Monthly Archives: March 2017

Z grinds her teeth

My jaw aches.  I don’t see any question of not clenching my teeth in the next week at least, though.  Having spoken to the assessor who’s going to the flat next Thursday, I expected an email of confirmation, since he said he was going to send it.  It didn’t arrive, but the next day I had a letter from the firm (which didn’t mention the appointment and was presumably sent it before he rang me) and today, I tried to log in to the page they’ve apparently set up for my case on their website.  The log-in doesn’t work.  Use my email address, they said and gave me a password to use the first time, which i could then change.

However, my name was misspelt on their letter and Nick the assessor had addressed me by the wrong name too, until I told him what it should be – and said that he should check the email address accordingly.  So I tried using their spelling as my email – I had quite a number of attempts.  There is an alternative, which is to use my policy number, of which they helpfully gave the last four digits.  Sadly, they don’t correspond to anything.  Neither insurance policy number, nor the claim number.  So I’m going to have to phone in the morning and I really do feel I’ve spent enough time on the phone (which is a medium I dislike using anyway) already.

Tim is kindly going to cook dinner.  Left to myself, I wouldn’t bother and would just go to bed.

Z tried and failed to think of an appropriate pun about giving a fence

Yesterday, I also called on Farmer G, though I didn’t see him and left a message with his wife.  And his son, Farmer J, phoned this morning to check I’d be in and ready for a stroll around the demesne.

Although brought up in town, where I lived for over thirty years, I’m a country girl by nature – heh – and I’m quite practical.  So we soon found we were in agreement.  In short, the whole of the field known as Humpy’s Meadow will have its fencing replaced.  Various hawthorns and willows need cutting back – there is nowhere for birds to nest, they aren’t bushy enough for that and they haven’t started sprouting yet – and brambles will be cut down and burned.  Fallen and dead wood will be cleared.  The old stable (Humpy was the donkey) has fallen down and its remains will be removed.  Wood that can be used for the fire will be saved and the rest will go on the bonfire.  And it’ll be done before Easter.  The new gate that I had made will be installed at the same time, but we’ve agreed that another gate won’t be needed.

We talked about the Ups and Downs, the other field, and agreed that the fence alongside the road has never given trouble, so can probably be left.  The one along the drive could do with some attention but that isn’t urgent.  I mentioned that LT had pointed out that the three brick pillars only go to the curve in the drive and a fourth one would be better than the concrete post that’s there now.  Farmer J agreed and suggested that a fifth, by the gate into the field, would make an even better job.  I need to talk to our good friend Dave about this, we like bricklaying together, if he has time and energy.  Then, the angle irons that are the fence posts could be taken up, the paint stripped, rustproofed, repainted and replaced, and new wire put up.

LT and I haven’t decided yet whether we’re staying here long-term or selling and moving – we have had quite enough change in the past year and a half and are happy to be together for now and see where life takes us.  But whether we stay or leave, we’d like the place to be lovely.  Dear Russell rather liked it being scruffy and rather liked a mess.  Careful neatness wouldn’t suit the place, which is old, relaxed and not a bit posh, but a sense of order and comfort does.

In other news, I moved the furniture in the drawing room while Tim was away.  Since he now has the revolving bookcase right by the place he normally sits on the sofa, this went down quite well.  Although I’ve moved another bookcase into the room (which used to be in here actually, I can’t remember why it was taken out, a decade or so ago), I’ve assured him they aren’t his’n’hers bookcases.  They’re both ours.  Obvs.

Right now, we’re drinking champagne.

Half a year already

Online shopping is just too easy, innit?  I spent half an hour effortlessly spending £100 or so this morning – I’d have done it just as well in Norwich but driving, parking, searching for what I wanted would have taken me four times as long and cost me more.  I bought from real suppliers, not Amazon, if that can make me less deserving of condemnation, but I don’t suppose so.

I heard on the radio today that – as we know – banks are justifying closing branches because we bank on the internet.  Yes, I do, but then there is one bank open three days a week in Yagnub and the building society is closing soon too.  Less than five years ago, there were three high street banks and I used all of them, but I don’t have the option now that two and a half of them have closed, so I go online too.  Which reminds me, I have an actual cheque that I meant to pay in today and I forgot.  I’ll have to do it on Monday.

