Hardly Fairy Dust!

Again – I’m starting this with my too frequently used opener of . . . ‘Yes, it’s been awhile since the last blog post.’ Nothing new in that, hey? Except, there is something new in that – this – whatever.

Choose from the following which you think is responsible for my absence;

1  I won the lottery and took three weeks off to find a comfy country pad?

2  I finally pushed Richard to the end of his tether and he threw me out without my laptop and therefore any means of blogging?

3  I took a long cruise?

4  I almost killed myself with my lovely palm sander?

So, what do you think?

Obviously it’s the last one. I don’t do the lottery. Richard wouldn’t dare throw me out and cruising makes me seasick.

To start with I thought I was going down with a cold virus. This, in itself, is rare. I don’t really get colds. The simple fact that I don’t mix with many people might have something to do with this? Richard started coughing and spluttering around the place and I threw my normal fit and issued him with instructions. ‘Stay away from me. Use a tissue. Sleep in the other room.’ And whenever he made me a cup of tea etc. I bawled, ‘WASH YOUR HANDS!

Three weeks after his bug onset I felt a tickle in my throat whilst watching Emmerdale. ‘I’m getting a cold!’ I announced suddenly and woke the poor soul as he was about to doze off – he doesn’t watch the soaps, says he doesn’t like them, however, he’s always asking me what’s what. Weird that, but I digress . . .

Forty-eight hours later and I was barking like a dog. Then my nose started producing you know what. Buckets and bowls of it in lovely shades of cream and green – yes, I know, too much information. I very quickly fell under the spell of the ‘virus’ and was REALLY, REALLY, poorly, coughing until I was sick, and once I almost passed out because I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t taste a single thing for five days. I could have been eating curry or custard . . . no way of telling. My ears were blocked for five days and when the pain slicing through my head snuck down into my cheek, gums and teeth, I gave in and reluctantly took to my bed, after making Richard promise that he wouldn’t forget I was up there.

He forgot I was up there – even after promising to bring me a cup of tea and paracetamol at an agreed time. After the agreed time had come and gone I banged on the wall (always works) and five minutes later up he trotted saying that he’d set the alarm on his phone but it hadn’t gone off. See? This is why I try to address illness from downstairs and not take to my bed. Did he really need to set an alarm? Shouldn’t the fact that his beloved was up in the attic, dying, be sufficient for him to remember? Jeez, even Chea popped up now and again to see if I was well enough to get up to cook her a bit of buttery chicken.

After a fortnight with no improvement, and being pretty sure I needed antibiotics, I struggled to the doctor.

Needless to say I was just as ill as I’d imagined and came home with the appropriate antibiotics and a diagnosis of bronchitis.

It was at this point, or slightly earlier, that a ‘light bulb’ moment occurred and after thinking back I suddenly realised that this had started after using the lovely palm sander. Yes, I’d used a dust mask 70% of the time, but not ALL of the time. On bright, breezy days I’d winged it a bit, throwing caution to the wind and imagined I was side stepping the swirling wood-dust clouds.

It all made sense – even Richards so-called cold. He had produced neatly cut wood for me, length after length, and he hadn’t used a dust mask at all.

And the best of it is I really pushed myself to be fit enough to do a craft fair last Saturday. I didn’t honestly feel up to it but you all know me – an obstinate so and so. I insisted that Richard stay with me, just in case I had a coughing fit, couldn’t breathe and died in the middle of the display. He wasn’t impressed. I’ve told you before, he’ll take me, lug boxes, and fetch me back, but he won’t stay. Well, this time he had to . . . and guess what? For all my effort to survive bronchitis (brought on by my own stupidity) and to make it to the fair, it was utter crap. No one, including me, sold much at all and Richard parked the sodding car in the wrong car park and got a parking ticket! Bloody brilliant.

I have one fair left to do this year. I will review the situation in the New Year. Seems I can’t write books because of my retinal migraines and I can’t produce crafts because I poison and aggravate my lungs with wood dust?

What next I ask myself. So far I haven’t come up with an answer. But I will.

Take care . . . and if you are sanding wood WEAR A DUST MASK! 20161201_111135

First Loves Never Die (Oh Yes They Do!)

So, last Thursday evening I trotted off to attend a two hour Christmas craft fair. Richard kindly drove me there, in fact, Richard now drives me everywhere since the retinal migraine attacks that started this time last year. He says he’d rather do that than have me driving. I feel that this has little to do with the fact that he wants to keep me safe and sound and more to do with the fact that he doesn’t want me to smash-up the car.

