Just A Little Update . . .

Hi All

Yes, it’s been a while. I think we have had a change of season since I was last here. Without boring you all to death, and without wallowing in self-pity, I’ll just say that continual migraines/ headaches/visual auras have flattened me over the last fourteen days. Each time I attempt to look at a computer screen my vision starts to object.

I stuck it out for as long as I could but after receiving an ear bashing from my son, toddled off to the doctor. She was very sweet and informed me that, in her opinion, my stress levels were through the roof. Can’t imagine why? Anyway, we have a few ‘idea’s’ in hand – 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, blood tests and meds. Obviously the meds zonk me out, but at least they give me a valid reason for being half brain-dead!

As I mentioned – the season has changed since I was last here. Chea has already grown a thick coat, probably in preparation for a cold winter? She looks twice her normal size. Mind, this could also have something to do with the fact that she never stops eating and Richard never stops giving her treats, even though he swears that he doesn’t.

The chucks are in various stages of baldness. Little has just about replaced her lost feathers and Flight’s tail feathers are slightly visible. She still looks like a well-used dirty feather duster. They have taken to coming down to the house of late and stand outside the patio doors, on the mat, preening and poohing. And Flight has become rather brave and risks excursions into the kitchen when I’m not looking to raid any leftover bits in Chea’s food bowl. Once upon a time, the chucks gave Chea a wide berth. This has now changed and three days ago Little pecked Chea on the nose. A new ‘pecking’ order is now firmly in place.

The garden has been given over to caterpillars. Hundreds and thousands of the sodding things. And here’s the thing, in a tantrum, I shook some from the broccoli, for the chickens, because it felt slightly less cruel providing food for them, rather than shaking them off and leaving them abandoned on the ground. They freakishly eyed them before turning and running off into the shrubbery. I didn’t realise, until I went back to the house and took off my wellies, that a caterpillar had fallen into my left boot and it came out squashed but still squirming. Yuck . . . and double yuck!

The slug brigade is less evident in the garden, but when I lifted some old broccoli leaves in the compost heap, I came across several very large families of the horrid things – all pink and slimy. I left them. I couldn’t bring myself to evict them somehow.

The greenhouse is full of spiders. Big. Medium. Small. Black ones. Brown ones. Beige ones. The worst thing is forgetting this fact because you then find yourself wearing a web, usually with a dead fly, in some state of decay, attached.

I know many people love this time of year. Glorious reds and yellows of falling leaves. Low morning mists. That autumnal chill in the air. Wood smoke. It appeals to me, to a certain degree, but to be honest I find it all rather sad – the end of another year. Everything shutting down. Soon the garden will sleep. I won’t have reason to go up there – although, having said that, the chucks are allowed up there throughout the autumn and winter, but only under supervision as the garden backs on to a regular ‘fox run.’ I think the wood burner in Richard’s summerhouse (shed) will be put to use and I’ll relax while I babysit the wrecking crew? Relax? Did I actually write that word? Lord, I can’t think of anything more boring . . .

And, because I 20150918_114417am half brain-dead . . .  and because I don’t want to bore the pants off you, I will toddle off and hopefully be back soon, brighter and whatever . . .

Take care my lovelies x


No Shaking Of The Tail Feathers Here!

Hi All

Do you know that feeling? The one when you are bursting with excitement and have to rush around like a headless chicken (probably not the best comparison all things considered) shouting your exciting news and it falls on indifference and deaf ears? Yes? No? Well I do.

Chea barely batted an eye at the revelation that she was now ‘in print.’ Couldn’t have cared less in fact. I did see her at the edge of the pond with her nose pressed against a bewildered frog but I don’t think she was passing on the news, just terrorising the poor thing. It escaped into the water and she toddled off to roll in the cat mint. I’m sure she has spent most of the summer stoned!

The chucks couldn’t give a toss either. They are more concerned in throwing out feathers right, left and centre and going for the grandmother of all moults. Flight has completely lost her tail feathers and now has a ‘rounded off’ bum. I haven’t told her that it’s not a good look. She’s a bit sensitive to ridicule. Little’s feathers (white) are falling like snow and I fear I may end up with two chucks that look like they are ready for the table. Hush my mouth!

Each morning, when I go to pooh pick, I am welcomed by a layer of feathers and a slimmer chuck. I just hope they feather-up before the weather turns even more miserable. I can’t see the feathered floor without it reminding me of that John Denver song, Grandma’s Feather Bed. Do you know the one? ‘We didn’t get a lot of sleep but we had a lotta fun …on Grandma’s feather bed.’

 I love the imagery of that song …hound dogs, a front porch, old ones chatting, kids bouncing on grandma’s huge feather bed, giggling, etc. I digress.

So, I told the chucks that they are also in print. Flight emitted a fluid pooh that landed on my foot and Little flapped off and massacred a spider that was dangling from a rose bush.

I thought about discussing it with the tomatoes in the greenhouse but then I thought, ‘get a grip you prat,’ so I did.

