Monthly Archives: June 2022

Four bags full

A big day today, because I carried out my duties as Tim’s executrix. Not that it was dramatic, the lovely staff at Lloyds Bank in Norwich did the transfers. I’d worked out the sums, but asked for them to be checked and took my ID and Tim’s probate, so that they were confident that I wasn’t being scammed somehow. So it’s done. I’m giving away more money, to his family and mine, but I’ve done the first phase.

I was foolish enough to buy 4 x 20kg bags of chicken feed. Usually, I buy 3 at a time. First, I had to remove stuff from the wheelbarrow – a lawnmower and a hedgecutter – then move boxes to get the wheelbarrow out of the barn. Then I shifted the bags into it and wheeled them across the drive and kitchen garden. 80kg is heavy. I couldn’t make the turn to the chickens’ greenhouse. So I carried one of the bags and filled the hopper. I managed to wheel the rest (3 bags is best) but the wheel got stuck in a rut, so I had to carry each bag to the feed bin, by which time I ached rather a lot. i’m sitting carefully now. I’ll take ibuprofen before bed.

I became excited by vegetables on Norwich market (local has quite an effect on me) and have overbought, considering that I’m out tomorrow night, I’ve ordered in food for Saturday and then Wink and I are away for Sunday and Monday. But I’ve eaten all I can and I hope that Eloise (daughter) likes runner beans as much as I do.

Because the ‘rat proof’ chicken feeder isn’t (rats are smarter than chickens and I don’t see how any feeder can be rat proof), I have to block it off at night. I have a bucket, an upside-down flower pot inside that, a right-way-up flower pot to block the catch and a little dish to make up the extra room. Since I arrived home, I’ve felt there was a smell, but I hadn’t been able to find anything. When I filled the big feeder, which takes a whole 20kg bag, I was going to tip out a few grains from the bucket. There was more than grains in there. An unfortunate rat had evidently got in, eaten a few fallen grains and then died of thirst. Awful, it was hot while I was away – I hadn’t asked Wink to empty the bucket but, on the other hand, she’d have freaked out at finding a live rat; or, indeed, a dead one. I’m so sorry, I won’t tell her as it would make her upset. I have no idea what to do about the rat situation. I can’t poison or trap them.

But this is a positive post. Tomorrow, I have an appointment in Lowestoft, interviews in Framingham and then an evening in Norwich. Busy is good, as ever.

Looking at schools

We were shown round the school where the meeting was held – it’s a Special school for children with autism. I hardly recognised the place – it had been the Middle school, then the sixth form centre. When the High school became an academy, 11 years ago, it took on the premises from the local authority and it was in a dreadful state, having been neglected for years. We managed to get grants for the major repairs (not before major flooding), but the teachers actually painted all the inside walls during their summer holiday before the 6th form opened there. This time, it’s been properly funded and the standard is very good. So is the care of the pupils; the Head and staff understand their needs well.

Having not been in a school for a couple of years, all our meetings being held online, I had been wondering whether to stand down as a Trust Member soon, but I felt myself regaining some enthusiasm and interest. I don’t know. I will see how it goes, I’m not sure that I will be of much use. We went on to have a tour of the High school after that, where there’s a big building programme, a whole new teaching block. New houses are being built on the edge of town, so more school places are needed. I hadn’t met the new Head in person before – the previous one was appointed CEO a couple of years ago.

Old Polly looks frailer than ever, but her feathers are glossy and she still eats well. I wonder if Wince might be able to fix a board for her to roost on, rather than having to balance on the perch. She’s quite wobbly and has to use her wings to keep steady.

I’m off to Norwich tomorrow, to the bank, to pay out the money due to Tim’s beneficiaries. It’ll be good to have that done. After that, it all gets busy. I’m going to bed now, to lie awake for hours and pretend i’m resting.

Z makes random notes

Today, I had my hair cut. Just trimmed, it’s still unsuitably long and I still don’t care. The hairdresser pins it back in layers as she cuts, so I see how white the lower bits are. Really white! All the top hair isn’t, apart from a bit of a streak at the front, and the hair at the back hasn’t really gone grey at all. I don’t know why not, it’s nothing I’ve done.

Then Wink took me out to lunch, She had a cauliflower steak with dhal, which was very good, she gave me some. I had a falafel burger. I asked for the half of the bun and nearly all the chips, to bring home for the chickens.

I’ve caught up on the washing. I had all the stuff from Tim’s house and the caravan, as well as what was here. Six loads washed and dried on the line.

