easy-option for me, as with other time-strapped busy-bees, would be the time-and-effort-saving option of Online Shopping .

Happy New Year !