Stocking the shop!

Well, I’ve neglected the blog for long enough! Lots has happened including the arrival of our 5th grandchild (although he’s actually hubby’s first direct grandchild, the other’s are ‘step’) Oscar arrived on 18th January and an absolutely gorgeous little bundle.  Living so close to the business is proving a difficult one for his dad Ali though, who is drawn back to the house for a cuddle whenever he can slip away (and who can blame him?).  Exciting days here with new stock arriving every day this week.  After our trip to The Spring Fair Trade Show at the NEC in Birmingham and a trip to another wholesaler in Nottingham.   We’ve not only bought gifts, but have stocked up with country & garden essentials! Green Wellies!  Thought it best to stock up as we all seem to be in the grips of the wettest months for years! Busy-I-Am-TooIt’s so easy to buy at The Spring Fair but then the hard work begins. Checking the deliveries for breakages, checking we’ve received everything that’s on the delivery note, organising photographs of the items for the websites and working out prices & delivery costs.  Then, it’s the listing on the websites themselves!  It’s all hands to the grindstone and that’s while we continue to sell on 2 websites and Ebay.  Picking goods stored from both our depots, packing at our main retail depot, posting, organising couriers and keeping accounts up to date.  Busy days go quickly, but are physically exhausting! Hopefully, we’ve chosen well and you are tempted, as we were to purchase some of the new stock 😉  Anyway, best get on!


New blog idea

554166_647198945310973_1155338362_nI’m thinking of writing a puppy blog.  As we’ve just bought 2 collie puppies from a farm in Wales, I though it might be interesting to record their progress over the weeks & months and wondered if there would actually be any interest.

I’d love to hear from my followers just whether I should or not.

Please let me know what you all think!

You think English is easy??

I can’t take credit for this but I felt it needed to be seen by as many people as possible.  I’m sure you can all think of other examples that could be added here too 🙂 (Mine is at the end!)

I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT!

I’m sure this took a lot of work to put together!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France .

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth?

One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’?

Thank you Brian


(A great read that had to be read! – Nessie :))

Feeling Benevolent

It’s been a while since I blogged on here, mainly due to so much going on in my life – but that’s another story.  I just wanted to let everyone know about a wonderful way to give money to your favourite cause whilst shopping & not having to pay extra for the benefit!

It’s a thing called Easy Fundraising and I’ve been using it for a while now to help raise funds for The Border Collie Trust which relies on public support, to help rescuing and re-homing border collies and collie crosses throughout the UK.  I’ve managed to raise over £70.00 so far which hasn’t hurt a bit & has actually made me feel really good.

Our local mum’s also use it to raise funds for the Hinstock Village Primary School. helps charities, schools, sports clubs, community groups, and other good causes to raise money when their supporters shop online.

It works in a similar way to many other loyalty shopping sites, but instead of earning points when you shop, you raise a donation for your cause instead.

Shopping online at over 2,000 well known stores with each donating up to 15% of your spend total. For example, John Lewis will donate 1%, Amazon 1.5%, The Body Shop 6% and some insurance retailers will donate up to £30 just for taking out one of their policies.

You can choose one of the already registered causes in their system to donate or you can register your own cause or charity by completing a short registration form.

If you are a UK Taxpayer, you can also Gift Aid.  Simply tick the Gift Aid box and complete the relevant fields. Every quarter Easy Fundraising will provide your cause (if they are a registered charity) with the information they need to make a claim from HMRC.

Unfortunately The Nest @ John Richards has not figured out a way to get our business on the site to donate but if you are using shopping online with one of the major retailers,  (I suppose, you have to sometimes as we don’t sell holidays etc) why not get yourself registered with Easy Fundraising and do your bit for a worthy cause at the same time?

Mum – How well do you know her? (An ongoing project)

It’s the all important question for Mother’s Day. I suppose I’ve always been quite inquisitive so spent a lot of time asking my mum lots of questions. I’m also a genealogist so that made my mum’s story all the more important to me.
Today is actually my late father’s birthday and tomorrow is Mother’s Day so I am actually remembering them both this weekend and what better way to remember them than to tell their story as part of my mum’s.

