Memories Are Made Of This . . .

In the past I have often found that some things just aren’t worth the effort. However, when the snow came, just after Christmas, and the outside world was transformed from muddy greys and browns to perfect white I knew in my heart that driving the twenty-six miles to the wood in a snow storm would be.

With warnings on the early morning news of ‘Don’t venture out unless you have to,’ we joyously loaded up the old Land Rover with essentials – Jammy Dodgers, Cup a Soup, cheese sandwiches and the makings for tea and coffee for us and buckets of fat balls, mixed corn and everything else that a snow-bound woodland bird might require.

It was still dark as we set off, with the ancient headlights blearily focusing on the driving snow. We can do the trip to the wood in forty minutes on a good day, with a tail wind and in the car. In the Land Rover it takes longer, much longer, and that’s on a good day.

As we chugged round bends with the snow still falling, and now no way of knowing where the road ended and the verge began, we came across a car attempting to climb what, under normal conditions, could be classed as an insignificant rise in the road but today mirrored Everest. It appeared to be moving – and we were moving behind it when suddenly it spun into the centre of the road. Richard, with the reactions of a sleeping dormouse, swung the Land Rover hard to avoid hitting the car. This resulted in the dear thing losing its grip (literally) and jack-knifing to the right. Richard over-steered attempting to miss the car that was now stuck back-to-front in the middle of the road. This resulted in us spinning off to the left, sideways-on, to a wall that got closer and closer.

I don’t know if I stopped breathing and I won’t say my life flashed in front of me but I gritted my teeth, grimaced and waited for us to take-out someone’s front wall, all the while wondering how much it was going to cost to replace.

Fortunately we stopped with a coat of paint between the Land Rover and the wall. At this point Richard emitted a loud, ‘RIGHT!’ and clambered out of the Land Rover into a snow drift. I saw him disappear below the headlights as he fiddled with something, before returning, looking like he’d been iced. He growled his way into the Land Rover and spat, ‘that’s it! I’ve put it into four-wheel drive!’

Now, call me a woman driver if you like but I thought the whole purpose of having the benefit of four-wheel drive was to actually use it when conditions dictated? I didn’t query this, I didn’t need to because I knew he was still feeling monumentally embarrassed for over-steering in the first place (he’s a self-proclaimed super-duper driver you see) and it almost resulting in the bill for rebuilding a wall.

We continued for another half mile or so until we approached a large roundabout. There was a car about to enter the roundabout and we all know the rule – give way to traffic from the right. This we did, only to see the car enter the roundabout, lose its grip, and sail off sideways down the first exit. At this we laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Nervous tension you see.

We reached the wood without further incident and as we pulled up at the gate and saw the beauty of what lay before us we knew the journey had been well worth it. The whole wood was cloaked in white. Snow fell silently. As we drove along the track to our little copse a buzzard took-up before us and flew on silent wings into the falling snow.

The birds were beyond excited to see us as we trudged through the snow, to the shed, laden with their supplies and swooped and fed hungrily as soon as I’d replenished the 8 feeders and 2 bird tables. We have a growing collection of birds now, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, nuthatches, woodpeckers, robins, blackbirds, tree creepers – and we even have a visiting pheasant. I won’t mention the gang (or gangs) of squirrels! They are the bad boys and girls of the wood, chomping their way through everything edible and inedible. They have ruined 4 feeders to date.

Once the wildlife was sorted we put the kettle on and sat and watched the wood. That’s it. We sat and watched the wood. I can’t describe the feeling. Other than the beating of birds’ wings the whole wood was silent. No sound came from the distant road. It was perfect.






Some may say that it was stupid driving all that way to feed birds and sit and stare at snow-covered trees but I don’t care. We haven’t yet had the wood for a full year and I wanted to see it in snow for the first time. I didn’t want to miss that and I didn’t. Sometimes, to make a lasting memory you have to put in a little effort.

Now I’m waiting to see if the area of meadow grass that I planted in the autumn comes up in the spring. Or, if the daffodils I planted along one of the banks can out-fox the squirrels and pop-up and bloom without the little monsters realising they are there. And will the wild garlic I took from the garden and planted in a shady spot grow?

I am, now, at last, understanding the full meaning of the changing of the seasons. It is happening before my very eyes and I couldn’t be more content or happier.

Frogs And A Muntjac To Date

So, I can now confirm that the two acre wood is ours. The deeds have been signed, the monies paid, and the fat lady has sung.

It also has a name. Follow this . . . grand children = grand kiddies = griddies. That’s it. Griddies Copse.

We spent last weekend getting our bearings, avoiding rotten tree branches that swayed precariously and threatened to fall with less than the slightest touch, and trying to avoid squashing baby frogs – lots and lots of baby frogs!

There’s masses of work to be done.

The first job, and of paramount importance obviously, was to erect the two bird tables, the bug box and the seed feeder. Weirdly, nothing had found any of them by Sunday. I think the wood is so old and unattended that the birds don’t even bother looking for food in it, and seriously, why should fat balls, niger and sunflower seeds etc. suddenly appear out of nowhere?

I’ve heard a woodpecker in the distance and I understand that an owl is nesting in another part of the forest. At least one muntjac lives in the main wood because as the Land Rover crept along the path, last Sunday morning, we saw him/her dash across the track, and with a flick of a white under-tail, disappear into the thicket. I also want him/her in my little patch.

