Three Things To Report . . .


Just a quickie today. It’s hammering down here in good old Leicestershire and I have just got totally drenched loading shopping  – mainly Chea’s food and bottles of still water –  because they were on offer – into the car boot.

I kept the visit as short as possible and tried to avoid the sparkly Christmas tree that stood near the hand baskets waiting to take out an eye or two when some shopper bent to grab a basket. I also, mainly, ignored the golden reindeer floating above the ‘naughty’ aisles, luring kiddies and adults, with no will power, to buy enormous boxes of biscuits/chocolates and such crap.

I did succumb to a couple of large bags of crisps – well you do, don’t you? Besides, if I get a migraine I crave salt so that’s my excuse. Also, we are working our way through the second season of Prison Break so we need something to munch on as we sit glued to the thing. VERY GOOD in my opinion. And here’s a refreshing fact – Prison Break doesn’t rely on explicit sex and the continual use of the F word to make it riveting viewing. Just twists, turns, great mix of  characters, and brilliant acting. Hmm . .  .I digress

I have three things to quickly report.

I. I now have a page for Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat.

2. And a group for Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat.

Pop over and take a look? Like the page? Join the group? All self-explanatory when you check it out.

3.The third thing that I have to report is my greatest achievement of the year!

Sold a million books? Won the lottery?


I’ve pruned the apple tree.


I’ve pruned the apple tree.

This may not seem like a huge thing to you –  or, in fact, much of an achievement, but you see I needed the really long ladder to do it and I’m terrified of heights. Also, because of my buggered-up neck joints I can’t look up for more than 30 seconds without being in extreme pain. So, I have to climb as high as possible so that the branch that requires sawing is at waist height. The tree is around thirty years old and canker ridden. Despite this it still produces lovely cooking apples each year so I thought it was time it had a bit of attention. It hasn’t been pruned at all, in all that time, so it was a bit of a task. However, with one hand sawing and one hand white with hanging on to a branch I succeeded. Within the hour the branches lay on the floor and the tree stood looking bare and sorry for itself.

There won’t be any apples next year, of this I am certain, but if I haven’t killed it it will have a lovely flush of growth next year and possible produce apples the following year.

You may ask, ‘Why didn’t Richard prune it?’


If you remember, Richard had a shoulder op’ last New Year and he still struggles with it. He did say he would do it –  but time and tide and all that. Besides, I couldn’t stand the stress of having to hold the ladder while he tottered up in the highest branches and bellowed, ‘Which one?’


‘Not that one, Idiot.’

‘Well, that’s the best I can do!’

So, being a Scorpio ‘perfectionist’ I knew I could do better –  and without causing myself undue stress.

He hasn’t been up the garden yet, so he still doesn’t know the tree has been pruned. He will though, when he falls over the branches that I still haven’t finished clearing up!

So, my friends, pruning the apple tree has been my greatest accomplishment this year –  to date. What’s been yours?

Catch you soon.11794231_10153461732253808_5864114962992857932_o (2) - Copy

Take care my lovelies x

Kid Me Not Sunbeam!

Hi All.

You’ve heard the saying, ‘these things are sent to try us?’ Well, frankly, I must be the most ‘tried’ person on the planet.

I guess the main problem stems from the sad fact that I rarely know what I’m doing and for some misplaced reason I think I can learn as I go. This sadly is not always true.

Take, for instance, filling in 4 sheets of paper to allow me to purchase ISBNs. Simple as falling off a log? No! Far more difficult and the reason is . . . I don’t understand the lingo, the gobbledygook of it all.

I consider it to be akin to most nerdy ‘techie’ things. Make it is complicated as possible so that the average human being understands sod all and, by default, they, the nerds, appear even more intelligent.

Just one thing that rattled my cage last night and caused me to beat my head on the table while Chea sat inches away, shaking her head and wishing someone intelligent had ‘rescued’ her from the RSPCA. Well, too late, sunbeam.

Taking of Chea. I spent last Saturday at a craft fair selling my books. OK, I’m still not rich but it was fun and I have confirmed another in December . . . but, I digress.

