Loving Words In The Bedroom?

Hi All

You know, as much as I try, sometimes I just have to admit defeat and have an embarrassingly early night. This mega dose of beta blocker stuff, prescribed to prevent my horrendous migraines, has the unwelcome side effect of zonking me out.

Friday night was such a night but, as always happens, once I get into bed I’m awake and buzzing with the bees, so it made sense to watch a bit of TV. The programme of choice was The Incredible Hulk. I’ve seen it before but it was mindless, not requiring much thought to follow the plot and so exactly what I needed.

As it was coming to an end, Richard toddled up to bed. He is what I consider to be a lucky person – he drops easily and instantly into sleep mode whilst in the bathroom brushing his teeth. This I envy. Massively. Usually he drifts across the bottom of the bed in a semi-coma. It’s not a pretty sight so I don’t usually look. Friday night was different. Richard spoke. This is what he said …

‘Chea is very loose. I’ve just had to remove a sloppy pooh from her tray.’MH900084366

Alarm bells always ring whenever Richard reports anything to do with the health of an animal. It’s like he sees things differently – or not at all. I remember one time when a sweet little hedgehog appeared on the lawn looking worse for wear, half trapped in bean netting. I removed the cutting twine from it and placed it in a large plastic container and set this above a slight heat source. The following morning, as Richard was about to go to work at 5.am, I shouted down, ‘Is the hedgehog alive?’

‘Yes,’ he shouted back and closed the door behind him. He’s not a morning person!

My heart soared. Yes! I’d saved it. Whoop woo. I hurried down and dashed out to the shed where the little creature had spent the night, threw open the door, mashed-up dog meat in my hand – and this dreadful smell hit me. As I approached the container the smell became worse. Peering in through the side of the container I could see movement but it wasn’t the hedgehog. The little creature was covered from head to foot in writhing maggots. Baby hedgehog was dead.

I never trusted Richard’s assessment/judgement of pretty much anything after that. He tried to explain it by saying that he’d viewed it from the door and that it must have been the maggots moving that he saw and not the hedgehog breathing.

So …back to the ‘Chea’ report.

‘How sloppy?’ I said, missing the concluding part of the film that I’d been watching for the last two hours. I hate it when that happens. You know what I mean don’t you? You’ve watched something almost to the twist at the end and then a car pulls up outside and a visitor turns up. I hate unsolicited visitors. Hate them. People need to make an appointment…

‘Quite sloppy,’ he said, dropping into bed, making it rock.

‘But HOW sloppy?’ I insisted. ‘Give me a clue.’

‘Like cream I suppose.’

‘Cream? Cream? What kind of cream?’

He yawned at this point. I told you. He’d have closed down before the toothbrush left his mouth!

‘Like the cream you put in the Victoria sandwiches,’ he added, yawning again. I also HATE it when people yawn and don’t make an attempt to cover their orifices!

‘Well, there’s single cream that we sometimes pour over the cake and then there’s double cream that I whip-up and put inside the cake. Which is it?’

‘Oh God, I don’t know,’ he said, looking like he was sitting in the black chair on Mastermind.’ I guess it was like the stuff you put inside the cake.’

‘Double cream, then?’

‘Yes, I think so …if that’s what you put inside the cake.’

‘I do! I‘ve just said so, haven’t I?’

‘Well, yes then. Double cream. Chea is shitting stuff the consistency of double cream …like you put inside the cakes you make…OK … because I’m tired and I’m going to sleep.’

I did a bit of heavy breathing and humphed a bit but there was no point, he’d gone to la la land. I was left all alone, in the dark, with a storm raging outside the bedroom window, trying to figure out what Chea might have had contact with, to give her diarrhoea, and to wonder if there was a chicken breast left in the freezer for the morning.

I dashed down at 5 am to check on her, only to be met by a pile of sick, with grass in it, and Chea hurriedly scratching cat litter over a pool of pooh. And do you know what? On this occasion I have to hold up my hands and admit that Richard was, indeed, right. It was the consistency of double cream! No strawberry jam though, ha ha.

I don’t think I’ll be making cake today …I’ve kinda put myself off …

 

cat

Take care my lovelies x

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Convenient Amnesia And Too Much Top And Tailing.

Hi All,

OK, riddle me this. How does someone (Richard) remove the electric blanket from the bed and with it the mattress protector and then not know what he’s done with the said mattress protector? How is that possible?

We had a new mattress delivered the other day. We change them frequently, every two or three years. When I stripped off the old bed I realised that the mattress protector was missing and when I questioned (grilled) Richard about it, he said he didn’t know what he’d done with it when he’d removed the electric blanket. How can you not know what you’ve done with it? He said that perhaps it was in the bag with the electric blanket, so whilst he was at work I attempted to track it down. No luck. When he came home I asked him again what he’d done with it.

‘I don’t know,’ he said.

‘Of course you know,’ I bellowed.  ‘You can’t lose a sodding king size mattress protector. It’s hardly a handkerchief!’

Apparently that wasn’t true – because he had lost it. So I said, ‘YOU’VE thrown it away so YOU can go to the shop and get a new one before the new mattress arrives.’

