When Only One Word Will Do

I’m sure you know what it’s like – when only one word will do?

As a writer and author I’m supposed to have a whole dictionary of words at my disposal and in honesty I do – but do I use them? I do not.

I don’t flimy-flam (beat around the bush) I call a spade a spade. However, when my eleven-year-old grandson stood in my craft shed the other day, looking at the old, battered filing cabinet, and asked, ‘Grandma, why does it say crap on that drawer?’ I had only one answer, ‘because that’s what’s in it Jake, crap!’

He grinned a little (he thinks I’m a rebel) and opened the drawer.

Jake is a great ‘collector’ of things. Many, varied things. He collects coins, ‘interesting’ stones, pieces of wood, all sizes, all shapes, bits of metal, nuts, bolts, washers etc. I adore him. So this led to a rummage through the ‘crap’ drawer where he found this and that and rescued them for his ‘collection’. His father (my son) wrings his hands and exhales deeply when Jake goes home after a stay, and with great exasperation moans, ‘Oh noooooo, what have you got now? Do you really need all that rubbish?’

I’m tempted to tell my son that it isn’t called rubbish, it’s called crap. I think Jake has the same temptation but he’s a good boy and what happens at Gran’s stays at Gran’s. We are partners in crime and all things private, naughty and silly. I think Jake may become an archaeologist, or have a dusty shop where he sits with spectacles perched on the end of his nose reading one of his ‘must have’ books. Did I mention that he has hundreds of books already?

I think he may get some of this from me.

I mean, does anyone really need 10 wooden spoons, 3 shelves of Tupperware (I say Tupperware but it’s the equivalent) 6 doo-dahs of cling film, ditto foil. 500 padded envelopes, card of every colour, 6 gardening hand-forks etc. etc. I simply ‘like’ these things and in my opinion you can never have too many plastic containers with clippy lids – ever.

Another thing that is simply beyond me is this . . . I can’t plant two seeds together (like Monty Don does) and then discard the weaker. Nooooooooo! It should be illegal. How can anyone pull out a seedling and throw it away. I have to save everything. And I find it quite difficult pruning shrubs without shoving a dozen pieces into a plant pot to see if they root. This could be why my garden looks like the Amazon jungle?

Talking of having more of something than you need, I have a million tadpoles in the pond right now. When our only remaining fish went to fishy heaven, last year, we removed the filtration and U.V etc. and decided that it would be a wildlife pond. It could do its own thing and I would NOT fish out duckweed, fallen leaves etc. but leave it to its own devices. This is why the water, at the moment, is pea soup green and we have a million tadpoles and a thousand baby water snails. When we had the fish they would have polished off a few hundred tadpoles but right now they have no predators, other than a blackbird that I saw standing at the edge of the pond plucking them from the water.

Monty (that man again!) said you should place rotting logs in a wildlife pond and so I did. Yesterday I decided that the pond could take one more – just a small one – see, I even have too many logs in the pond! I turned my back after placing the log in the water and when I turned back a shoal (is that right – a shoal of tadpoles?) whatever – a shoal of tadpoles were having a feeding frenzy sucking-up the green algae off the wood. They remained doing this forever so I put another piece of green wood in and ditto – more arrived and pigged-out until the algae was no more.

Some might say that I have too much time on my hands. I disagree. I’m doing what pleases me. See, I am a rebel.

Anyway, I’m off to count my Tupperware and throw another log in the pond. I should clean the house (probably) but then again, why would I want to do that crap?

I’ve posted a very short video of the feeding tadpoles on my F.B. page if you want to take a look. I couldn’t post it here.    https://www.facebook.com/gail.orbell

 

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Into The Wilds Of Derbyshire

This Sunday I’m popping over the border and entering the wilds of Derbyshire. I will have the car loaded to the roof with fairy houses and all things wooden as we make our way to a craft fair. I’m not expecting to have a fortnight in Hawaii off the back of this one but it is for a good cause and we all need to support those from time to time, don’t we? It’s at The Cat’s Adoption Centre.

