Monthly Archives: April 2022

Z really should look into getting a free bus pass

It was windy but dry, this morning, so Wince came along. For once, I had a list of jobs and didn’t ask him what needed to be done. I had the new fanbelt for the wheeled trimmer and he’s continuing to remove glass from one greenhouse, to put it in the other two. It’s not worth replacing broken panes in that third one, because the end has dropped a bit, so the stress on a few of the panes makes them break again.

The third job was to get Pillock’s new home ready for him. I have no idea how Wince managed to move it by himself, but he prefers to manage single-handedly, so I left him to it and it’s in place behind the annexe now. In the meantime, I left to catch up with Rose and then go on over to Ronan. I found he’d done some mowing too, he is incredibly hard-working and such a nice man. He’s never asked for an increase in wages, but I do insist, every couple of years.

Ronan has never, for 20 years, been that keen on using the car if he can help it. So we drove to the park and ride and took the bus into Norwich, then walked up to the castle. There’s been a massive renovation project over the last 2 years and it’s going to take a lot longer yet. So many of the galleries have been shut, but they’ve moved what they can into the others, so there’s a reasonable representation of what they have. I have free family entry because I am a paid supporter, I trust they’ve reduced the price for other visitors, but there was still plenty to entertain us for a couple of hours.

We hadn’t had lunch, but luckily the cafĂ©, which is tiny at present – I hadn’t realised this – had food for us, the children and I had excellent home-made quiches and Ronan had a pasty, later we had cake. There wasn’t much else, though we’d have managed with cheese scones otherwise. All the staff were absolutely delightful and very welcoming and chatty. It occurred to me, a bit later, that a hands-on father of small children attracts warm attention from friendly people. We certainly were very well looked after, other visitors were friendly and, though we made sure she wasn’t a nuisance, a happy 2-year-old running about giggling was looked on indulgently. She never touched anything she shouldn’t do, which was mentioned – so many children run straight to the toys on the gift stand, said the delightful waitress, but little Perdita and her brother were very good.

I took them to see the Saxon man with the dirty feet, who Squiffany used to make a beeline for when she was little, and Rufus was intrigued by the Egyptian mummies. His father explained that they do not walk and they’re not spooky, but real people from thousands of years ago. He was even more interested in the little mummified cat, the baby crocodile and the falcon, who are not encased in sarcophagi but are just there, wrapped. We looked for the Delft tile with the hare on and inspected the small amount of Lowestoft china on show. There was plenty to see.

Perdita ran out of patience on the way home, though a lot of cuddling and crooning kept her quiet most of the way. She must have been exhausted, bless her. I certainly was, by the time I got home. We’d been lucky, it was fairly dry, if windy, while we were out but it started raining after that. I’d wanted to feed the cats, shut up the chickens and have an early bath, but my Eloise cat wanted a cuddle, so we fell asleep together instead. It poured torrentially later, so I waited for a bit before going out. I’ll deal with putting Pillock in his new accommodation tomorrow. I’ll ask Wink if there are any particular chickens she would like to join him, otherwise I’ll choose three quite small ones that don’t have names, so that she can name them if she wants to.

Four nights in a row

It’s remarkable. I took this herbal Nytol (the non-herbal version has to be okayed by a pharmacist) for three nights and slept well, but I didn’t take it last night. I woke up because my radio programme had changed, slept another hour, woke and thought, it’s all right, I sleep nowadays, and I didn’t wake again until 8 o’clock. Amazing, but then I nodded off again after a few minutes, until after 9. I haven’t slept so much over four nights in a row, for many years.

A friend came in for dinner tonight and I’m calling on Rose in the morning, then seeing Ronan and Rufus after that. All is sociable here at the Zedery.

I reminded 10-year-old Hadrian, the other day, of an occasion when he was two years old. His mother Dilly used to drop him off on her way to work, for the morning, a couple of times a week. He’d sometimes had breakfast already, but he was usually ready for a Hobbit-like Second Breakfast.

One morning, he observed, “Ben is Grandpa’s dog.” “Yes,” I said, “and the tortoises are Grandpa’s too.” “The chickens are Grandpa’s.” “Yes they are. What is Granny’s?”

He thought about it. “Bacon.”