As you know, his mum, Betty, is still in hospital so instead of fetching a mattress protector after work he beetled off to see her. That night the new mattress was unprotected.

The following morning I stropped off to get one myself and had to fill in the shop assistant with the whole story of the previously lost one. I said I needed to get one on quickly because there was every chance that I’d be stabbing Richard whilst he slept if he didn’t stop denying doing things and I didn’t want to get blood on the new mattress. She looked slightly disturbed as she handed me my purchase. You know the look? The one that involves flitting eyes and a mouth that doesn’t quite smile but twitches uneasily?

He still denies throwing it away but can’t remember what he did with it! He’s probably ripped it into cloths to polish stupid Betsy Land Rover! Talking of which, the poor old girl has been deserted since breaking down at work. Richard has emptied the petrol tank and as soon as he gets a minute he needs to replace it. The visits to his mum are endless and tiring – both physically and mentally. It gives us little time for other things. Although, yesterday, Richard went to see her on his own and I stayed here to finish off the jam making.HPIM3056

I couldn’t leave the blackcurrants any longer. They were, as they say, ripe for the picking. I made that in the morning and then, whilst the chucks were out, I picked the gooseberries and turned those into jam in the afternoon – after spending an hour and a half top and tailing them. What a mindless task.

Still, it’s done now. Blackcurrant jam. Gooseberry jam. And gooseberry and ginger jam. I may have over done the sugar on the gooseberry jam. It did seem rather a lot and it tastes like pure sugar with a bit of a gooseberry flavour thrown in as an afterthought. Oh well, as I have said a hundred times before, you can’t win them all.

The chucks are all settling in together quite nicely now. Flight still has a rapier-like thrust at Little now and then but Little has learnt that I am her protector and sticks close to me when Flight is around. It’s funny but some people think that you can’t have a garden and chucks. What I mean is, that chucks destroy it and rip out every shred of vegetation. It isn’t really true. The picture shows one of the bits of garden where the chucks are allowed and as you can see it is still established and standing. I merely net around the base of the more delicate plants and they survive quite happily. Beyond this bit of lawn/shrubby area is the veggie and fruit patch. I don’t let them in that bit until the autumn, when the veg is over.

A section of garden where the chucks are allowed.
A section of garden where the chucks are allowed.

I don’t know how successful the cabbages are going to be this year. They are as big as small palm trees but they are being attacked from above by cabbage white butterflies. Chea was doing her best to swot a few for me, as they dropped their undercarriage and soared in. They were even managing to find their way underneath the protective netting that I have rigged up. I’m not sure which is worse – butterflies laying their eggs on the beautiful, perfect leaves or Chea throwing herself across them in an attempt to catch the butterflies. It’s a constant battle. My garden is a war zone. Casualties and fatalities appear on a daily basis. There is always some underhanded little critter waiting to cause havoc.

Talking of which – some shit head hacked my twitter account two days ago. It’s a shame these morons haven’t anything better to do like – get a life. A real life. Away from the virtual world. Idiots. If anyone received anything from me that appeared weird (more weird than usual that is!) please ignore it.

Right, off to declare war on the cabbage whites … before I declare war on one or two ‘real’ people who are peeing me off right now. I tell you … the closer people are to you the harder the body punch!

 

New chuck - Little.
New chuck – Little.

Take care my lovelies x

 

 

 

Thunderbolts And Lightening – Very Very Frightening …

Hi All

Last night we paid for price for the last ten days of sun and heat – an almighty thunderstorm. As we arrived home from visiting Betty the sky blackened. Obviously my first concern was the chucks. They are only young and have never  known thunder and lightning, so, having dived straight into the shower when we got in from the hospital, I dashed out to them in my dressing gown. Richard followed at a snail’s pace mumbling, ‘they’ll be alright. I don’t know what you are worrying about.’ That’s the trouble with Richard – he rarely knows what I am worrying about.

I spent a manic few minutes, with Richard watching, shutting windows and brushing straw into the corner in the outside run to protect it from the inevitable downpour. By the time I’d finished Richard had slopped off back to the house. Very supportive. You may think I’m being a wimp but I hate thunder and lightning and being stuck half-way up the garden wasn’t my idea of fun.

With an almighty flash, the lightning speared through the sky, followed immediately by a crash of thunder. The chucks stared at me briefly before toddling off into the inside bit. Then the heavens opened. Fortunately the rain was so hard on the roof that it muffled the thunder. With rain bouncing off the pond and the wind flattening the pond plants down to the surface of the water I slipped out of the outside run and ran for the house.

Richard, by this time, was stuck in front of the TV with his net-book on his knee checking out the price of Land Rover spares.

This morning is no better. I woke at four to flashes of lightning outside the bedroom window and now that I’ve attending to everything that needs attending to immediately, Chea, litter tray, chucks, pond fish, greenhouse etc, I am sitting here watching the rain spearing down. Chea was out when it started and came bombing back like the demons of hell were chasing her.

