Monthly Archives: October 2015

I’d say Sunday, but it’s been cloudy all day

It’s been a calm day so far, which is all to the good.  The week has been rather too much, one way and another, which is probably the reason I felt in great need of an early night, fell asleep quickly but woke after an hour and didn’t really sleep after that – odd catnaps were all I managed.

However, I toddled down to church and managed to find a few minutes to run through three of the four hymns.  Little as I enjoy being the only organist now, at least it’s good for my finger-twinkling dexterity in that regard.  If I can’t fit in all the notes, I find a few others that I can play and it sounds okay.  We had four extra in the congregation – the youngest of the four explained later over coffee that she is a helper at a local home for people with mental health problems.  She is employed part-time to take them out for meals or shopping, play board or card games with them, do gardening – anything they would like to do to stimulate their minds enjoyably and give them a more normal, less institutionalised life.  Since she was there on a Sunday morning this week, they decided they’d like to go to church.  They were charming and very friendly – and almost doubled the congregation, which was good.

Z Sawyer

You remember the start of Tom Sawyer, when his aunt punishes him by making him whitewash the fence, and he manages to sell it as a treat to his friends?

Roses has taken on the chicken and she feels lucky.  Heh.  The chicken is doing all right.  I’ve got an antiseptic spray from the pet shot and we’re using that rather than ointment – which was fine, but this leaves it more open and less wet – and I can feel that her breastbone is less prominent, so the little she is eating is doing her good.  The pen is now in Roses’ porch and Roses herself is carrying little chicken round and is teaching her to ride on her shoulder.  *sigh*

I did my good deed for the day, yet it’s not that good a deed but a normal thing to do.  I went into town to do my shopping and, at the first shop, spent all my cash.  So i parked outside Barclays to use their cashpoint, and spotted a piece of brown paper in the gutter.  I picked it up and it was an envelope with a name and an amount of money written on it.  Clearly wages, over £100 and probably a week of part-time earning.  So I took it home and asked on the local Facebook page.  And, thank goodness, the owner was found.  She confirmed the sum and it was clearly the right person.  She’d worked extra last week to earn more for spending money for the family half-term holiday.  And the fact is, I feel just as happy to have found and returned her money as she does to have got it back.  And clearly no praise is due, it would have been dishonest, wrong, wicked to have kept it.  If I hadn’t found her over the weekend, I’d have handed it to the police on Monday and put the word about in local shops etc.  I’ve been embarrassingly praised on the FB site – but I reiterate, doing anything but returning it would have been wrong, stealing and really quite WTF?

Although the week took a decided downturn because of the poor chicken, it has picked up substantially since.  Roses let one of the mother hens into the run with the others yesterday and she seems to have integrated.  I put the other one in this evening and she was a bit nervous, clearly realising that she’d dropped way down the pecking order.  The cock was bullying her until I intervened and one of the black hens was throwing her weight about – but she’s a pretty assertive hen and I think it’ll be fine.  I’ll let them out tomorrow and by the evening they will all have forgotten she’d dropped out of the flock.  I now, at last, have a spare coop so will separate the young cocks from the hens.  I’m afraid that I still have one missing hen, so she may be sitting on yet another clutch of eggs.  But now I know I can rehome them, it’s only an annoyance, not a real problem.  If they hatch from now on, the coop will go in the greenhouse for warmth.

I hope to unobsess about animals soon. Especially sodding chickens.

Better day

Well, I was upset – but it’s no one’s fault, but if I’d been there it wouldn’t have happened.  But we start from where we are, not from where we wish we were.

The little hen has had several baths – just her head – today and can open her eyes and has eaten a tiny morsel of cheese and had a good drink.  If she can eat tomorrow and the wounds don’t get infected, she’s going to be all right, but they’re fairly big ifs.

The guy who’s bought the contents of the workshop and wood barn has got going again, having realised I’ve been pushed to my personal limit.  I was still polite but I was forthright – not as forthright as I can be, but not many people see that.

I’m being interviewed and photographed (not for my sake but for the china) on Monday – woo hoo.  I’m not usually big on this sort of thing but I want the publicity so will grin like a loon.

I have spent the evening with Rose and we sank a bottle of wine and a big gin, so I’m more than usually coherent.

My fridge was to be delivered between 7 am and 2 pm.  It arrived at 12.40, but at least the driver phoned half an hour in advance to let me know.  All the same, having put on the alarm for 6.30, I was awake from 3.  Pah.

Z doesn’t learn life’s lessons again

I don’t know that I’ll ever learn the lesson fully, though I remind myself of it regularly – a series of lessons, actually.

Be self-reliant.  If I cock it up, I’ll take the responsibility.  But at least I probably won’t cock it up so comprehensively as some other people.

Never assume that someone will do what he says he will, when he says he will.

Someone who is genuinely trying to help may cause such a disastrous result that it would be far, far better if they’d never tried to in the first place.

If there is any possibility of someone trying to help, tell them first what not to do.

