Alert! …Engaged Bathroom!

Hi All

I have just taken a swipe at a baby wasp with the kitchen knife and killed it. What are the chances? And now, even though it was a wasp, and it was sitting on my spatula, the one I am using to stir my ‘pot luck’ veggie chilli, I feel gutted. Poor little bugger. It was only a baby. But I guess it would have grown into an angry adult at a rate of knots and then swooped back to give Chea her fourth sting of the year. Silly cat never learns. She has taken to galloping the length of the lounge after flies. Any fly. She prefers the big, horrid, blue-bottle type. They are actually worth catching, in her mind, because they taste jolly nice – to her. Listening, yes listening, to her chomping her way through a stunned fly is the stuff to put you off your ‘pot luck’ veggie chilli.

It is so-called because it really is pot luck what is in it. Today’s delicacy consists of the dreaded runner beans, (the ones that almost killed me last week – well, not the same ones, obviously) kidney beans, baked beans, black-eyed beans, mushrooms, courgettes, onions, tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic, ginger, whole chillies, crushed chillies, olive oilsalt, pepper, sugar and something else that has now skipped my mind – hopefully not half of a wasp!

I told Richard, the other day, that he needed to increase the roughage in his diet. He asked, “what’s roughage?”

It is far easier to show him than to try to explain, so tonight’s meal will be the answer to his question. This my dear Richard is roughage. Don’t feel sorry for him. It’s the weekend. He has the comfort of being able to use his own loo for the next two days!

Chea has now lost four collars with attached name tags and bells. This morning she had to go out in a plain red one with one bell and no name tag. The name tag is only for the ease of anyone who might find her in their lounge chasing flies and wonders who such a crazy cat belongs to because she is micro-chipped. I guess it is reassuring to know that the collars will release and fall off but then again it also poses the question of what kind of tight scrapes is she getting herself into to keep causing collars to ping off?

I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was a bit on edge. Not worried or stressed you understand, just a bit irritated. I was booked in with the doctor to pop along and have a lipoma removed in the afternoon. It wasn’t huge but it sat between two of my ribs and just at the spot where the bottom edge of my bra sits. Sometimes it was of little bother and then it seemed to flare-up and cause considerable discomfort. So, as I said, I was booked in to have it removed.

I guess I’m weird – or maybe I’m not and some of you are like me? If something is on the horizon I tend to go inward and quiet. I do it with everything. It is like I can’t have the outside world getting in the way and interrupting my concentration of the coming situation.  I used to do exactly the same thing when I did competition obedience with our border collie, Meg. On the day of the competition I would go quiet, within myself, and if anyone attempted to speak to me I’d give short, sharp answers. And then, the moment I stepped into the ring with Meg I was fine. No nerves or anything. And it is like that with other stuff. So Richard didn’t get much out of me yesterday. I had gone to Gail’s world. I do think it is a kind of quiet, nervous anticipation. But the moment we are off and running I’m fine.

Yesterday was also fine. Fun actually. The doctor and nurse were lovely. In fact, it was the same nurse that sticks me with my B12 jab every two months. The worst part was getting the table at the right height, making the angle-poise lamp work and finding a pillow for my wreaked neck. The height of the bed seemed a problem throughout and when I helpfully, I thought, suggested that the doctor lower the bed and then perform the op on his knees, he said that was a good idea and he was beginning to think along the same lines. I’ll do anything to get a man on his knees!! I said afterwards that I should have taken my camera so that I could have shared the little beauty with you all. Or maybe that would be pushing our friendship a little too far?

Today the wound is sore but hopefully, as soon as it has healed, the discomfort won’t return. Well it can’t can it? Because I have bravely gone under the knife and had the fatty lump removed. I did ask if they could suck out a bit of extra fat from around the belly and thigh areas whilst they were at it. I mean, I was there. They were there. I thought it made sense. Bloody good sense actually. Because then I wouldn’t have to be cooking ‘pot luck’ chilli that leaves the body before the fat content has had time to be excreted into the blood stream.

Right, me hearties, have a super weekend, catch you soon. Off to stir the roughage!

Pot-luck chilli
Pot-luck chilli

Take care my lovelies x


A Short Sweet Life …

Hi All

Its been a few days since I was here. I hoped to have exciting, lovely news about this and that, but alas, no. I had to take little chicken Grace to the vet yesterday and leave her there to be put to sleep.