While I was out Richard was in charge of all things . . . Chea, poo picking the chucks, patrolling them while they murdered insects on their daily scratch around, cleaning the filter box to the pond etc. These things, I thought, were within his scope. Wrong.

I came home to Richard, hands on hips (defensive pose if you ask me?) and slightly twitching. He said, ‘Everything is fine, chucks done, pond done and I’ve got up all the fallen leaves from the top of the garden.’

‘Good,’ I said.

Hands still on hips.

‘And how’s Chea?’

He frantically dashed to the kettle. ‘Want a cup of tea?’ he said.

‘Chea?’ I said.

‘Well . . . ‘

When Richard starts a sentence with ‘well,’ AND he’s making tea it’s not a good sign.

‘What’s happened?’ I said.

‘Well . . . when I was picking up the leaves I heard a commotion two doors away, cats spitting and howling and going nuts.’


‘Yes,’ he said, hiding behind the protection of the now boiled kettle.

‘I shook the crunchies!’ he exclaimed.

‘The crunchies?’

‘Yes, you know, to get her in, but she didn’t come back for ages, and when she did finally come back she was limping.’



Right on cue the little wounded soldier appeared from upstairs, hobbling on 3 legs and casting accusing glances at Richard.

By morning she was placing the foot to the floor and the next day she was sound. She wasn’t too bright yesterday so I’m keeping an eye on her in case it was a bite and it starts to abscess. She is due a yearly booster but we have both been putting off taking her to the vet. Last time she was there she incited every cat, in the pre op room, to turn into hissing, spitting demons. She had to be sedated through the cage because the vet dare not pick her up! She hates the vet with a vengeance, almost as much as I hate attempting to fill in forms.

Regarding book sales, because I did mention them, up the page a bit, I just want to set the record straight. I’ve been meaning to mention this before but have never been in the kind of mood I need to be in to mention it. Today I AM in that kind of mood.

When self-published authors are selling lots of books the following fact is void BUT when self-published authors are not selling books, and their sales flat line (and they do) all promises of, ‘I’m just off to buy your book now,’ and ‘going to buy your book to’ . . .  A. Take on holiday. B. Send to a friend. C. Light the fire with. D. Use as a door stop, doesn’t cut the mustard. If our books flat line it’s pretty bloody obvious that no one bought a copy for any of the above reasons or for any other reason. You did not buy the book! And that’s fine, perfectly, absolutely, categorically fine . . . but don’t lie and pretend that you have. OK? There’s no need. Truly. A friend of mine was most upset by promises that didn’t materialise and the long blue line remained a long blue line without a single ‘spike.’

So, if I’ve offended anyone by saying this, tough, don’t lie to me. I may be an idiot but I’m not stupid . . . and, what’s more, I doubt other authors are stupid either.

#hums and shuffles off into the distance!

Take care my lovelies x2015-02-22 20.49.39

There Had To Be An Ulterior Motive?

Hi All

Can’t profess to having done much these last few days. One reason, of course, is that the man of the house is not at work and is doing his normal trick of suggesting places to ‘pop.’ Today’s little outing was to Matlock in Derbyshire to wander the antique shops – and on his behalf, not mine.

I didn’t object too much because the poor soul has little interest in much other than Land Rovers, motor bikes, and scouring eBay for all kinds of things that he honestly doesn’t need.

I can barely sit at the PC for more than an hour at a time without UPS, the Royal Mail or that other one, you know, the one in Castaway, banging on my front door. So, when he suggested ‘popping’ to Matlock, I went with the flow. I do occasionally.

You see, he has a new interest. Yep, and he came up with it all on his own. He has decided to collect cans! Not tuna or mixed veg cans. Not that kind. No, these are the sort that used to hold petrol, in ‘the olden days.’ 1930’s petrol cans.

Two have arrived recently. Rusty old things that he’s dumped in acid to remove the old paint before repainting them.

He wasn’t successful in sourcing another today but he did ask me if I wanted to go into a lovely stationers we passed. I knew there was more to it than that because usually he’d rather stick pins in his nether regions than stand waiting for me to caressingly finger every pen, pencil, piece of card and paper in Smiths.