I called on my friend Mike this afternoon.  I haven’t seen him for months, and he used to drop in quite regularly.  I didn’t realise for a while but, when I did, was rather concerned.  I was sure I’d have heard if there was anything seriously wrong but thought I’d go and see him – he’s about fifteen minutes drive away – rather than phone.  And he was in, and was fine, but was unable to drive for a while because he’d had two cataract operations and had double vision for a while after the second one.  I wished I’d done something about it sooner, I feel I’ve not been much of a friend.  But now we’ve reconnected, we’ll see more of each other.

Lovely Tim and I have been married for six months today.  We’re unfussed about anniversaries, or at least, about precise dates.  But I’ve put a bottle of our wedding champagne in the fridge for tomorrow, when he comes home.

Z mostly eats eggs

The bantams are laying enthusiastically, usually four or five eggs a day and we’re getting a build-up.  LT took half a dozen with him yesterday and I hard-boiled another half dozen, because then there were fewer to reproach me with on the kitchen table.  I ate a couple for lunch with our delicious chilli relish and another two for dinner with some of the leftover curry from the night before.  And I’ll finish the last two tonight and had a poached egg for breakfast.  Which is all very eggy but only keeping pace with them.  Still, I can hardly complain, having done so vociferously when they didn’t lay at all for a month or so.

Muntjak deer have been nibbling the tulip leaves, unfortunately.  I suspect I’ll have to dig the bulbs up, when they’ve finished flowering (though I also suspect the deer will eat the flowers) and replant them in the autumn, in pots by the house.  As Wince and I were standing by the bed looking at them, two deer were popping back and forth through the hedge the other side of the tennis court just a few yards away.  They looked at us quite casually, not wary at all.  Bloody things.  I’d be thrilled if I had fallow or roe deer and wouldn’t care about the damage, but these are a nuisance: neither use nor ornament, as they say.

The insurers not having phoned back yesterday, I rang them this morning and got a woman called Rachel, who was very helpful.  Later, the assessor phoned me and a few minutes later, Rachel rang me back to check that this had happened, which I appreciate very much.  And now I can go and visit my friend Jan, who is still in a nursing home, nearly six months after breaking her upper arm, but still hoping to go home before long.

Today’s post

Peeved as I am, because the insurance company was supposed to phone this morning between 9 and 12 noon and the buggers didn’t ring at all – I wasn’t out of sound of the phone all day and even took it with me when I watered the greenhouse, fed the animals and went to the loo (TMI, but true) – it’s a very first world problem when news comes through of the atrocity in Westminster this afternoon.

I don’t tend to do current affairs on this blog and I’m not going to start.  But I will mention the wonderful people whose instinct was to help.  Mine would probably have been to run, unless – maybe – I saw I could help and was the best person to do so at the moment.  But love and appreciation for the helpers, for whom loving kindness overcame fear.

And to come back to the Zeddary, young Stevo is still plugging away at smartening the place up. He nearly cleared the bed by the Wall this afternoon and promises to finish the job tomorrow.  We will get there.  Although we have no plans to leave here at present, I do browse RightMove every so often, and I finally found a house I rather like.  Fortunately, it isn’t perfect, as it doesn’t have a dining room – the “kitchen/breakfast room” seems to be it, which doesn’t seem adequate for a six bedroom house with a big sitting room, a study and a “snug” – maybe that’s why it’s reduced in price.  Anyway.  Probably wouldn’t like it if I saw it.

Z is a bit tired tonight

It’s been a tricky day, one way and another.  I’ve discovered my accountant has left the firm, having been with it a good twenty years – I’m dismayed at the prospect of explaining everything to someone else, the thought makes me tired.  I’d forgotten that the lecture we’d expected to hear this morning wasn’t being given because the lecturer has been taken seriously ill – the replacement was very good in fact, but it’s all making me edgy.  The auction was good and interesting but the auctioneers were really rather slow – or rather, the bidders were.  Just bid, dammit, if you’re going to, and don’t come in at the very last moment when the hammer is about to fall.  Then, on the way back, we were diverted because of roadworks several times, then had a great deal of difficulty finding the place we wanted – which was the accountant’s, in fact, as i need to check out what he was in the middle of to find out how far he’d got – there are new buildings under construction which makes the area look so different that I missed the turning altogether.