Mum’s Story (Part 1)

She was born in Belgium in 1924, one of 7 children, well, it was apparently 8 but there was a twin still-born, so we can only really say she had 3 brothers & 3 sisters. Her older brother died at the age of 28 in a very spectacular way. He worked on the docks in Ostend and was hit by a crane and fell, unconscious, into the harbour and drowned.  Mum was only 26 and expecting her 2nd child.  The 1st was born during the 2nd world war.  I say 1st, as this was the 1st to be born.  Yes, mum made her mistakes young, like many.  Her first pregnancy was terminated by a ‘helpful’ neighbour.  Mum never actually told me about this until I queried the fact that my brother (presumed to be her 1st child at the time) was the one affected by the fact that she was Rhesus Negative and it is usually the second child to be affected.  She then told me of the abortion she’d had at 18 only to fall pregnant again by a German soldier (she insisted til her death that he was Swiss!) and have a son at 19.  She was still studying to be a seamstress at the local catholic high school during the war & her mother didn’t ask where the extra rations & chocolate came from.  However, her German soldier was married and by the time the British arrived to liberate the Belgians in 1944, she had already come to terms with the fact that she would be a single mother.


Mum aged 20

In April 1943, a young man of 18 joined the British Army and was serving as a dispatch rider between Ostend and Brussels after the Belgian liberation.  He & his friends would frequent the bars in Ostend when they could and he fell for a stunning waitress whom he called his Barbara Stanwyck.  The soldier was my dad, the waitress, my mum.


Barbara Stanwyck

Dad began staying in the front parlour on a spare bed whenever he was in Ostend.  My grandmother was very strict, and very religious and mum was expected to go to church every Sunday morning.  As she got to the front door , mum would open it, shout her goodbyes to her mum, close the door & go visit dad until it was time to ‘come home’.  Even a single mum at the age of 20 was expected to be ‘good’ with her beau until they married.  I’m sure her mum wasn’t so naive but it wasn’t the done thing in those days to condone such actions 😉  Such a difference to today’s sexual freedoms.

Her young son started calling this British soldier ‘Limey’ and was always very excited when he came to stay.  Mum was never actually proposed to by dad, she received a letter from my British grandmother saying that she had been told that her son had become smitten by this Belgian beauty and that after a short courtship it was time that they should get engaged to be married.  She enclosed a small diamond ring for my mum.  When mum showed my dad, he said ‘I suppose you’d better put it on your finger then’. Such a romantic, my dad!

In 1946, Dad applied to his commanding officer to be married.  In October that year, he made a promise to the Catholic priest that any children would be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith and the two were married in the vestry of the local church.  Dad was Church of England so they could not be married in the church proper.

When I began writing this, I believed it would probably take a few paragraphs to write mum’s story.  Obviously I’ve only actually reached her 1st 21 years and as she lived into her 80’s there is a lot more to record.  I think I’ll leave things here for now and come back another time for a further installment.   I feel I’ve done mum some justice just by putting this small part of her life in writing.

I’m hoping that perhaps I will boost others to write a little about their mums too and maybe they’ll be brave enough to let me include it in my blog?  If I’ve made you think about doing the same you can contact me by email at

Nessie Richards (Internet Sales, Marketing & Admin)

The Nest at John Richards

Coping with the loss of our furry friends

Two years ago, on 6th December 2010, our beautiful Border Collie,  Lady gave up on life.  She just lay down in the kitchen & had no more strength to carry on.



She looked so sorry for herself and that look in her eyes said so many things to me.  The main thing she said to me was let me rest now please.  So we did.  We wrapped her in her blanket and carried her out to the works van.  I lay in the back with her giving her cuddles and as much love as I could on that fateful journey to the vets.  We said our goodbyes in the surgery and she fell asleep in my arms.  She was 17 years old and after 2 years it still brings tears to my eyes when I think of that day.  I coped with her loss mainly because we still had her big buddy Jake (our German Shepherd) and I poured all my love and affection into him.  He kept me company in the day while I worked in the home office and although he was getting old himself he was always there for a cuddle when I felt sad.



Last year became a bit of a struggle for the old boy as his hind quarters succumbed to the usual complaint for these big dogs.  He slowed down and spent more time in the house lying outside the office door, creeping in & settling down behind my chair when he thought I wasn’t looking!  I cursed him many times as he was prone to quite a lot of flatulence in his old age but it didn’t stop me loving him 😉 As the year progressed, his legs & hips got worse. He never winced with pain but bravely took each day slowly walked a little slower and eventually needed help getting up from a lying position.  I’d been giving him medication to help with his joints for a few years but they didn’t seem to be doing much good anymore and his muscles were now almost non-existent and in December 2012 his struggle got worse still.  He was losing all the strength in his legs and could only walk a few yards before collapsing in a heap 😦

Suffice to say, I had stern words with him, saying that there was no way I was losing another ‘family member’ during December.  Dad, Nan, Uncles, Aunts, Lady and in 2009 my Mum topped the lot by passing away on Christmas Day so another December loss was not going to be acceptable to me!