At present, I have a young hen in my porch, lying nearly unconscious and in a bad way.  Too tedious to explain the details, but it’s a result of my gardener trying to help and putting her in a small run with eight others who don’t know her.  The four young cocks have nearly pecked her to death.  I never thought that anyone in their right mind would consider doing such a thing.  She couldn’t get away.

I have thirteen other young birds in two pens waiting, because the friend who was going to pick them up didn’t turn up.  He forgot.  It was not easy to catch them and I’ve put the babies and their mum in one coop and another hen in the other, and I can’t let them go again.  I can feed them but not give them water.

I have a splitting headache and am too distressed even to cry.  Wince had no idea, he was only trying to help.

An hour later – I was able to contact Karen who’s having the birds and she came to pick them up.  She’s trying to leave again, but Graham, who was going to take them to her, arrived too and is telling her about his difficult day, the reason he forgot to come.

The young hen is looking a little stronger.  I don’t know if she will survive the night, but if she does then she has a decent chance.  In that case, I’ll put a coop in my porch – yes, alongside the tortoises’ run – and keep her warm and dry.




It needed to be done, but it was ghastly.  I cleaned the carpet where Eloise cat had used it as a toilet, repeatedly.  Honestly, there must have been at least 20 little dumps. My cleaners had picked up what they could, but it had sort of welded itself into the pile.

I took the steam cleaner and fired it up – I was gagging within moments and had to go and fetch a face mask.  The carpet has suffered somewhat, but it’s along the edge and won’t show much.  It’s quite old, it’s the big rug, some 18 foot by 12 foot, that my in-laws used as a dining room carpet and that has since been used in Ronan’s bedroom.  I have steamed it, cleaned off the solids (sorry), washed it with detergent and rinsed and have left it to dry.  I expect I’ll have to wash it again, then use an odour neutraliser and then a pet repellant.

Bloody cat.  It’s all been since that beastly tabby RasPutin has been bothering us at night, she is nervous of going out after dark.  She has a litter tray but, for reasons unknown, stopped using it.  She had to last night though, she asked to go through to the spare bedroom but I laughed in her pretty little face.

After this was over, I went and had a long, hot bath, lying full-length in the water until I felt the horridness of the experience leaving me.  I am concerned that I can’t entirely trust her to not do it again, though.  It’s a big house and I suppose she doesn’t yet feel that it’s all in the same territorial category.

Steam cleaners are the business.  It would have been even worse without it.

38. Wot, not 42?

My jar of jam is no. 38 of 78.  But in another way, it was 77 of 78 and, as I said yesterday, Dilly had the last one.  It brings together the best of raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant, it truly is delicious.

I read something in the paper yesterday that disconcerted me, accidentally threw it away this morning and have now rescued it, so I will quote.

A study for a finance house suggests that the most generous family member is the mother-in-law, and people who received cash from theirs were given, on average, £3,093.  Brothers came second on the list for GE Capital Direct, with people who had received money from a brother in the past year getting £1,598.  Fathers came third (£1,370), mothers were fourth (£883) and grandfathers fifth (842). 

I’m really glad that grandmothers weren’t mentioned.  With three children-in-law and three children, I already seem to be down by almost £12k.  I didn’t think I was ungenerous with the birthday presents, but over three thousand pounds?  Gosh.

My chum Graham is coming over tomorrow to shift some stuff from a too-big bonfire pile.  Then I’ll light what’s left and we can gradually put the shifted stuff back.  I have a lot more, that is destined for a bonfire night party.  It’ll be jolly, assuming the weather is kind – and if not, it’ll be jolly.  We will just toast Grandpa indoors.  Russell’s father’s birthday was 5th November and (though it wasn’t his first name but his second) he was always known as Guy – so we never burned an effigy, it didn’t seem quite right in his lifetime.

Z shops and cooks. No change there, then.

I’ve ordered the cat flap and Eloise has been chipped.  RasPutin the evil tabby has cost me £125 over this – the only flap that fits the hole in the door is a £93 jobbie.  Eloise was supremely good at the vet’s, didn’t protest when a very large needle was thrust in her neck and calmly strolled back into the carrier afterwards.  She is going back next week to check it’s lodged all right – though actually, the cat flap won’t work if it hasn’t, so i may be able to cancel the appointment.

I have also ordered a new fridge.  I’ve got two at present and neither of them is in great shape. One, that is meant to be frost-free, started frosting up about a year ago, so clearly the thermostat is on its way out.  The other is very old, the seal on the freezer part isn’t great so that freezes up and the light has gone out.  It also isn’t as cold as it used to be, so I use it for relatively non-perishable stuff, such as drinks and preserves.  The space I have isn’t as big as I’d like and there isn’t a lot of choice in narrow fridges – I was talking to Roses about it today, I might get a carpenter in and do a bit of revamping in the kitchen to make a little more room.  Though if I do, that will leave a wallpaperless patch on the wall – it will be hidden by the fridge, but I must think it all through.  I have wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom because they’re the least likely rooms for it.  I don’t like to be too sensible.