It took the full five days of antibiotic, and then another two days after that, for her to stop snotting and sneezing. I was slightly optimistic at that stage, thinking that she would pick up slowly over the coming days, given the  5 star attention that I was prepared to give to her, but quite the opposite. She wouldn’t eat, rarely drank anything and would only half-heartedly pick at grass and lettuce. The weight fell from her and I stressed and worried. Although her weight was falling her crop was still huge. I suspected that she was crop bound. I Googled it all and found videos of people with chucks hung upside down whilst the owner attempted to squeeze the crop to make it break up the impacted food. It all looked awful. I had a little massage of Grace’s crop but it seemed to cause her distress.

Yesterday I decided that she needed putting to sleep so I took her to the vet and explained this. I said that if she (the vet) disagreed then I was happy to consider treatment but she didn’t disagree. She said that the crop was probably so far stretched that even if they emptied it, and Grace didn’t die of stress, there was a good chance that the crop, having been so stretched, wouldn’t function properly. I also said that what was the future likely to hold for her if she was going through all this at such a young age.

I had to accept that some lives are meant to be short. I had to try to believe something because trust me, I am really, really at the end of my emotional tether with these chickens.

When I look back, and it really is true, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I think Grace had always had a large crop. She was a greedy chicken and would always swoop on anything and have the lion’s share. This it seems was to her detriment.

Richard’s first words when he came in from work were, ‘how’s the chicken?’

‘Gone,’ I said. 

I won’t have another. Flight and Little will have to amuse themselves with each other. I’ve had a major rethink on the chucks bedding. I’ve thrown out all the straw and replaced it with wood shavings on the inside and a horse-type hemp bedding in the outside run. I fear that the straw was subject to mould spores and also the chucks ate it. Flight and Little don’t look massively impressed but it’s a stupid person who can’t learn by experience and no chuck of mine will ever be subjected to mould spores or material that can help to block a crop. I think I’m being hard on myself regarding the blocked crop because, as I say, I’m sure her crop was always enlarged right from the first day of having her.

The good news, from my point of view at least, is that I’ve buckled down to writing the new novel. I’ve worked on it Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for a couple of hours. This is good because I am lacking enthusiasm and discipline just lately. Sometimes you just have to stop grovelling in self-pity, kick yourself up the butt and get on with things. As I have said many times – it isn’t the things that happen to you in your life that do the damage and affect you, it is your perception of them. How you choose to let them affect you.

I’ve also pruned back the garden to within an inch of its life and moved a few plants that need more space for next year so, even though I haven’t been here I have been somewhere, doing something.

And right now I am going to just make this a short blog and be back tomorrow.

She's gone ...
She’s gone …

Take care my lovelies x


PS And again – welcome to all new followers and thank you for the likes and comments.

So! How Are You Old Bean?

Hi All

As promised I am back to normal. The trouble is I kind of wish I wasn’t because normal in my world is just bouncing from one dilemma to the next.

Yesterday afternoon I had the chucks out and usually I trot off through the gate into the veggie part of the garden and do a bit of pruning and such like while they do their thing. Yesterday I decided to wander aimlessly smelling the roses, literally, and eating a few bits and pieces. There were a few ripe blueberries and the odd pink gooseberry that had escaped the picking for the jam and I tested one or two of the apples. So all in all a nice little munch.

Then I spotted the huge runner beans swaying merrily in the slight afternoon breeze and decided that I’d pick a few and eat them raw. They were jolly tasty, sweet and juicy. So I ate a few more and then chose two to give to the chucks after I’d rounded them up and put them away later. I continued mindlessly around the garden, pulled up a few caterpillar ravaged cabbages and then went back and had another munch on the runner beans. I felt terrific. Quite full and precious little calories!

After I’d shut the chucks in with their beans I meandered back to the house … and suddenly a thought squeezed through the old grey matter. And it was this, ‘aren’t the actual beans inside the casing of runner beans poisonous?

I woke up the laptop and Googled, ‘can you eat raw runner beans?’

Google was emphatic. ‘No. You can’t. They contain a toxin that is poisonous in high quantities and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.’  Well that couldn’t be true …could it? I asked the question on my Facebook page and my friends virtually said, ‘don’t be a plank of course you can eat them raw.’ I’d eaten them raw before, in small amounts but this time I had eaten a lot.