I was right, of course. There was an ulterior motive. He wanted to look for a pen to write the inscriptions on the petrol cans.

He did his normal thing of asking my opinion – as if I had one. What do I know about 1930’s petrol cans? I suggested he ask the man behind the counter. After said man had advised him, he purchased two pens – well, actually, I purchased them – but then again, the money did come from the side in my bag where I keep the housekeeping so I guess Richard did purchase them. He purchases all kinds of things without realising it. I’m a strong believer in ignorance being bliss.

I took the opportunity of asking the lovely man’s advice on the purchase of a pen for book signing. Then we got talking about publishing etc. and he offered me the name of a bookstore owner that might be happy to take a couple of my books. Richard, meanwhile, stood in the background grinning and shaking his head. I didn’t see him doing it – I just knew he was – because he always does.

I thumped him when we got outside and he burst out laughing. I strolled off with him trotting behind me, imitating my voice. ‘Yes, I’m a self-published author . . . Famous? Me?  Goodness, no! My name? Oh, for your bookshop friend? Oh, OK . . .  No! Not Orwell. Orbell – and Jennie with an E.’

Richard does this all the time – insists that I put on a posh voice with some people – and he has great fun imitating me.  What he doesn’t realise is . . .  that is my normal voice, the one I use on normal people. My everyday voice is the one I use on him because I don’t want him to feel like a lesser mortal. Hahahah I’m joking. Sort of.

So, back to the collecting of the petrol cans. Seems a weird thing to be doing if you ask me – but each to his own, and if it keeps him happy? I’ve just popped out to take him a creamy coffee – even though he did take the pee out of me earlier – and he’s sitting, carefully painting-in the inscriptions. I glanced over his shoulder, just as he had painted the first four letters of PRATT. I placed the coffee before him and said, ‘If you want my advice I’d leave it at that!’ It took half a second for the penny to drop and then he laughed and smudged the letter.

I think that is probably one of the things that gels our relationship – we never take each other too seriously and we can laugh with, and at, each other. Though, I still don’t know why he wants to collect 1930s petrol cans?

I’m quite surprised that I’ve written about Richard’s little collection because, frankly, I had every intention of ranting and raving about how some people on Facebook are extremely selfish individuals . . . but that’ll wait for another day – because bet your bottom dollar they will still be there and they will still be selfish!

Take care my lovelies x20151028_142949

Scuttling Little Things, Loo Rolls, And A Rocking Horse!

Hi All

I’ve got a cold! A sneezy, snotty thing. I can’t believe it. I never get colds, and yet here I am running the second infection in a month.

I blame it on Richard. He always has some bug circulating. Something that one of his co-workers has happily shared.

Or, it could be the delightful grandchildren. They had a sleepover last weekend and little Jake was sneezing all over the place. We tried to convince ourselves it was a touch of hay fever, but I’m beginning to wonder.

Richard suggests I picked it up from the handle of a shopping trolley. What he knows about shopping trolleys he’ll soon forget. He prefers to take a hand basket. Plenty of room in one of those for two packets of Doritos, three bars of chocolate, and a pork pie.

Actually, I’m being rather nice to him lately and I’m . . . oh ‘eck, I don’t know how to say this . . . I’m making him sandwiches every day to take to work, and I’m packing them neatly in a lovely little Tupperware box with an apple, five small home-grown tomatoes and a penguin bar. This is just another indication and proof, if proof were needed, that I’ve lost the plot. And . . . I have a meal waiting for him every day, at three o’clock when he comes home.

I’ve really blown it now. There goes my image. What can I say?

Back to the grandchildren. When we arranged the sleepover my son asked me something that chilled me to the bone. He said the words and I froze, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, brain frantic. He said, ‘Er . . . Mum . . .’

This wasn’t good – but it wasn’t the frozen, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, and brain frantic bit. No, that followed.

‘Er . . . Mum . . . I was wondering if, when we are away for a few days, you could look after the gerbils.’

See? How frigging scary is that?