This, you realise is tricky. I fear selling two tea lights and coming home having adopted eight cats and a litter of kittens! Chea (existing family feline) would do her fruit and we would never hear the last of it. No amount of Purina Gourmet Gold would swing it back round to our favour. She has principles. She is the one-and-only and there is only ONE in one-and-only.

I had a brilliant idea for changing the staging on the table – until I realised that it was less of a brilliant idea and more than likely a stupid idea. I don’t know what table they are providing but it would have to hold a small elephant if I stuck to my brilliant idea. Even my super-duper table in my craft shed would be on its knees so “brilliant idea” has been shelved.

I have a few new things to take to this one.

The Shabby Kinda-Chic Dwellings have extended into Shabby Kinda-Chic Cottages and are due to extend further, towards the Christmas fairs, as Shabby Kinda-Chic Snow-Scene Cottages – a suggestion from a friend of mine, Claire Chambers. I might have to seriously rethink the name though.

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Shabby Kinda-Chic Dwellings

Another newbie is the Weathered Wood Fat Ball Feeder. This has been home-tested and I can vouch that it will hold a flock of flapping jackdaws in a feeding frenzy, the weight of which put my homemade rose frame thingy, under great pressure.

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Weathered Wood Hanging Fat Ball Feeders

Along with the fairy houses I now have the Hobbit Homes – originally named Gnome Homes until I realised that the younger generation probably doesn’t have a clue what a gnome is, so I’m playing safe with Hobbit Homes. Everyone has seen Lord of the Rings, right?

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Fairy Houses
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Hobbit Homes

This week there has been a slight problem with something entering the closed outside run (ex chicken run) where I keep the mossed fairy houses so that the moss won’t dry out. Something has been in and removed the moss from one of the house roofs. It now looks like it has a case of galloping alopecia. I can only suggest a wren because I know of nothing else that could squeeze through the wire. Initially, I thought that I might have left the outside door open and something had accessed it that way, so blaming myself for my oversight I closed the door, top and bottom, closed two catches, two bolts and padlocked it. Nothing was going to get in this time. Yesterday morning I went in after having lost the key and taking ten minutes to realise that it was in my shirt pocket, in the wash basket, and lo and behold – the alopecia had spread. More moss had been taken. I do know wrens make their nests with moss and I do know we’ve had nesting wrens in the garden most years so . . . Jenny Wren is the main suspect as I write. Today I will repair the missing moss.

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Wren Wreckage?

Another new item – the Weathered Wood Succulents. These are made with the same kind of wood as the Hanging Fat Ball Feeders. I particularly like these and having recently removed a spider plant – that would look more at home in the jungle – from my kitchen window sill, I’m planning on nicking a couple for myself.

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Weathered Wood Succulents

So, that’s me for now. I’m off to repair the wren’s wreckage and see if I can come up with a better idea for the staging. I probably won’t. The thing is I have so much staging and backboards etc. that last time we had to take the trailer. This goes down like an arrowed balloon with Richard but, as he is from Derbyshire and knows where he is going, I’d better try to keep him sweet. Yes, it’s a hard call and quite a novelty to be honest but perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks . . . possibly . . . or not!

Wish me luck? Mainly – NOT to come home with twelve cats!!

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A Wood For All Seasons

It’s been almost a year now since we bought the small woodland and I have to say that it has been hard work. It probably wouldn’t have been such hard work if I was not of the ‘everything has to be done immediately’ mentality. But I am and so that’s that.

Initially, our time was spent clearing the border alongside the track. Heavy machinery had cleared a way through the wood and had pushed everything from wispy branches to massive old tree roots on to the border. This was a massive task and most of it was performed around late spring and summer last year. The hot sun combined with a raging bonfire was exhausting to say the least.

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Uprooted Tree

After that came the clearing of the fallen wood, then the wood that was attempting to fall – but hanging on by the skin of its bark, then the diseased wood. Most of this was harvested for the wood burner, leaving the rotting and smaller branches for me to make into wildlife hides and retreats. I got a little carried away with this exercise and we now have a dozen or more.