Going back to the subject of the chucks, I now have the full set – three! We popped and fetched another some days ago. She is little, timid, and Flight made her life a misery for the first few days. She is a light Sussex cross and aptly named Little. I devised a cunning plan to add a little more weight to balance and each time Flight attacked Little I sprayed Flight with a jet of water. It worked well and now, if Flight approaches Little, I only have to move my hand towards the spray bottle and she clucks in disgust and moves away. Sorted! This brilliant plan falls down slightly when I’m not there but to be honest their quarters are more than ample and Little can skirt around Flight without coming to too much harm. I can only assist the natural pecking order – I can’t control it.

Maran, who is now Grace, is beautiful, charming, and a little love. She will still have a non-serious go at Flight if necessary but she has taken Little under her wing and teaches her how to snaffle bread and eat lettuce and all kinds of chickeny things. Yesterday she was teaching Little how to dust-bathe. Little didn’t quite grasp it. She was attempting to bathe on the lawn at the side of Grace who had it right and was bathing in the border. I love Grace. She never leaves me alone, following me and standing at my feet when I sit in the garden. I mean when I sit on a chair in the garden. Not when I sit on the actual garden, as in soil! I am going to stick out my scrawny old neck and say that I think the chicken shack occupants will all settle down and become great friends. If not, I’ll sort it.

I need to find my enthusiasm! The blackcurrant bushes are weighed down with ripe fruit and ditto the gooseberry bushes. I need to pick them and make jam. I also need to use up all the eggs that Grace has laid and make a batch of Victoria sponges for the freezer. I feel in limbo. Like I’ve my lost my get-up-and-go. Too many hours driving up the motorway and hospital visiting? Too many hours spent worrying about warring chucks?

I’m sure it will return – but I don’t think it will be today. I guess I could make a start and go and find the jam jars from the shed at the top of the garden – that’s if I don’t mind getting drenched?

Actually, I think I’ll just get off my butt and go and make those damn cakes. There is always the cake-mixture bowl to look MB900283877forwards to!

Take care my lovelies x

Caution Required When Stepping Into Knickers!

Hi All

It’s been a few days since I posted because sometimes real life kicks in and demands my time and effort. And to be totally honest, I think you need a rest from me sometimes. I base this on the fact that even I get tired of my own voice and ramblings.

I wonder if other people ever have that feeling. Do you have moments where you just have to shut up and feel the peace?

I’m probably giving you the impression that I stuck a band-aid over my mouth and sat beneath a gooseberry bush until I felt I could bear the sound of my own voice and insane ramblings but that isn’t true – well, not quite.

On Friday morning I learnt of the death of my cousin, Ray. We had been very close in our younger days but not so recently. Ray was older than me and someone I looked up to. He gave me my first record player and a few Country and Western 45s. It used to be called that ‘in the old days.’ Now it has been trendily shortened to Country. I hadn’t had the radio on for a few days but I suddenly decided I’d put it on. Immediately, Gentleman Jim Reeves burst into life, singing, I Love You Because.  This had been Ray’s all time favourite artist and song. Some people don’t believe in signs. I do.

On Friday afternoon all mobiles went ballistic and we discovered that Richard’s mum, Betty, had popped out her bionic (hip replacement) hip, by lifting her leg too high whilst putting on her knickers, and was being ferried to the hospital faster than greased lightning. This was a disaster on two counts. One, because she had actually done it, again, and two because she has a real belief that people going into hospital at the weekend die a slow and lingering death, lying on a trolley, in a deserted corridor.

Whereas I can do nothing about the fashion in which she puts on her undies and pops out her hip, I can do something to prevent the latter. She, or anyone else close to me, will NOT be left dying on a trolley in a deserted corridor and become a NHS statistic! Even if it is my unofficial mother in law who, on a normal day, swings happily between accepting me as her son’s chosen one …and not so happily accepting me as her son’s chosen one. What can I say? You can’t win ’em all and frankly I stopped trying many years ago. I’m probably being unfair. I tend to be. Usually. I think I have grown on her over the years. A bit like – fungus.

We found her eventually after miles and miles of rabbit-warren type corridors. Richard has his own way of following signs and directions. It is a system which usually leads us back to where our confused journey began and does nothing for my very short temper. She was elated to see us and we spent the next two hours waiting for the junior doctor to arrange a time-slot at another hospital where Betty would need to go to have her hip put back into socket. Apparently, the hospital we were at had a bed but not a slot in the operating schedule. Another hospital, a few miles away, had both.

When they came to transfer Betty onto a trolley, to take her to the ambulance, the female doctor asked me if, in her words, I could ‘eyeball the old lady opposite to stop her getting off the trolley,’ on which she was lying, waiting to be seen. I had no problem with that and toddled off to speak to her. I’m sure she was 105 if she was a day. I asked her, very loudly, how she was. She said, ‘I’ve been all around the world you know!’

‘Really?’ I said. I wasn’t sure if she meant physically or since they had pumped her full of morphine!

‘Yes,’ she said.

Jolly as ever, I said, ‘Lovely. Have you been to Australia?If I ever go anywhere I would love it to be Australia!’

She gave a slight suggestion of a smile, shook her head and said, ‘no, I haven’t been to Australia.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Have you been to  (pause) …America!’

The smile widened slightly.