Eventually I came out of my stupor and stammered, ‘Look after the gerbils? Look after the gerbils? ARE YOU MAD? Chea will EAT them!’

I lost the argument and Sunday saw the changeover. The two grandchildren left and the two gerbils arrived. At least, the cage arrived, the gerbils had dug a tunnel down into the depths of the shavings and at this point were nowhere to be spied.

Grace went into near hysteria, crying, and sobbing that she was really going to miss them and I had to pretend that they were going to have a lovely time with ‘granny’ looking after them. That was if ‘granny’ could figure out how to work the doors on the maze of a cage, but I didn’t tell her that bit. We couldn’t console her and she left sobbing. I knew how she felt.

See, I have this thing that gerbils are a bit like mice – rats – and scuttling little things like that. I prefer animals that you can see and that don’t scuttle!

Richard left the whole thing to me, obviously, so come Monday morning I risked putting my hand in the cage to give them fresh water and food. I’d had my instructions . . . throw away the leftover food every day and give them fresh food along with fresh water. As if I didn’t know! And give them an empty toilet roll inner to munch. Er . . . OK.

The food and water are no problem but poor Richard can’t poo fast enough to use up the loo roll and provide the gerbils with the empty inner.

Anyway, long story short. They are safely imprisoned in the front bedroom, safe from Chea, and are having a lovely time scattering shavings and little black poo fragments all over the bookcase and my paperbacks.

I pop in frequently and have a chat with them and I have become extremely attached to the sweet little things. I said to Richard how impressed I am with them and that it might be nice to have some of my own. Richard simply looked at me.

I’m going to slip a bit of Ex-Lax chocolate into his sandwiches tomorrow because the little darlings have just munched through the last toilet roll thingy.

And now . . . the other news. I have just released the children’s book – no, it isn’t titled ‘How to Make Your Granddaughter Cry by Nicking Her Gerbils’ – it’s titled ‘Prince Regal and the Forgotten Friends.’ To ‘celebrate’ its release I am holding a competition. It doesn’t close until 5th January 2016 so plenty of time to pop the book in a Christmas stocking, read it and enter. See what I did there?  Not going to drivel on about it but I will add the link  and then, if you like, you can click it and pop and have a look . . . no pressure!

OK, I’m off to play with the gerbils . . . Take care my lovelies x

Instrument Of Torture

Hi All

So, I toddled off to get the instrument of torture fitted (24 hr blood pressure monitor) and, as my luck would have it, waiting for me in the consulting room was a boy-child, resplendent in a crisp, white coat, all smiles and adjusting his nappy. The nappy bit is not true, but why do I get these child or Adonis types when my flesh has to be exposed. Remember the Greek god who kindly repaired my groin hernia to the background track of Mama Mia? The one who delighted in patting-up my shaved pubic hair with a sticky-backed glove, and then delighted in showing it to me amid comments like, ‘Look, these sticky things are very effective. They pick up everyhair.’ This was said with a slight Greek accent – not that I would know a slight Greek accent if it slapped me in the face, but it wasn’t what I term as my native tongue. I digress.

The thing triggered every twenty minutes until 10.00 p.m. and then it kindly reduced its arm crippling tactics to every thirty minutes. By the time I got to sleep it was time to get up.

And then the fun really began when I attempted to upload files to Createspace. This isn’t right.  That isn’t right. Are you a robot? Do you actually know what you are doing? Are you are total moron?  The monitor went into meltdown, beep, beep, beeping, telling me that the reading hadn’t registered. I stopped typing and did as instructed . . . relax the arm and unclench the fingers. More beep, beep, beeping. Why they had to put the thing on my right arm when I said I was right-handed is beyond me. Well, actually it isn’t, apparently my blood pressure is higher in my right arm than my left. Perhaps my pulse is stronger in my right big toe than my left big toe? Who knows? Another mystery of life?

Then I uploaded to Amazon Kindle. Better. Just one little problem . . . I entered the wrong title. I think my brain should undergo the twenty-four hour monitoring.