I’m not an evening person so toddling off to haul boxes into a village community centre and then attempt to display far too many ‘items’ on a six-foot table was no picnic I can tell you. I’m usually up at four/five in the morning and therefore expire rapidly by early evening.

I have to admit to getting really stressed about it all. As I said, the table wouldn’t hold all my stuff and Richard, sensing my stress, became even more useless than usual.

As soon as the boxes were out of the car and he’d attached the back boards to the table I told him to go. He’s lovely actually. He loads up the car, drives me to these event’s, unloads the car and hangs around a bit until I tell him I can manage and then he vamooses – faster than poo off a shovel. He won’t hang around. He hates it. He says he puts people off. This might be true, who knows.

By the time I’d arranged the table – still with far too much stuff – I was expiring like a marathon runner and had a ‘beetroot’ coloured glow to my face.

People trickled in through the entrance and we were away.

I buggered around trying to find labels that had somehow disappeared and only succeeded in upending a large cardboard box of cellophane bags all over the floor. By the time I raised my head, a couple and a small child stood at the table. Now, you have to understand that, as I said at the start of this, I am not an evening person (Lord knows what I was doing there really) so, I find it hard holding a polite, animated conversation in the evenings but . . .

I grinned and said ‘hello.’

The woman/girl, whatever, was turning a large heart over in her hand (that’s a wooden heart by the way, not the pulsing, bloody kind) and looked lovingly at her partner/husband, probably seeking his approval to fork out the £2.50 for the darn thing. In a moment of utter braveness she grinned and said she would like it. Jolly good. I toddled round to the front of the table and took it from her, blabbering on about some rot. She seemed to appreciate the small talk and I even engaged with the small child AND gave him a free ‘Magic Santa Key.’ I tell you, I’m all heart.

It wasn’t until they walked away, and I’d safely squirreled away the £2.50, that I took another look at them. Or, more to the point, took another look at the partner/husband.

There was something about him? That auburn hair curling on his collar. I waited until he turned, at a stall two tables down, and then I saw his face. I recognised that nose. It was a tad bigger – but then, a nose I knew twenty odd years ago would be bigger now, wouldn’t it? And his eyes, smaller, more lidded . . .but twenty odd years would do that, wouldn’t it? He opened his mouth to speak to the child and suddenly I knew. Dear God, it was an old-lover-type-person of mine. I think I actually said ‘shit!’ out loud. Jeez, he’d changed a bit. I hardly recognised him. Well time hadn’t been kind to him, had it? I think I actually giggled at that point.

He’d rounded the end of the room now and was heading back down the other side.

At this point another customer caught my attention and I engaged in conversation regarding my embossed stag pictures. She said her mother LOVED stags. Said her mother had them all over the house . . . so she purchased . . . the Embossed Rabbit.

Now’t as queer as folk.

By now my ex-lover had ridden off into the sunset with my heart – the wooden one.

I rearranged my display still deep in amused thought. I couldn’t believe how much he’d changed and how I didn’t recognise him when he’d stood at the table with his family. And then, suddenly, it occurred to me . . . bummer! I don’t think he’d recognised me either! Evidently I wasn’t the angel-on-horseback that I’d been back then. The two of us jogging over fields, my horse gaily tossing its mane, me gaily tossing my brown locks. Time had been just as crap to me!

This taught me a valuable lesson. Two in fact. One, don’t do evening craft fairs. Two, don’t do them in an ex’s village.

By the time Richard came to pick me up I was shattered. He drove like Lewis Hamilton all the way home with me rabbiting on about whatever – not the ex-lover of course – I’ve always been discreet, sort off.

As soon as my feet touched home the oven went on and we pigged out on oven chips, spaghetti hoops and cheesy scrambled egg.

And this is probably why HE didn’t recognise little porky-pig ME.

Take care x88317966

A Bit Like Writing A Novel?

So, I’ve been warbling on and on about this chicken shed that is no longer a chicken shed but now a craft shed and a few readers have queried what I’m actually doing in there. Some of my antics I can speak of – some not.

I’m joking.

If you remember I started by making plaques and hearts? I still have these in my ‘portfolio’ but I’m pretty sure I won’t be making many more of these. They were a tad like a rough copy and as I progressed I edited them a few times, finally deciding that as a stand-alone item they are fine but a sequel will not follow.