We will have left it a whole week since we were last there so I’m hoping that the tables and feeders have been found by then and everything scoffed and little ‘thank you’ notes left.

The main change has occurred in the form of crap-heap, oil-spewing Betsy Land Rover. As some of you know the old girl was off the road. Grounded for bad behaviour. She’d decided to lose her clutch . . . this is similar to a human being losing their grip, I think. She was immovable and quite proud of it sitting out there in front of the lounge window, blocking out light, dripping oil, not earning her keep. She must have really ground her nuts when her rotten, frayed, holey soft top was removed and a hard top screwed on? And then, to add insult to injury, the old wreck had to stand swaying on her tyres as a roof rack was added.

This having been said, she did succumb to Richard tickling her clutch and other bits and she did pass her M.O.T with flying colours, so the old girl is officially back on the road.

I think she quite likes being the vehicle of choice for our woodland visits. I can almost sense her fluffing up her bonnet and adding an extra little spin to her wheels as she majestically tootles down the track and through the trees.

This coming weekend is planned for clearing brambles and felling dead and spindly trees. I want to allow more light in so that it encourages ground flora to grow. Lots to do – lots of planning – but that’s fine. I like being busy and I like planning. Win. Win.

So I’m toddling off now to source a peanut feeder . . .

P.S. I’m wondering what muntjac eat? downloadHPIM4021



Just Call Me Robin – Without The Hood – But With A Merry Man

Well . . . the last blog hinted that I might have something to tell you on the next blog – and I have. I mean, I’m always telling you something, be it rubbish or just plain nonsense. But this time I have something quite exciting to tell you, though I’m happy to accept that not everyone will share this excitement, each to their own, as they say.

Drum roll . . .

I’m buying two acres of woodland!

I can imagine heels of hands smacking foreheads, puzzled expressions and gentle tittering because I’ve probably just confirmed what many of you have suspected all along that I am a tad bonkers.

Can’t really argue that point or justify it.

To be honest trees scare me a bit. I’ve seen Lord of the Rings and know exactly what they are capable of. I think it’s the way they wave old, wizened branches in the wind and threaten to release an arm or two like a bolt from the blue. I always imagine being crushed to death. So, why am I buying two acres of woodland? Haven’t got a clue.

I guess it just spoke to me. “O.K. You’re pretty ancient and I can see why you might be more interested in a wooden rocking chair than a couple of acres of oak etc. but get off your fast-spreading butt and boldly go into your next adventure.”

Is excitement, adventure and something new only for the young? I think not dear friends.

I’m going to buy my little copse. I’ve already spent all day Saturday designing and instructing Richard how to assemble a two-acre-size bird table. It’s rather large – but I figure it needs to be. I mean, how many birds do you get to the acre? I’ll need to pick out a nasty old hawthorn and chop off its head to leave a natural stand on which to screw it. It’s way too heavy to hang – it would bring down the tallest sycamore. See! I’m already into the terminology – oak, sycamore, hawthorn! I’m beginning to think I was born for this? I’ll be wearing ‘The Green’ next and humming, ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen . . .dum de dum . . .’ 

Betsy, the pile-of-crap Land Rover, is now undergoing repairs, an M.O.T, and a new roof. We are going to need her to bring the logs back for the wood burner. It’ll take us half a day to get there in the old girl, she has a top speed of forty miles an hour – and that’s downhill with a strong tail wind and a prayer to Him upstairs.

Richard was a little surprised when I announced that we were buying a wood but he soon got over the shock (he’s had so many over the years –living with me) and now he’s quite excited too. We’ve already started researching fence poles and stock wire to fence our north border and that’ll be huge fun – driving in fence poles through twisted roots and rambling vegetation!

The grand kiddies were most impressed, well, Jake more so than Grace, but Grace is a girl and wasn’t too sure about the toilet arrangements. Weeing wasn’t too much of an imagined horror but when I told them that they would have to dig a hole and poo in it, and then cover it up, it was met with wide-eyes and a side-ways grin from Jake. When I added that was what Bear Grylls did it all seemed rather cool and they can’t wait.

So that’s my news. What do you think? A mad, impetuous fool, an idiot, or something else?

Take care all xx


Photo –

A Tough Old Bird For Christmas Lunch?



I’d like to wish all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas.

And not only that.

I’d also like to wish you peace, health, and the company – or precious memories – of loved ones.

We will be having a gentle and quiet Christmas Day. There won’t be mass excitement and the sound of ripping wrapping as dozens of gifts are exposed. As usual we can’t think of a thing to buy each other – though Richard did sneak in with red roses and a Christmas card for me last night. Sweet, but I think he was trying to regain lost ground from the weekend when we had a blazing row about precious nothing.

Many of our ‘rows’ take place in the car, usually on the way to the supermarket. Normally, he doesn’t have to suffer food shopping but since that pile of crap that sits on the drive, spewing oil everywhere, has given up the ghost, I have no car until he comes home from work.

At least we kept the argument festive, bawling at each other over the sounds of We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Silent Night Holy Night playing on the radio. But, I digress.