Darling Indigo Roth and his other half called in this afternoon on their way home from a weekend break, so I made some scones.  I’m on a scone kick at present.  We had them with some of the jam I bought on Sunday, which is gorgeous.  It was made as a fairly small batch (each jar is numbered, I must look up what my number is) for a special do that the maker went to in the summer and she sold off the rest afterwards.  She had jars open of all her jams and I tasted this one and really loved it – it’s a mixture of raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant.  She only had two jars left, so I snapped up one and Dilly bought the other.

Having sent out the catalogues for the auction on the 28th of this month, I’ve been getting some lovely emails in return.  I haven’t answered many of them yet, I must do that in the next day or so.  I’ve got a couple calling in tomorrow to look at one of the lots.  I have several more jobs to do before the sale and must confirm who is helping on the day, too.  It’s all a bit nerve-wracking, being responsible for everything on my own.

Son Day

It was young Pugsley’s ninth birthday at the end of last month and I’d still not given him his present.  I’d had it in time, but we hadn’t managed to get together.  We’re a bit casual about birthdays, it has to be said, and think nothing about celebrating several times or hardly at all, and presents are sometimes given weeks after the event.  Anyway, I phoned his father to ask if it might be convenient to drop it in?  In the event, they came over here and we went into Yagnub for the food festival.  I drove the children in and Al and Dilly walked.  I’ve been carrying heavy things recently and I mustn’t do it again, my hip isn’t up to it and I couldn’t face the thought of a mile and a half walk each way.

It was a lovely festival and I bought absurd amounts of food – though it’ll keep and it’s all locally produced and great quality.  I had bread, cheese and pickles for supper, along with some of the last tomatoes from the greenhouse.  The outdoor ones have finished.  The family bought food too – good to know that they are almost as obsessed as I am.

Later, I went to the Harvest Festival, where there were various activities for the children, followed by a church service.  The weather was perfect, warm and sunny, so lots of people came and it was all good fun.  And this evening, I’ve had a long chat with my sister and a shorter one with my daughter, so it’s been a good day.

I thought I was going to have an early night, but it’s already after 11 o’clock and I’ve still got things to do.  No matter.  I don’t need an early start in the morning.

Sat a day

Putin – or Rasputin as he’s known when out on the town looking for a hot date, is an expensive intruder.  Because I’d hoped that Zig would be coming for the summer when I bought the cat flap, I got a large one so that the dogs could use it too.  The only one I can find of similar dimensions costs over £90.  Then there’s the cost of having Eloise microchipped.

However, it certainly is very much needed.  I left the flap unlocked last night and Putin invaded the house at 6 o’clock this morning.  I heard a horrified yowl from Eloise and knew what it signified immediately.  Putin was halfway up the stairs when a naked Z leapt out at him and he shot back down again, down the passageway, through the kitchen, into the back lobby and out of the catflap.  I grumpily locked it again, made tea and took it, with muesli, back to bed and read yesterday’s papers that I’d been too tired to finish last night.

The good news is that Karen in the next village will take any bantams I don’t want and doesn’t mind if they haven’t been sexed yet.  So I’ll keep the four oldest ones, as two of them have already been promised and they’re all pretty, plus the white one that is living in the greenhouse, because she won’t be easy to catch, and let her have all the rest, about a dozen (it’s actually thirteen, but one of them has a bad leg and I don’t think she will survive – it seems to be a congenital dislocation or something similar).  When the remaining five are bigger – they’re less than a week old – I’ll give her those too.  If she really doesn’t mind cocks, she can have the four young ones plus the daddy, but it hardly seems fair – they aren’t honestly worth rearing for meat.

I went down to the church this morning, arranged one basket of vegetables and another of fruit, then did two flower arrangements from a mixture of bought and garden-picked flowers and leaves.  I was brisk about it, doing the whole thing in about an hour.  But then it was decided to put one of them on the altar as the colours would show up better and I wished I’d taken a little more trouble – it looks fine but I could have done better.

I’ve started turning out the greenhouse, which has got quite overgrown.  But I lost enthusiasm after a while.  I’ll do more another day.  Unless I can persuade someone else to do it for me, of course…

Fry day

A friend thinks he might be able to find a home for the surplus chicks, hooray!  I have someone who wants two, but haven’t yet got homes for the others.

Having laid down the law to a school pupil whose behaviour is such that he’s on a final warning, I spent a happier afternoon with my friend Jan.  She wanted to look at the china for the sale and then we had tea together.  I’d made scones and we both ate rather a lot.  I lost count.  But then, I wasn’t counting.

I’ve been out and bought lots of fruit and veg for Harvest Festival.  I’ll pick what I have too,  but it’s getting near the end of the season.  I’ve got flowers too, but I think the main event should be the produce.  I’ve got grapes and bread for the altar too – the bread can go for the chooks afterwards and someone will be given the grapes, everything given goes to people in the village, distributed by the schoolchildren.  It’s arranged in advance, so that recipients are expecting it and will give a friendly welcome.

I burnt my mouth on a chip.  I’ve eaten ice since, but it still is sore.  The mouth heals quickly, though.

I’ve booked Eloise in for microchipping on Monday.  I’m going to order the catflap too.  I’m really not pleased at the necessity, but I can’t risk Boss Hogg Putin (Tim’s suggestion) invading my house.