My first reaction probably should have been to make myself sick but it wasn’t. My first reaction was, ‘shit! I need to get those beans out of the chuck’s cage.’ I dashed up the garden and peered into the outside run. Not a bean in sight!

I then stomped up to the loo and put my fingers down my throat – many – many times. Nothing! My digestive system only tends to work one way and once food drops into my stomach there is no getting it back. I then appeared to break out into a sweat. I convinced myself that this was the first symptom of food poisoning and rushed to wash my face. It was then that I noticed I’d burst the tiny blood vessels beneath my eyes with all that pointless retching. So …shit again!

At this point my brother turned up, didn’t appear to notice my speckled eyes, and we fell into chatting and I forgot all about it.

This morning I popped out for a bit of retail therapy. I figured I deserved it and so I drove the eight miles to the nearest shopping thingy. Half way there and the stomach cramps began. Passing drivers probably thought that I was singing. I wasn’t.

Unfortunately I had to stop at more loos than shops. I couldn’t concentrate long enough to buy anything except to dash into Smiths to pick up a copy of Classic Land Rover magazine for Richard. See? I’m almost on my knees and I still manage to fetch his daft magazine! I don’t know why I bother. I’m convinced that he only looks at the pictures.

Now I sit here and the gripey pains are playing a lovely tune in my lower bowel. I have come to the conclusion that ‘growing your own’ might not be all it’s cracked up to be! At least, eating your own certainly isn’t. And now I also know why they are called runner beans!

I would love to stay longer and write more but …common sense advises me not to.MB900440672

Take care my lovelies x

After Fourteen Years The Light Dawns …

Hi All

I have to apologise for my indulgent ramblings of the last two days regarding my mother and as soon as I have shared the following with you I promise I shall mention her no more.

You see, something strange – really strange – happened to me last night.

I had the urge to post a daft bit of a poem on here, about mum, and so I did. I never post at night but last night I did. I then received a comment from Elaine that made me snivel a bit and so I closed everything down and went to bed. It was then that this ‘something strange’ happened. No I didn’t find the lost bra under Richard’s pillow or anything like that. I think I need to share a bit of back story with you …

My mother kept her illness a secret and it wasn’t until she was really poorly that any of us realised that she was terribly ill. I won’t witter on, other than to say when my brother alerted me to the fact that mum was ill I rushed to see her. I am not a doctor and I am not a nurse but I know a really sick animal when I see one and my mum looked really sick. There is little difference between sick animals and sick humans.

We took her to a doctor who arranged for her to spend the night in the local hospital and to have a scan on her lungs the following morning. As I left mum in the cottage hospital I turned to look at her and she gave me a hateful look which clearly said, ‘why have you put me in here?’

That was the last look my mum ever gave to me. The phone rang at four am to say that mum had died, unexpectedly, alone. The autopsy showed lung cancer and that it had spread to other vital organs.

The shock to my father was heartbreaking to see. All he could say was, ‘She’d only gone in for tests.’

After this, dad’s health suffered. He’d had a small stroke a few weeks before mum died. He then had an aneurysm and underwent emergency surgery which saved his life but wrecked his kidneys. For eight years we looked after dad and watched him slowly deteriorate. A strong, independent, life-loving man, forced by age and life to admit defeat.

When dad died I was gutted. Utterly. Completely. Gutted. That was six years ago and I think about him everyday. But I don’t think about mum every day, in fact rarely – and this is my point. I always tell people that, although I was always closest to mum, I rarely miss her, or think about her and that it is dad that is constant. I have always considered that this is because dad was ill, in varying degrees, on and off, for eight years and that because of this I’d grown closer to him. But after last night I now know this is not true…

Back to now. Last night, as I slipped into bed, my mum was still on my mind. I switched off the light and lay in the darkness. Suddenly I started to cry. And I mean really cry. First just a trickle of tears and then the floodgates opened. This has never happened since the day she died, fourteen years ago. The whole bed shook. I shook. I think the bloody house shook! And then, some dark, thick blanket lifted, it all became crystal clear.  I had never mourned for mum because …I hadn’t forgiven her for dying.