But you all know me, I always find the positive in every negative, and the positive from this? Well, it has tested my blood pressure under extreme stress and manic yelling at Createspace, and later my own good self. What dickhead can’t remember the title of her own book? Don’t answer that. I know the answer.

Then, of course, I had the ‘normal’ daily stresses to contend with. Whoever said cats are stress reducing hasn’t met Chea. She can’t stay out, or in, for more than thirty minutes maximum, and pleading to her better nature is a waste of time.

‘Chea, wait a minute, I’m trying to upload this file,’ falls on deaf ears as she stands at the door wanting to go out, and I sit at the laptop with my hair turning greyer by the hour. This first instruction brings a mardy meow that I ignore. Next comes a louder mardy meow that I can’t ignore. ‘Wait a MINUTE!’ I say. She throws her heart and soul into caterwauling. ‘For shit’s sake, WAIT A MINUTE!’

Now she’s springing up the door, bouncing on her back legs, scattering cat litter. Obviously I stop what I’m doing and get up and let her out, with the instrument of torture beeping and tightening . . .  and tightening.

Within five minutes she’s back, banging on the glass with her wet paws and giving me evil stares. The look clearly says that if I don’t let her in she’s calling the RSPCA. I get up and let her in. This goes on for most of the day, or until she’s decided she’s had enough of playing silly buggers and settles at the side of the laptop, occasional stretching out in her sleep and sneakily operating screen lock!

Another word that you may as well save your breath over is, ‘quick!’ or ‘hurry!’ Both instructions have the same effect as I stand with the door open, waiting for her to saunter down the path and come in. Prior to me opening the door I can see her trotting down the path and heading for home with great enthusiasm, because let’s face it, another full dish of food might have miraculously appeared since she last came in to check, thirty minutes ago.

Now she stops to watch a starling on the garage roof. I shout the instruction again. ‘Hurry up, Chea, I’m trying to upload something!’ No response. She’s wondering what her chances are of catching the starling. ‘Chea, come on, move it!’ I hiss. It has some effect – for two strides – then she drops to her hairy bum and starts cleaning her whiskers. She’s been in the greenhouse and has spiders’ webs festooning her face.

By evening the uploading is done. Chea has settled at the side of the laptop, purring and galloping back into my affections (surprise, surprise) and the blood pressure monitor is ticking away nicely.

All in all I’d say uploading files and pandering to Chea’s every whim was a jolly good test of my stress levels.

Oh, I forgot to say that during the first two hours of having it fitted, and while I was stirring the soup, Richard shouted me from the lounge. I ignored him at first – well you do, don’t you? When he sounded like he was about to burst into tears I sauntered in just as the monitor beeped. There was Richard, hanging on to the TV that he’d just broken. The whole thing had been snapped off its central leg and it was see-sawing in his hands.

Apparently, it had been ‘dicky’ for a while. Bloody news to me. I can turn the screen to my ideal viewing position without breaking it. I won’t bore you with further details, other than to say that the soup had to be turned off, Richard had to find the ladder from his tip of a garage, and then crawl up into the loft where, fortunately, we had a spare stand.

Be interesting to know who, or what, was the biggest ‘trigger’ to cause the old blood pressure to peak? Createspace, Chea, or Richard?


Take care my lovelies x

P.S Apologies if email notifications arrived twice . . . I posted the original on the wrong page. See, I’m a complete div!

Chicken Pooh On Legs ?

Hi All

Do you ever think you are too nice? I mean, I’m sure you are nice anyway, but I know, for a fact, that it’s possible to be too nice. Too friendly. And today I paid the price.

Picture this – I park the car and make my way to the bank. No problem. The bank has a queue right back to the door. Still no problem, because it’s 10.05 and I have an appointment, across the road at the hairdressers, for 10.30. It’s also raining, I forgot to mention that.

So, this suits me just fine. I figure that by the time I get to the front of the queue it will be approaching 10.30. I’ll quickly pay in the cheque and then pop across the road, nice and dry, and promptly on time. Good plan? Of course it was.