And there’s a lot of dealing with insurance, tenants, workmen, going on.  I rather want to stop the week and start again, although it wouldn’t make any difference.

Onwards, upwards, etc.  At least the Thai-ish sauce I made tonight has so much left that, tomorrow, I can hard-boil some eggs and add them for a simple meal tomorrow night.  I wondered why the large quantity of coriander I’d added hadn’t added a lot to the taste, until I ate a leaf.  Parsley.  Sigh, darlings, sigh.  I chucked in the coriander too, of course.  It’s all greens, innit?

Thank goodness for insurance

Since Mago was interested in the local vineyard, here’s a link to its website in case he or anyone else would like to look it up.

We went to view an auction today – one of those ones where, on asking to see the china, they unlock the cabinet and let you poke around by yourself.  I’m immensely careful of course and know how to handle it, but when there are a lot of pieces on each shelf in several rows and the top shelf is higher than my head, it’s all a bit dicy.  Still, no problems of course, and we’re going to go back to the sale itself tomorrow.  I’ve registered as a bidder, but whether I actually do bid or – not especially likely – buy anything remains to be seen.  There will be lots of people I know there, certainly.

When we got home, I found I’d had an email from one of my London tenants.  There’s a leak somewhere and clearly water has been getting in for a while, but recently it’s been getting considerably worse.  Thank goodness for insurance, it’ll all be very expensive to put right.  Of course, hours have already been spent on the phone and it can only get more involved – but we won’t, as the advertisement used to say, make a drama out of a crisis.  No one is injured, after all.

It’s our darling Squiffany’s twelfth birthday today.  I bought her a camera and accessories, she phoned me a while ago to thank me and is very pleased.  Dilly told me that she wanted it so much that she was prepared to use some of her savings a month or two ago, but they persuaded her to hang on, knowing fond grandparents would be looking for present ideas.  I went to her ballet school’s performance on Saturday, she looked so beautiful and graceful – both her mother and I felt very emotional.  Silly old woman that I am, of course.

Z will tak the low road

I’ve made the ice cream, only substituting pecan nuts for hazelnuts because I happened to have them, though I realised as I put them in that they were likely to sink in ice cream that doesn’t have to be churned,  Still, no matter.  It’ll be a bit layered, that’s all.  And it took a whole six eggs, which has to be a good thing.

Advice is that the lean-to part of the barn can wait for now, which is good.  Simon was able to fix the broken tile – there are a few, in fact, but there was just one that was causing a problem in the coal shed – so that the immediate problem was solved and he’s putting us on his list for the future.  Being an honest young man, he assessed the main part of the roof and even a bit of the lean-to as being not in need of redoing.

I’ve known him slightly since he was a child, in fact, as his parents – and mother, after his dad’s early, tragic death in an accident – always lived in the lovely next-door village.  As we were chatting, I remembered a talk he’d given a decade ago.  “Am I right in thinking you cycled across America some time ago? ”  Yes, it was him.  Three and a half thousand miles, with a friend – I hoped I’d blogged about it but I can’t find it (though I spent some time reading back and enjoying the time when this blog was good and when there was a blogging community: hardly any of those who commented are still blogging, though I’m friends with a number of them on Facebook).  I was reminded by his mentioning that he’s going to be away in May – seemed unlikely that he’d take a whole month off for a holiday and I had a sudden zing of memory.  In May, he’s planning to run from Land’s End to John o”Groats.  Yes,  my mind is boggling too.  On his own, without back-up or company – though it’s not as if, for most of the journey, he’ll be out of contact with people if he wants or needs it.  He’s aiming for 40 miles a day.  He’s not entirely sure if he’ll make it – but hey, if you don’t try you’re not going to find out.  It’s 838 miles by road, apparently, though perhaps he’ll find some short cuts on foot.  All the same…