I really don’t know what happened after that. I remember sobbing and laughing …and laughing and sobbing. But the only thoughts in my head were, ‘I never forgave you. I never forgave you. Not for keeping your illness a secret. Not for dying alone. Not for leaving me.

Today I feel closer to my mum than muscle is to bone. We are back together again.

I have forgiven her for dying and I have forgiven myself for not having forgiven her.

My point. My lesson, if there is one, is, no matter how long it takes (in my case fourteen years) if you hang on, the answer to everything will come. I have no idea why it has taken this long. And I have no idea why the answer came now, on the day that would have been her birthday.

Perhaps dad gave mum a little nudge and said, “go on, Joyce, tell her. Put her out of her misery. Don’t you think she has suffered in ignorance for long enough?”

I promise I shall be back to normal from now on. I’m not sure what normal is but if I hang on for another fourteen/fifteen years I’m sure something or someone will tell me.MB900410833

Take care my lovelies x


PS Thank you for the likes and for your comments. Your kindness amazes me  – truly.





For Mum

Hi All

Today would have been my mum’s eighty-seventh birthday.

Some years her birthday passes and the fact that she has gone is almost acceptable and it is pretty much just another day, but this year it has been different. This year the realisation that she won’t be coming back, ever, really slammed home. I don’t know why this is because she died fourteen years ago.

I’ve spent most of today with mum on my mind and I still don’t know why. I even wrote a poem. When I say I wrote a poem, I don’t mean I sat for hours writing a brilliant piece of literature. No, I simply wrote a few words.

So today’s very late post is sneaking in under the radar and is simply dedicated to my mum.

Another Year …

Another year. Another birthday

Another reason to miss you still

Time may heal but scars still itch

And I know they always will


Reminding me of love lost

Of tenderness that can’t return

Of a mother’s warmth, to be replaced

By memories that only burn


They burn my heart. They chill my soul

Like a fever across my brow

They say in time the pain will go

Really?  Tell me how?


And if this is true …really true

Could I welcome that empty space?

Where once had lived a mother’s love

And how could I replace


That tender smile. That heart of joy

Life given from her very blood

The bond that formed in the womb

Like no other ever could


I stand and let my gaze fall

Upon the marble stone

It tells me of a mother

Gone …and I am all alone

The Black Bra With The Frilly Lace?

Morning AllMB900281822

If I have my calculations right my dear mum would have been eighty-seven tomorrow. She died in 1999 and so I have been without her now for fourteen years. Fourteen years! I have no idea where that time has gone to. It seems like only yesterday that she was standing in her kitchen, flour everywhere, rolling out pastry, whilst I babbled on about some nonsense. Mum was a great cook. Her pastry was simply the best. And in the days before I became a vegetarian her meat and potato pie was truly to die for. Tell me, what is nicer than pastry and gravy?

Mum always listened and she always had an opinion. Often it was different to mine and usually she was proved right. I never understood how mums did that – knew everything about everything to do with their child. But I know now. Now that I’m a mum. I know that we are always right! We are simply wired that way. If my son reads this he will be texting the following, “you are not ALWAYS right.”

Ha ha, yes I am.

I realise that it’s an age thing. The older you get the more people you lose. I have lost two cousins in the short space of less than a year of each other. Sometimes I forget, or can’t believe that these people have gone. Where do they go to? Is the end the end?

Oh listen to me! I only wanted to mention mum’s birthday tomorrow and the fact that I shall go to the church and take flowers and here I am sinking into a morbid pit of misery and dragging you, me hearties, with me, so let’s clamber out of the dank and the dark …

I have also noticed of late how many ‘virtual’ friends/acquaintances etc have fallen by the wayside. I’ve been ‘at’ this virtual stuff for about a year in October and last October I noticed people and names that I am not seeing now. I know that I question this virtual world regularly, the time spent in it, the value of it etc.

This massive self-publishing boom has flooded the market with books, some brilliant, some OK  and some bloody awful. It is still unbelievably hard to sell books, mainly because there are so many of them and the average author is like me, a writer and not a promoter of their work. I guess a lot of authors have a bash at promoting, fail, and then limp away into the distance never to be seen or heard from again.

And who can blame them. I consider this on a daily basis! OK, maybe not on a daily basis but regularly. And I guess there is little more soul (or faith in human nature) destroying, than checking your book sales in the middle of the month, when Joe Blogs promised to buy your book and finding that the sales are zilch and Joe has let you down.  Unfortunately my experience and findings in this life have been that more people will let you down than not.