I can totally relate this ‘craft’ thing to writing a novel . . . or at least to the way I write a novel. I start at the beginning with an idea and then see what happens. Usually, my characters write the novel for me and at times I have to rein them back with a firm hand. The same can be said of my ‘crafting.’ I start with an idea and see what happens. Quite often, like the novel, I end up with something that surprises even me – and not always in a good way.

I have days where everything I touch is utter crap and I  sit there staring at the debris, listening to Ken Bruce on the radio and watching Chea cleaning her bottom, stretched out across my work area. I don’t mind because frankly I’m not using it.

Then there are days when things go well and for a while I’m chuffed with what I’ve produced. Unfortunately, I have always been my own worst enemy and critic and usually, by the next day, I’m back to thinking it could be better.

I am fortunate that we have a log burner in the lounge. This is my plan B for the wooden failures. See, I am practical.

I’m liking the direction in which I appear to be going . . . large, chunky fairy houses and embossed pictures. It’s a bit like starting out writing romance and ending up in the horror genre. I like using rough wood, recycled and brought back to life. I love the way each piece is different and responds uniquely to sanding and painting etc.

Apologies, I’m wittering as usual. I only popped on here to post some pictures of what I’ve recently produced. The pics’ aren’t great but I think it gives the general impression. See, if I blame the images you’ll believe the items are better than they look. Sneaky, hey?

So, for Malla, Elaine, Evelyn etc. here you go . . .

items-craft-2items-craft

Not The Adonis Kind

So . . . I guess I was only kidding myself that if I removed all chicken perches, nest boxes, feed and water containers etc. from the chucks summer-house it would help with the loss of my little feathered friends?

It seemed like a sound idea at the time and I have to admit that the summer-house does make a great ‘craft shed.’ It has changed beyond all recognition and now houses all things ‘crafty,’ including a few home comforts . . . two chairs, a radio/C.D. player, a heater and a small T.V. These items are not to be viewed as expensive luxuries, far from it, they were all kicking around the place and have been rounded up and herded into my shed. I did treat myself to a lovely little palm hand-sander and it works a treat, buzzing and sanding away in the early hours of the morning, sending clouds of wood dust up into the air and over the fence into the neighbour’s garden.

I might buy myself a little Workmate – the metal and wood kind – not the hard muscled, tanned, Adonis kind! I find the second kind highly overrated and frankly I’ll get more use out of the metal and wood kind. Well, I have always told you that I’m not ‘girlie,’ what more proof do you want?

I’ve become a tad side tracked here. Back to the point I was going to make.

At this time of the year I usually open the green wooden gate leading into the top of the garden, where the fruit and vegetables are grown, and the chucks are allowed in there. This year, as I stood at the gate and surveyed the yellowing courgette leaves and the fallen apple leaves it suddenly hit me – there would be no delighted clucks and frenzied scratching-up of dying leaves and the terribly unfair assault on all bugs great and small. I wouldn’t sit with the autumn sun, still warm on my face, sipping tea as I watched the antics of Rita Raptor and Mable. Wouldn’t watch as Chea stalked them, thinking that they hadn’t seen her hiding behind a bare gooseberry bush. These things are petty, I know. And silly, no doubt. But this is my life, you see. Little things please little minds.

The greenhouse is now empty, having produced a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. For some reason Richard stepped in and took great interest in watering them ‘correctly’ – obviously I have been doing this incorrectly for the last twenty-five years – and he takes full credit for the bumper crop. He said, ‘Monty (Monty Don, Gardeners’ World) said you have to water them like this. Flood them out and keep them wet.’

No comment.

Seemed to work though – until nearing the end of their growth spurt – then their leaves developed grey mould because they were growing in the equivalent of a paddy field.

They have now been pulled out and thrown in the compost bin. The borders have been dug over and Chea now delights in using both greenhouse borders as giant litter trays, digging out a huge bowl-shaped hole and squatting peacefully, relief all over her little tabby face. I’m not sure what effect this will have on next year’s crop? Or, even if I will eat tomatoes next year, all things considered.

I have to admit to simply standing at staring at the changing leaves, looking, to all intents, that I have lost the plot, or at least walked into the garden for a reason and then forgotten the reason. I can’t help it. I love the changing colours and the way the autumn sunshine accentuates them.