He kept going through December and through the Christmas festivities, but on New Year’s Day his body said enough was enough.  He was still obviously trying to keep going but the frustration got the better of him on 1st January 2013.  It could be seen in his eyes which asked ‘why can’t I get up anymore?’. It was different to Lady, she wanted to give up, Jake wanted to get up!  We helped him as best we could, with Andy supporting his hind quarters while he moved round the kitchen in ‘wheel barrow’ mode but he could no longer go outside to do his basic functions and was trying to be such a good dog by not doing it in the house :S  He stopped eating and needed his bowl of water brought to him to drink.  This would be no life anymore 😦  so on Wednesday 2nd January, the vet came to the house and we said goodbye to our big boy.  Jake would have been 14 at the end of January – a brilliant age for such a dog!

He and Lady are now laying side by side at one side of the garden just as they used to in life.  They were the best of friends and were my best friends too.

People tend to understand the loss of a loved one and give so much sympathy.  You don’t expect it when you lose a pet, but the comfort I received from friends & family alike has been wonderful.  Losing a pet is like losing the best friend you ever had.  I will miss them so much.

Don’t be put off having a dog as a pet.  Yes, it’s hard when you lose them but they love you irrespective of your actions unlike most humans.  A dog is the most loyal friend you could ever have.

We will get another dog, maybe even 2, but in a while and not just yet.  I’ll let you know when we do.  There’s sure to be some interesting stories when we have puppies in the house 😉

If you’ve lost a pet or have an old or infirm pet at home I recommend the following to help you cope with whatever has happened or may happen soon. Just click on the button below.

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss

Memories of Family Christmasses

Beautiful-Christmas-decorMy earliest Christmas memories involve a white tricycle and a budgie.  I think I was 4!  I’d received the budgie for my 4th birthday from my nan and it was the 1st year for my mum, dad, brother Fred & me in our new flat.  I don’t actually remember much before we moved to the  flat, so it was obviously not the best living  in 2 rooms at my grandmother’s house, where we all shared a bedroom!

My first Christmas memory then,  is the White tricycle & the budgie, Tommy,  sitting on the handlebars on Christmas morning.  I remember being dressed in a new red, winter coat with a white fur collar & a white muff on a string round my neck (It was always a new coat for Christmas :))

Dad carried the tricycle down the 7 flights of stairs and I discovered that I was expected to ride it all the way to nan’s house.  Suffice to say I didn’t! Don’t think I actually rode it much at all 😉

It was a traditional day that was to continue until I reached my teens & had boyfriends.

After we had opened our gifts at home Dad, my brother & I would all don our best clothes and go off to nan’s to exchange presents with other members of the family whilst mum tidied the lounge & prepared dinner.  Dad would then go to the pub (I joined him once I was old enough) but I was usually back off home to mum to help get Christmas lunch ready.

Lunch was always around 2:30 and then it was a lazy afternoon of TV & snacks and of course we always watched The Queen’s Message!

Tea was always at nan’s and always consisted of tinned salmon & ham with salad & was followed by Mince Pies, Christmas Cake & Aunt Rose’s yummy trifle.  Oh and copius cups of tea – no alcohol until the party later when everyone else turned up & the tea-table (a huge billiards table closed up for the purpose) was cleared & dragged by about 5-6 men to the corner of the room to be loaded up with bottles of beer, spirits & glasses.

Once I was a teenager, I had the pleasure of choosing all the music with uncle George and we would spent the weeks leading up to Christmas recording from his 78rpm records onto the reel to reel tape recorder ready for the party on Christmas night.

The adults would go to the pub after tea whilst the children were expected to play nicely, the older teenagers watching over them,  until the adults returned ready to party.

I remember many years of being carried home by my dad until I was old enough to stay awake all evening.

I remember my granddad or rather ‘step’ granddad (known as uncle Tom) drank brown ale, my nan drank whiskey & orange (it’s where I got my liking for whiskey) and my mum drank gin & tonic (hate gin ….yuck yuck yuck!)

They were the good old days, but then I suppose my grandchildren will remember Christmases with their nannies & granddads as ‘the good old days when they are my age (not to be spoken aloud).  But they seem to have a different kind of Christmas each year so there is no tradition building for them to remember.

I just hope they have a happy Christmas, just as I used to with all my family, and that they have some beautiful memories to hang on to.

Happy Christmas everyone.

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