It is almost that time of year. That time when I walk out into the garden and ‘feel’ it. That something in the air that is quite, quite different. The end of summer and the beginning of autumn. I can’t describe it.

It’s been a pretty crap summer really. Nothing in the garden knows if it’s coming or going. What hasn’t been flooded out, dried out, eaten and chomped to death, has been flattened by the wind or Chea. She’s either rolling around on her back like some sexy temptress or leaping up and down through the veg patch chasing frogs. I may ‘do’ more flowers next year …or not …whatever.

We have started to stock up the log shed. A palette load arrived in the week – even though I told Richard in no uncertain terms NOT to order them. He’s such a sod. He sits on eBay every night wondering what the hell he can order next. My bum barely has time to settle on a chair before some delivery person is banging on the front door with a package for him. I dare not mention that I would like, or need, anything because four days later it arrives at the door.

He is currently buying every boxed-set series known to man. We/I have worked my/our way through Breaking Bad, True Blood, Pirates, Game of Thrones, Banshee, House of Cards, Homeland and Dexter. AND I’ve probably missed out a few! Oh yes, there’s also the first two seasons of Hannibal waiting for viewing …after Dexter. I like to think that I’m a busy, active type of person but frankly, looking at that list, I’m not sure any more.

In my defence I should say that I rarely watch anything on mainstream TV. A couple of soaps – but even they ‘share’ the same plot. And the plots are pathetic half of the time. So, I guess Richard can carry on ordering the boxed-sets?

And, of course, I’m currently working on the two children’s books. Sort of. Now and then. In between rescuing frogs, singing Grandma’s Feather Bed and stacking logs!

Now I need to go on You Tube and listen to the bloody thing…

And then, later, when Richard gets home, we have to start dismantling the rockery around the pond. A major dropping of the water level has recently occurred. But we have now, hopefully, tracked it down to the pipe that runs from the filter box to the waterfall. Unfortunately, said pipe runs through a rockery so we have to gird our loins and dig out the darn thing. I will help – from a safe distance of a few metres – and point out with a long stick which rock needs to be moved, and in which order, so that an avalanche doesn’t occur…and also because I dread to think how many frogs, toads and newts are living under those rocks. Richard is as keen to do this as he would be to stick pins in his privates but it has to be done. Hopefully, we can track down the leak to somewhere in the rockery otherwise it’s a HUGE job which involves removing all of the plants, the surrounding rockery, the entire liner and three ancient goldfish, that are the size of small whales. I mean, where on earth could you put them? It’s not like they can fit in a bucket. And I doubt they could even fit in the bath …well, actually that would be impossible because we don’t have a bath and I doubt they would appreciate a walk-in shower?

After Grandma’s Feather Bed I’d better toddle off to check on the water level…

Take care my lovelies x


So …Here’s The News!

Hi All

So …as promised in my last post, some exciting news to share with you all …and I want to share it here first because, in a way, it is all down to you guys. Why? Because you have read, supported, liked, and commented on this blog for the last (almost) 3 years and because of you lovely people making it ‘popular’ it has now been published (U P Publications) in eBook and paperback.

To be honest I am more than a little surprised that anyone ever wanted to read my ramblings. After all, what it so interesting about my little life? A life filled with shouting at Richard, picking up chicken pooh and rescuing frogs, baby birds, spiders, bumble bees and worms from Chea?

‘Two Chucks And A Tabby Cat – Book One’ starts at the beginning of the blog, in 2012, at the time when Chea arrived and, weirdly, I remember it like it was yesterday – my sudden inspiration to check out the local RSPCA on my way home from a bit of retail therapy. And finding that little tabby ball of innocent fluff, snoozing away, squashed beneath her two brothers.

It was the first time I’d been shopping and come home with a new bra, skinny jeans, a winter sweater, a towelling dressing gown and a tabby kitten. Though, in fairness, they didn’t let me have the tabby kitten until the following day because I had to return with Richard to let them see that he was worthy of dedicating the rest of his life to one of their feline inmates. Apparently, bouncing on the spot, singing his praises and assuring them that he was the softest, loveliest, kitten-cat-type-person-in-the-whole-wide-world wasn’t good enough. Unless it was my bouncing enthusiasm that they questioned? Possibly.

The bra didn’t fit, the towelling dressing gown too short, the skinny jeans too skinny, and the winter sweater made me look like a whale …so they were all returned at a later date. The tabby kitten, of course, wasn’t. As I say – I remember it all like it was yesterday…

Without wanting to come across as a sentimental pillock I do have to say that it will be really nice to have these memories captured in book form. Besides the ‘obvious’ niceness of it all it also means that I can free-up a bit of head space – a bit like saving the memories to a memory stick rather than having them all on the hard drive …if you know what I mean? You probably don’t. Not sure if I do?