I’ve met some lovely, helpful people since self publishing. I would love to name them but if I do the idiot who merely taught me how to enter a password will want to know why he hasn’t been named as the best thing since sliced bread. You may think that is a slight exaggeration and yes it is. I have always known how to enter a password. It comes from being a devious, secretive type of person who doesn’t want the world and his dog knowing her business. However, I didn’t know how to use twitter or Facebook or build a web page or write a blog and it has been scary to the point of screaming. The amount of stuff of mine, unintentionally deleted and flying through the ether is unbelievable.

So I guess people fall by the wayside …some fall on stoney ground and perish …

I have to go and look for a bra. I have lost one. I had the slightest suspicion that it may also have fallen on stoney ground and ended up in Richard’s dressing room. Sounds posh, hey? Richard’s dressing room! It was laughingly described as a third bedroom by the house agent twenty-three years ago. It is actually a box room, too small to even fit a cot into and north facing to boot, so it is permanently freezing in there.

Richard has equipped his ‘dressing room’ with an Ikea rail and most of his clothes live draped across it and not on it. Beneath the rail he has an old wash basket which is the resting place for his grundies and socks. Yesterday I enquired, ‘you haven’t come across my bra, have you? I wondered if it may have inadvertently ended up in your wash basket – I mean your pant storage area – and if it has, at this moment in time, I will accept that it was an accident and that I don’t need to start getting worried and locking my wardrobe.’

He shrugged a bit and then later in the day said, ‘that bra. Is the black one with the frilly lace around the front and the little flower thing at the front?’

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘No, it’s not there.’

Maybe I should lock my wardrobe? Mind you, I don’t think there’s much in there that would fit him!

Off to buy some flowers.

Take care my lovelies x

It’s Hard To Be Taken Seriously With A Snotty Face …

Hi All

I can’t say that  was the best weekend I’ve ever known. I went down with a snotty cold on Friday and couldn’t stop sneezing. To my knowledge I have had two contact points with sneezing creatures – one, my granddaughter, Grace, and two, my maran chuck, Grace 2. We started off by calling chicken Grace, Lace, because of her feather patterning, but the fowl very quickly began to show characteristics very similar to Grace the granddaughter, so she is now also known as Grace.HPIM3131

granddaughter Grace never stopped sneezing for the entire time that she was here last Wednesday and she is a kind child, happy to share everything. She has also just started ‘playschool’ one day a week. This is the biggest taboo on the planet. A dozen or so two-year olds all happily sharing their first germs and bugs in a hot stuffy room is the stuff Hollywood blockbusters are made of. Remember the Dustin Hoffman film? Unfortunately I do remember the film but the title has momentarily escaped me – but then I do have a head cold. It will come to me …tomorrow …or the next day.

So granddaughter Grace is a suspect … and then there is chicken Grace. This bloody bird is not much older than six months and is already causing me stress and sleepless nights by being ill. I told you last week that Richard attempted to put his foot down and suggested that I didn’t have any more chickens because I get too involved with them. “They are chickens!” he stated. “Just chickens!”

At the time I let him get away with the flippant comment, probably because I had already been taken over by his cold bug and I really couldn’t be bothered to argue the case with an idiot. However, when on Saturday I sniffed and sneezed and blubbed that I needed to go to the vet and pick up some more antibiotic powder he gave me that withering look of his, the one that he really should only give when I am asleep or have my back turned to him and said. “Is that really necessary?” I blew my nose and peered over the tissue.


“I just mean …er…OK”

I had a quick check in the mirror that my nose was clean (nothing worse than lecturing someone whilst they stand staring at your snotty face) and then said, “yes, Richard, I know you think that they are only chickens and yes they are only chickens …in one respect. They were born chickens. BUT the moment that we brought them into our lives they became pets, just like Chea, just like the cats and the dog before Chea. Pets. P.E.T.S! And as such they are looked after like chickens but given the respect of pets.”

I had to raise my voice a bit because he’d decided to switch on the fast-boil kettle which the noise from tends to block out the sound from everything else. A little ploy of his that he doesn’t realise I realise.