More tidiness at the Zeddery

The old summerhouse has finally gone.  It was dismantled the summer before last but the sections were then leant against Kenny’s shed and, somehow, nothing else happened.  I couldn’t possibly manage to move them by myself and I didn’t have anyone to help.  But we have done it now.  The mechanism by which it was turned has been kept – I just couldn’t dispose of that as scrap – but the rest has been burnt on the bonfire.  And young Stevo has replaced a few rotten boards in the roof and put on new felt and he’s mended a few places on the sides and painted with wood preservative.  It’s a very old shed – Russell said it was already there when his parents bought this property in 1928, though I don’t know if that was correct or if an old one was replaced when he was a child, but it’s certainly better than anything you’d buy now.  Anyway, it’s looking good and some things we now keep in the porch can go in there, and that’s good too.  We sat in the porch this morning to drink our coffee on a lovely warm, sunny spring day and all was well at the Zedary.

It was a jolly good bonfire too.  Very dry wood – I frugally removed several brass bolts to be reused: that is, one has been used on another shed immediately (thank you, Tim) – but the hinges had all been painted over and, unless they can be saved from the ashes, they are lost – the flames caught quickly and burnt hot.  Some branches that Wince pruned a few weeks ago have finally been reduced to a few ashes.  As I watched the timber catch fire, I noticed a panicking spider running this way and that, so put my hand towards it, flicked upwards and out and saw it fly towards the grass.  I didn’t see it land but was glad that it was safe.

We strolled round the garden and stood by the pond, discussing what plants needed to go in.  I saw a movement – it wasn’t a frog or a fish, it had to be a newt, surely?  We watched as it came up for a breath and dived again – certainly a newt.  Dearly as I love frogs and toads, newts are closest to my heart and seeing them in the pond makes me very happy.

There is presently a build-up of two dozen eggs and I’m looking up recipes.  I’ve found a nice one for toffee ice cream that takes several eggs, I think a bit more cooking is due.


Pottable and potable

I’ve been potting up seedlings over the last few days.  I’m doing it quite gradually because I like potting up seedlings and I haven’t really got all that many.  I used to grow lots of plants – twenty, twenty-five years ago, I grew them for Ro’s school fete, where I always ran the plant stall.  Other people brought along plants too, of course, but at least three-quarters of them were provided by me.  I didn’t just grow from seed, I also bought seedlings from seed companies and potted them up, which was an economical way of having several hundred flower plants to sell on.  I reckoned the cost of the seeds and seedlings, plus the pots and compost, were my donation and the profit to the school was a bonus.  Check out the parable of the talents…

After that, I grew them for Al’s shop, but he sold that business four and a half – I think – years ago.  And now I am trying to restrain myself and plant what we actually need.  I like growing a lot of variety though and it’s not that easy.  I’m restricting myself to three seeds of each tomato variety, for instance, when I really want fifty plants to care for.

The piano tuner says that the reason the piano goes out of tune quite badly is because there are various things that need tightening up – you may remember that it was pretty well totally rebuilt, at considerable cost, and everything replaceable was replaced.  But since then, things have dried out and shrunk somewhat and so there’s wiggle room.  At least it’s playable now, but he’s going to come and spend a day on it; for which he isn’t going to charge as he reckons it’s part of the renovation job.

Also due to be renovated is the roof at the back of the garage/workshop buildings.  Someone is coming to look and advise on Friday – he can’t do the work for another year, but I’m sure he’ll help out with the running repairs – at present, there’s water in the coal shed.

In addition, I’ve taken on membership of our local and very young vineyard.  I hope it will become a going concern, it’s a young couple who have invested all their time and money into it and they’re getting a good deal of support.  English wine can be lovely, the first bottles of this one are due to be ready later this year and we’ll be among the first drinkers.  This club membership is a present for LT really, though I’ve put it in our joint names, because after all, we’ll both be visiting the vineyard and drinking the wines.

I have a lot of books waiting to be read.  I’m reading more and buying more but I’m buying quicker than reading.  So nose down for an early night.