A few more weeks and the leaves will all have fallen, the garden will sleep through the darker, shorter days and it, and I, will wait for the spring. Then we will both start all over again – God willing.

Take Care x20161024_090353

How Can I Be Lonely With 3 Bats, A Spider And A Witch?

Hi

First, let me say how surprised I was at the response to my previous post – the loss of Rita Raptor and the heartbreaking episode of deciding to part with Mable. I thought everyone would laugh themselves half to death, after all, they were only chickens, but that didn’t happen. Everyone sympathised and understood. In fact, many of the comments made me at best, tear-up, and at worst, cry. I still miss them terribly but accept that I can’t continue to whine on and on about it so . . . I’ve attempted to move on – and this is how. . .

I told you that Richard had kindly dismantled all things ‘chicken’ in the summer-house and had taken it back to four walls, well, I decided to move all my junk off the kitchen table and into said summer-house. It was no longer going to be a chicken coop, a shrine to all that went before, it was now going to be a craft shed where I could make my er . . . crafts.

We (I) decided that the roof needed double skinning so that it was a bit warmer, with the winter coming and all, and he agreed, in theory, but when it came to lifting heavy MDF up above our heads and attempting to nail it to the ceiling the arguments started. He stood swaying under the weight and inconvenience of a 4’ x 8’ sheet of MDF stating that he couldn’t do it and I threw a wobbly and told him to forget the sodding thing and that I was going back to house and that I wouldn’t have a stupid craft shed. He calmed down and virtually begged me to let him attempt it again even though it was causing his two-year-old operation site in his shoulder, where they’d severed a tendon, great pain. Such a frigging hero!

Of course, I stropped a tad more and then we got on with it. We now have half of the roof double boarded, the other half is waiting for new M.D.F, that hasn’t even been ordered yet – but I’m sure we will get around to it.

I bought a few bits for in there – a clock, a blind (pinched 3 others from Richard’s shed) 2 lampshades, 3 bats (don’t ask) a huge black spider (don’t ask) and other crap that I’m pretty sure I didn’t and don’t need but I’m grieving and this kinda helps –  a bit.

I’m hoping to expand my range and go into other things to add to my portfolio, trouble is most of these ‘other things’ involve Richard getting out his Work Mate and rusting tools that hardly work, because he abuses them, and helping me. To be continued . . .

Some of you might think this is a lonely existence for me stuck a third of the way up the garden? It isn’t. I have a radio, CD player, head phones, a comfy chair for when I’m exhausted, a rocking chair for when I’m ‘rockin’,’ and a witch to keep me company. Obviously the witch isn’t real – though to be honest I do have my doubts. Sometimes, when I go into the shed first thing in the morning, she seems to be not ‘quite’ where I left her.

Some might say that I’ve lost the plot but how do you lose something you never had? Have to admit that I made a plaque this morning with a chicken on it and the wording ‘Go Chuck Yourself.’ I’ll leave you to form your own opinion and rescue the Quorn and potato pie from the oven. See, I still find time to cook proper food. Well, I figure Richard needs to keep up his energy levels if he is going to be of any use whatsoever? He’s kinda in favour at the moment because yesterday he bought me a lovely heater for my shed. He said I needed to keep warm in the winter. Frankly, I think he bought it to keep Chea warm in the winter  as she spends more time in the comfy chair than I do.

Again, thank you all for your kind words.

Take care x20160922_124747

And Then I Broke My Own Heart.

Hi

It’s been a while – again. I honestly do not know where the time and days go to. This year has flown by on even faster wings.

I blame it, in part, to Richard still being here. Not, you understand, ‘still being here’ as in I haven’t murdered him yet but as in he still hasn’t joined the great British work force and therefore drifts around the place cluttering up my day. He tells me there is ‘nothing out there.’ This I know is a lie. I think I told you I saw an opening, albeit seasonal, for a Father Christmas at a local store. He has the portly build and the rustic beard, though, to be honest, I do openly admit that he’d be hard pressed uttering the words “Ho Ho Ho” every 5 seconds. “Ho Ho Ho” on a regular basis he is not!

Not to worry, I’m finding him lots of lovely little jobs around the house. The latest was to take up the stair carpet, repaint all the woodwork, and supervise a new carpet being laid. We had an argument, of course, as to whether or not the radiators needed painting. I said, ‘Don’t be an idiot of course they do!’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t think they do.’ Now riddle me this . . . who do you think won this argument?