Anyway, I fetched the tiniest further supply of antibiotic, got charged another £7.75 for the pleasure, brought it home and then the spent the rest of the weekend, snotting, sneezing and attempting to get chicken Grace to eat. initially she was eating but now she isn’t. She does, however, appear to have stop sneezing so I haven’t given up on her yet. Today will be the fifth day of treatment. I have also treated the other two – just in case.

So, me hearties, I reckon I either picked up this cold from Grace 1 or Grace 2. Baby cold? Avian flu? Whichever?

I can’t type much today because I am too poorly …and I need to go and see if I can encourage chicken Grace to change her attitude and turn the corner into the road of recovery before Richard surfaces. I’m not too sure how I change a chucks attitude but I’ll give it a bash. HPIM3129

Before I go I’d like to bring to your attention the following link for DOPPLEGANGER by Geoffrey D West. It is FREE today on Amazon for Kindle, so if you would like to help raise Geoffrey’s profile (and I don’t see why you wouldn’t because he’s a really nice guy) pop over and download a copy. It is FREE so, hey dudes, what do you have to lose? Just check that it is still free if you take all day to tootle over there because I’m not sure what time the promotion ends.

Take care my lovelies x

With A Pussy Across My Arm …

Hi All

It’s pretty official – autumnal vibes are present. Last night, as I sat at the laptop, Chea adopted her usually position at the side of me – in the paper basket, but this time the naughty bird-killing paw was across her nose.’ A sure sign that the2013-08-13 09.01.13 temperature has dropped. Cats like warm ears and warm noses!

And this morning, as I type this, she is draped over my typing arm. I’m not sure if she is just being overly affection, or reminding me that she’s still here and that it’s time I let her out, or just trying to secrete a little warmth from my body. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world – typing with a pussy across your arm but I hate to turn her affection away just for the sake of it. I spend a lot of time in the initial stages of animal ownership reassuring and letting them acquaint with my     2013-08-15 07.39.52temperament and mannerisms. Animals appreciate consistency of habit and body language. Having said this Chea is now purring for England, swishing her tail and burying her teeth into my right sleeve. Perhaps the constant up and down, pitching motion of my right arm, has made her a little seasick?

It is now raining, so unlike my friend’s cat, Pusia, ( ) who apparently likes the rain, Chea will not be wanting to go out in this. A shower is always guaranteed to bring her galloping down the path and homeward bound. Unfortunately she gallops straight into the kitchen, meets the tiles with wet paws and skids into the lounge door. She does this every time and never seems to learn. Or perhaps she has learnt and just likes doing it? Nothing much would surprise me about Chea – except maybe normality?

You won’t believe this, and neither do I, but I have to take one of the new chucks to the vet this morning. The maran, Grace, has been snotty-nosed and sneezing for the past week. Now she has started to cough. Shut up! I know you don’t believe me but I swear it’s true. Last night, as I crept up the garden to check on them in my dressing gown, (I was in my dressing gown, not the chucks) I noticed that Grace hadn’t gone inside to roost and looked unhappy -ish. She couldn’t look totally unhappy living in the chicken equivalent to The Hilton but she wasn’t a happy chuck.

I came in and had a bit of a low-key moan to Richard about did he think she’d be OK overnight. He wasn’t very helpful. He accused me of caring too much and winding myself up. Winding myself up! He winds me up by saying things like that. He also said that I shouldn’t have any more chucks because I get too upset about them and can’t just look after them like a normal person would look after them. You won’t believe this either but I couldn’t be bothered to argue the point so I toddled off upstairs with a low calorie, cheese-spread roll, a packet of crisps and a mug of tea to watch Big Brother. Bugger! That’s blown my image, hasn’t it?

Back to Grace … I am going to ring the vet now and make an appointment to take her down. Obviously I’ll come away with antibiotic powder, that costs 2p, to put in the drinking water, and be charged £35 for the sodding pleasure but gone are the days when they will dispense drugs without seeing the animal. So I shall have to toddle along with my chicken in a basket and pay the price. And Richard will come home and ask how the chuck is and I shall say I’ve been to the vet and he will glaze over and nod. But the sweetie won’t ask, ‘how much?’ He never does. He is softer than me. But he would rather die than admit it.