BARRIERS
Stacks For Insects
WREN RETREAT
Wren Retreat
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Frogs And Toads Live Here
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Cover

I may not have made it perfectly clear but this woodland was in a horrendous state having been neglected for years and years . . . and probably even years more. The whole wood was covered in a tangle of masochistic blackberry stems. These tripped you up at every available opportunity. Richard managed to fall bottom-over-bonce carrying a petrol strimmer. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it was hilarious, if that kind of thing – a rather large, tall bloke, rigged out like Rambo, landing in a blackberry bramble patch, with a strimmer round his neck, tickled your fancy. Obviously I didn’t guffaw too loudly until I’d ran an experienced eye over him and had a quick mental check to confirm that he still had two of everything that he should have had two of and ditto, one of everything that he should have had one of.

We chain harrowed narrow paths through and around the wood, digging out the tangle of brambles where necessary. I was constantly being told that it was a woodland and NOT a garden and it didn’t need to be neat and tidy. This I understood, but I still wanted tidy mayhem.

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Preparing To Chain Harrow

I also haven’t yet mentioned that the wood had no heart. It was rare to see any form of wildlife within the boundary. No birdsong. No sign of much at all. Then we hung bird feeders and bird tables. Within no time we had a troupe of delinquent squirrels visiting. They chewed through the metal feeders, removed screws, munched on plastic and ate every peanut. They even took down, and removed, a whole jar of peanut butter that had been placed in a peanut butter jar feeder. To this day we haven’t found the empty jar.

Initially the mad troupe amused us – initially. Then it became personal. I made it my life’s work to outwit them. This, you probably think is as easy as falling off a log, something that I have also done, but it isn’t. They are smart. And savvy. And slightly adorable in their naughtiness. Feeders were wired shut, top and bottom. Adjustments were made to everything that hung and contained seed etc. We congratulated ourselves on our achievements – only to return the next time to find chewed-through wire, missing screws and every peanut and seed scoffed. Around this time we moved our base camp. We were now able to move into the middle of the wood and that is still our base today.

As summer turned to autumn and autumn gave way to winter we watched as leaves turned colour and fell, carpeting the woodland floor in a tapestry of brown and golden hues. We could now see through the wood and to the field of rape beyond. The wind howled across that field and ripped through the wood . . . still we held our ground. This was our wood, for all seasons, and we would see and enjoy it in all seasons. We made great use of a small fire thingy – we certainly had the wood to burn and there was, to us, nothing nicer than sitting in front of it warming our bones and drinking hot soup and munching custard creams.

FIRESo, almost a year since we took it on. The bird feeders have been rehung around our base camp and the once, quiet as a grave wood, is full of twittering and feeding birds, a friendly old pheasant, mice in the compost heap, buzzards soaring overhead in the up-drafts, and a couple of muntjac. I haven’t seen the delinquent squirrels for some time BUT, the homemade peanut feeder has to be repaired on every other visit and the second peanut feeder is also licked clean. I have learnt to accept them, I had little choice really, but it makes me sound like a nicer person! There are ten feeders and two bird tables. These need restocking every three days and, yes, it costs me a small fortune.

 

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Constantly Under Repair

There are blue tits nesting in one of our home-made boxes and coal tits in a holey tree, within a metre from our ‘sitting’ area. A robin has chosen to nest in the base of a close-by tree. It looks a little unsafe to me but hopefully she will be successful. I realise that if these bird numbers increase I shall have to buy even more food! At the moment the feeding frenzy has calmed. The birds have achieved what they were attempting to achieve, they are fat and healthy and up to their breeding weight. Now they are building, laying and sitting.

TIT BOX
Nesting Blue Tits

 

And that’s that. Here’s to the next year – if the Heavens allow it.

Followers, Friends And Frigging Fraudsters!

So, there was I  . . . (I feel like I should be writing – waiting at the church! You have to be a certain age ) enjoying the day, busily doing nothing. Taking in the bursting buds and the buzzing bees when I decided that it was time I DID do something. Richard had toddled off to visit his mother and I had quite a few hours to myself to look forward to. I left the bursting buds and the buzzing bees, convinced that they would manage without me and trundled back to the house.