So that’s it. My mucho exciting news. And I have the greatest pleasure in sharing it with you first because as I said – and you all know I’m a great one for repeating myself a dozen times or more –  it’s all down to you …the readers, the commentators, the ones who encourage, etc. etc.

I find it exciting and nerve-racking – in equal measures, so I’m off for a stress reducing stroke of my pussy. (I haven’t told her yet that she’s featured in a book) I suppose she’ll be expecting lightly grilled chicken, in a salmon mousse, and a sodding sparkly collar? I’m now going to have to live with an irritating, illogical man, two mental chucks and a prima donna puss!

The crosses we have to bear, hey?

11794231_10153461732253808_5864114962992857932_o (2)Take care my lovelies x

*If you want to take a look at ‘our’ book just click the side bar cover*

A Summer Snow Storm?

Hi All

Do you think I’m a defeatist? Do you think I’m the first to throw my tatty hat into the ring and give up? I’m sure those of you who know me are manically shaking your heads and shouting no, no dear heart, not you …and you are right. Except…

I have been beaten. Thrashed. Flattened. And there is nothing I can do about it – apparently.

My garden has become the meeting place, and the laying-of-a-billion-eggs place, for every cabbage white butterfly in Leicestershire. No one else has a single, miserable caterpillar-creating-machine fluttering around their broccoli and Brussels plants. Just sodding me.

I walk through the gate, off the lawn, and into my veggie bit, and it’s like walking into a summer snow storm. There are dozens of the pesky little gits, flapping, lifting, dropping, fornicating, egg laying and just generally really peeing me off. Their progeny munch and chew, and burp and pooh, and hold little parties on the underside of the brassica leaves.

I have to admit to losing my cool and knocking a few off onto the ground. Then I had a good old spray around with an oil based (useless) spray to see if that might deter the mother ship, but alas, no. My plants cry and shout, ‘help me. Kill the little blighters.’ But I feel bad about it, even the ones I got really angry with and knocked off their perches and onto the ground.

I may have to give up. Such are the joys of ‘the gardener.’

I’ve also had a jolly nice swarm of baby wasps, sucking on the overripe gooseberries. This, of course, is great fun, this game of ‘dodge the wasp’ …not!

And Chea, the demented feline, has flattened and snapped the new cat mint that I planted this year. I made a new border, behind the pond for bee-loving plants, but she has inhaled so much cat mint and become so stoned that she has rolled around, rubbing in ecstasy, and flattened the lot. Why can’t she toddle off and pat off a few caterpillars? Do something useful?

Anyway, that’s that. The garden will take up less time now and I’m pleased really because I have another couple of projects on the go. I’m writing two children’s books. They are first drafted, but here’s the thing. I’m having one illustrated and the other I’m going to attempt to illustrate myself. Stop laughing!

OK, so I’m not an artist but that doesn’t mean I can’t try, does it? I’ve bought some paints, brushes, a nice little table easel box thingy and I’m off and trotting. The really weird thing is …I thought that I would find it massively stressful but I don’t. I find it really relaxing …and Chea seems to like drinking the water that I use to clean my brushes so it keeps her happy as well.

I will admit that one or two illustrations haven’t been that successful. Richard passed by and I asked for his opinion on a goldfish and he remarked that it looked like an alien and shuffled off chortling. Ignorant pig!

And try as I might I couldn’t get a ladybird to look less frightening and not to be the potential cause of sweaty nightmares, so I binned it. And besides, I painted it wrong …I painted the red bit black and ended up with a rain beetle. That might have been OK because I could have crossed my fingers behind my back and lied and said that was the intention all along, but it still looked half crazed and like it might jump from the page and attack the young reader.

I run all this past my grandson, Jake (8). He’s brilliant and, strangely, rather respectful too. He nods his heads and chatters away ten to the dozen, ‘Yes, that’s great Grandma. I really like it …are you sure you painted it?’

If the picture in question is doubtful he scowls a bit (like he’s attempting to come to terms with exactly what it is) then he grins. Then, he gently offers suggestions. I love his sensitivity. And his advice is pretty good too. ‘Out of the mouth of babes,’ and all that.

I figure that if the illustrations turn out to be total crap at least I can send them to a ‘proper’ illustrator and she/he will know exactly where I’m coming from. At least this is the plan. It could all change. I may take it no further. I may have been influenced by those cabbage whites and I too may flit and fly with my butterfly brain, dipping here, landing there, moving on …whatever.

Hoping to have some really exciting news shortly. News that I will simply have to share with you all because …well …you’ll see why.

Take care my lovelies xMouse and Pot in fill

Pricks … Jam … And Nuts In My Bra!

Not been around for a while. I’ve been lost in the darkest, deepest depths of my garden. That is, until the secateurs were taken in hand and used to clip, cut-back and chop away anything that broke boundaries.

I blame this, to a certain extent, on my OCD tendencies.  Do you know what I mean? All tins have to be facing the same way in the cupboard, anything square has to be placed exactly squarely, blinds have to hang dead level …I won’t go on.