‘No, I haven’t been to America.’

‘Er …OK … I know where you’ve been,’ I said, lovingly stroking her arm. ‘I bet you’ve been to …(another pause) Hong Kong!

See how I was making it a lovely, jolly game?

She laughed and said, ‘no, I haven’t been to Hong Kong.’

‘China?’

‘No.’

‘Canada?’

‘No.’

I had to giggle – honestly. ‘You haven’t been around the world at all, have you? I think you are playing a game with me?’

She giggled as well before saying, ‘I’ve been to the Mediterranean.’

I would have loved to have stayed and chatted longer and to make sure she wasn’t, in her loneliness, forgotten, but Betty was ready for the off. My little old lady’s parting words were, ‘You have to make a noise you know or they forget about you.’

I don’t think anyone was going to forget about that little soul. She was so sweet and had an eye-twinkling sense of humour. I would have loved to take her home – if only to hear about all the places she had visited on her worldly travels??!!

 

Take care my lovelies x

MB900055420

When Feisty Just Isn’t Enough …

Hi All

As we gallop towards the end of yet another week – where do the days go to? – I have to confess to it having been another mish-mash of smiles and pain. Not a great deal of the former and a good share of the later.

On Tuesday, little Dust lost her feisty fight for life and deteriorated to the point where I had to take her to the vet and have her euthanised. It wasn’t an easy decision because experience has taught me that a chuck can look on the verge of death one minute and then be perfectly normal the next. Maybe that time example is slightly exaggerated but they can certainly turn themselves around in 24 hours. They have ‘sick’ and ‘off’ days just like us.

The vet was new to the practice. The turnover of newly qualified vets seeking experience is massive but she was lovely and did all the right things, examining Dust internally to check if she was egg-bound or blocked etc. I steered her to the fact that Dust felt ‘fluidy’ underneath and she confirmed it, saying that she could feel a hard mass. She advised putting her to sleep but to be honest I’d already decided that was the road I had to go down. Her debilitating illness, coupled with the hot weather, was just too much for her and besides, where the prognosis is a slow, miserable death it just isn’t fair to allow that.

Whilst the vet went to fetch the necessary items I was alone with Dust. And, as is often the case, adrenalin and stress brightened her briefly. She tilted her head and with a bleary eye looked up at me, as she had done a million times, expecting a treat of some kind.  The irony of that was almost my downfall. I should have felt like a total pratt standing there stroking a chicken, talking calmly, telling her that she was going to be fine and that she would soon be with her best friend, Beautiful, but you know something? I didn’t.

I don’t think it matters if it is a chicken or a much-loved cat or dog or even a human being – it isn’t what you say, it is how you say it. Sobs and tears and an unnaturally high, distressed voice is not something that is normal to an animal. But for you to utter silly things in the same irritating voice that they have had to listen to for all their lives is, simply, reassuring. And I need for all my animals to feel reassured and safe in their last moments of life. It matters to me. The vet asked if I was taking Dust home and I said yes. It also matters to me where something spends eternity. I know …  I’m an idiot.

She has been buried in the garden that she loved – and from time to time destroyed – not far from Flowerpot and Beautiful and I hope that they all found each other in that big chicken-paradise where little gems are plentiful and worms abound. Well, you have to believe some kind of crap, don’t you? Otherwise you’d just wake up screaming every night.

Good old Betsy Land Rover pulled a good one yesterday. When Richard didn’t arrive home at the normal time of 2.00 pm and sirens and ambulances started blasting by the house, a little worry bell began to ring. He’d decided to go to work in Betsy yesterday morning, just to give her a little run? When he still hadn’t returned by 2.30 I checked my phone and I was relieved to see a text saying that Betsy wouldn’t start. I wasn’t relieved that Betsy wouldn’t start, I’m not quite that mean, no, I was relieved that he hadn’t applied the brakes at the roundabout and they had failed and he’d ploughed into a HGV. He rang a bit later to say that she still wouldn’t start and that he would get a lift home by 4.00 at the latest, if he couldn’t fix her, as we were due at the hospital at 6.20 for my long-awaited brain scan.

Fortunately, the lift home wasn’t needed as he and Betsy chugged home, hot and bothered, shortly before 4.00. The diagnoses is that the petrol tank has rusted and is putting rust into the petrol, blocking something or the other. It sounded technical – and I was in shut-down mode, stressing about the forthcoming scan. I shouldn’t have worried. We arrived 30 minutes early, seen immediately and it was over in minutes. Those minutes were spent with the operative informing me that her hubby was a drummer and had backed-up Midge Ure last week and that the aforesaid Mr Ure was very small! See what I mean? Reassuring nonsense. Delivered in a time of stress. In a normal tone. A gem in our great NHS.

Now I have to wait for the results, so obviously I’m spending rather a lot of time in the loo right now. But, as luck would have it, when I popped to Lidl yesterday they had a brilliant offer on extra strong, extra long, loo rolls, so I bought a sack of twenty. That should do – for now!