Determined not to sit at the laptop all morning, I filled the floor steamer and set about steaming the kitchen and hall floors. That went well so I made a cup of tea, before pulling out the kitchen chair and settling in front of the laptop. Well, I had managed to do something before it called me to it!

I had a quick whizz around Twitter, checked my emails and then opened Facebook with the intention of posting to the gardening group. A post on the general thread caught my eye and I clicked on it. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

Window on top of window flooded the P.C screen and a siren sounded. Above the siren, a woman’s voice told me, ‘DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SWITCH OFF THE COMPUTER or a virus will be placed on it. YOUR IDENTITY MAY BE STOLEN and your data accessed. Ring this number IMMEDIATELY and an operative will help you through this.’

WTF?

Something similar had happened a few weeks earlier. Obviously, I did what most people do in this situation – I smashed every key on the keypad, switched off the power, disconnected the internet, blah, blah, blah.

So, here I was again, clicking everything in sight. Banging the keys. Basically doing everything the voice had told me not to do. I couldn’t clear the screen so I took a picture of it and sent it to my brother via my tablet. My fear was that it was genuine. Yes, I know, I can’t believe I even let the thought enter my head – but it did, because it looked very genuine, like it had come straight from Microsoft.  My brother treated me like a five-year old and calmly talked me through it. After a few clicks, here and there, I managed to remove it – my brother managed to remove it.

I kinda went ballistic. No one was around. Only Chea, sitting on the table at the side of me, calmly cleaning her bottom – and she is quite used to my ballistic outbursts.

You see, what makes someone do this? What kind of brain bypass have they had? Truly, if I could have got hold of them I would now be in prison – and they would be in A and E having their tiny, little, insignificant penis stitched back on – all assuming that the sodding moron was a bloke – but I’m sure it was.

And, that’s not all. Once upon a time, when I was naïve (stupid) I’d jump up and down, gushing, thrilled – yes, totally thrilled, even beyond words, that someone wanted to be my friend on Facebook. Not anymore.

Now I vet these ‘friend’ requests with the mind and suspicions of Hercule Poirot. On average I would say that I get half-a-dozen requests a week from men. Single. Divorced. Etc. When I look into them I find an empty timeline and no existing friends – once or twice another female ‘friend’ is evident – usually beautiful and short of enough dosh to buy clothes- obviously.  I’m sorry, but if you are a bloke looking for cyber-sex or a cheeky little pit-pat tennis match/ you show me yours and I’ll show you mine, bugger off! I once had a request from a guy in U.S.A offering me marriage, a home on a ranch, and four children to look after. Now, had he been offering me marriage, a home on a ranch and four horses to look after I might have been buying a one-way ticket to U.S.A – though, in all honesty he did say he would provide that.

Once, I accepted someone based on their profile picture, which admittedly was a little hard to make out but at that point I wasn’t wearing my super-duper P.C. specs and I thought the profile picture looked like mountains. After accepting him, and on closer examination, the mountains were actually his stupendous penis sticking up from his belly. Frankly, I think the whole thing had been superimposed and he’d grafted-on a horse’s penis. Yes, I deleted him.

Social media is not a safe place for the innocent – or the poorly sighted.

And Twitter? Twitter, to my mind, is safer. But you get a trickster of a different type on Twitter. Here you get the ‘follower’ who follows you, you follow back, and then he/she unfollows you. I now use https://manageflitter.com/ once a week to unfollow those who have unfollowed me. Well, bugger off, fair’s fair.

And to finish off with where I almost started – waiting at the church. The punch line to this 1962 song is;

There was I, waiting at the church,
Waiting at the church,
Waiting at the church;
When I found he’d left me in the lurch,
Lor, how it did upset me!
All at once, he sent me round a note
Here’s the very note,
This is what he wrote:
“Can’t get away to marry you today,
My wife, won’t let me!”

You see, more deceit. Watch your backs my friends.

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The Cat Crept In The Crypt – Crapped And Crept Out Again!

