No News Is Good News . . .Isn’t It?

When I first started blogging, back in the dark ages, I seemed to have a lot to say and managed to say it on a pretty regular basis. This, does not appear to be the case these days, hence a spasmodic blogging pattern has formed – here one day, gone for a week – or more.

I think if this was a blog dealing with the subjects of writing, publishing, self-promotion etc. I’d be banging out my opinions 3 or 4 times a week – but it isn’t. Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I’m a published author. And yes, I’ve done (or attempted to do) my own bit of self-publication. I say ‘attempted’ because I am utter crap at it. Some people could sell coal in a heat wave. Not me. I’m useless. So, this is not one of those blogs.

This blog is grounded on nothing more than life – and living it and, as we all know, there are going to be times when nothing exciting, humorous or interesting etc. happens. They’ll be times when life ticks over. Nothing good. Nothing bad. Nothing to interest anyone. And, to be honest, I’d rather bring something to raise spirits, rather than drop people into pits of misery. Don’t get me wrong I can do ‘misery’ and what’s more I’m extremely good at it. I could have you snivelling into your porridge in seconds. But that isn’t me, is it? Yes, I also ‘do’ digressing very well too . . . sorry.

So, because nothing much of interest has been happening I’ve been rather absent of late – absent as in ‘not here’ not as in absent-minded.

I’ve recently gone rather mad (I know you find this hard to believe) and started taking the house to pieces. Walls have been stripped. Paper replaced.Furniture moved up stairs – only to be moved back downstairs after I’ve slept on it. Not literally. Just lived with it overnight and decided it looked crap – more crap (crappier?) than it did when it was downstairs. New furniture has been purchased. Tables stained. Items in cupboards have been changed round – Richard can find nothing. It’s like a major O.C.D. spring clean.

The last thing on this particular agenda (they’ll be another shortly) was the tidying of the top drawer in the kitchen. This drawer has been tidied recently but I happened to notice that Richard had placed the Sellotape dispenser in the wrong place. Yes, I’m a freak – but you knew that.

So . . . with Richard skulking in the background I set about lifting out the drawer and manically tidying. When I came to refit the door, back on its runners, I found that I couldn’t close it. The drawer below is full of ‘packaging’ material, padded envelopes for Richard’s playing cards (his new little internet business) and all things paper. He watched me struggling to shut the drawer and this, along with the fact that there was an envelope rammed at the back, all screwed up, made me snatch it up, shake it at him and yell, ‘look, you’ve put too many bloody envelopes in here and now I can’t shut the drawer! Why do you have to put so many in here?’ He said nothing. Actually he did open his mouth but I think he thought objection was pointless. He knows when I’m ‘on one’ it’s usually best just to hang his head and accept defeat. I threw the creased envelope on the floor and rammed the drawer back in. It still wouldn’t close. I rammed it in again and it still wouldn’t close. ‘There must be more bloody envelopes down the back of it!’ I yelled, and pulled it half way back out. At this point a tabby front leg and hooking paw shot out from behind the back of the drawer.

My first reaction was . . . ‘what the f**k’ followed instantly by ‘what the f**k it’s Chea . . . I’ve squashed her.’ Naturally I yanked out the door and screamed, ‘you stupid cat how the hell did you get in there?’ I think when we are terrified we often over react by attacking? With my heart thudding I watched as she bellied out, shook herself and blinked.

From across the kitchen Richard stupidly said, ‘didn’t you know she was in there?’

‘Of course I did,’ I said, throwing up my arms, ‘I thought I’d just try to squash her for the fun of it!’ I was still in over reacting, attacking mode.

With Chea out of the drawer it slid back in like melting butter and after my heart had returned to normal, and Chea looked none the worse for her squashing, I had to apologise to Richard for saying that he had overloaded the envelope drawer.

Chea has turned into the nicest cat that anyone could wish for and, other than her ridiculous fascination, as a young cat, with climbing to the top of conifers and being too scared to come down, she doesn’t really do life-threatening stunts. I’d like to think that she has learnt a lesson but I fear not. This morning, as I rammed a few jigsaw puzzles and game boards into the pine chest in the bedroom, she was breaking her neck to push past my hand and slip into the chest for another adventure.

And this, my friends, is really all I have been up to just now . . .

Take care and watch out for pussies in your drawers!20170203_105745

 

http://jennieorbell.com/books/

Keep Breathing. It’ll All Be Fine.

So, the Ho Ho Ho’s have subsided for another year. Food, that is hard to place into any worthwhile food group, has been noshed, digested, and forgotten about. The decorations have been banished to the attic (they don’t usually survive Boxing Day but this year I was ‘more in the spirit’ and they remained until New Year’s Eve). Christmas, and 2016, is now firmly behind me.

I’ve heard so many people say that 2016 was their worst year . . . ever and, yes, I also had a few downers.