Richard had his injection into his shoulder on Monday for his calcification problem. The doctor told him it could take a couple of days to kick in and frankly, it hasn’t yet. But as I said to Richard (after he had told me that the doctor giving the injection had said, “because you are muscular it makes it more difficult to find the right spot,”) any doctor who can’t tell the difference between muscle and fat isn’t, in my opinion, worthy of much credibility! Muscle! Yeah right. I’ve seen more muscle on a shrimp. Actually, I’m fibbing a bit. He is quite muscular. He has good legs and his arms aren’t bad. It’s the bits in-between that are suspect. Poor bloke. When I think back and realise that he could have so easily shacked-up with a nice woman … such is life. It’s all down to the choices that we make – often under the influence of alcohol!

I may pop to the farm and pick up another chuck today. Please don’t think that it is a case of ‘off with the old and on with the new,’ it isn’t. It’s just that 3 chucks make sense. If one dies, or is sick and has to be separated, there are still two for company. I know. I do tend to over think these things. That’s probably what’s wearing out my poor old brain? Who knows?

Until the morrow …

Beautiful and Dust - together again...
Beautiful and Dust – together again…

Take care my lovelies x

 

 

Fancy A Jog In 30 Degrees Heat … Wearing A Fur Coat?

Hi All

The weekend has been quiet – and hot. Chea has spent most of it languishing in the garden – usually the neighbour’s. The one who lives under the conifer hedge. She’s a big girl now and can scale the six-foot fence and squeeze through tiny holes in the hedge without a backward glance. She has also, it appears, stopped serious lurches at the chickens, but that could just be a ‘heat’ thing and she will resume when the weather cools?

Dust still isn’t right. I think she is attempting to come back into lay. Yesterday I had to witness the despicable sight of her devouring a baby frog in two swipes.  Such cruel creatures. It made me feel sick.

Keeping cool with a dust bath!
Keeping cool with a dust bath!

The whole garden has been rearranged for the benefit of the chucks. Saturday saw the temperature up to 30 degrees – too hot for creatures in feathers and fur coats. If I ever had any doubt that Richard cares for the animals it was squashed when I saw him rigging up the very large, floor standing fan, in Dust’s side of the shed. There isn’t an outside run on that side and she was hot and open-beaked. It has probably cost us in excess of £20 over the weekend in electricity just to keep a chicken, that’ll probably die anyway, cool. However, I consider it worth it and I can think of little worse than an animal overheating and not being able to do anything about it.

Obviously there has been the steady stream of dick-head morons trailing by the house, dressed in shorts and vests, dragging dogs along in the mid-day heat. Can you imagine trotting along on melting, boiling tarmac? Can you imagine wearing a fur coat and running down the street in 30 degrees heat. I personally think that this is an horrendous form of animal cruelty and that owners should be shot at dawn – no – at midday, standing in the sun, wearing a real animal pelt and that way I could doubly despise them. I’d sell tickets for that. I need to move on …

We were  a little stuck for ideas on Sunday and so, with shades on the chuck cage and Dust’s fan blowing, we toddled off to a car boot which is held in the lovely market town of Melton Mowbray. Richard wasn’t keen. He loathes car boots, except for the burger bit, and he isn’t keen on getting up at the crack of dawn either. I say the crack of dawn but by the time he had surfaced from his pit I’d already attended to Chea, the chucks, washed the bathroom floor and watered the garden. He merely dragged his body down the stairs, struggled into his boots and picked up the car keys.

Two miles down the road and I enquired, ‘Phew, it’s hot already, what does the temperature gauge say?’

He blearily looked at the gauge and said, ‘eight point three.’

I turned, frowning, to look at him. He was staring  ahead.

‘Eight point three?’ I exclaimed. ‘Eight point three!’

‘Er …yeah,’ he said.

‘I think you’ll find that’s the time! You’re looking at the clock!’

‘Oh, is it?’ he said. ‘Well what do you expect. I’m not awake yet.’

This, frankly, wasn’t very reassuring seeing as how he was driving the car! All things considered I think we were lucky to make it there in one piece. It was a waste of time anyway because the stuff they were selling was stuff I wouldn’t even put in my garden shed! Not to worry – it was a nice ride out – kinda!

On the way back I suggested that we stop off at Next to see if they had any vest-tops left in their sale. Richard did at least attempt to hid his horror at the suggestion and once again we had the old discussion of, ‘what time do they open on a Sunday?’  Richard said ten. I said I thought that was wrong and that it was eleven.

We pulled up just before ten and waited for them to open. When they didn’t we ventured to the door to look at the opening times info. Eleven! I fall for it every time. He always convinces me that shops open at ten on Sundays …and they don’t! Even I  couldn’t be bothered to sit there for an hour so I had the bright idea of popping to Asda to get the sugar for the blackcurrant jam that I’ll need to be making shortly. And that my friends was the height of it for another weekend. Riveting hey? You can see now why mucking out chicken pooh tends to be the highlight of my life, can’t you?

I’m going to continue with my novel this week. Ha ha ha ha. Well I’m going to try. I bought  another plug in memory stick thing yesterday. It is in the form of an elephant. You remove his body from his feet and you have your plug in. Hey presto! I should tell you that choosing this sent Richard nuts. He stood waiting in Asda’s aisle, rolling his eyes (not literally) whilst I palmed the elephant one, and then the koala bear, and then the tiger etc. Well, it’s a very personal thing, isn’t it? In the end I chose the elephant because elephants never forget and I’ll always remember to back up my novel on him. Perfectly logical … in my mind.