We will have Richard’s mother, Betty, for Christmas lunch – not literally, obviously, she’s far too tough for that and besides, I’m a vegetarian.

Richard will take her home late afternoon and I’ll have the chucks out for a bit and give them their Christmas treat – access to the vegetable plot so that they can murder a few bugs and things and Chea will join me, no doubt. Flight (grey chuck) has decided that she is in no way afraid of Chea and now attempts to spear her with her beak at every possible occasion. Have you ever smacked a chicken for being bossy?

After this we will watch TV and eat stuff and I’ll try to stay awake long enough to watch Downton Abbey in the evening.

If I make this sound sad, or boring, or nothing special then forgive me. Of course it’s special. It just isn’t going to be rip-roaring. I’m not going to look round and see Mum basting the turkey, or Dad throwing another log on the fire. I won’t see my son, excited and giggling, opening his presents. Mum and Dad are Christmassing with the angels and Matt will be with his own children watching them opening their presents.

All things pass.

I know this – now.

I just wish I’d been more aware of it at the time.

But we aren’t, are we? We think these things will go on for ever. They don’t.

Sod it . . . I’m drifting into morbidity here and I truly don’t mean to. In fact . . .

Our rip-roaring Christmas Day will be delayed by one day until Boxing Day when Matt will bring the kiddies over and the walls of the house will shake and vibrate with the sounds of excited grandchildren opening their gifts.

Chea will flee for the quiet sanctuary of garden and not return until they have left. They hurt her eardrums.

They will leave after lunch. Chea will return. Richard will vac the house and fill the bins with discarded wrapping paper and then we will er . . . settle in front of the TV, eat stuff and possibly find some small thing to argue about. We really like to keep things normal – even at Christmas. Actually, thinking about it, Richard will be zonked-out after the grandchildren so it may well be a silent night?

And for those of you who think I’m horrid to him I’ll just say that I am secretly negotiating for a Land Rover expert to pop round and put the pile of crap back together for him at great expense. He, Richard, has done his normal trick and given up – though he swears he hasn’t and ‘will have another go at it when the weather is drier,’ so I figure that would be a nice Christmas present. It’s the only thing he needs, and let’s face it, the sooner the heap is back on the road the sooner I can have the car back and the sooner I can shop alone, and that will reduce the arguments to the house only? So a win win situation?

Right, I’m off to do something.santa

Take care, stay safe, and a Merry Christmas my friends. xxx

Deck The Halls With . . .Yeah, Whatever!


It’s ‘that most wonderful time of the year,’ again.

Yeah, right, of course it is.

Well, not in this house. Not right now.

I’ve spent three hours this morning making the house Christmassy . . . and lovely . . . and bright . . . and welcoming. And all this with a pounding migraine brought on by Richard buying some bloody tree lights that when placed on the tree last night, and switched on, were so blinding that they made me feel sick and clutch my head in horror. I told him I couldn’t live with them like that because they would give me a migraine.

He went off on one, ripping them from the tree and saying that I was being ridiculous and that they were L.E.D lights and meant to be bright and that I’d be fine.

Really? Well, I wasn’t – and I’m not – because this morning I woke with a migraine.

Determined to finish-off the tree and get the stupid bits on it I struggled on . . . and on . . . and on until it was finished. Then, I decided it looked wrong where it stood and so I attempted to move it across the lounge by grabbing the stem and lifting it. Unfortunately the top half of the tree came away in my hands and while Chea sat grinning I hung on to half a tree that swayed and swung, with balls crashing down and the fairy tipping arse over head, until I could finally piece it back together. By this time Chea was patting a bauble that skidded across the floorboards and ended up under my bare foot.

The whole lounge has been rearranged to ‘fit in’ this damn tree and I now need a double plug because only half the lights can be plugged in where it is.

I am covered in glitter. Chea is covered in glitter. And the lounge is covered in glitter. And I still have a migraine.

Other than this everything is hunky dory.

Well, almost.

Richard came home last Thursday and announced that, come 31st of this month, he is being made redundant. Yep! Happy New Year!

He pretends that he’s coping with the news but I know him and I know he isn’t. He is terrified of the unknown. He isn’t the adventurous, ‘let’s throw caution to the wind type.’ He likes the confines of a comfy box. He likes continuity and knowing where his next crust of bread is coming from.

Obviously I’ve thrown in my two pennyworth.

You see, I don’t view it as the end of the world. I see it as one door closing, allowing another to open. Who knows where it will lead but it doesn’t have to lead to gloom and doom, does it? And we will cope. We will review the situation and take it from there.

He said, after I’d delivered my positive, uplifting speech of how everything was going to be fine and that this should be viewed as exciting, ‘I don’t know what I would do without you in my life.’


And then he added, ‘no, honestly, I really don’t know what I would do without you.’

So, why did he try to blind me with those bloody lights? Why did he expect me to live with them when I knew they would give me a migraine?

And another thing – his ‘Betsy’ Land Rover has thrown in the towel and stands abandoned and without a floor where he has attempted to repair the old pile of crap – and failed. ‘She’ now needs a ‘few bits’ and time spending on her to get her back on the road. This has been the situation for the last fortnight during which time he has used the car for work and I have either been stuck here in the house or had to walk to places.