So, when broccoli leaves brown at the base they have to go. When the manic gooseberry bushes have had their precious fruit picked, straggly bits have to be chopped back so that they look balanced, and I can’t cope with plants that ‘overlap’ into each other, either. Everything has a right to its own ‘space’ in my opinion. However, I digress. . .

Regarding the blackcurrants.

This year I had the help (?) of my two grandchildren. Schools out and so they came to spend the day and help me (?) in the garden. First on the list was the picking of the blackcurrants. It didn’t matter how many their little fingers dropped on the ground because the bushes were weighed down to the ground with them – blackcurrants not little fingers!

It took a good ninety minutes to pick them (taking time out to apply plasters to thorn pricks as the ‘littles’ became side-tracked into picking and eating gooseberries), but eventually we toggled back to the house with our harvest. I had to carry all the bowls, obviously, because the killer chucks were patrolling and anything that resembles food, treats etc. turns them instantly into velociraptors on the hunt. I, of course, understand this and so do Jake and Grace and cling to me like second and third skins.

Then followed another hour of washing the fruit, and flooding out the kitchen, and dropping blackcurrants that became squashed beneath bare toes. The work surface resembled an approaching tsunami at one stage. Eventually I stopped moaning at them and settled with the thought that, like usual, I would put the house back to normal after they had gone. ‘Cos this was fun, wasn’t it? Doing cool, big-person stuff with Grandma Gail? Yeah – whatever.

There was no way I could actually make the jam with the kiddies there, way too dangerous, so we left the washed blackcurrants in bowls and went off to ‘mini monster hunt’ in the garden. This necessitated using my lovely plastic containers (with lids) so that the ‘monsters’ couldn’t escape. I did question if we would be releasing these creatures afterwards and Jake assured me that we would. As it turned out they were too scared to turn over logs and bricks, and I refused to, on the grounds that I didn’t think we should be catching ‘monsters’ in the first place, so the game only produced one woodlouse and a sick looking slug. But they had fun…

The following morning, and still slightly hung over from child minding two very loud little people, I set about making the jam.

There was so much fruit that I had to use both jam pans, but that was fine, I’m a woman, I can do two things at once!

Pan one bubbled nicely.

Pan two bubbled nicely.

Thermometer was held precariously in pan one for a while, until it confirmed that the temperature was perfect and that the jam would set. Off went pan one.

Thermometer was held precariously in pan two, and ditto, done and ready.

As I removed the thermometer I noticed that it looked slightly odd. Scowling, I realised that the sodding thing had broken …in the jam …in pan two. At least, I thought it was in pan two. Did it matter? Really? There was only a bit of glass missing. Just the bulby bit. And Richard had scoffed soup with the bouquet garni paper bag left on, and absent-mindedly blended in, if you remember? And perhaps I could sieve it? Turn it into blackcurrant jelly? Give it to people I didn’t really like …mind I’d have to have a bloody lot of jam! I’m joking. Sort of. The decision was taken out of my hands as, at that precise moment of indecision, Richard walked in.

I won’t say we argued the point but the jam was outta there and tipped down the drain before I could draw breath. So …20lbs of jam ditched, pronto. I still have far more than I need, cos that’s me, the great ‘hunter-gatherer.’ The birds and insects can have the remaining blackcurrants … and the gooseberries …and the raspberries.

I’ve never thought of myself as particularly accident prone but since smashing the thermometer (I   now realise it was my fault because I’d clipped it on the side of the smaller jam pan and it had hit the bottom) I have trapped my hand in the ironing board, dropped the iron on my heel and opened-up the side of my finger picking gooseberries.

And …this morning, the piece de resistance!

Mrs OCD wanted the newly purchased cereal boxes placing neatly on the top shelf of the cupboard. Straightforward enough? Yeah, except, like a big-bottomed girl the bag of Crunchy Oat Granola – with raisins and almonds – had settled, and I couldn’t get all the boxes in so I reached up, lifted out the bag, turned it upside down, so that the contents would settle in a level manner, and some idiot hadn’t closed it. Before I could do anything about it half a packet of muesli showered down on my head, all over the floor, in the toaster, on every shelf, and down my shirt. I uttered, ‘shit,’ – a bigger word, and said with more force, would have resulted in me choking on the stuff. Even little Chea removed her face from her feed bowl and came to have a look at the lovely new flooring. I actually had to free my … er…breasts from my bra and shake the wheat out of it, to say nothing of the nuts and raisins.

I was bloody annoyed because, for one thing, I had no intention of vacuuming today!

So, I guess it is official. I’m OCD and accident prone. Never mind, it could be worse. I could be insane. It’s these little things that we have to be grateful for…


Take care my lovelies x

Mange Tout Much Of A Good Thing?

Hi All

Just as I am starting to reap my bountiful harvest I have to question myself.

Whacking in seeds right left and centre and finding a bit of spare ground, here and there, to slip in just one more row of Brussels plants might, in retrospect, have been a bit over the top.