Off now to write …HPIM3034

Oh, just need to hang out the bedding first …and THEN off to write …

Take care my lovelies x

No Boiling Water Or Ripped-Up Petticoats Required …

Hi All

Well the people at the farm certainly weren’t stretching the truth when they said Maran and Flight were point of lay because yesterday afternoon Maran laid her very first egg, just four days after being here. And how proud was she? Lordy. The peaceful, summer afternoon was shattered by her piercing announcement of the event, shouted out in the loudest chicken speak imaginable. And of course, Flight was so massively impressed that she had to join in as well.

I was there at the moment of nesting and egg dropping. Well, I am the proud mum after all and she may have found herself in difficulties and I’d have had to boil water and rip up petticoats  and such like …or is that just for childbirth portrayed in ancient films?

The first egg!
The first egg!

The egg is a perfect first effort, small and perfectly formed. I have to admit to actually being quite fond of Maran already. She may launch the odd sword-like thrust at Flight, now and then, but she is the sweetest chuck and lets me stroke her and feed her by hand …but then, so does Flight. I’m really happy with the way they are settling in. Of course Dust still has them both firmly on her agenda and thinks nothing of running the length of the lawn to attack them. As I said before – baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and bonds won’t form immediately either.

My brother called in yesterday afternoon and we sat on the lawn next to the pond chatting away. Suddenly Chea appeared and launched herself into the shrubbery and a frog leapt out. She was most interested, never having come across such a slimy creature before and jumped on it. I shrieked and demanded that my brother move the frog before it was murdered by Chea and she took a nibble of it and started manically salivating again. He just looked at me like I’d suggested he catch a sabre toothed tiger with his bare hands and I had to grab Chea from off the top of the frog, with my eyes shut, and go and put her in the house.

This is the same unsupportive brother that I was moaning about yesterday for not downloading my books. The same brother who shares one teabag between two mugs. Well I got my own back on him for that because that’s exactly what I did. Two mugs. One teabag. Ha ha. And I had the first swish and squeezing. His tea looked like dish water. That’ll teach him to mess with his big sister.

Back to the subject of frogs. I noticed, a couple of days ago, that the tadpoles are now baby frog-lets and no bigger than my small finger nail. They hop precariously around the edge of the pond and I fear that one or two may well get taken by the chucks if their paths inadvertently cross. It’s a real battle of life and death in my garden! The balance can tip from heaven to hell in the blinking of an eye.

The garden produce is doing exceptionally well. The blackcurrant are now ripening, so I figure it is sugar buying time. I’m going to make jam this year. Last year it was wine. This year it’s jam – quite a lot of jam – looking at the potential yield that is weighing down the bushes almost to ground level.

The strawberries are also doing well. I saw a lovely strawberry flan thing on my blogging friend’s site, so I’ve bought the flan base and some good old reliable quick gel and I’m going to throw a few ripe strawberries into that – in time for the arrival of the wrecking crew (grandchildren) in the morning. I’m sure it will be met with disappointed faces because it won’t be chocolate. And I’m also sure that Richard – out of the kindness of his heart – will manage to polish it off in a couple of sittings.

Right my little poppets, I must dash, I have a busy day today and you know what they say – time and tide wait for no man (or woman). Have a super-duper weekend and remember – always turn to face the sun and shadow will always fall behind you.

Take care my lovelies x

Flight, looking more confident and settled.
Flight, looking more confident and settled.

To End Your Days As Nothing More Than A Smear!

Hi All

I think I have red spiders nesting in my laptop!! I keep finding a little crimson body scurrying across the keypad. I brush it away and then another appears. There is no sign of anything on the table. Nothing is journeying towards the laptop and yet every now and then a titchy red spider is to be spied running the gauntlet across the keypad. They seem more active after the computer has been left on all day and it’s pretty warm. If there is an entomologist out there would you kindly tell me if this is even possible? The ones who risk the journey across the screen don’t, sadly, make it to the other side alive. It’s impossible to remove them without squishing them and leaving a tell-tale red smear. Imagine ending up as nothing more than a smear …

I had a bit of a rant yesterday. ‘No!’ I hear you shout. ‘Not you!’ Well yes I did. Only a little one. I went to visit my brother in the afternoon, he’s a bit lonely at the moment so I thought I’d play the Good Samaritan. Somehow the topic came around to my books and I had to confess to him that the biggest surprise in all of this self publishing thing was the fact that family were so massively unsupportive. And it’s true. They are. His reply was, ‘I don’t read.’ My reply was, ‘that has nothing to do with it.’

And frankly, in my opinion, it hasn’t. I know for a fact that if a family member produced a book I would buy it even if it was on a topic which held no interest whatsoever. Why? Because I would want to support them. Ebooks, in many cases, are less than a decent cup of coffee so it isn’t likely that family are going to have to apply to Wonga.com for a frigging loan, is it? Honestly! But you know what they say, ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.’