Apparently, he is going to fettle and whatever with the old dear this weekend. I’m off to a craft fair with my books so he can do what he likes.

Is it coming across that he isn’t my favourite human right now?

Think I’m rambling –  and I probably shouldn’t even be attempting to write this blog with the equivalent of an axe stuck in my head. So, apologies for all the bits that don’t make sense etc – but then, hey, I don’t need a migraine for my blogs not to make sense, do I? Don’t answer that.

Right, off to vacuum myself . . .  and shake the glitter from Chea – that’s if I can extract her from the wreath that she is about to put her head through!

Take care x20151203_093022



Betsy Land Rover..No Capacity Or Compassion!

Hi All

I could say that it was an uneventful May Bank Holiday, but I’d be lying, and as you all know, I am nothing but truthful.

It started on Thursday, the ‘beginning’ of the eventful phase, when I stood, sipping tea, staring at the lounge. There was nothing particularly wrong with it. I guess I was just bored with the familiar look of it. It needed something to happen. Just a little something that would cheer it up and/or make it a bit different.

By the last sip of tea, I’d texted Richard at work. ‘I’ve decided that we are exposing that second fireplace in the lounge, so come home with your happy head on…if you can find it!’

Ten minutes later he replied. ‘OK.’

He’s such a sweetie, well, he was then, when it was suggested!

Friday morning, at the crack of dawn, with tool in hand, Richard tentatively started peeling off the wallpaper. Obviously I joined in, but was instantly told (very bravely on Richard’s part) to leave it, because he wanted to do it carefully. I kept my cool, because it was only minutes into the great ‘fireplace exposure’ project. I made tea.

The following is how all our projects go;

Me. ‘Why are you doing it like that?’

Richard. ‘Why not?’

Me. ‘Because it isn’t logical and it won’t work.’

Richard. Leave it to me.’

Two minutes later.

Richard, scratching head. ‘Hmmm.’

Me. ‘Well? Are you ready to try my way now?’

Richard. ‘Hmmm.’

It’s not that I’m cocky, or clever, or big-headed, but I am logical. And logical always wins. Richard is not logical. Never. Ever. The gene passed him by – big time. So, under my logical guidance we located the edges of the plaster board, carefully ran a Stanley knife around it, and stepped back to wonder at the joys of twenty-three years of fallen soot and debris. Richard beetled off to the loo. I think the fear of the entire chimney collapsing was enough to move his bowels. Meanwhile, yours truly, as helpful as ever, decided to start shovelling up the debris. As I moved in, I glimpsed long, bony legs! I screamed and exited the lounge, bumping into Richard as he came down the stairs.

‘There’s something in there,’ I yelped, dancing on the spot. I said I was logical. Brave in the face of dead creatures doesn’t come into it. Even the words, ‘There’s something in there,’ sent a shiver down my spine, Stephen King-ish, and in retrospect I wished I hadn’t used them.

As already stated, Richard is not logical but he is a man, and brave or not, would defend me to the death. He advanced the scene…and I made tea.

Two years ago, on a hot summer’s day, the lounge had become infested with black flies – and I’m not talking midges here. I’m talking blue-bottle-type-things, the size of small mice. I said at the time, as Richard was tearing round the lounge, Dyson in hand, sucking them up the pipe, that I thought they were coming from under the skirting, covering the chimney breast.  And my powers of deduction and logic concluded that something had fallen down the chimney and been the host to a million maggots, which had now hatched and were seeking freedom.

The three dead bird bodies that Richard shovelled out of the debris gave me the proof needed to confirm this. I wanted to believe that they had been baby jackdaws that had died in the nest and fallen down into their eternal grave, but as we continued attempting to prevent the loose bricks from falling I noticed that there was bird pooh on one of them. This darkened my day. Dead birds don’t pooh. Worse was to come.

Having exposed the chimney we then decided to resuscitate Betsy Land Rover and risk her across country and drive to the nearest B&Q to fetch plaster, plaster board, hearth tiles, a sun lounger…

Yes, a sun lounger. It’s nearly summer. The sun will be shining.  I won’t be sitting here taping away all summer. Crikey, what do you take me for? I have Chea’s antics to sit and watch and the chucks to keep my eye on, and books to read…and stuff. I digress…

We were tootling along, Betsy was purring, well clearing her throat, when a rabbit ran into the road. I screamed and held it…and held it, as the rabbit stopped, turned, and ran back. My scream was replaced by a thud. A kind of thud once heard, never forgotten.

‘We got it?’ didn’t we,’ I said, flat toned, already teary-eyed.022

‘Yes.’ Richard said.

Well that just about did it. All I could think was, this little rabbit had woken to a lovely sunny morning, nibbled a bit of grass, thought, ‘Ah, the grass is always greener on the other side,’ and decided to cross the road to the other side and …bam. Dead.

Wrecked my day, frankly. 3 bird carcasses and a road kill.

We argued all the way round B&Q before Richard pulled the ‘I’m in charge of how much Betsy can carry,’ and informed me that we didn’t have room for a sun lounger. I sulked all the way to the Land Rover. I hated sodding Betsy. She had no capacity for anything and was a killer of bunnies. Bloody thing.

Richard loaded her up and then stood scratching his head as he realised the plaster board wouldn’t go in. ‘Why can’t I get that in?’ he snapped.