Richard took redundancy this time last year and is still cluttering up my day and my life. I fear he will never go back to work. Though, to be honest, he is now running a little internet thingy selling playing cards and it is meeting with some small success. Then, I had those awful retinal migraines start-up this time last year. I won’t pretend that I’m not terrified that they will recur but, other than chopping off my head, I am at a loss of what to do to prevent it happening? I also lost the chucks. I have resisted having more. I would love to restock but I dare not. I miss them dreadfully. So, yes, shit happened but you know what, that’s life. Shit does happen. We just have to put it behind us and move on . . . and that’s what I’m doing/have done . . .

I’ve welcomed this year with open arms. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, or mind-blowing. I don’t have to find gold hidden beneath the compost heap, or sell a million books on Amazon – though, let’s be truthful here, a few would be nice.  All I truly ask is that this year is a little kind to me. If loved ones are kept safe. If I can go on appreciating the simple things in life (I don’t necessarily mean Richard). Then this coming year won’t disappoint and I dare not ask for more.

I will have my fists raised in times of anguish, times when life deals a nasty blow, and I will do my best to battle through. I might win the fight. I might not. But I will attempt to – always.

So, what have I done so far this year? Well, I’ve tidied and rearranged my kitchen cupboards. I have, with the help of my darlin’ grandson, Jake, moved and pulled out all the twiggy stuff from the two compost heaps. I have scattered compost on the newly sorted flower area. Now that the chucks are no more I have every scrap of garden back and can grow anything, anywhere. I have baked small cakes for the freezer and 3 large fruit cakes for . . . me.  I have accompanied Richard to buy a new chain saw, risky I know, all things considered but the old one expired and what is the use of a log burner without logs?

Frankly, I’m amazed that the old one (a cheap B and Q version) lasted as long as it did, almost ten years. It had been terribly abused. On one occasion Richard had a leaping up-and-down-in-the-air tantrum and threw the poor thing into the ground, still running. He’s not safe with anything mechanical.

This time I decided that it was time he bought something better – I worked on the principle that if it cost a small fortune he would respect it more. Of course, it would also do the job easier and better. So a new Stihl saw was purchased and Richard, being Richard, had to try it the second we got home.

We had an all-out screaming session because he didn’t have any protective clothing and wanted to do his usual thing and just ‘wing’ it. He isn’t allowed to use a chainsaw without me present. I mean, if the daft bugger chops off his leg how the hell am I going to get that into a freezer bag with ice cubes, and then get him, on one bleeding stump, and a leg in a bag, down the garden? So, I am ALWAYS present. I insist on it, even though I merely stand there until logs are cut and then load them into the barrow. On this, the first attempt with the super-duper saw he shouted, above the noise, ‘where are you?’

‘Here!’ I shouted back, standing up from tickling Chea.

‘Move to the left a bit,’ he shouted, ‘you need to shield the greenhouse from anything that might fly that way.’

See? This is why I’ve purposely run out of ice cubes and binned the large freezer bags.

He has now ordered the whole protective ensemble from eBay. The hat, face shield, pants with braces, gloves etc. They don’t come until Friday so the little wood-cutter is redundant till then. And that’s that – the start of my year.

So . . . having written the first blog of the year and added it to my list of ‘things accomplished’ I’m off to make the fire and eat half a fruit cake! The healthier eating has started but I figure fruit cake is OK. After all, fruit is good for you, right?

Happy New Year All.

It might not be perfect but keep breathing and we will all make it out the other side.

Take Care xximages

Quick . . . Get The Sink Plunger!

So, call me suspicious but when the normal pattern isn’t followed I DO become suspicious.

You see, the ‘normal’ morning pattern for me is to be toddling around the place when Richard comes down. Sometimes, I’m sitting at the kitchen table on the laptop. Sometimes I’m splashing water around in the sink, pretending to be washing stuff. Richard shuffles through the door and says, ‘hello, babe, you OK?’

How sweet, you might think, what a lovely bloke, until I tell you that he’s talking to Chea, the cat. Babe responds with a kitty trill and receives a tickle between the ears. (She’d also receive a kitty treat if I hadn’t banned him from giving her treats. She almost broke the scales at the vets when she had her booster last month). I, meanwhile, tap away on the laptop or continue splashing water.

Sometimes we grunt at each other. These days that passes for, ‘good morning light of my life, how are you on this fine morning?’

This morning the ‘normal’ pattern wasn’t followed, even Chea didn’t get her tickle between the ears. I was at the sink, actually washing his wine glass that he’d left from the night before.

He sidled up to me and said, ‘could you do me a favour?’

Now, this comment, linked to the fact that I never receive the first words out of his mouth of a  morning, coupled with the fact that he was still in his dressing gown, concerned me slightly.

‘Depends what it is,’ I said, looking him up and down.

‘Could you look in my ear and tell me if there’s anything in it? It’s full of wax.’

‘If it’s full of wax it’s full. If it’s full – by the very meaning of the word – you can’t have anything else in it.’ Cleaver hey?

‘You know what I mean,’ he said, tugging at his earlobe.