Between you and me – I do think Richard has a point. I do fret and worry about everything with a heartbeat and the times  I’ve said that an animal isn’t right and no one has agreed with me are too numerous to mention. BUT those animals have all gone on to prove me right by showing further symptoms along the line. Once you familiarise yourself with the normal it is pretty easy to spot early stages of abnormal. And this is something that, frankly, if you can be bothered to do it, works right across the broad board of life.

Off to ring to vet …

Grace ...
Grace …

Take care my lovelies x


So! Who’s For A Bottle Of Cider And A Bag Of Compost?

Hi All

I almost wrote Good Morning but it isn’t, it’s way past midday. I’ve been busy beeing this morning, you know, doing all the small things that build up and amount to quite a lot of time being needed to accomplish them.

Now that the scan results are in I figured I may as well continue with the migraine medication so that was my first port of call – the chemist. I thought it would be a quick in and out but no. I was herded into a tiny box of a room and informed that the pharmacist was going to have a chat with me about my medication and how I’m taking it etc. Apparently they like to do this every year. Weird that because I’ve been going there for twenty-three years and it’s the first time they have mentioned it. Probably a bit of a quiet day. I did notice that there wasn’t anyone else in at the time.

From there I popped into my chiropractor to drop off some ‘spare’ veg. Archna is also a ‘veggie’ and so she was the first (and only) choice. I’m a bit picky who I give my surplus to – if you catch my drift? We had a catch-up on my condition and then I tootled off to good old Morrison’s to get a few bits for the grand-kiddies tomorrow. They are both coming over again – but Richard will be at work this time so I won’t be posting tomorrow! I would, but I might find it difficult typing in a straight jacket with Peppa Pig playing on DVD for the thirtieth time!

I’m feeling quite chuffed with myself actually because I seem to be keeping on track and on target. Yesterday I said I was going to spend some time in the garden, pruning back and generally destroying things and that is what I did. Sometimes, and I may as well own up to it, I tell you that I’m going to move mountains or bake enough cakes for a third world country and then I just happen to glimpse a ‘film on four’ and I’m buggered. But yesterday I did exactly what I said I was going to do and it was wonderful. Life cannot get any better than, an August afternoon, standing beneath buddlia bushes filled with butterflies and bees. It just can’t.

The chucks thought it was great. They had almost three hours out in the garden and had time to do everything they wanted to do, including having a jolly long dust bath. My white chuck, Little, is now my beige chuck, Little, but not to worry. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Probably not a very suitable simile but you get the point? Grace, the maran, not my granddaughter, has a cold and is sneezing. Bloody typical. I’ve only had the creatures for two seconds and one is already ailing. Either that or she has an allergy to straw! I’ve been told to leave her alone and let her build up her immunity. I get rollocked for keeping them too clean and picking up pooh every day.

A room with a view.
A room with a view.

I’m afraid the pear tree didn’t make it. It was diseased and if it thought it could take up a valuable place in the garden by producing two scabby pears a year it was sadly mistaken. I removed it and also a gooseberry bush that has never produced a single gooseberry, even though its two friends produce enough fruit to weigh down the branches to the soil. I am a ruthless and heartless pruner. Shape up or ship out.

Other than the scabby pear tree and the virginal gooseberry bush the rest of the garden produce has done exceptionally well. Just for fun I bought a melon plant and stuck it in a grow-bag in the greenhouse and it has tiny melons forming. They will be too late and won’t come to anything but it was fun trying. I also tried pumpkins and squash for the first time and they have babies too.

The pear tree didn't make it!
The pear tree didn’t make it!
Tiny baby melons.
Tiny baby melons.
Baby pumpkins
Baby pumpkins

Last year we made cider from the apples and it is now ready for drinking. Richard has tried it and pulled a face. I think it may be a tad like ‘scrumpy.’ But what’s wrong with that? I’m thinking of selling it at the door, along with the glut of cabbages, courgettes, apples, etc, etc. Don’t tell anyone because I’m sure you need a licence ha ha. Oh, and I could also sell chuck eggs because all three are laying like crazy. Hey, I could be a millionaire by this time next year! Or maybe I’ll leave the alcoholic cider at home and rent a market stall? And I can make cakes and stuff. And I can bag-up the compost and sell that. Ha! See, I don’t need to sell books. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ll sell … stuff. I’ll have to think about what I can sell through the winter months. Got it! I’ll sell books through the winter months!

A bumper apple crop.
A bumper apple crop.
I can bag-up the compost heap and sell it!
I can bag-up the compost heap and sell it!

