Friday, June 29, 2007

I've Been Busy

Really really busy. Not in a fun way either.

From Sunday to Tuesday night, I was in Warwick sitting through powerpoint presentations. Woo hoo! You know how much I loves me them powerpoint presentations.

Since then, I've been up to my oxters in appointments to see customers. Which I suppose is a good thing for my long suffering employer.

Then all of a sudden it's Friday and I haven't written anything all week. I hate this. Where did the week go?

I haven't spoken to any of my friends, I need to do a partial water change in my fish tanks, re-pot some houseplants, take some dirty clothes to the dry cleaner and put the rest of them in the washing machine. There is a nephew's birthday coming up faster than the speed of light and I haven't posted his birthday card yet. Geeze louise!

It's not all gloom and doom though. I've discovered that I'm approved for all audiences. Online Dating


Isn't that a relief? Thanks to Jay over at his blog for pointing out the site to me.

In reality, I'm actually a lot more foul mouthed than I appear on this blog. Being a parent for the last 24 years, I've learned to curb my vocabulary if there are delicate sensibilities or small children around. My family and friends knows the truth.

Thanks for not abandoning me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend Away

You may have guessed that The Man of the Place and I don't really go many places outside of our planned holidays. We don't go to pubs or out to eat in restaurants. We stay at home most of the time. This is to save up cash for better outings.

Next weekend is one of those. TMotP is a big fan of R.E.M.. He has been known to follow a European tour from start to finish. He has travelled to the US to see them play etc. . . .

The band is playing a few dates across on this side of the Atlantic so on Saturday, we're nipping across to see them play. We'll leave on Friday night though, back on Sunday. Its actually just George and Henry that are going to go to the concert. I'm just tagging along to hang out. I reached my R.E.M. saturation point a few tours ago. I like the band, but not as much as my husband does. When I saw them play the first time, in a big arena in Manchester, I actually dozed off.

It is nice that there are so many budget airlines around and we can take advantage of the low fares. It will make the countdown to our big trip to Greece fly by. (11 days to go!)

Here are three hints to where we're going next weekend . . .

James Joyce
half penny bridge

Temple Bar Pub (we stayed in the hotel just above this place the last time we were there)

Friday, June 22, 2007


I woke up early, as I do most every morning and let the dog out for a pee. The funny thing is that she ran straight for the hedge and started barking!

A few moments later, I saw a very large fox trotting away through the long grass away from our place. I don't know if it was a dog fox or a vixen, but it was large!

I'm glad we have a dog.

We've got two weeks to go until our holiday! I'm starting to get excited!

I rang Theo from Octopus Diving in Skiathos the other day and booked the three of us onto his boat for our first dive. Hoo hoo!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All is Quiet Over Here

Not much to report. Henry and I are hard at work. Getting things in order so that we can go on our holiday (vacation) in just over two weeks.
George is wrapping up his school year. That means tests and exams. I'm so glad I'm no longer in formal education for that very reason. I didn't like exams. I'd get too nervous.

The garden is over grown. I've not planted anything in the vegetable patch this year. It has well and truly gone to seed. I did manage to get a few tomato plants in the little greenhouse, but that is all. I'm just going to try to manage that little bit this year. I didn't even make up any hanging baskets! This is the first time in 14 years I haven't made up at least one hanging basket for the place.

I have been enjoying watching the birds in the garden. We're getting some lovely thrushes, though I can't tell if they're Mistle Thrushes or Song Thrushes. If the thrushes would be so kind as to show me the undersides of their wings, I'd be able to tell.

I saw this funny picture over on Bird Chick's blog. It seems that her husband is not a fan of birdwatching and thinks that perhaps we all go a little too overboard for what seems like a bunch of little brown birds.

We've got a second batch of Blue Tits in one of the nest boxes. I checked a nest box last weekend and there was a new clutch of eggs in it. There is also a large clutch of eggs in the swallow nest in Henry's tool shed. Fingers crossed for these tiny eggs.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Countdown

I have finally booked our family holiday!

We left it this late to try to save a bit of money. You can either book a holiday early, paying full price but get exactly where you want to go and what you'd like to do. If you book later, the prices will be lower, but selection will be very limited.

We are going back to the Greek island of Skiathos. We've been to this island twice before and have had a wonderful time both times. We know the island so there will be no surprises. We know the buses, we know the restaurants and most important of all we know where the mini golf is! We can just relax and have a good time.