He tells me that he likes being here with me all day – every day. And what’s more he says it with a straight face. Perhaps there’s an actor’s job going somewhere?

This period of absence has also been down to the fact that I’ve had some sad news and a hard decision to make.

Rita Raptor, the chuck, became poorly, showing symptoms that I’ve seen before in the chucks that I’ve lost. Some days she was up and some days she was down. Then the down days extended until, finally, there were no up days and she stopped eating, drooped her little wings and closed her tired eyes. I’ve been struggling with the health of my hens for the last few years and I have now come to the conclusion that they must be finding something out in the garden that doesn’t agree with them. I have no idea what it could be. It certainly isn’t the conditions in which they are living under. My chuck cage and outside run is cleaner than a hospital operating theatre!

I knew from past, sad experience, that Rita wasn’t going to pull through so we took her to the vet who confirmed my fears and she was put to sleep. Richard and I didn’t speak coming home in the car. It’s hard to trust your voice when you have an emotional lump wedged in your throat.

This left Mabel.

We had been in this situation three times now – left with just one chicken – and each time we had rushed to the farm and brought another chuck home as company to the remaining hen. I wasn’t going to do that this time. The time had come to end all of this. Whatever was killing my chucks could not kill another. Mabel was the sweetest, tamest, loveliest hen you could ever find. She followed me around the garden like a doe-eyed puppy, coming instantly when I called her, always on the lookout for a little treat. For the next week we only shut Mabel in her summer-house at night to roost. During the day she spent time down at the house, having a few treats and being allowed to scratch in the ‘forbidden’ part of the garden.

After a week I did something that broke my own heart. I took her to the local animal sanctuary, two miles from here. I couldn’t keep her on her own, I couldn’t risk getting another, and I couldn’t accept her going the same way as the others.

She didn’t utter a chirrup all the way there, just sat patiently in Chea’s cat basket watching the world go by the car window. When we got to the sanctuary the girl let her out of the basket and they gave her a quick health check. They remarked that she was in excellent condition and in return she clucked and blinked and then started to ‘talk’ to me – ‘chicken’ people will know exactly what I mean. I imagined the dear soul saying, ‘I’ve enjoyed my little trip out . . . can we go home now?’

They asked if we wanted to see where she was going . . . with three other chucks and a cockerel. We didn’t. I couldn’t. She would have to battle while she found her place within the pecking order and I would be tempted to scoop her up into my arms and bring her home and treat her with a bit of cooked pasta that I had in the fridge.And besides, they would witness two grown adults crying over a chicken.

We left her there, still ‘talking’ to me, and we walked away.

Richard dismantled the nest boxes, perches, dividing partition and stored away the feed and water containers. I won’t have any more chucks here.

The garden is like a tomb . . . as quiet as the grave. I miss them terribly. I stand and watch the sunlight spearing down through the shrubs into the undergrowth and I can see them. I am stupid. I know that. They were only chickens. Nothing THAT important. But I can’t convince myself of that . . . not yet . . . and knowing me, not ever. So, you see, I chose to break my own heart. Yep, stupid. Really stupid.

20160419_082554

 

Take care all x

Not dead . . . just taking time out

Hi

No, I’m not dead . . . just taking time out to smell the roses, consider this and that, and generally make up my mind on my next steps.

I’m pretty sure that the ‘writing’ has reached an end. This is not down to my lack of interest in it or to the lack of ideas whizzing around in my head but more to the fact that my health issues won’t allow it. Any amount of excessive scrolling – as in editing etc – totally upsets my head and vision. This, to my detriment, I have learnt. Also, the medication that I’m taking in an attempt to keep these debilitating retinal migraines away leaves me brain-dead and I can sit for minutes . . . and minutes . . .  trying to figure out how to spell a certain word. Usually something massively complicated like, ‘more’ or ‘need.’

I have long learnt that you can’t fight the inevitable and that often that ‘inevitable’ is steering you away into other directions. So, I will never say never, but for now, and for the foreseeable future, the writer in me has retired.

Having said this I do have other ‘irons in the fire.’

We are now looking at moving to Lincolnshire. This is a very new W.I.P and may or may not happen, so for now I’ll shut up about it, other than to say if anyone has a lovely little detached property in south Lincs, stuck in the middle of a field, please let me know. It has to be detached because as I said to Richard the other day ‘I’m sick of yelling at you and the neighbours hearing every word.’ My quest in life is to berate him in private.