I shrugged, because now I hated Betsy Land Rover and her daft owner.

‘Gail! Why can’t I get the plaster board in? What should we do?’

‘Load it properly would be my guess,’ I said, still sulking about the rabbit…and lack of a sun lounger.

‘I suppose you could do it better?’ he said, cockily.

‘Obviously!’ I said.

‘Well you do it then,’ he said.

‘I will,’ I said. ‘Take the shit out!

He took the shi…stuff out and I loaded it.

‘You always know best, don’t you?’ he said.

It wasn’t a compliment.

‘Pretty much,’ I said. ‘And I know something else too.’

‘Go on, what,’ he said.

‘There’s now room for the sun lounger, so off you pop. You can go and fetch it and I’ll guard the goods.’

He shuffled off. Seven minutes later and he was back with my new lounger on a trolley that wouldn’t steer, and a look on his face, that, if I was a nervous person, would have scared the hell out of me. Fortunately I’m not a nervous person.

Later that day Richard found that the grill thingy on the front of Betsy had been caved in. He believes that the rabbit leapt into the air to avoid being hit and dented his grill. He moaned and moaned and said, ‘Do you know how much these are to replace?’ As if I would know…or care. Betsy’s a killer and she deserves everything she gets.

Richard was still moaning the following morning. He called me to look at a page on eBay, with all the cronky old Land Rover bits. He pointed to a grill and said, ‘Look! When I say I’m peed off about the grill this is how much they are to replace.’

The advert said £80.

‘Well it could have been worse,’ I said.

‘How?’ Richard snapped. ‘How could it possibly be worse?’

‘Well you could have been the rabbit!’

He hasn’t mentioned it since…although I did see him outside, attempting to put into action my logical suggestion. ‘Get a hammer and bang it straight!’


Take care my lovelies x022


PS The chimney project is ongoing.

Good Vibrations?

Hi All

Nothing much to report since I last ‘blogged’…and frankly that’s fine. It’s nice for life’s waves to ripple in occasionally. My life is all too often tsunami-like and sometimes even I need a break from that. There are only so many times you can get knocked off your feet by the unexpected before you begin to wonder if you should simply stay down and not bother getting up again. Oh! That sounds a bit defeatist, doesn’t it? It isn’t meant to because as you must know by now, I’m not a defeatist.

Probably, the most exciting and mind-blowing thing that I have done in the last week is to take a trip to the local garden centre. Yes, yes, I hear you…

‘Good grief, is that how she really gets her kicks?’

Well…yes, it is. I am a creature of simple pleasures.

‘All the same… a garden centre?’

Yes, a garden centre, because you see, I haven’t told you the best bit yet. Because I needed 3 bags of potting compost, and we would have been struggling to get all 3 bags in the VW UP…we went in Betsy Land Rover! See? Now you are getting the picture.

Richard wasn’t too pleased when I suggested that the old heap should earn its keep (Betsy, not Richard) because obviously the ancient thing is a status symbol (?) a focal point for anyone passing and isn’t intended for actually use. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Richard does go to work in it, occasionally, now that I’ve got it running for him (last post…or the one before that, can’t remember).

Anyway, I climbed aboard and leaned inwards as Richard slammed the door, and I mean slammed the door. I’m not allowed to close the door because I wouldn’t do it right? I know. Nuts or what? He positioned himself in the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition. Betsy jumped into life and the thrill of the vibrating Land Rover began. Richard fished around a bit with the gears, found reverse, and off we went in a wake of smoke. Very eco-friendly.

‘Burning oil!’ I shouted over the sound of the engine.

He didn’t even hear me. Or he could have been doing his favourite trick and pretending he hadn’t heard me?

Betsy has the clever knack of giving the impression that she corners on two wheels. The steering wheel appears to be pulled to the right and Betsy veers to the left. That could just be my impression, but she certainly has her own version of a very fancy pirouette on every bend and corner. And she has little consideration for her passenger. Richard appears quite stable, hanging on to the wheel, but I feel like a Weeble. You know, those things that are bottom-heavy and can’t fall over? “Weeble’s wobble but they don’t fall down.” Actually, I’m not sure I should have used that simile, it’s unnervingly a little too near to reality.

It took a moment for me to stop vibrating, as I half fell from the great height of the seat and landed on terra firma, at the garden centre. I have a weird idea that all this vibrating might be beneficial for my neck discs? Does nothing for the fillings in my teeth, though!

We loaded up the trolley thing with our compost, 3 for £10, and I spied another blueberry bush and another gooseberry bush and some seed things on a sticky tape and we paid for them (yes, housekeeping monies – well, gooseberries and blueberries are for the house, aren’t they?), and off we trotted.

Good old Betsy was loaded and away we went. Halfway home, Richard opened a metal vent and a rush of warm air rushed up my crutch. He war-whooped and yelled (he had to yell over the sound of the engine, remember?), ‘A heater! We’ve even got a heater! What do you think to that?’