Then . . .  the elderly guy behind me, in the queue, makes a comment that I don’t quite catch, because he kinda mumbled. Either that or Richard has finally sent me deaf with his booming voice. This is the point at which I made the mistake of smiling and nodding. This has always been my stand-by reaction when I don’t quite catch what someone has said. Either that, or scowl and shake my head. I’ve perfected it over the years. I just catch the drift, the tone if you like, and adapt the face. Nice tone . . . smile and nod. Sad tone . . . scowl and shake my head. This works very well and I don’t have to listen to people!

The bank person thingy (yes I really do type ‘thingy’ when I can’t be bothered to think of the right word) toddled up and asked if she could help with anything – pay stuff into the hole in the wall. I said no thanks, I’ve an appointment over the road that I’m early for so it suits me to wait. Off she scooted.

Now the guy behind me informs me, in clear words that I do catch, that he will be fine when he gets his half a million at the end of the month.

My little ears pricked up at that and I, never being one to miss an attempt at being witty, guffawed, ‘Half a million! Blimey, are you married?’

And that was that. A harmless little quip and away he went. Married twice. Served in the army. 5 canines. Never leaves the house without leaving one dog behind. Grandson . . . blah, blah, blah . . . shoe size, known allergies, more blah, blah, blah. Then, he discussed how dogs ‘picked up’ on menstruating women. He faltered slightly at this and quickly concluded with, ‘Well, you’re a lady so you know what I mean.’ He then coughed a bit and changed the subject to the price of Morrison’s doughnuts, closely followed by uneven pavements and a hundred uses for fine graded sandpaper.

Dear God. All I did was attempt to show what a witty, friendly, little person I am, and I had twenty-five minutes of face-to-face, in-my-face, sodding dialogue from some guy who was almost halfway to being a millionaire. I will never again go to the bank on a Monday morning at 10.05.

To be honest, I did bloody well. I didn’t let the smile drop for a second and nodded and frowned in all the right places for a full twenty-five minutes. I guess I made an old man very happy . . . or not. Whatever. . . .

Needless to say, my hair has been cut wobbly and strange because I sat in the chair ranting and raving for ten minutes, with my hair stylist laughing and trying to catch my swinging hair.

Actually, I’m lying. My hair is fine. She didn’t cut it wobbly. (She may read this blog so . . .) Just joking sweet Emma.

Then I came home and had the chucks out. I was quite concerned because when I pooh-picked there was a huge pooh in the sleeping area. Far too big for a chuck to pass. I leant down to pick it up and it leapt up at me. Yep. My worst nightmare – a leaping frog. After I’d run screaming from the chuck cage, and calmed down a bit, I returned with the fishing net and caught said frog. I released it at the side of the pond and it hopped off, covered in wood shavings and grey feathers – the chucks are moulting, remember?

I’d put money on it being the same frog that has found its way in there five times now. Just how it escaped being ripped to shreds by the chucks is a bit of a mystery. Maybe, with it covered in feathers, like that, they thought it was a very bouncy chick!

So, that was the start to my day. Tomorrow I may avoid people, and try to regroup my good nature. In fact, I may avoid people until Thursday when I have to toddle off to have this 24 hour blood pressure monitor fitted. That’ll be fun without laughing to be sure. The last time they tied me into one of those things I didn’t sleep a wink. Every hour the tourniquet armband expanded with a loud rumble, and the duvet rose up into the air.

Now I am going to remove Chea from the laptop and go and ‘pot up’ some winter heathers into hanging baskets. Not keen on heather. Don’t know why I bought it to be honest. I guess it will give a bit of colour over the coming grey days? Weirdly, one seems to have disappeared overnight. I bought nine and now there are only eight – which totally throws out my planting scheme. This, along with how the frog got into the chuck cage, is another mystery.

Re Chea and the laptop . . . since becoming the ‘star’ of the Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat book, she is even more persistent at hogging the laptop. She cuddles next to it each night as I type some rubbish of one kind or another, as if keeping an eye on what might come next. I get the distinct impression that she thought the book should be titled, A Tabby Cat and Two Chucks?

20151004_225021Take care my lovelies x

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