Richard is almost being force-fed mange tout peas and broad beans on a daily basis. He questions, now and then, albeit very quietly, if mange tout peas go with oven chips and baked beans? You can see I’m a jolly good producer of balanced meals?

It may have been the broad beans with the omelette that caused him to politely ask, ‘Are there many more of these left?’ Well, yes my little sweetie there are. Hundreds. Millions in fact. The mother plants are standing so close together, laden with swelling pods, that if you venture down the rows you may well disappear and never be seen again. Yes, it has most certainly has been a good year for the bean.

Billions of fat gooseberries hang, ready to be picked. They are jolly nice just to pluck from the bush and eat in passing. Although, once I start plucking and munching I fail to pass or to stop at the sensible stopping point and spend half the night in the loo, holding my lower gut and moaning to anyone who will listen that I’ll never eat another half-ripe gooseberry ever again. I’m not good with gut pain. All severe bellyache brings back the memory of the pain of giving birth and that is not something I wish to revisit. Dear God they really do need to invent an easier, less painful way of giving birth. Anyway …moving on…

The blackcurrants will need picking by the end of the week and that means resurrecting the jam making equipment, washing out jars, purchasing endless bags of sugar and suffering third degree burns to my lower arms. This year I am jam making at a weekend. This is so that Richard can help. He eats half a jar at a time so he can witness, and be part of, the hard work that goes into it.

I’ve actually started looking forward to things dying off. The first to fit this category was a tub of early mange tout that I’d started off in the greenhouse way back at the beginning of the year in my attempt to have a longer fruiting period. Had I known that Richard wasn’t that keen to have them with pizza and oven chips I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

So, dead keen to remove the spent peas to the compost heap, and the potting compost back to the garden, I grabbed the peas and attempted to yank them from the tub. They wouldn’t budge. Obviously they wanted to hang around for a bit longer just to pee me off. Not to be deterred I carried the whole tub over to the compost heap by the plant tops. Once there I gave it all a good shake and covered myself in compost. Still they held firm. I cut a bit of string and pulled out a few pea sticks and tried again, this time lifting the whole tub, with peas intact, up to waist level and shook it.

Something leapt at me. As it passed my head I recognised four legs and an open-mouthed look of horror on the frogs face as it missed my mouth by coat of paint.

Had I been cussing at the time my mouth would have been ajar and I would really have had a frog in my throat. As the creature from hell landed in the rhubarb I screamed, ‘Godddddddddd, for fucks sake.’

In retrospect I wish I hadn’t, as it alerted the neighbour – the one who lives under the conifer hedge waiting to ‘catch me’ for a chat. I then had to stand there nodding and smiling and contributing to the conversation with a smile on my face. Not only that, when I got back to the house the said face was covered in black compost, and with the odd greenfly thrown in for good measure. Don’t you just hate that? When you have a bug on your nose and the other person fails to mention it? You realise, in retrospect, that it wasn’t your riveting conversation that was keeping the other person glued to your features, but the insect that was halfway up your snout!

I love my garden. It is my escape. My little Shangri-La. I just wish the sodding frogs didn’t love it as well. And I could also do without half of the slugs and snails in Leicestershire congregating and planing their killing manoeuvres on all things green.

Oh well, off to dead-head the roses and pick a few hundred mange tout and broad bean pods. Might be kind and cook them with a piece of salmon tonight and give the old love a change.

20150708_101347Take care my lovelies x

This Black Magic Just Needs A Little Refining.

Hi All

I thought I had it sussed this week. I thought I had found an inroad to wealth. And this is how and why.

I received a letter from my bank kindly informing me that they were dropping the interest rate on my ISA to .25% from July. Effing .25%. That’s a quarter of a percent. A frigging quarter of a percent! How kind.  Anyway, it suited me to pop into the bank to pay in an enormous cheque of £25.00 from the Premium Bonds so I thought I’d sort out the ISA at the same time.

The bank was just opening as I got there and so I was first to the ‘Customer Services’ desk. I pounced on the assistant, explaining that I wanted to close the account because it was crap and open another. She said I couldn’t do that. I opened my mouth, preparatory to blasting her out and telling her exactly where she could stick the Black Horse, when she said, ‘But I’ll put it up to .75%.’

I blinked – and closed my mouth. ‘Can you do that?’

‘Yes,’ she said.

‘Just like that?’

‘Yes,’ she said.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes,’ she said.

‘So … if I slipped you some money you could put it up to 10%?’

‘No,’ she said.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes,’ she said.


‘Are you trying to bribe me,’ she said.

‘Yes, I am,’ I said. ‘Is it working?’

‘No’ she said.

And that was that. We had a jolly good laugh about it and I took my leave. I’ve been with this bank for longer than my memory allows me to remember, but mainly because I like horses. Ditch the horse logo and I’m outta there! Seriously, they are good. I give them silly shit from time to time but they simple shovel it into the general pile of silly shit that they receive daily, and we all move on. Better the devil you know.