Also, after my toe~dipping~into~the~water episodes with the craft fairs, I’ve decided to do more. Not with the books but with ‘pretty’ little bits and bobs – painted hearts and plaques etc. It occupies my mind, keeps me off Richard’s case, and fills that creativity spot in my being that not writing leaves void. I have seven fairs booked so far. It may all end in tears and an attic full of crap but hey-ho there you go.

Dear Richard is going for a job interview tomorrow!!!! I should at this point begin my own Mexican wave or high-five Chea, but frankly I’ll miss him when he is back in the workplace. I can’t remember what it’s like to plug-in the vac and the lack of washing up liquid on my hands has left them as smooth as silk –  well, OK, maybe not as smooth as silk because I’m always scratching around in the garden.

So, directions change. Things move on. This is me now. Tomorrow I could be something else. But as I said to Richard, ‘I think we still have one or two adventures left in us.’

The moving thing is massively emotional. My garden is perfect (don’t mean to sound big-headed) and we have twenty-five years of little passed-on souls buried out there. The house is as we want it and we have a bit of money in the bank. We are comfortable. But, like the writer I am (was) I imagine other scenarios. And besides, ‘comfortable’ is overrated if you ask me?

We will see. I tend to trust in the heavens.

For now I’ll paint my little hearts and do-dahs and drop into crafty mode. Tomorrow, as I say, could be a whole new ball game.

Sending lots of love to you all.

x20160718_130505

 

Something I Haven’t Mentioned Until Now. . .

Someone asked me the other day how Little and Flight (the chucks) were doing? I grimaced a bit and then had to admit that they weren’t doing very well at all – in fact, they both died in March.

I haven’t told you this until now, mainly because it was very upsetting.

Flight became intermittently poorly – one day OK and the next day not so OK – Yes, I do know that is the meaning of intermittent! She would be as bright as a button for a day or two, eating every bug in sight and destroying the garden, and then take herself off into the shrubbery and sit hunched and sick-looking.

There was little point in taking her to the vet, this I have learnt with previous chucks. The treatment is either antibiotics, that never work, or missing that stage altogether and going straight in for the kill.

One Sunday morning she didn’t want to come out of her bed and from under the heat lamp, and during the morning she slipped into a coma. Around four in the afternoon she drifted peacefully away.

She was a lovely chuck, not as tame and forthcoming as Flight but beautiful. I never grew tired of watching her scratching around on the lawn with the sun on her feathers. She shone blue in the sunshine.

We then had the awful problem of being left with one chuck. Everyone will tell you one chicken is a no-no and it’s true. They, like many other creatures are flock/herd animals and they need the companionship of others.

We decided, in our infinite wisdom, to pop to the farm down the road and pick up a friend for her. Little was a kind soul, originally being hen-pecked and at the bottom of the pecking order, a bit of a runt really so we had little worry about her accepting a new friend.

There wasn’t a great deal of choice, but we weren’t looking for something to ring whistles and bells just a dear companion for Little, someone to help her over her grief of losing her best friend. We chose a Red Island Red cross Light Sussex and hurried home.

We placed the newbie in the chuck house, partitioned off from each other, but still able to see one another. After several hours, and everything going swimmingly, we decided to carefully introduce them to each other.

The newbie approached Little looking really jolly and happy. Little, dear, sweet, Little, raised her head as tall as a giraffe, leapt into the air and attacked the newbie. For seconds we stood in shocked silence as Little dealt blow after blow on the newbie, until finally the newbie struck back, catching Little on her comb and drawing blood. By this time we were moving and I grabbed Little.

After this the newbie was named Rita Raptor.

Over a period of a few days they had short sessions of ‘almost’ contact with each other, with me standing between them like an on-guard sentry. It was around Rita Raptors fifth day that we noticed Little not being quite right. It was at this point that I realised I had made a grave mistake in thinking that Flight had died from something peculiar to herself. Obviously they both had it. She deteriorated overnight and I wasn’t prepared to watch her die slowly so we took her to the vet, and she put her to sleep.

I was bitterly upset. Yes, I know. She was just a chicken. But my chucks are not just chucks and Little was a sweet girl.