I took a glance at his ear. ‘I can’t see anything. Go and fetch a torch.’

With torch in hand I peered into a hairy orifice.

‘Well, what is it?’ he said.

I was seriously tempted to tell him that he had a bug in it and that it would work its way to his brain (hard journey) and that he would walk in circles for the rest of his life. (I’d  once seen this on a wildlife documentary when it had happened to a poor wildebeast) but I didn’t.

‘Wax, just wax, why do you let them get to this stage?’

‘What!’ he shouted. ‘I can’t hear you.’

Idiot.

I made him sit at the table, with his head tilted, and reached for the olive oil – I might add my super-duper extra, extra, extra virgin olive oil. I tipped some into a teaspoon and trickled it into his ear. Then I massaged it – quite hard – because it pleased me to do so.

‘There you go, we’ll put oil in every day till it softens and then we’ll take it from there.’ I reckon I can probably find some kind of suction device, a bit like a sink plunger, and have a go with that. That’ll soon get Mr Naughty Ear Wax out!  I tell you. My life rocks.

He stood up and walked away, with his little head still on the side, in the search for a bit of cotton wool to stop the oil leaking out. I put my precious olive oil back in the rack and then, realised, as my precious olive oil was already there, that I’d actually filled his ear with an extremely cheap cooking oil.

Never mind, as long as he doesn’t sit with that side of his head next to the wood burner tonight he’ll be OK. Wouldn’t want him to fry his brain . . . would I?

I’m now going to take this opportunity to wish all my readers/followers/friends/those who only read my blog posts because they think I am crazy/sick/mental blah, blah, blah,               A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS. I wish you peace, happiness and love, whether that comes from making new memories or reliving old ones. I’ll be having a quiet Christmas with Richard  – and Richard will be having an even quieter one – because he has wax in his ears and cannot hear!

Bless you all xxx

santa

Cracked It! No Glittered Pussy This Year

So, that’s it! The last craft fair is under my belt. The remaining items are sorted, boxed, and stored away until next year. Unfortunately, the ‘storage’ area is the bottom of one of my wardrobes. This means that anything over shirt length is creased and rammed towards the back of the wardrobe. No worries. I’m going to sort through everything again and fill some charity bags.

I tidied these wardrobes earlier in the year and still ended up with hangers full of crap. Too ‘small’ crap. Too ‘busy’ crap. Too ‘boring’ crap. Too ‘plain’ crap. Put simply – crap. So, I am going to be lethal.

Boots and shoes are not escaping the clear-out either. In fact, if anyone would like a free pair of short, brown boots (Clarks – 6) with a small heel, let me know. They have been on my feet once – for ten minutes. Plantar fasciitis now prevents me from wearing anything with a heel. I’m such a poor sod – falling apart at the seams really. These days I only look trendy when in the garden and wearing wellies.

Anyway, that’s that.

The last craft fair was at my local library. The staff were lovely and the event quite successful. In fact, I’m popping a couple of my books down there this morning. Yes, little ‘backwards at coming forwards’ me! I actually enquired if they took self-published books and the chief librarian was most accommodating so . . . I’m starting small and just letting them have ‘Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat’ (that actually isn’t self-published – but a minor detail) and ‘Witch Ever Way You Look At It.’ That should be sufficient to scare the natives into insanity and have them all diving into the depths of The National Forest for a bit of calming tree hugging.

With the left-over craft items stored away and the wardrobes thinned to baldness I shall be happy. These little things do make me happy. Tidiness. Knowing where everything is. I have even addressed the irritating problem of the glittery Christmas tree.

If you remember, I bought the beautiful, silver glittery tree a couple of years ago? The first year it had a major shed of glitter like some poor dog with a serious attack of mange. We wore glitter everywhere – very seasonal but mega embarrassing, especially when you got home and realised that you’d stood chatting to someone in Morrison’s check-out queue with silver glitter on your chin.

The second year it shed less, but even so poor Chea was ridiculed by the neighbourhood cats as she happily, and unknowingly, trotted down the garden path with sparkly ears and twinkly tail, where she’d rubbed beneath the tree.

This year I have sussed it and the bloody tree is outside, in the back porch thingy. It can be seen from inside the house BUT it doesn’t shed glitter everywhere. This year there will be no glitter on my pussy . . . bless her little heart.

So, off to do a tad more tidying, starting with Richard’s slippers. They have expanded like large boats on his feet and I can hear him coming from one end of the house to the other, shuffling along like Frankenstein’s monster. Yesterday he caught the side of the right slipper under the door and almost went arse over topknot. This is three days after missing the bottom two stairs and crumbling into the hall. I was drinking my tea in bed at the time and came very near to scalding myself when I burst into hysterics. What is it that is so hilarious about someone falling over? Anyway, he’s just buggered off to his mother’s now so the slippers will be in the bin when he returns. I call it an act of kindness?

Take care x

http://jennieorbell.com/books/shop/

20161205_073810

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.

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Take care all x