Talking of which … devils, and things of the supernatural ilk, I think I need to brush-up on my channelling.

I have a voodoo doll. Not a ‘real’ voodoo doll. Not one that resembles anyone living or known to me, just a little voodoo doll that I found somewhere, as you do. He/she was found recently in the back of the ‘icing’ drawer. This is the drawer where all things to do with er …icing are kept. I decided, one day, to have a major clear out of the kitchen drawers and cupboards and came across the voodoo thing.

As a joke I hung it on a hook on the ‘kitchen implements’ rail and when Richard came home I said, ‘Look what I’ve found in the drawer.’

He took a step backward and blinked a bit. ‘Oh God, who’s for it now? Not me I hope?’

Now, I’ll let you into a secret. Not long ago someone really shit on me and so, as a joke (possibly), I said, ‘Horace!’ (The person who had done the poohing – name changed, obviously).  I’d just taken a freezer bag-tie off a bag and again, as a joke, I twisted it around the voodoo doll’s neck and rolled my eyes, whilst thinking of this Horace person. Within 6 hours, and whilst eBaying, Richard squeaked, ‘I’ve got a really sore throat. It’s just come on, just like that.’

I buried my head in True Blood. The series not the real stuff, I’m not quite that manic, and pretended not to hear.

Last Saturday, as my son and grandchildren left, I grabbed the voodoo doll from the hook and was just going to show it to Matt, when she fell from my fingers and landed in the electric toaster.

An hour later, as Richard and I sat eating our lunch, a dreadful noise like an elephant passing wind came from the hall where the electricity box is situated …and all the electrics blew.

Obviously I exited the house and scurried into the garden not wishing to be electrocuted, whilst Richard, following orders, set about trotting off down the road to where he said he could see neighbours standing on the pavement with mobiles strapped to their ears. I did a bit of deadheading of the petunias while I waited and then …the elephant wind-passing noise again. I moved further up the garden.

Richard said, on his return, that the electricity guy had shaken his head, stared at the blackened out junction box thingy and said, ‘Shit. This doesn’t look good.’

I was pretty sodding annoyed because Morrison’s had recently had salmon at half price and I’d done my hunter-gatherer thing and filled the bloody freezer with the stuff.

The electric came back on after 3 hours. Pretty good by all accounts. And no soggy salmon.

Richard said if I’m going to practice the art of voodoo I should refine my channelling.

If I was Richard I wouldn’t be so cocky about everything because I have the doll, I have skewers and I can soon find a few implements of torture.

Thinking about it …maybe the voodoo doll should have accompanied me to the bank and my ISA would now be earning 50% interest and not .75%? Might not be too late…

Take care my lovelies x


Less Puss In Boots – More Mouse In Crocs!

Hi All

I have been reluctant to report on how well Chea, the ‘nest raiding’ puss, is behaving these days because I firmly believe that once I shout it out to the world she will instantly prove me wrong . So, I’m going to whisper this …she hasn’t, to my knowledge, raided a robin’s nest this year and returned home with her cache of fledglings. However…

This week she has changed her prey of preference – or is it just availability? – to the humble field mouse.

I ventured to look up from the laptop on Monday morning and there, before my eyes was Chea, on the other side of the patio doors, scuttling round the shoe rack and Richard’s Crocs that he had left on the floor. I know her movements and actions now. Scuttling doesn’t mean a bird. Scuttling means a rodent of some description.

Now, call me pathetic but I have a real ‘hang-up’ about approaching mice and all members of that genus. I think it’s some weird ingrained thing. I think it has something to do with the fact that I could make matters worse. If I approach, and the mouse makes a break for it, and Chea takes advantage of that and catches it and kills it, then the poor creature’s demise is down to me. Also, it might run across my toes!

Like the worst person on the planet I watched from the safety of the kitchen and saw the mouse break cover. Chea pounced – and the mouse ran into one of Richard’s Crocs. Chea ran ten circles around the shoe before coming to a halt at the toe. I could see the mouse’s little nose pushing forward through one of the Crocs holes at the front as it tried to squeeze its body through it. Chea sat waiting licking her lips and flexing her claws. This obviously wasn’t the most intelligent mouse. Forward, through the toe of the shoe into Chea’s waiting clutches was not the way to go.

Like old Butch Cassidy and Sundance, racing out only to be gunned down, I left the security of the kitchen and blundered out on tiptoe and grabbed Chea. She was most unimpressed and continued to strut back and forth, back and forth, across the patio doors for a good ten minutes.

After an hour the mouse was still pressed into the Croc, its little nose shoved hard into the hole at the toe, still considering that as a means of escape. Richard would be home soon and I had this awful vision of me being in the loo, him coming in, going straight out the back door, slipping his feet into the Crocs to go up the garden to look for me (thinking I was out there) and squashing the poor mouse, so I locked the back doors and kept the key on my person.