It was a blood temperature draught coming from a 4 inch vent, and it hardly compensated for the hurricane blowing through the badly fitting doors, but I smiled sweetly and nodded. Little things please little minds… as I’ve said a million times, and will probably say a million more.022

My garden is now ready for the spring. I have 4 apple trees, 3 blackcurrant bushes, 2 rhubarb crowns, a dozen raspberry canes, 4 gooseberry bushes, 1 plum tree and 2 blueberry bushes. Lovely. As you can tell, I’m concentrating on fruit this year!

The new rhubarb crown caused a bit of a problem because there was only one place that it could possibly go and as I whacked the spade into the soil it hit concrete and almost broke my wrist. I spent the next hour…YES HOUR…trying to remove the leftover solid concrete and rock boulder that had once housed a pergola pole. Chea was no help at all as she had to be in the hole, patting at soil as it trickled down the sides of the abyss, and even when I swore at her she refused to move. After an hour I’d removed all the concrete with the help of a spade, a fork, a lump hammer, a crowbar and a pint of sweat. Sometimes I wish I was a quitter. No, really, I do. Life would be so much easier.

To be honest it’s lovely having Chea helping…and the chucks. I had to dig out an established Acer from the shrubbery area and that was almost bloody impossible with Chea and two chucks in the hole. Not only that, it was rather nauseating, as every worm was snaffled by the chucks and sucked to death.

Anyway, that concludes my blog regarding nothing, so I’ll trot off now and see if I can put in a row of spinach seeds. Chea can help…but not the chucks.

Take care my lovelies x

PS Apologies for this blog having rambled on to over 950 words. I hate long blogs. I always get bored reading them. So if you didn’t get all the way down this I have to say that I don’t blame you. Mind, if you didn’t get all the way down it you won’t be reading this, will you? I think I’m thinking too much now? I’ve gone.

Expensive Screw!

Hi All

Sunday morning and I’ve been abandoned. And the main reason for this is of my own doing. Richard has toddled off to a Land Rover show, but more to the point, Richard has toddled off to a Land Rover show in Betsy Land Rover. I still can’t believe that I play the ridiculous ‘name game’ with the great heap of detritus!

This is how it happened.

A week ago, a sad Richard looked up from his plate of gruel and moaned, ‘I need to find some spare cash so that I can get the Land Rover sorted.’

I flashed a murderous scowl across the room from my sofa (we have one each. I think it’s termed as territory?) and said, ‘What!’

‘I’m stuck with it,’ he said. ‘It’s not running right, I have to keep pumping the accelerator and running it on the choke and it keeps cutting out. I need someone who knows what they are doing to look at it…and that takes money.’

The murderous scowl remained. ‘I thought YOU knew what you were doing? At least that’s what you said when you wanted to bring the heap from your mother’s garage so that it could drip oil everywhere. There’s more oil on the paving than there is in Saudi Arabia!’

‘Old Land Rovers do that,’ he said.

‘Apparently!’ I said.

This was the end of the conversation because if it had continued it was going to turn ugly. Anyone who has been with this blog for any amount of time will know that ‘Betsy’ has been under repair and renovation for the last year and although she is now running, it is very badly, and in fits and starts. Richard’s conclusion, because he accepts defeat way too easily, is to get some grease monkey (sorry) to repair it at great expense. This was an option but I hate the fact that Richard throws in the towel and thinks he can’t do these things, because judging by the amount of time he spends on the internet, slobbering over these damn vehicles, he should be able to build one from scratch.

Finding £300/£400/£500 to get Betsy running was not an option, so I gently approached my brother and insisted that he came over with his friend, who, I had been reliably informed was a mechanic and knew all about Land Rovers.

They came over two Sunday’s ago and within fifteen minutes my brother’s friend had Betsy purring. I asked Richard (demanded actually) why it had only taken Chris fifteen minutes to sort out something that had, so far, taken Richard a year not to sort out.

Apparently, the mixture was too rich and Chris had merely turned some screw thingy ( I try not to get too swamped with info, especially  irrelevant info) three times and Betsy took a deep breath and burst into life, singing as sweetly as…er…not sure who sings sweetly…so…

Chris insisted that he didn’t want anything for fifteen minutes work and for turning a screw three times so I fed him some chocolate biscuits, and two cups of tea, and then he and my brother went on their jolly way. I gave my brother a lovely floor lamp that I’d decided I no longer needed. I don’t think he needed it either but it was the thought that counted.

I’ve since found out that Chris drinks Jack Daniels so I tracked down a bottle in Morrison’s the other day. I couldn’t believe the price! Jack Daniels is also Richard’s favourite tipple and I’m damn sure when I used to treat him to a bottle, now and then, it was around £2.99. The price on it said £28.99 and that was with £5 off! I had a lightning moment of mental arithmetic and to my reckoning that would have meant £10 per turn of the screw! Bloody hell.

I feel massively disgusted with myself when I tell you that I didn’t buy it…but having thought about it I have to, don’t I? I’ll go back. Today. When they open.

So you see, it was actually me who sorted out Betsy, me who is going back to Morrison’s today, me who will buy a £30 bottle of Jack Daniels, and me who has been dumped, whilst Richard bounces off across country, to meet up with his friend, Darren, at the Land Rover show and play like big kids. Lord, he even took a flask of coffee!

Obviously the money for the JD will come out of the housekeeping monies (see last post) which Richard provides…but that’s not the point.