‘The cat crept in the crypt, crapped and crept out again,’ is something that a friend and I used to say back in the dark ages – when I was married. My husband was a vet and therefore we lived in a house provided by the practice. It was a rambling old thing, no heating to talk of, damp mites living in the cupboards (but that’s another story) and a mish-mash of old furniture. Did any of that matter? Not really. Except the damp mites of course –  but as I said that’s another story

I was a vet’s wife. I loved animals. I loved him – at the time. And life was hunky dory, I guess.

In this ‘rambling old thing,’ there was a pantry. It lead off the hallway and you had to take a step down to a quarry-tiled floor. It had a cold slab with wooden shelves above it. Having three cats and an English Setter – that wasn’t beyond golloping down cat faeces given less than half a chance, it seemed like a good idea, and the obvious answer, to put the litter trays in there. I will state at this point that NO food was kept in there!

It worked quite well and provided hours of silly tittering. My friend and I would be having coffee or whatever and the sound of the cat-flap swinging, as one of the cats entered to do their stuff or excited having done their stuff, echoed around the house. You see, it was a very large cat flap and swung manically against a metal frame. At this sound my friend and I would look at each other and roar, ‘the cat’s crept in the crypt – crapped and crept out again!’

Little things please little minds.

This isn’t something that I think about on a regular basis – just very occasionally – when something reminds me. And something reminded me on Sunday morning.

Toddling up the garden, on the way to the greenhouse and the uncovering of the tender plants and the turning off of the propagators, I was perplexed to see the far door of the second greenhouse slightly open – about eight inches. Perplexed because I knew for a fact that I’d secured it the previous day. On closer examination I noticed a heap of compost scratched out of the border and deposited on the central concrete pathway. THEN I noticed that the fifth baby tomato plant, only planted the previous day, had disappeared. Yes, I’d done my usually impatient thing of planting them into the ground as soon as they had true leaves but they were not THAT small that they should have disappeared.

I can’t believe that Chea pushed her way in there and scratched it out because she won’t even push through a door that’s off the catch. Oh, no. We have to jump up and down three million times a day to let her out . . . in . . . out . . . in. You get the picture?

So, after applying a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ type of logic I can only assume that a neighbour’s cat pushed its way in, ‘crept in the greenhouse, crapped and crept out again?’ But just why the little bugger had to have it away with my baby tomato plant will have to remain a mystery!20170403_095828

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Take care all – and batten down those baby plants!

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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

 

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Chicken Pooh On Legs ?

Hi All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20151004_225021Take care my lovelies x

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Chucks-Tabby-Cat-2012-ebook/dp/B0140A4RMC

Just A Little Update . . .

Hi All

Yes, it’s been a while. I think we have had a change of season since I was last here. Without boring you all to death, and without wallowing in self-pity, I’ll just say that continual migraines/ headaches/visual auras have flattened me over the last fourteen days. Each time I attempt to look at a computer screen my vision starts to object.

I stuck it out for as long as I could but after receiving an ear bashing from my son, toddled off to the doctor. She was very sweet and informed me that, in her opinion, my stress levels were through the roof. Can’t imagine why? Anyway, we have a few ‘idea’s’ in hand – 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, blood tests and meds. Obviously the meds zonk me out, but at least they give me a valid reason for being half brain-dead!

As I mentioned – the season has changed since I was last here. Chea has already grown a thick coat, probably in preparation for a cold winter? She looks twice her normal size. Mind, this could also have something to do with the fact that she never stops eating and Richard never stops giving her treats, even though he swears that he doesn’t.

The chucks are in various stages of baldness. Little has just about replaced her lost feathers and Flight’s tail feathers are slightly visible. She still looks like a well-used dirty feather duster. They have taken to coming down to the house of late and stand outside the patio doors, on the mat, preening and poohing. And Flight has become rather brave and risks excursions into the kitchen when I’m not looking to raid any leftover bits in Chea’s food bowl. Once upon a time, the chucks gave Chea a wide berth. This has now changed and three days ago Little pecked Chea on the nose. A new ‘pecking’ order is now firmly in place.