Five minutes before Richard walked in the mouse was still there. As he entered the house I yelled, ‘There’s a mouse in your Croc.’ He looked slightly confused but that’s nothing new and frankly, the day he stops looking confused is the day I’ll worry. We scurried to the door and he, like the Great White Hunter set about freeing the mouse. However, in those few minutes, Mr Mouse had made his own escape and there was no sign of him. Richard banged the old Crocs a bit and looked behind the shoe rack but the mouse had gone.

The following day Chea returned with a baby mouse. Dead.

The following day Chea returned with a baby mouse. Dead.

No I didn’t type that twice. Well, I did, but not by mistake.

The following day I was merrily removing the tips from the broad beans, as a swarm of blackfly were attempting to move in, when Chea came trotting down the path. Again, I knew that movement. That proud, ‘Look what I’ve got. Am I not clever? Am I not a great hunter?’

‘No Chea, you are a little shit!’

Hanging from her jaws was another baby mouse – wriggling. To be honest many of the things she brings back are still alive and live to fly, or scuttle, off to tell their loved ones about their near death experience. I was instantly pissed off. First, she’d brought back what I considered to be mummy mouse, and then, one by one – baby mouse, baby mouse and baby mouse. I threw the broad bean tips at her and she ran off, dropping the mouse who raced into the shrubbery. I caught her and put her in the house.

So …Chea 2. Gail 2.

I still can’t get the idea out of my head of slipping my foot into a gardening shoe with a mouse in it. If I ever did that I would die. Seriously. I would die. Needless to say I now upend everything and bang them hard on the floor before daring to access.

Mind you, if the mouse in Richard’s Croc had passed away, and not escaped back into the wild, I just might not have bothered telling him.

Other than mice everything else in the garden is flourishing. So much so that I have lost the garden paths beneath courgette and rhubarb leaves. Mother spiders have had bumper crops of babies and they, the baby spiders, are hatching by the thousands and floating throughout the greenhouse on tiny strands. Removing baby spiders from my hair is the daily ‘thing.’

The chucks are reasonably well and enjoy dust bathing with the sun on their feathers. In fact, everything in the garden is rosy – as long as you don’t include mice in the equation.


Take care my lovelies x

Aye Aye Me Hearties!

Hi All

I’ve finally found a reason (or excuse) to sit on my backside for more than 5 minutes at a time. It’s called – plantar fasciitis.

I suffered with the bloody thing a few years ago. It was slightly annoying, and mildly painful at times, but then it just went away. At the time I bought some of those expensive insoles to put in my shoes and it seemed to do the trick.

Last November, after a spell of ‘wellie-wearing,’ it came back. It has continued to improve, in the most negative way, from that point to this and now I can barely put my left heel to the floor without collapsing. Possibly a slight exaggeration but not by much.

The physio referred me to a podiatrist and off I limped. Obviously, Richard had to get out the old foot rasp thing and give my feet a good old filing down prior to the appointment. I have my pride – and it’s so much easier for him to do it – because I can lounge on the sofa while he sits happily grinding off dead skin – not speaking (always a bonus) – should he breathe in the dust.

First we have the usual rooting through drawers and cupboards to find new batteries, because he is of the opinion that my feet flatten a battery in 5 minutes. The actual truth is that he insists on buying a pack of twelve for 99p from the cheapo shop, even though I have informed him that he needs to buy the ones that the little rabbit advertises, because they are so powerful he could have my tootsies done in the blinking of an eye. But, no, he knows best.

Anyway …first appointment confirmed the diagnoses. Plantar wotsit. Cure? Stretch my calf muscles by standing on a step by the balls of my feet and letting my heels drop. Opinion? I would be much better by the next appointment.  I almost jogged back to the car (almost but not quite. Jogging is overrated) knowing that I could actually be bothered to do that exercise.

Three weeks on and all there was to show for my efforts was a bottom stair that was starting to look decidedly threadbare. The pain was getting worse – much worse.

I toggled off to Boots and bought an elasticated heel support. It made my foot balloon. I bought more expensive insoles. I bought two new pairs of the most unflattering shoes imaginable and embarked on a self-cure blitz.

A week later I wimped my way to the doctor, wearing the dreadful shoes and feeling like a pillock, and politely enquired if there was anything else that they could suggest. She informed me that I could have a cortisone injection into my heel. Really? Sod that. I’m no chicken – remember I had my inguinal hernia sorted under local anaesthetic and to the strains of the Mama Mia soundtrack playing in the background? So, no, I am not a chicken – but as I live and breathe – an injection into the hard skin of my heel? I said I’d give the shitty shoes, elasticated heel bandage, insoles, and the stair carpet a tad longer to have an effect, and let her know.

Last week I had the second podiatrist appointment. She beamed at me as I limped in and enquired, ‘How is it?’

I really didn’t want to rain on her parade but, you know me, Mrs Truthful. So I told her. ‘Bloody awful! I can barely put my foot to the floor.’