Actually, I don’t think I’ll do any of the above because if I did I wouldn’t be able to catch the ‘film on four’ when the mood takes me. Far better to keep things as they are …Richard earning the pennies and me playing the hard done to, stay at home partner who scrubs and cleans and irons all day. As if! The iron is unusable …it has rust coming through the steam holes where the water was left in it back in 1994!

Take care my lovelies x

They wait for me at the window!
They wait for me at the window!

Historical Fiction Makes Me Sad…


I think the doctor may have given me another person’s scan results after all! You see, I must have something wrong up there because yesterday I actually suggested to Richard that we go to Calke Abbey … AGAIN!

If you remember, he ‘surprised’ me with the place some weeks ago by nonchalantly driving in and I wasn’t impressed. He had National Trust in his noggin’ and I had Ikea. On that occasion I’d sulked my way around the shop and grumbled and mumbled over a pot of tea and then, when Richard had suggested looking at the stables I did my child-of-three sulk, walking two paces behind him, dragging my feet and hanging my head in sorrow. It very nearly worked because he said, ‘oh come on then, forget it, let’s go.’

By this time we were standing in front of a stable, and being horsey minded, that had been that. I was hooked, imagining the great and powerful hunters that would have once stood before me, chomping hay and swishing tails. A particular grey waiting for Mr Darcy to climb aboard in tight jodhpurs and white silk shirt …HPIM3075

So, as I said, yesterday I suggested that we went back for a trot around the gardens. I didn’t believe for a moment that they would hold my attention, as the stables had, but I was wrong. The whole place was amazing. To see the old boiler houses and how the heat generated had run through tunnels and brickwork into the many ‘growing’ houses was a work of art in itself. Everything at this place has been left ‘as was’ and gloats the following quote,

The un-stately home and country estate

With peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards, Calke Abbey tells the story of the dramatic decline of a country house estate. The house and stables are little restored, with many abandoned areas vividly portraying a period in the 20th century when numerous country houses did not survive to tell their story…HPIM3072

The estate also has a herd of deer. I have to admit to moaning on a bit about how many of them would be shot and butchered and sold to local restaurants under the cover of darkness. Well, I’m a vegetarian. That’s what we do. Suspect that everything beautiful and with a heartbeat is going to end up slaughtered. Sorry. I’m attempting to use my sensible head today …now that I know it is sensible. Richard passed no comment. We have to agree to differ on my ranting regarding animals/meat etc. I’ll bet this little guy in the picture doesn’t live to trim up his antlers for Christmas?

Richard seemed quite impressed with the scarecrows dotted around the place and suggested that we should have one? Why? Perhaps I could just use him …he looks pretty convincing if you ask me?HPIM3069

We marvelled at the fact that these people had everything they needed ‘on tap.’ And glory be, they even had a hearse! Imagine  Jeeves receiving orders one bright morning? ‘ Jeeves, go and tell Manners in the stable yard that we will be needing the hearse. Old Lord Arthur popped orff in the night.’


It was a lovely few hours spent trotting around and using up a few calories on a Sunday morning,  although we did pop into the restaurant and Richard had a chocolate slice with fresh cream liberally poured on it. I had a cream scone …but had to leave it. Really. On a good point …I didn’t see any sign of venison on the lunch time menu!

We might get to look around the house next time  – or the church. I’m not a great ‘looker’ at stately or un stately homes really. And to be honest I’m really surprised that I like any of this. I don’t ‘do’ the past. I don’t even read historical fiction. I hate getting to know characters that in my head, and to my way of thinking, are dead. Well, they are, aren’t they? I find it difficult to get enthusiastic about people’s lives that are long gone. It makes me sad. I like to think that these characters are still happy and gazing at pink cloudy sunsets and …alive.

I am going to spend time in the garden today tidying and pruning. Autumn has slipped her exploratory fingers around the plants. You can feel ‘her’ in the air. The sun still shines and officially it is still summer but autumn is a sneaky monkey. She sits waiting, left of stage, ready to make her entrance with her cloak of chill and fingers of ice. No doubt Chea will be with me, causing havoc and just being Chea. I’ve not forgiven her yet for the baby robin episode but I’ve had to move on. You have to, don’t you?

Take care my lovelies x