Old Polly bantam is frail, we take her food and water and put her down on the ground in the morning, but she somehow struggles up to the perch in the evening, where she can barely hang on. She still enjoys her food, she hasn’t given up, but it can’t be long.

The visiting tabby is still cautious, but it starting to engage with me. Last night, he told me he wanted food. I put it down for him, without looking directly. He didn’t eat while I was there, but I’m sure he did after I left. He almost trusts me. I don’t know if he’s feral or if he has a home, but I suspect the former.

Tomorrow, a meeting at 9.30. Luckily in Yagnub, so I hardly have to be awake. I had to print off the papers, because my phone doesn’t like the website, which has all sorts of security stuff. I should check if there are any updates, because I can’t set it up to give alerts either, dammit.


Tim’s sister, niece and I have been trying to fix a day to go to the cinema together. We thought we had it, but Niece caught covid, probably at the Elton John concert. Since, it has not been possible. Our best option seems to be for niece to see it twice, once with her mother and once with me.

The chickens acted up while I was away. Because Stringfellow bantam cock sometimes spends the night out in the run, I’ve put a kennel in there for him to shelter in. When I looked tonight,there were 16 eggs in there, since Wednesday. They think Wink is such a sucker.

Stress levels are at a raging tinnitus pitch. So better ignored. But I am having an early night, because I’m a total drip. I still think, in my heart, that the cool people party on past midnight, even though I’m not one of those any more.

Catching up

We had a 6 mile walk on the Pembrokeshire coast path yesterday afternoon. It kept fine, remarkably, though it was very windy and it was quite a long way for me, I don’t normally do distance. Good, though. Then we went back to Alan and Linda’s house and A made chicken curry for dinner. Rashid from the taxi company took me back to the caravan – I had to explain that I’d left my cash in the caravan and dashed up to fetch it. I’d barely made it home again when the rain bucketed down, I was very lucky.

I had the choice of coming back here today or tomorrow. I hurried around to do the chores at the caravan and left after an earlyish lunch, to get back at half past seven. Wink had got dinner ready for me, the darling.

Now, 10 o’clock and I’m tired. I’d turned off the Aga before I left, which probably almost paid for the petrol, so had to remember to turn on the immersion heater when I arrived back. So I’ll have a bath, try not to fall asleep in it and have an early night.

Tomorrow, I need to cancel the rest of the utilities and generally get my act together, because I’ve got a lot on for the rest of the week. Actually, it’ll be busy for the next six weeks. That’s okay, being too busy is good.

Z gets wet

Friday evening

I walked through the tunnels to Saundersfoot after lunch, then walked again – it had rained a bit this afternoon but turned more blustery, so I retreated to the caravan, removed wet clothes and put on a bathrobe. 

I had a dram as an aperitif and, at present, a Marks & Spencer quiche is in the oven – cheese, tomato and broccoli – while I’m cooking a few new potatoes that need using and probably the last asparagus of the year. Another dram of Laphroaig to come, I expect. 

Lovely to see my in-laws, their friend and his German Shepherd, Nina (Simone). I’m going for a walk with them tomorrow, weather permitting and then for dinner in the evening. 

I’m unwinding, possibly. Not presuming anything. Missing Tim worse than ever, but that can’t be helped.  

Saturday morning

The night didn’t go well. I was tired, went to bed early and slept soundly until about 11.30. That was it. I got up to make peppermint tea a few hours later, that didn’t help. 

On the way to Kilgetty to buy a paper, first I passed a nice old couple going for a stroll with their his’n’hers Zimmer frames. Then a jogger, someone walking his dog and then another walker. I politely slowed down each time, they politely thanked me with a wave and I waved back. Cheered, I sang “Oh what a beautiful morning” for the rest of the journey. And so it is, blue sky and a fresh, but not cold breeze. It’s been a wild night, though, some torrential rain. Though, beating on a caravan roof, it might not have been quite as heavy as it sounded. 

Windy from 11, the forecast says, then rain after 4 this afternoon.

A house sold name

11.15, Friday morning. Drinking coffee, looking out of the window. The rain has stopped. A man walks up the hill, carrying a carton of milk. A black cat trots past, with a bouncy step. He knows his way about, he won’t get caught by any of the dogs. A lot of visitors bring their dogs, which are allowed on the beach. It’s a good place for walking, relaxing, playing. 

I’ve just had a phone call from my conveyancer, confirming that the money from the house sale has been received and will be paid into my account by the end of the day. I’m suddenly startlingly cash-rich. Not for long of course, I’ll be paying out next week.  