Long story short …she set about trimming some insoles and sticking sticky-back foam here and there and shoved it in my revolting shoe. At first try it felt easier. She seemed pleased and waited for me to beetle off. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t making one of my legs higher than the other going to make me walk like Long John Silver? I mean, I’m going to be higher on one side than on the other. She seemed to see the sense in this and set about ramming another insole in my opposite revolting shoe.

As she turned away and started tapping away on her computer I realised that was that. Over and out! Job done! I was told to go away and see how I get on and then she will authorise the making of a lovely insole, especially to my requirements – and in leather no less.

So …the insole is crap. My foot is crap. And it hurts like crap. So what can I say other than crap.

Even the chickens freak out when they see me approaching. Mummy doesn’t walk like that! Who is this freak? Is that a parrot on her shoulder? And …jeez …look at those shoes!

Chea, of course, thinks it’s a blast. She can pooh in the carrot seedlings and charge into the greenhouse ahead of me, jump up on the staging and knock over the cosmos pots before I can prevent it. I’m sure I can hear her humming, she’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes.

There is an old adage is the horsey world …no foot, no horse! I can relate to this 100%

The pain is now at its worst and I am on the verge of considering ‘the needle.’ I have to go for my B12 jab next week (stings like hell) so perhaps I should get the two pricks at the same time, if you know what I mean? I’m not talking about the doctors …obviously …but then again.

Take care me lovelies …oh arr …oh arr x

P.S I am so into this ‘pirate’ state that I’ve now watched ‘Black Sails’, seasons 1 and 2. Pretty crap to start with …but season 2 was better with a massive twist that I didn’t see coming.

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Memories, Testicles …And Fat Thighs.

Hi All

I’ve slipped back into pure nostalgia today.

My brother visited last week and asked if I had any pictures of dad – he passed away in 2007, dad, not my brother, obviously. I scurried around a bit in the drawer under the bed, fighting cobwebs, as you do, and found an old tin that I’d brought away from the family home, when dad passed away, with a very random selection of old prints. No one has pictures printed any more, do they? Don’t we keep everything on hard drives, pen drives and such like? Anyway …

We sorted through them, ahhing, whooing and remembering the people and places that we, at the time, simply took for granted. They would always be there, wouldn’t they? These people. These places? A fault of the young, I fear, thinking that things will continue.

My brother started to laugh. ‘God, I remember this foal …it was a killer!’

I took the photograph from him and my eyes fell on a very different period of my life. The time when I was married to my vet, and the time shortly thereafter – when I wasn’t married to my vet!

At the time my son was eighteen months old and I decided it would be nice to buy him a pony. Long story short, I found this little two-year old filly at a horse auction and had to buy her. She was a skinny little thing, only held together by skin to be honest but that wasn’t a problem, I had the technology to ‘get her right.’ She needed me and what could be better than her going to a loving home with a qualified riding instructress (me) and a vet (he)? Perfect. And by the time she had filled out, and grown, my son would be old enough to ride her – albeit on the lead-rein.kiki

Four weeks after her arrival and with her still looking like she was wearing a coat that was six sizes too big, unannounced and unexpected, she raised her tail and dropped a foal. – The ‘killer’ that my brother mentioned. How in God’s name had she managed to keep that a secret from me and from ‘a vet?’

The foal was alive but hopelessly weak. For twenty-four hours we struggled to get it on its feet. If it had been born on the moors it would have died. It took three days before it could stand and suckle, without help, but after that point it bloomed – and so did the filly, so much so that she was unrecognisable as the poor bag-of-bones that I’d brought home. The colt went from strength to strength growing in stature and self-importance. It would run at me, for fun, and bite me in the chest. It needed gelding but it only had one testicle descended and so the ‘op’ was put on hold. Eventually the offended testicle dropped and we castrated him with slight smiles and great relief.

He was still a stroppy little bugger and no son of mine was going anywhere near a creature like that, so a home (knowledgeable) was found for him and off he trotted, snapping and snarling. I think my son, although very small, was no idiot and preferred the ‘A Team’ figures to a real live pony and so the mare went to a loving new home too.

After the divorce I toddled off and bought and sold horses for a time. My brother had another little snigger and shoved several pictures of me astride a couple of the equine beasties.

As I say – we never realise at the time that these are the days of our lives and looking back now they were – days of my life – days that have led me here …and now.

I can’t ride these critters any more, too many disc-aches, all down to wear and tear, no doubt, but I still have the memories.

To be honest I’m not a great got-to-have-lots-of-photos-and-memorabilia, type of person, to remember things. I keep my memories in my heart. They are safe there. No one can destroy them and I’ll never lose them…

Also, I don’t have to physically see my thighs in an old photo, slim-ish and toned, squeezed into jodhpurs and realise that I’d need a sodding shoehorn and the wind in the right direction to get them on now!FotorCreated

Yep, some memories are best kept in the mind or in a tin under the bed.

Take care my lovelies x