I do have some sad news to report…Chea’s best and only friend, Bobby, has gone! His family moved to their new house over the weekend. They met-up for the last time on Friday and toggled off together, arm in arm, on an adventure. Now she sits in the lounge window, looking across at Bobby’s lounge window, but his little face doesn’t appear. Poor Chea. And to add insult to injury, she’s been put on a diet by the wicked witch of the house, AND the ground is frozen this morning so she has had to come back into the house to use her litter tray for a pooh. As luck would have it she managed to fit it in just before Richard left so he had the pleasure of removing said pooh from said tray.HPIM2818

Off to Morrison’s…

Take care my lovelies x

With A Frisky Little Hand Down The Back Of Her Jeans…

Hi All

It seems like an age since I was last here and I can’t really blame it on ‘the holiday.’ Sure, that took up time, but I’ve been back for almost five days and I simply haven’t been able to get back into my groove …whatever that means? I have a proofed novel waiting for my attention and the best I can do is clean the house and replace the lounge curtains and curtain poles. I’m sure that must mean something but just what I have no idea.

The holiday was perfect and I have to say that although Spain is nice, and my brother’s house is beautiful, it was the company that made the holiday. We never stopped laughing and my ribs still hurt now! I guess it is a simple rule of life…put the right combination together and it works.

I was terrified of flying and Richard wasn’t much better. My fear came from the fact that the plane might explode in mid-air, Richards fear was of throwing up. Naturally, being the caring souls that we are we supplied him with plastic bags and advised him against eating carrots the night previously. Another mystery of life. Why does vomit always contain carrots even though you can’t remember eating any? Don’t answer that. I really don’t need to know the answer at this time of the morning.

Richard passed through every shade of green, white and grey on the plane and couldn’t speak, except to grimace and mumble, ‘Sit still you’re rocking the plane!’ Obviously we divulge into childish laughter, nothing else to do in the circumstances.

I must say I was a bit concerned when we arrived at the airport and I happened to glance out of the window and clock a plane waiting on the tarmac. I said to my cousin, jokingly, (I thought)  ‘Bloody hell, I hope that isn’t our plane, it’s tiny, and they haven’t washed it and the wings bend up at the ends.’ I don’t need to tell you that it WAS our plane.

Coming home was a bit of a blast. My hand luggage got beeped and the jolly little Spanish person (yes I’m joking…Lord, talk about losing a pound and finding a penny) grated something which I didn’t hear but Richard did and he snapped, ‘Fluids!’

‘Huh?’ I said, watching with childish amusement as my cousin was shepherded off towards a Spanish female official to be frisked.

‘FLUIDS!’ Richard yelled, panicking and grabbing my bag. ‘You’ve got fluids!’

‘Have I? No I haven’t. What are you talking about?’

‘Unzip your bag!’ Richard said, quieter this time, not wanting to draw attention. Meanwhile my cousin was having exploratory hands run up the inside of her legs…

I unzipped my bag and there, lying on the top of my delicately packed crap, was a bottle of spring water. Richard plucked it out and the lovely happy Spanish person (!) winged it into a bin where it landed with a thud.

‘Hey, that’s my water,’ I said with great indignation.’He’s binned my bloody water.’

Richard hissed, ‘shush,’ through his teeth…YES hissed, and grabbed me by the collar…YES grabbed me by the collar, and shoved me ahead of him still hissing, ‘You DON’T argue with customs, get going!’

Charming. What am I going to do with a bottle of spring water? Personally I can’t think of anything except drink it or add it to pancake/Yorkshire pudding batter to make it extra light and crispy.

My cousin was having a hand slipped down the back of her jeans as Richard pushed me past her, refusing to let me stop. But it wasn’t over yet…

As we were preparing to board, another lovely little Spanish person kindly caught my attention (pointed at me and jerked her finger, indicating that I should move out of the line) and made me ram my hand luggage in the stupid template thing that dictates the size. I don’t need to tell you that it wouldn’t fit in. My party had gone on ahead and I was all alone in a foreign country, with foreign people, speaking a foreign language – and they had stolen my spring water.

Suddenly my brother appeared…and made to come back through the system. The ratty official told him not to come any further and my brother had that look on his face that clearly said, ‘Piss off.’ My heart swelled. My brother had come back like a spawning salmon battling up-stream and here he was, leaping the hypothetical barrier, fighting off the lovely Spanish person and demanding I chuck out half of my bag contents and saying that he would put them in his bag.

Looking at it, if it hadn’t been for the bottle of absinthe that Richard bought and shoved in my bag, because his was full, and the Spanish chocolates (last time I support the Spanish economy) my bag would have passed the template tester thing.

But my brother was my hero. He’s been having Spanish lessons for some time now so I guess it does help having an inkling of what these lovely people are saying??!! Mind you, what he said didn’t sound too jolly. We obviously looked very suspicious? Can’t imagine why, although, my brother and Richard passed through without incident.

My cousin and I had a jolly, rip-roaring, snorting laugh on the plane about her having been frisked. She said it was a bit weird and it wouldn’t have been quite so weird had it been a man doing the frisking. I think she was joking.