Thinking about it I don’t honestly think I’ve ever had much support from family. I think it stems from appearing to be a strong, independent type person. I appear to have taken on the role of supporting others. Weird. Oh well, too late now to change the dynamics in my family. And as far as my brother is concerned, someone who uses one teabag between two mugs is likely to be as tight as the proverbial ducks butt!

Blimey! That was a good little dig at my family wasn’t it? No worries – they won’t read this! Sometimes you just need to have a pathetic little moan. I’ll probably delete it later …

And especially for Susan E Birch who follows the chucks progress like flies follow pooh I have to report that we are making progress.

Maran attacks Flight (but less now). Dust attacks Maran (seriously) and Dust also has a pop at Flight who, knock me down with a feather, has a pop back.

Chea stalks them all and is being severely reprimanded as and when necessary. She is slowly getting the message and they are becoming less bothered by her presence on a daily basis. I’m hoping that by Sunday, after Dust has finished her wormer, we can remove all partitions and let them run together. Dust will be ‘top chicken,’ and deservedly so, after all she has been through lately.

I shall pop to the pet shop and stock up on blood stopper, just in case. Honestly, they are meaner than family …I think …possibly not.

Take care my lovelies xHPIM2980

New Balls Not Required …

Good Morning

Riddle me this – how do I get more than three hours sleep a night? What is wrong with me? Is it simply that I’m a big kid and can’t wait to get up to play with my new chickens? No that can’t be it. That would make me nuts. I don’t think I want to believe that yet.

I did watch the documentary last night that the BBC had quickly cobbled together on Andy Murray. And those pictures of him dressed up to the nines and looking like a rugged movie star were not bad at all and definitely fodder to keep the faint hearted and shallow awake. I do hope this doesn’t change him. I have had my expectations of him squashed and trampled into the dust time after time. Like Henman, I began to fear that Andy would never quite make it to the top. But I didn’t count on the guy’s grit and sheer bloody determination. He certainly has balls  – in all senses of the word. Watching him on Sunday, battling to win the first set and then the second was amazing, agonising and astounding all at the same time. And when he was serving for the match I had tears trickling down my face. And Lordy, Lordy, when he won, I punched the air and almost buggered up another neck disc. Well I am a tad emotional at times. I also have massive pride in my country – and seeing the underdog win.

Richard had left me to it and disappeared into his summer house (shed) with another bloody WWII DVD to watch. I tell you – there is something seriously not computing with that man. Why would anyone, who obviously lives in the past, not want to watch history in the making? Whenever I turn on the TV it is always on the Yesterday channel. I even said to him yesterday, ‘why do you have to live in the past?’ And do you know what he said? ‘Because I prefer it. It was better.’ Sodding charming. Am I not his present? The little bugger had to get his own lunch.

After the Andy thing I caught up with Big Brother. Ha ha, now I’ve really blown my cover, haven’t I? I know, it’s a load of crap but I can’t help it. I like watching idiots being idiots. Who are these people? Where do they come from? I don’t actually know anyone like that. Well, unless you count Richard because as I’ve said a hundred times, he’s weird. But thinking about it, I don’t think he was weird when I met him. Blame it on osmosis!

Back to Big Brother… I’m waiting for the usual comments to start flowing. ‘It’s been a roller coaster!’ No it hasn’t. Not unless they rigged one up in the garden. ‘I’ve been on a journey!’ No you haven’t. What they actually mean is, ‘I’ve come on here for exposure so that when I leave the house I can be famous.’ Famous? Like Andy Murray? Like the guy who has struggled to raise himself up through the ranks, never giving in, never quitting, failing and digging deeper, until one scorching day in July 2013 he accomplished what he had been determined to accomplish for most of his life. Yeah, Big Brother dudes, you have all been on a roller coaster and a journey – not!!!

I think today is the day! The moment when I’m going to let out the new chucks, so that they can officially meet Dust. I’m thinking if I block off a smaller area than is usually available to them I stand a good chance of actually getting them back into the cage? This is a very loose plan. The holes in the plan will probably only become visibly when it is put into action!

Just to bring you up to date with my neighbour – the one who apparently lives under the conifer hedge, because he is always there, waiting to spring out. Last Saturday we were having the clean-up of all clean-ups of the chucks quarters and the neighbour’s voice drifted over the hedge. ‘Gail, what do you know about bees?’

Good question. Considering myself a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades I said, ‘Um …why?’

‘Because they are trying to get into an old bird box. Do you want to come round and have a look?’

I have lived in this house for twenty-three years and NEVER been invited into his garden so sensing more history in the making I trotted round. Sure enough bees were swarming and attempting to move into an old bird box. He seemed on the verge of ringing the council to have them exterminated. The bees not the council! Although, knowing the council round here it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I flipped and demanded that he must NOT destroy them. I asked him how he dare stand smelling his roses and appreciating his beautiful garden if he wasn’t prepared to give a home to a few bees who had, in all probability, pollinated the bloody thing. I said he would be fine as long as he didn’t walk up the garden eating a treacle sandwich!