So, we now had the same problem . . . one chuck on its own. Fortunately the chucks’ cage is a summer house, divided down the centre, so Little and Rita had, in fact, been kept separate. We crossed everything that we had and prayed that the Raptor hadn’t picked up the disease.

We scrubbed everything in sight – ten times – even though the chuck house is cleaner than some hospitals – and then, after a week, fetched another chuck for Rita. This was Mabel.

Mabel dealt Rita Raptor a swift peck to the head and that was that. Rita accepted instant defeat and all was well.

They are like my permanent shadows. Originally they were both quite timid with me, but I have a trick . . . it’s called ‘corn in the pocket.’ Once Rita knew there was a supply of corn in my pocket – and if she came to me she would get some – we were away. Now I can’t appear without them tearing down the garden and wrapping themselves around my feet. I’m always tripping over them or standing on their toes. They don’t seem to mind.

I still miss Flight and Little.

So, now you know. My girls have gone. I sometimes imagine I see them, a quick flash of blue in the undergrowth, where the sun slants through – and who knows, perhaps I do. I like to think so. Rita and Mabel are sweet and friendly and funny but time hasn’t dulled the memories of Little and Flight just yet and so, for now, Rita and Mabel will have to remain towards the bottom of my pecking order.

20151017_132915

 

Take care x

Sane Dogs And Mad Englishmen

So . . . we were driving back from somewhere the other day and there, as we navigated a bend on a country road, coming towards us on the opposite side was . . . another one!

Immediately, the non-canine person might be forgiven for thinking, ‘Oh, how cute. Look at the sweet little doggie running along at the side of its owner. The doggie is almost going as fast as the mobility scooter.’

Yep, that’s it. A rare, hot, sunny day in good old Leicestershire and Mr Idiot is letting his dog gallop along on the verge at the side of his mobility scooter. Mr Idiot is loving the boiling hot midday sun because Mr Idiot is wearing shorts and a sleeveless vest and the speed at which he is going is wafting a lovely warm breeze across his face.

Now let’s pan to Mr Idiot’s dog.

Buster isn’t doing quite as well. Not enjoying it quite as much. Why? Because the fricking dog is wearing a fur coat! With tongue lolling, almost to the point of tripping him up, Buster is doing his best to keep up. Truth be known the poor dog probably thinks he’s enjoying it.

This, frankly, sends me into orbit.

Why do people do it?

DON’T.

It’s cruel.

Have they ever seen a dog die of heat stroke and/or exhaustion? I have and it isn’t pretty – or necessary.

If it’s too hot for YOU to gallop along a grass verge, or a pavement in the midday sun wearing a fur coat, then it’s too hot for the DOG. Duh!

And I won’t even start on dogs left in cars.

Well, actually, I might. Not exactly on dogs left in cars, because everyone should be aware of that major shitty act, but on dogs carried in hatchbacks – you know – the space behind the backseat. It seems safe enough – but trust me, it isn’t.

We were on our way to the coast once and we passed an elderly couple, pulled over into the layby, struggling to get their collapsed chocolate Labrador out of the back space in the car. The dog’s head lolled as they lifted it. These people had probably, in all innocence, travelled with their beloved pet safe in the ample luggage space, and even had the car windows slightly open, but the hot sun through the back window had taken its toll. It would have been like sitting in a greenhouse.

I have to admit to feeling a tad sorry for them because it could well have been an innocent mistake. It ruined my holiday and the memory and vision of that dog, head hanging, unconscious or dead, haunts me to this day. I like to think that it was merely unconscious, that they got it to a vet in time, and that all was well, but I might be viewing the episode through rose-tinted glasses. Being an ex veterinary surgeon’s wife I tend to recognise death when I see it.

So that’s my moan. My rant. My pet peeve . . . literally.

I apologise if this offends anyone but, sorry, you will have to remain offended. This matters. Our pets deserve not to suffer at the hands of ignorance. There is no reason why dogs can’t be walked in the cool of the early morning or evening. They don’t need to be galloped at midday.

I have already seen three posts on Facebook this month where dead dogs have been taken from cars, and today a post where a woman was dragging her dead dog through the streets of London. I don’t know the details of that one so I will say no more . . .

This year I shall keep the R.S.P.C.A on speed dial . . . though, they might not be all they are cracked-up to be at times?

Take care xx

P.S. I do NOT have a problem with people who rely on mobility scooters to get around – at least, not genuine cases. In fact, a very nice man drives past my house now and then with his Yorkshire terrier – IN THE BASKET. 071

Opps! I did it again!

