There’s no place like home, Toto!

February 23, 2011 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

Turner’s Tales – from Wendy Turner Webster…..

All this week I’ve been working with Animal Defenders International on a Power Point presentation… this is for one of three talks I am doing for the Fred Olsen Cruise Line in May, the others being for The Brooke Horse Hospital and The Mayhew Animal Home.

I was happily looking through the material ADI had sent to me when suddenly a jumbo sized box of tissues was required, and fast! Thank goodness the story of Toto the chimpanzee has a happy ending… after spending some 20 years in a Chilean circus (being forced to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee), Toto was rescued by ADI and taken to a specialist sanctuary in Zambia.

Enter here the aforementioned box of tissues when Toto meets another chimp for the first time. At this point in my presentation for Carry On Cruising may well turn into Carry On Crying.

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And yet more tears…

It was goodbye to Drake this month as he flipped his fins for the last time and swam off to that great aquarium in the sky. Drake was a rather fancy looking 6 inch goldfish who leaves behind his buddy, Josh (Yes, we had them when Jack and Freddie were big fans of the Nickelodeon show, Drake & Josh!).

We had Drake for 7 years and he survived two house moves (you really don’t know how heavy water is until you have to start moving a tank full of the stuff!) and I did indeed shed a tear when he breathed his last. Ironically, the day before he died I’d taken some photos of him for an art project for Jack, hence the very up to date pictures at the end of this piece.

It may sound a little pathetic to cry over a goldfish but ‘a life is a life is a life’ and when a life you’ve been close to comes to an end I for one need the waterproof mascara close to hand.

Hurrah for Redwood!

At last! Redwood Foods have done all vegans and vegetarians a favour by launching a range of ready prepared succulent ‘meats’ in fabulous sauces – all you have to do is heat them up and add veg, pasta, rice, crusty bread, or in my case a lovely portion of chips! I was lucky enough to be in at the tasting stage of some of this new range and boy are they good, surely tempting the most hardened of carnivores? Put them to the test… at my local Holland & Barratt I found Vegan Chicken Style Cacciatore, Vegan Chicken Style Madras Curry and Vegan Sausage & Chorizo Style Casserole. They’re refrigerated but have long sell by dates – just perfect for stockpiling. What are the major supermarkets waiting for??!

If you have any room left after one of the aforementioned meals you could try my idea of the best dessert in the world… Swedish Glace vanilla ‘ice cream’, topped with a generous dollop of crunchy peanut butter and an equally generous squirt of chocolate sauce. You will either think it’s gross or fabulous but if it came pre-done in a pot my freezer would be full of it!

Gary, my Ghanaian Goat

My husband Gary has been doing some business in Ghana recently and the matriarch of the family he knows over there officially christened him Cabwei – which turns out to mean goat!!

This was in November last year and upon turning the pages of The Vegetarian Magazine I came across the perfect solution to the annual problem of what to buy Gary for Christmas… a goat! Of course I didn’t actually buy a goat for our back garden – but rather the boys and I sponsored a charming looking chap called Toby who resides at Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats. I mention this now as the first newsletter of the year has just arrived.

We’re all looking forward to meeting Toby one day soon, especially my darling Cabwei who is dying to meet his long lost brother. Is it just me who can see a family resemblance…?

VIVA! Las Wetnose

At the time of writing I’m looking forward to two events in particular – The VIVA! annual fundraising dinner and The Wetnose Awards. The VIVA! bash has been a long time coming… scheduled to be held at the wonderful V-Bites restaurant in Brighton last December it had to be cancelled due to the bad weather.

Such was the snow that weekend that even the chef couldn’t plough his way in, so unless those who did make it wanted to eat crisps and peanuts that was the end of that! So now we shall have a Christmas party in the spring, although if it’s anything like previous years it will be well worth waiting for. As usual I shall be giving an after dinner speech… whether that will be worth waiting for is another matter entirely.

And then there’s The Wetnose Awards which I have the honour of hosting. Wetnose work tirelessly to give funds to many well deserving animal charities and it’s such a pleasure to be hosting the event again in this, their second ‘Awards’ year.

Wetnose have rustled up a brilliant line up of celebrity guests to present the awards and I know that Veggie Vision will be there with cameras at the ready. Watch this space!

Horsing around with the lovely Sue Jameson

At last year’s Wetnose Awards an award was presented to Sara Tuppen for her work in running The Horse Refuge in Kent. Since that time the sanctuary has gone through somewhat of a sticky patch, losing their premises and having to quickly move into new ones.

New Tricks actress Sue Jameson and I recently went on an expedition (believe me, Kingston-upon-Thames to Kent is an expedition!) to see the horses at their temporary home and I’m pleased to say that they all came through the upheaval of the move unscathed.

The survival of The Horse Refuge is an on-going saga so I’ll keep you updated throughout the year. Sara’s fingers are recovering well from the frostbite she endured (seriously!) over the appalling winter so I’ll update you on all ten digits next time. I’m pretty sure she held on to all ten of them anyway…. Oh gawd, I was about to have sausages & mash for tea and that’s put me right off.

Lots of love Veggie Vision viewers. More Turner’s Tales again soon. xxxxxx

TWITTER @turnerwebster

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