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I finally managed to grab a moment to sit down and jot some words down for this month's blog. Yes another month has flown for me again, where does the time go? November has been a month of mixed feelings, I was really hoping by this time in the year we'd be well on the road to recovery from this virus and planning our Christmas get togethers. I can’t help feeling we're not much further forward but being positive is the best way to be. I'm looking forward to just being at home with my family of four, and spending time with the animals. We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world, we have gardens, plenty of forest and hill walks, great cycling and horse riding tracks, a lovely riverside to walk and we can simply spend time outside.

I'm truly grateful for where I live. I can't imagine how people cope in a flat in a big city. I've only been able to visit my parents by looking in their window, or standing in their garden for a wee chat, but Newcastleton is such a friendly community, the villagers always supporting and helping each other. The local shops are still delivering to people's houses if needed, nothing is a problem . We have all been asked to decorate our windows to make them look really festive, to brighten up the village and brighten people's spirits. So this weekend I'm heading into the attic and I can't wait to dig out the decorations and start creating a winter wonderland in my house! This year more than ever I've really tried to support ‘local’ for my Xmas shopping. It's so easy to order online, but there's no personal touch. So support local this year, and if you’re looking for wildlife themed gifts then look no further. . . . I paint Scottish wildlife originals on slate, and have prints, cards and gifts available.

My big news this month is that I've just released my third children's wildlife book ‘A Night With Brox Badger’. I write and illustrate the books, drawing inspiration for the stories and the pictures from the Liddesdale Valley where the stories are all set. A percentage from each sale goes towards Saving Scotland's Red squirrels which is a cause that’s extremely important to me. The books are available in shops or you can contact me if you'd like a signed copy.

Newcastleton Wildlife Club has done amazingly well to keep running this year. Of course we have many Covid rules and regulations to follow, but children are brilliant at adapting and accepting things have to be a wee bit different. There have been some activities we just couldn’t do as we adults have to socially distance from the children, but we have made the very most of all the things we can do.

A special THANK YOU to Cole and Layna Pearson who have been amazing. They have been my Leader Assistants, helping the little ones to zip up coats, tie laces, giving them a hug if needed, helping them over tough terrain, and doing all these tasks without even being asked. THANK YOU x

We had a very exciting evening this month at the RSPB Nature Awards 2020. We were nominated for an award earlier this year and were thrilled to make it onto the shortlist. Normally this is a black tie presentation dinner up at Holyrood, Edinburgh. So I was super excited thinking we were going to a posh dinner and an awards evening. However, this year they had to adapt and make it online because of Covid, but it was still a wonderful event, hosted by Steve Backshall. Our category was ‘Youth and Education’, and sadly we didn’t win, but I'm so thrilled our group made it to the short list as we were up against very tough competition. A forestry college won our category and they are worthy winners, doing amazing work for nature.

It was a great moment hearing Steve Backshall read our name out as one of the nominees and I couldn’t help but wonder if he’s maybe googled Newcastleton?

Anyway lots to do, Santa will be coming soon . . .. Keep wildlife watching and remember to keep reporting any sightings of red or grey squirrels in and around Liddesdale.

You can contact me or Saving Scotland's red squirrels, And please follow Liddesdale red squirrel group on Facebook. We have amazing work going on to protect our local reds.



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