The garden has been given over to caterpillars. Hundreds and thousands of the sodding things. And here’s the thing, in a tantrum, I shook some from the broccoli, for the chickens, because it felt slightly less cruel providing food for them, rather than shaking them off and leaving them abandoned on the ground. They freakishly eyed them before turning and running off into the shrubbery. I didn’t realise, until I went back to the house and took off my wellies, that a caterpillar had fallen into my left boot and it came out squashed but still squirming. Yuck . . . and double yuck!

The slug brigade is less evident in the garden, but when I lifted some old broccoli leaves in the compost heap, I came across several very large families of the horrid things – all pink and slimy. I left them. I couldn’t bring myself to evict them somehow.

The greenhouse is full of spiders. Big. Medium. Small. Black ones. Brown ones. Beige ones. The worst thing is forgetting this fact because you then find yourself wearing a web, usually with a dead fly, in some state of decay, attached.

I know many people love this time of year. Glorious reds and yellows of falling leaves. Low morning mists. That autumnal chill in the air. Wood smoke. It appeals to me, to a certain degree, but to be honest I find it all rather sad – the end of another year. Everything shutting down. Soon the garden will sleep. I won’t have reason to go up there – although, having said that, the chucks are allowed up there throughout the autumn and winter, but only under supervision as the garden backs on to a regular ‘fox run.’ I think the wood burner in Richard’s summerhouse (shed) will be put to use and I’ll relax while I babysit the wrecking crew? Relax? Did I actually write that word? Lord, I can’t think of anything more boring . . .

And, because I 20150918_114417am half brain-dead . . .  and because I don’t want to bore the pants off you, I will toddle off and hopefully be back soon, brighter and whatever . . .

Take care my lovelies x

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Chucks-Tabby-Cat-2012-ebook/dp/B0140A4RMC

I Can’t Ignore 3 Nominations …Thank You Patrick, Caz And Lisl.

Hi All

I have succumbed. Why? Well I’ll tell you.

Some time ago I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger award by Patrick Jones. I read the requirements for acceptance of said award and scurried off into the garden to pluck a few dead leaves from the laurel bush. Too scary…and complicated. All that copying of links and nominating other people and stating things about myself that others would find interesting? No way.

A short time later I received another nomination for The Versatile Blogger Award from Caz Greenham.

I already knew the requirements for acceptance, so this time I set about making a batch of pasties for the freezer …and ignored the nomination.

Last weekend another nomination appeared from Lisl Zlitna.  I made a few polite noises and mumbled something about looking into it, with more than the odd intention of rushing out and turning over the compost heap.

Then I kinda realised what an ungrateful bitch I was being and decided to accept their very kind nominations and go ahead with it. Sooo … here we go. These are the requirements…

1 Display the award certificate.

2 Write a post and link back to the blogger (bloggers) who nominated you.

3 Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

4 Nominate up to fifteen other bloggers and explain why you have nominated them.

5 Inform them of their nomination.

 

Patrick Jones http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077F0DFI

Lisl Ziltna http://beforethesecondsleep.blogspot.co.uk/

Caz Greenham http://cazgreenham.com/

 

My nominations for The Versatile Blogger Award go to (why does that sound like I’ve dropped into The Eurovision Song Contest and about to shell-out nil points?)

1 Evelyn Steward. https://evelynralph.wordpress.com  Evelyn is a lovely lady who blogs regularly about nature and all things nice. She also posts her beautiful sketches and craftwork on her blogs and, as a newish blogger, deserves this nomination.

2 Jennifer Moore. http://chuffincat.com/  Jen’s blogs are funny, heart-warming, sad, and at times ‘cat’astropic. Jen writes beautifully about her life with her family and her pets. A must for ‘cat’ people.

3 Elaine Otty. https://thelandroverownerswife.wordpress.com/  Elaine’s blogs are also ‘nature/craft/gardening/family’ themed and make interesting and informative reading. Elaine has been a great supporter of my blog from the beginning of time and for this I thank her personally.