We came back to chilly weather and Richard had to go to work the next day. When we settled down for the evening he told me he had fallen off his moped that morning, (see how he has to wait until he has my full attention?) on the way to work. He said, when he’d gone around the mini roundabout, the back wheel went from under him, the front wheel hit the kerb three times and then he ended up on the grass verge. He said, ‘As I lay there I thought, eff me, yesterday I was lying on Wayne’s roof top verandah, sipping Sangria in the sun, and today I’m lying on a wet muddy verge, being rained on, and with a moped on top of me…effing brilliant!’

I think he came off (not literally) slightly better than the bike. The bike has a smashed mud guard, a buckled wheel and grass implants. Richard has a badly bruised back and upper arm. I have put my foot down and banned him from riding the stupid thing through the autumn/winter months. The roads are wet and greasy and I fear for the little soul. I mean, what’s wrong with using Betsy Land Rover? Or the car? Mini moped can go and over-winter with BMW motorbike in the garage.

So… that’s the first blog sorted, now all I have to do is find the enthusiasm to third draft The Sleeping Field. WP_20131030_001

Take care my lovelies x






Enough To Get On Your Willy …

Hi All

Now,  riddle me this …can you see me in seamed stockings and high heels? No? I thought not. And neither can I. And this is exactly what I told Richard yesterday.

This is how it came about …

Earlier in the week Richard asked, ‘Do you fancy going to Rufford Park on Sunday? They have a WWII day/enactment.’

‘No,’ I said.

‘I thought you’d say that,’ he said, with his chin on the floor. ‘I’d like to go.’

‘Well you go,’ I said.

‘But I’d like to go with you.’

‘But I’m not going.’

End of conversation – until Friday evening when the subject came up again. I caved in and said, ‘Oh alright. But if my lipoma wound hurts I’m sitting in the car and reading and you can walk round on your own.’

This seemed to satisfy him, so much so that he looked like a little dog with two tails. The lipoma comment was a bit glib because obviously it wouldn’t stop me from walking. But it was my ‘back-up’ plan for if I couldn’t be bothered to get out of the car.2013-09-01 11.06.10

Richard has this passion for the past which frankly I don’t share. I’m fine with memories but I don’t have to go out of my way to look back. Most of the stuff that I’ve moved on from needed to be moved on from, and definitely not revisiting.

It was really quite chilly when we got there so that was slightly off-putting. And then the cafeteria/restaurant didn’t really cater for vegetarians, particularly a non-cheese-eating-veggie, so I ended up having a golden syrup flapjack and a cup of tea, which by the way, I had to guzzle down because Richard was in such a rush to get off to view his Willys Jeep – or whatever it is called. Don’t shout at me for not bothering to find the correct spelling of the thing because I’m really not interested enough to bother. They are some American, green vehicle that was used in the war …or so I am lead to believe and is Richard’s latest, greatest love. I know his love is true because he actually said that he would sell Betsy Land Rover (horror upon horror) and his BMW motorbike (double horror upon horror) to buy one. This didn’t sound too bad …until he then stated that we would have to move house, to a house with a garage, because a Jeep couldn’t live outside in all weathers. Yes, well,THAT’S not going to happen.2013-09-01 10.58.03

We trotted round and I have to admit it was OK. Everyone dressed in clothes from the era and there were some good-looking soldier-type people sitting around polishing their ammo’ and sharpening their bayonets. I was quite taken with one guy …but that was when Richard beetled off to the loo and I was left watching him playing with his bullets.

The downside to all of this was when some very serious types dragged a gun thing onto the open field and proceeded to blast the quiet of the Nottinghamshire countryside to smithereens. I hate loud noises. It scares me. There must be something deep within my consciousness that scares the hell out of me, because babies and small dogs watched, whilst  I quickly retreated with my fingers rammed into my ears. I hate the sound of planes etc too. I could never visit an air show. 2013-09-01 11.01.36

So …Richard, all excited and gushing said, ‘I’d really like a Jeep …but then I’d want to do this and you wouldn’t, would you?’

‘This?’ I said. ‘Do this!’

‘Yeah. Go the whole hog and do enactment weekends. We could camp out and …’

‘Let me stop you right there! If you think I’m dressing up in seamed stockings and heels you can think again. No, Richard. No. Read my lips. NO!’2013-09-01 11.55.08

‘You could be a land girl,’ he said. ‘You like wearing wellies and you said that you had a pair of dungarees years ago.’

I shall tell you no more. It turned a bit ugly after that point …until we both burst out laughing as a very buxom ‘land girl’ wobbled past. We just looked at each other and Richard said, ‘Hmmm perhaps not.’


At least Richard enjoyed the day out and to be honest so did I. We spent some time together, which was the main thing. It is too easy to forget to do that sometimes.2013-09-01 11.22.30

The day ended on quite a sour note though. The neighbour called round to tell Richard that he and his partner are moving. This we found really sad. Their cat Rory (name changed for legal reasons) is Chea’s best and only friend. They love each other. She will be devastated, bless her. The neighbours do, in fact, have a garage, so I’m just waiting for the light to go on in Richard’s head and for him to suggest that we buy the house we are attached to and move next door. That way he can have his bloody Jeep.

And as much as I hate repeating myself …that isn’t going to be happening either. I’m such a spoil sport!

So, I’m posting a few pictures that we took because there might be another Richard out there …somewhere?


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Take care my lovelies x

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