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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…

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Take care my lovelies x

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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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

 
16 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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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.

‘Shame.’

‘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

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6 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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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.

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Take care my lovelies x

 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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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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23 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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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

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Perhaps A Little Less Sugar?

Hi All

I’ve been in the garden this morning doing my ‘standing and staring’ bit. There’s nothing different about me going into the garden at the crack of dawn, I do that every day, to tend the chucks. To make sure they have made it through the night and to give them fresh water (with the life-saving apple cider vinegar and garlic) and to have my fingers attacked in their manic eagerness to find treats, so, as I say, nothing different regarding the time of day, but I don’t usually do the standing and staring bit quite so early because Chea is always at my heels, waiting for her breakfast.

I have a system; Chucks, fish, open the greenhouse, Chea, and finally, me …a cup of tea. The standing and staring bit comes later, usually.

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It has to be my favourite blossom …apple?

Somehow I couldn’t resist the ‘greenness’ of it all …and the apple blossom that is bursting, pink and perfect. I love apple blossom – fragile, almost transparent with the sun behind it. And the greenery, never as green as in May. Vibrant. The green of all greens.

The blackcurrant bushes are laden with baby blackcurrants. I have no idea what to do with them this year. Last year I made jam – and we still have some left. Two years ago we made wine – and there is none left. Nothing to do with me, obviously, but Richard enjoys the fruits of my labour …

He, Richard, has become quite a little home-made wine enthusiast and makes the stuff on a regular basis. He has become quite good at it …that is to say quite good! For some strange reason, known only to him and the gods, he decided to make a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon last November and produced many bottles of the stuff. Last week, Wednesday, as he toddled off back to work after his 4 month recuperation break, I came down to a cork, abandoned on the kitchen floor. Then I noticed a red streak across the tiles.  First, I smiled and thought, how sweet, he’s thrown that cork on the floor for Chea to play with. Then, I thought, idiot, Chea has no interest at all in playing with corks, she only likes her smelly piece of felt that once resembled a bird. Then, I thought, he’s spilt wine on the floor and attempted to disguise it by scuffing his socked foot across it. THEN I saw a scuffed red trail leading all the way to the fridge. That confirmed it. He had obviously been pissed, spilt half of it on the floor and been too gaga to bother cleaning it up. I left it.

When he came home he instantly noticed it.

‘What’s that?’ he said.

‘It’s where you, pissed and stupid, spilt wine and scuffed it along the tiles with your sock.’

He frowned and had the audacity to throw me a look that suggested I was the idiot.

In true Poirot fashion he followed the smear back to the wine rack and with an over exaggerated flourish snatched up a bottle from the rack and held it before me. ‘Look, look,’ he said, wiggling it and sloshing the remaining wine around the bottle. ‘It’s obviously popped its cork overnight.’

Popped its cork overnight? Popped its cork overnight?

On closer examination we tracked down wine splashes and stains …on the skirting, on the cupboard doors, on the radiator …

The proof was there. It had popped its cork overnight. Richard was right. BUT he had also, quite obviously, put too much sugar in the wine or bottled it when it was still working. I had little choice but to bend my knee, bow to his great powers of deduction, and clean it up. I didn’t have to clean it up but he wouldn’t have done it properly so…

As I mentioned last time, or the time before, hard for me to stay focused sometimes, I couldn’t wait for Richard to go back to work and to get back to my routine, so, yesterday, having popped to Tesco to have tea with a friend, come back and had the chucks out, thrown a wash load into the tumbler, I sat down to watch the latest Vikings episode. Chea decided to grace me with her presence and settled on my knee.

This was bliss. A fire crackling away. Chea, content and purring (not out terrorising birds) and an episode of Vikings.

Ten minutes in and there was an almighty bang …and I mean an almighty bang, followed by the harsh sound of running water. Chea leapt for her life, scrabbling through my leggings, leaving nail marks in my flesh and pinprick holes in said leggings. My instant reaction was …SHIT the kitchen tap has burst at the pipe (it’s been dripping for some time) and I don’t know where the stopcock is. With Chea plastered against the wall, tail like a Christmas tree, and eyes as wide as saucers, I had to leave Ragnar Lothbrok storming the English and rush into the kitchen.

A sea of red greeted me …spicy Cabernet Sauvignon red to be precise. A cork floated in the crimson stream like a little boat. I followed the stream back to the source and there, in the wine rack, a bottle pulsed-out its contents.

Chea appeared behind me, still in Christmas-tree-tail-mode. As I looked down at her she looked up at me. Her expression clearly said, ‘what the *uc*!’

‘Yes, Chea,’ I said, watching the wine running down the bin, the radiator, the cupboards, under the fridge, soaking a sack of potatoes, ‘what the *uc*?’

After my heart had returned to near normal I threw a tea towel over the main pool and decided to go back to Ragnar, leader of the marauding Vikings. It wasn’t my wine. It wasn’t my responsibility. I was bloody annoyed, not just because I’d received the fright of my life but if Chea had happened to be sauntering past the wine rack when the bottle exploded it would have taken off her pretty little head.

I stood and watched the wine soaking into the tea towel and realised, what if the others explode? They needed moving to outside. But, what if they exploded when I touched them? They could wait. No, they couldn’t. Chea’s life was at risk.

Fortunately, only 3 bottles of that type remained so, gingerly, VERY gingerly, like I was diffusing a bomb, with corks facing forwards, and Chea safe on high ground (the kitchen table) I carried them out into the garden. Then I cleaned up the entire mess. Well, I am OCD, aren’t I? Couldn’t possibly rest knowing that my kitchen resembled the Red Sea.

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Baby blackcurrants already!

I won’t bore you with the aftermath, other than to say that Richard has decided he needs to quickly drink the remaining 3 bottles …for Chea’s sake at least.

Take care my lovelies x

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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