 

 

 

7 Interesting Things About Me?

1 …This is going to be hard!

1 …even harder than I thought!

1 erm …(drums fingers on the table)

Right …

1 I have never been to Nova Scotia.

2 I have no wish to go to Nova Scotia.

3 If my son had been born a girl I would have run for the hills. I wouldn’t have known what to do with a girl child.

4 I don’t possess a single item of ‘real’ jewellery other than a silver chain with a frog charm.

6 I have never failed at anything that I wanted to achieve (big-headed? Possibly)

7 I had a wheelbarrow for my 30th birthday.

Hah! Easy. OK, so it’s a pile of dung. What did you expect? How am I supposed to come up with 7 interesting facts about myself? I don’t see myself as interesting. Do you see yourselves as interesting? Surely it’s down to other people to see us as interesting? Whatever. I should have stated at No 1 that I get easily bored because I’m now bored with it all … so that’s that. See? This is why I didn’t accept the nomination the first time!

Anyway, I’ve done it now, in my own fashion, so, hand on heart, thank you Patrick, Caz and Lisl for your very kind nominations, I do appreciate it, truly.

And I’ll take this opportunity (because they don’t come along very often) to say a huge thank you to all followers of this blog, established friends and new. Thank you xxx

Take care my lovelies xversatileblogger

 

 

 

Let Them Eat Cake?

Hi All

I told you in my last blog that I feared for Flight, that I thought she was on that downward spiral to chicken heaven – or should that be an upward spiral to chicken heaven? Possibly.

For days I tempted her with the odd squashed grape, watching while she cocked her head, as if half blind, to stare drunkenly at it until Little barged in and scoffed the grape in one. I tempted and wiggled cooked spaghetti beneath her tightly closed beak …until Little barged in and scoffed it in one.

As Flight grew thinner, Little grew fatter. I will be renaming her Big at this rate.

And then – Flight pecked at, and swallowed, a grape seed. An hour later she murdered an ant and managed to eat it after 4 attempts. I left them out in the sunshine for most of the day and by roosting time she had taken a few bits of lettuce and a piece of banana. Obviously not the best diet for a chicken but I didn’t care, anything down her throat was better than nothing. The following morning she looked a bit brighter and again spent most of the day in the garden, in the sunshine, pecking at a few strands of grass and occasionally accepting my humble offerings. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and for the first time actually thought that she might not be flapping up to chicken heaven.

The following morning saw her hunched up again and refusing everything. She remained that way all day and into the following day. I went to bed that night knowing beyond doubt that she wouldn’t see the sun come up.

Weirdly, Richard was up at the crack of dawn (it’s OK to say this as long as I don’t mistakenly spell dawn with a capital D) and when I came down ten minutes later he had let the chucks out. Little was bouncing on the spot, at the gate, waiting for me and my delicacies, and Flight stood some way behind her. Amazed to see that she was alive, let alone standing, I grabbed the only thing available for their morning treat – a piece of Victoria sandwich base that I’d removed from the freezer the previous night. As I approached the gate they spotted the cake. Little continued bouncing in expectation and Flight trotted to the gate to join her. As I crumbled the cake they BOTH dived on it and devoured it. Yes! Bloody devoured it!

Was that it? Was my home-made Victoria sandwich the answer? Well, I can’t say for sure but all I will say is that Flight took some lettuce, dandelion leaves, a few grubs and more cake yesterday and this morning she snaffled more and is looking much brighter.

Of course this could all still end in tears because she has bounced back before and then deteriorated again …but I am slightly more hopeful. I also put her on garlic and cider apple vinegar as I suspected a bit of sour crop. Not sure if this is having, or has had, any effect but it’s certainly jazzed-up Little, she’s running around the place like a creature insane, tail feathers flying!

Today I shall attempt to get Flight to take something more sensible but …if cake is all she will stomach right now, and admittedly only a teaspoon  at a time, then cake it will have to be. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Spring grass, vitamin D and home-made Victoria sandwich is on the menu just now …

 

To be continued …

Take care my lovelies x20150410_084033