I wheeled the sacks of chicken feed down the path and left them outside the greenhouse, while I went in to throw the chickens some handfuls of mealworms, so that they wouldn’t be near the door when I opened it wide enough to get the barrow in. Looking round to check none of them was still by the door, I saw Pillock in the corner, looking unhappy. So, once I had got the corn in, I threw him some and had a good look. Poor boy had been set upon by one of the other roosters and had lost feathers from his neck. No blood and he didn’t seem injured, he started eating until he was chased away by one of his fellow cockerels. He slunk in the henhouse and was followed, so had to come out again. I picked him up, he didn’t resist. Not hurt, just very subdued and afraid. It’s so lucky I went in when I did, he wouldn’t have survived another attack and Wink and I are fond of him.

So for now, he’s living in Wink’s small conservatory. I’ll get Wince to help me move Rose’s chicken run and he can live there with two or three wives. He’s recovered his bounce and it’s not sunny in the mornings at present, so he isn’t too hot.

It’s a risk, of course, when you have more than one cockerel, but they are reasonably well behaved normally. I can’t catch them anyway, they’re not as tame as the girls. Much as I like to have fully free-range hens, I can’t stop them laying away and returning with chicks, so they have to have their big run and be shut up at night. Not that they’re out at all for now, there are still outbreaks of avian flu and poultry must be kept indoors. I know there are people who ignore this, I’ve seen chickens outside, but I don’t want to either break the law or risk my nice little bantams catching the disease. I couldn’t help Pillock being outside in the winter, I couldn’t catch him. But he’d been a month indoors with no trouble, though the more dominant cockerels keep the others waiting for food and try to keep them away from the girls. Anyway, Wink loves him and is looking forward to having her own pet chickens. We’re turning her into a countrywoman!

Z makes up for lost time

Nowadays, it’s when it’s a busy time and I’d like to keep a record of things, I have least time to blog. I’ll try to keep up a bit better and I will have some spare time during the day next week.

A friend is staying at present, as her husband has Covid and, as she’s a nurse in the community and visits a lot of people, she can’t be with him and still go to work. Luckily, she’d been away from home before he tested positive and he isn’t very ill, just a bad cold, so it’s okay. But convivial evenings over a bottle of wine leave no time for evening blogging.

A friend, who has commented here in the past and also came to a blog party a few years ago, suggested herbal Nytol to help me sleep, saying that it helped her get back to sleep when she woke in the night. This is what I need, I can usually fall asleep quickly because I am so tired. I don’t like taking medication of that sort, but this is basically valerian and there’s nothing in it I would object to. I am perfectly sure it’s not actually making a difference, but I have convinced myself that it does, so it works. I wake up in the night, think “it’s all right, the nytol will send me right back to sleep” and off to sleep I go. Amazing. I slept until 5am yesterday and 7 o’clock this morning.

I read about a study on placebos, a year or two back, which said that sometimes, even when patients were told they were being given a placebo, they still worked. It was about the power of the brain to control symptoms, such as pain. I tried valerian tisanes a couple of years ago, didn’t much like the taste and didn’t really think they’d help. Now, however, good sleep is my priority. I’d never found it easy to drop off, but then slept soundly until I started to worry about my mother’s health and also found her a great strain to live with. That was when I started waking and worrying in the middle of the night and I’ve never got over it, well over 20 years on. I don’t worry any more, if I do I read or play mindless games, such as cards on the phone, to distract myself (the adverse effect of using the phone in the night is less than worrying is) but I have that first, deep sleep and then am wide awake for hours. I am absolutely determined to break that habit. But at any rate, two fabulous nights’ sleep is a bonus.

I went to the hygienist on Friday. All went well to start with, then she became a bit puzzled because the more she checked, the worse things seemed to be and it wasn’t adding up. Had I been under stress recently? Well, yes, I told her about Tim and she was sympathetic – well, of course she was. Stress causes inflammation and it even affects your gums, so even if there’s not much tartar etc, the effect is gingivitis. So that’s another reason for being well rested and taking care of myself.

On my way home, I remembered I needed chicken feed, so I called in at the pet shop in the village and bought three 20 kilo bags. I loaded them into the wheelbarrow, but because there were showers of sleet, snow and everything else that shouldn’t happen in April after a week of lovely weather, I had to take them into the chickens’ greenhouse straight away. And that will be tomorrow’s blog post.