We chatted for a while and he showed me the robin’s nest that had been ripped to shit by some cat and all the babies had been taken!! I have a massively strong suspicion that I know the cat responsible. Obviously I defended her. Well you do, don’t you, defend your own? In all fairness I did shut her in for two days after she brought back the half dead/half alive, depending on your mindset, baby bird, but it may have been too little too late. I am under the impression that the baby birds around here have now fledged. I really hope so because I can’t stand any more little dying creatures laid out on the step with a little leg throbbing to the beat of its failing heart. Bloody cats!!

Right! Off to barricade off a piece of the garden. Wish me luck? I might chicken out actually …sorry, no pun intended.

bees

Take care my lovelies x

Make Up Your Bloody Mind! …

Good Morning

It’s official (at least in my world it is) stress and anxiety do not kill you  – because if they did I would be worm bait after the weekend that has just passed.

Richard’s mum, Betty, came for the day on Saturday. Betty is 83 and requires watching every step she takes. She vehemently denies this but it’s true. Richard picked her up and when they arrived back at the house I said I was just popping out to research chucks for sale at a nearby small holding. To cut a long story short, Betty wanted to come so we all toddled off with me rammed into the back of the car. The small holding in question was run by a very suspicious character, smoking a roll-up  and looking in desperate need of a dental hygienist. Neither of these things should matter regarding the purchase of chucks but they did because frankly the chucks looked as stoned as their owner. Betty hadn’t been allowed out of the car because the tarmac was too uneven, so, feeling sorry for her, because she had missed out on the exciting viewing, I suggested going to the farm where I brought my previous chucks and frequent for straw etc. Betty was delirious with anticipation so off we went after telling the pot-smoking chicken farmer that I needed to make a few alterations to my chicken cage and then I’d be back. I’m such a bloody liar when backed into a corner.

The farm was a good few miles away and as we approached the lane leading to it the road was blocked by an accident. We then had to detour for God knows how many miles before we actually arrived at the farm. Betty struggled out and with help from Richard (I galloped off ahead to view the chucks!) managed to arrive at the viewing area in one piece. She then went into rapture of ‘ohs’ and ahs’ and ‘oh Gail you must buy some,’ – and so I did. Two of the bloody things. Well, you have to keep these elderly ladies happy, don’t you?

I should point out that this was on the hottest day of the year and as we detoured back with Betty and Richard in the front of the car and me and two boxes of chucks sliding around in the back, apprehension settled in my daft head. What had I done? Did I need more chickens? Wouldn’t Dust be fine on her own? Wasn’t she going to die anyway?

Eventually we made it home and after massive rearranging of water, feed and grit pots we had Dust in one side of shed and the two new chucks in the other. Within seconds the maran (no name yet) attacked the other chuck (no name yet, either) and the attacked chuck ran off looking for a place to hide in the outside run. Then Chea walked down the garden and they both went berserk, flying into the wire and hitting the log perches. The timid one, whom will probably be called Flight, because it is constantly running away from the other one, squawked the place down. I looked at Richard and said, ‘it’s very noisy isn’t it.’ He didn’t hear what I said because the sodding thing was so noisy and he said, ‘it’s very noisy isn’t it?’

Betty had been entertaining herself in the house all this time and so I sent Richard in to keep her company. The manic one (Flight?) was still shrieking, in between trying to leg-it away from the maran, who kept taking deathly strikes at her head. Dust had cleared off up the garden and didn’t seem to appreciate the arrival of her two new friends at all.

I stood with my hands over my ears while Flight carried on being utterly terrified of Chea, who had long since sloped off and was nowhere in sight.  I knew I had to take the stupid thing back. I couldn’t cope with such a vocal chicken, let alone the neighbours!  This met with a deathly stare from Richard who calmly (because his mother was here) said, ‘you want to take it BACK? Through ALL those detours? In THIS heat?’ I nodded. I know when to say the least possible!

Whilst Richard was putting on the TV for his mum and grabbing car keys and getting changed I crept back to the chuck shed. I stood looking at Flight, who had at least stopped squawking. She kinda looked at me with those startled chicken eyes and  that was it. Poor thing. What were her chances if she went back and someone horrible bought her? She needed me. So I went back to the house and announced, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I’m not taking her back.’

Richard didn’t say the words, ‘Make up your bloody mind you neurotic woman!’ but I sensed the words floating through the hot air towards me!

I will calm her. Dust is still separated from them. She is in no state or condition to be set upon by the maran  – in fact, I might call her that. I did have a name for her but it was the name of someone I know who is also a bitch and a bully and the person might just twig it? I currently have Dust on a seven-day worming programme. This morning she was sitting, so I think she will come back into lay any day. If necessary I will put Dust with Flight together and demoralise Maran a bit by letting her live on her own for a few days. I’ll see.

 

Things are calming and I’m sure, in a few days, all will be well. I’m nothing if not optimistic! I can’t imagine I’ll be at the letting-them-out-into-the-garden-stage very soon. I think baby steps are required here. At least they both took corn from my hand last night so we’re on our way…

Take care my lovelies x

Dust
Dust
Flight?
Flight?
Maran?
Maran?