So . . . this is what I did . . .

I’d decided, in my infinite wisdom, to take my wares to the wider public. This took the form of yours truly booking a country fair and a village craft fair to sell my children’s books.

I made up a few packs with other crafted bits and bobs, namely, colouring sheets and crayons, colouring shapes and crayons and swing labels – all characters from the Bucket Head the Scarecrow book. Richard also kindly made me some fridge magnets based on the same characters.

Armed with all of the above we set off.

First impressions of the country fair set-up were encouraging. A lovely green field situated at the side of a country church, the one, by the way, where generations of my family are buried, including the ashes of my parents. This was strangely comforting, like I was amongst family. I guess I was, even if they were all dust. I digress . . .

Richard help me set up – he never stays. He hates the things, saying that he thinks he puts people off. This may be true. There are times when I think he puts people off – especially me. He toddled off to the car with a few cakes and a Land Rover magazine and settled in for the duration. He had his phone handy so that he could pop back if I rang to say that I needed the loo, but as it happened I didn’t need to disturb him because the lady next to me looked after the stall for me when I took a trudge to the toilet cubicle.

After about an hour, and just before the fair opened, a migraine kicked in – and the wind started rattling the tent flaps and a few stall holders had to run after their produce that was fast racing towards the head stones. I anchored down Bucket Head, took two paracetamol with caffeine, and waited for the promised thousands.

They did, in fact, arrive, BUT 50% of the promised thousands only came for the dog show and another 30% only came for the kiddie rides, which left, by my reckoning, 20% of visitors who trickled round the craft tent.

No worries. The caffeine had kicked in a bit (I don’t drink coffee and so the slightest sniff of caffeine bucks me up no end) so I crept out from behind the stall and attempted to be nice. This I find extremely difficult. I’m a practising recluse in real life and so ‘talking-up’ my books doesn’t come easy and consequently my expression looks more like a grimace than a smile. After a while the pinned-on smile actually hurts my face and I’m a hair’s breadth from giving it a hard slap to make it work properly. I think this may put off one or two people – especially the protective mother brigade. Talking of which . . .

This lovely couple approached and she picked up the Bucket Head book. I applied the smile and dived in. I mean, how hard could it be? Other people can hold nonsensical conversations and thereby secure sales. I could see that she was heavily pregnant and she wore that ‘today’ style of a short top ending at the top of her bump. Her husband smiled lovingly at her as she flipped through the book and I blurted, ‘Oh, yes! You are definitely going to be needing that book – I can see that.’ I nodded and grinned at baby bump.

She didn’t raise her eyes from the book and calmly said, ‘No, I’m starting a teacher training course next month. No babies for me for a few years.’

She closed the book, replaced it, smiled, and walked away.

How the hell was I to know that she was just overweight? You can’t win them all, and anyway, she shouldn’t walk around with her rotund belly exposed. I’m not a bloody mind reader . . . and frankly I’m an even worse seller-of-books. Also, I have to admit to my faux pas not being rarities. I’ve made some blinders in my time. Far too embarrassing to mention here.

The other stall holders were very disappointed with their takings for the day, well, all except the man in the corner selling 3D notebooks and cards because I bought loads for Jake and Grace! Richard appeared at packing up time and we cleared off home with me promising, in my own mind, that I would NEVER . . . EVER do another stupid fair.

Last Saturday I went to another.

It was already booked – as I mentioned at the start. This time I produced my ‘secret    weapon,’ in the form of Jake, my grandson.

I’m pretty sure that people don’t like the look of me. I think I look unapproachable. Jake, on the other hand, does not look unapproachable. He looks adorable. His little face beamed through the display and there was no choice but to speak to him and then off he went . . .’I’ve read both of my grandma’s books. I like Bucket Head the best. It’s really good – and she did all the illustrations herself.’

In fact, although this fair still hasn’t made me a ‘famous author’ it did provide me with some sales, a lovely, permanent memory of Jake’s total enthusiasm and support and . . . it was only three hours in duration. . .  AND there were no half-naked, fat bellied woman . . . so, win win, hey?

I may wait until a bit nearer to Christmas before I ‘do’ another. It’ll take that long for my face to stop aching but I WILL BE BACK, and hopefully I’ll be back with my little secret weapon.

Take care x20160530_100154