Next, I’ll go to where there’s an internet signal and post this.  I’ll buy a paper, download emails and phone my in-laws (not actually mine, they’re Tim’s, but I think of them as family and hope they do too), who live locally. I’ll see them sometime over the weekend. Otherwise, I’ll practise doing what I really want to do and no more.  

12.35 pm

I’ve bought a bottle of Laphroaig, a cream cake (bit random there, but it’s a change), some raspberries, local strawberries and an avocado. The last three were more to look less decadent, whilst keeping the self-indulgent theme. And the sun is out.

Going, going, gone

I’ve had a fabulous day at the house and garden of Henry Moore, the sculptor. I’ve visited the gardens before but the house wasn’t open then and it was wonderful to see. Not large, certainly very unpretentious, but filled with treasures and interesting bits and pieces that give a genuine insight into his mind and the objects that shaped his art.

I was, all the same, on tenterhooks, because I expected a call at any time to say that the contract had been signed by the buyers. I was in the coach on the way home when I received it – it was a final check that Friday was okay for me. I confirmed and then I reckoned it was out of my hands, there was no point in worrying. But it all finally did go through, just before 5 o’clock, so the house is sold.

Too tired to write more after a day in the sun, with added emotion. If I write again over the weekend, it’ll be on my phone and in a brief online glimmer, so it may not be managed. I hope to relax once I get to the caravan. The forecast is – not unusually for Pembrokeshire – rain, so there won’t be much else to do but relax.

Z winds down a bit

I’ve just finished a conversation with the friend – the husband, that is, of the couple – who stayed the other night. As I said, he’s a great raconteur and conversationalist and my landline phone actually ran out of battery, so I phoned him back.

Perdita is a darling, the morning went well. Ronan was a little frustrated by a colleague who keeps changing meeting times – everyone works from home, which is fine if you have self-discipline and can prepare, but maybe this person can’t. But to change the time twice and then the day has knock-on effects to other participants and I suspect there will be observations made to the person’s manager. I was playing with, reading to and singing with little Perdita while Ro was working, so all was tranquil on my side.

Eloise cat is lying on Tim’s table, looking relaxed. She spent the evening outside, so doesn’t know I had crab for dinner. Half of it remains, so she’ll be welcome to share the rest tomorrow. I’m not in the mood to cook, or even to prepare food at present, so it’s only a sense of self-respect that stops me living on crisps and chocolate.

That photo is returning me to happier times. I thought it was taken the year that we moved here, or the next year at any rate, but all my children disagree and tell me that I’m a couple of years out. It was still a happy time and I might feel like retreating there. Reminiscing can be good for you.

Dot and carry one

Old Polly bantam is getting less mobile by the day. Rather than feed her on the perch, I bring her down to the ground in the morning, so at least she does move about a bit. I’m sorry to say that Jabber the Cluck is a bully. However much food there is about, I have only to bring some to Polly for Jabber to try to push her aside to get it herself. She gets unceremoniously shoved away. But Polly is eating and drinking well and still has bright eyes, so I just hope she goes gently one night, as her cousin Jenga did.

With three roosters left, there’s a clear pecking order and Stringfellow is at the bottom of it. Jenga Junior rules the roost and Stringfellow is afraid of him – this is better than them all vying to be top cock. But this evening, Stringy didn’t come in with the others and I just shut the hatch on him. He’s got a secure run, a waterproof, comfortable shelter, food and drink and he can just put up with it.

I was supposed to meet Tim’s sister and niece in Norwich today, but his niece has come down with Covid, no doubt caught at the Elton John concert last weekend. So we’ve postponed. I visited Ronan though, who’s been going through Tim’s LP collection. One of his friends would like any records I don’t want, so Ronan did the preliminary sweep to save me the work. He’s really enjoyed it, they shared an appreciation of music and had much the same style of taste. To the 30 he thought I’d like to keep (or hoped I would), I added another 8 or 10. I’ll deliver the rest, two boxes full, to Reading on Thursday.

He also showed me his work MacBook Air – he’s got two at present, as his needed updating, so work sent one along for the stuff on it to be transferred. I’ve always much preferred a desktop to a laptop, but I’m thinking of buying a new computer before long and I have a feeling that the ideal will be a laptop plus a monitor, to have the best of both worlds. Once I have some breathing space, I’ll look into it, asking Ronan to come along to help me.

While turning out yesterday, Squiffany and I found this photo. I think it dates from 1986, the year we moved here, judging by Ronan’s size, though it could be the next year.

Tomorrow, I’m looking after Perdita while Ronan is working. It’ll be fun. Then I really must get myself organised for going away and for the final tasks before the house sale goes through.