We know a few people on Skiathos. In fact, I've just e-mailed a couple of people. Henry and I learned to dive on Skiathos two years ago. We're looking forward to showing off our improved diving skills.

As ever with the holiday, I've started a countdown. Take one pad of promotional post-it notes from the boot (trunk) of the car and write a number on each page in descending order until you get to 1. Thankfully, as I have left it so late to book a holiday, the countdown starts at 20. I think last year's countdown started at day 74! Naturally that took more than one pad of post-it notes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm Not the Only One!

I've been up to my oxters with work this week.

I had to drive up to Grangemouth today for some training and a meeting. Woo hoo! I loves me them powerpoint presentations! I looked around the room at one point and noticed all the black and very very very dark blue suits. It looked like a funeral! Note to self: Wear more colours!

On the way up, I was listening to the news on BBC Radio 4 (keeping up with current events you see). It turns out that ASDA, a UK chain of large supermarkets (owned by Walmart - ick) has seen an increase of over 1200% in the sale of clothes pegs from the same time last year! Am I part of a national trend? Have I set the trend? Surely this little blog hasn't set all of the United Kingdom abandoning their tumble driers in favour of the humble clothesline?

Naw, I'm sure that everybody just thought of it all at the same time. Way to go British public!

Now if we can get public transportation sorted so that we're not dependent on cars to live, we'll be rockin!

Naturally I'm going to overlook the fact that we FLY to almost all of our family holidays. I don't know if I'll ever be able to plant enough trees to make up for our family carbon emission sins. Don't even start on the fact that I'm a territory sales rep and drive all day long ON MY OWN. But hey, I try. I turn off lights in empty rooms and turn off televisions that nobody is watching. I recycle all plastic, glass and metal and compost all the kitchen and garden waste. C'mon, surely that's enough.

(I'm suffering from citizen of industrialized nation, middle class, huge ass carbon footprint guilt.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Clothes Line

When we started construction on the grand extension to Whitelees Cottage, the sheds that supported my old clothesline were taken down. With it went my clothesline. I didn't get another one until a few weeks ago. I was without a clothesline for three years! I have been using the tumble drier.
I finally got tired and disgusted enough that I went myself to the builders yard and purchased two new clothesline poles. They're really long! The ends of these poles had to go out the window of my car for the short journey back out to our place. A few weeks later when there was some cement being mixed up for the new gate posts, the new poles for my clothesline were set in cement as well.
I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am to have something as simple as a clothes line again.
I have been putting all the clothes out on the line, even the underwear (to the horror and embarrassment of the resident teenager). Nobody but us and some cows are going to see it drying on the line. Sheets and pajamas that have been washed and then dried outside on the line is one of the best smells on the face of this earth. It is right up there with a freshly washed baby's head. I think I sleep better with line dried sheets on the bed. Its like having the windows open but without all the sneezing and insects.
Fabric softener is not something I ever buy. I don't mind if my towels are soft. In fact, I prefer them to be not soft. Towels seem less absorbent when they're too soft. Give me a stiff line dried bath towel any day. When drying off with one of those babies, you know you're getting dried and possibly exfoliated as well.
Perhaps we are reducing our carbon footprint by going back to using the clothesline instead of the tumble drier. I for one am counting on the electricity bill dropping. Now, if I can just train the aforementioned teenager to stop turning the bathroom lights on during the middle of the day just to go for a pee and then never turning them off again, another drop in the ocean will have been made.
The Man of the Place worked very hard in the garden today. Whilst edging the front lawn and braving the hidden stinging nettles, this little critter was discovered. A very young common newt. It has probably wandered from his/her birthplace in our pond. It was quite tiny, about two inches in length with a very orange belly. I put it back near the pond. The other creature that was found was a very spotty and jumpy frog (no photo, sorry). I love all the creatures that we uncover in our little garden.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Covering Scratches on leather sofas

The new kittens we have are sweet but can get up to all sorts of naughtiness.

When they first arrived at the tender age of 7 weeks, they looked as though they were just going to snuggle and purr their lives away in adorable fluff filled poses.

They were too small to jump up onto our laps in one graceful leap as adult cats can. So they jump as high as they can and then deploy their internal grappling hooks to assist the ascent to the comfortable lap. We all have little bitty scratch marks on our legs from these jumps. The sad thing is, that they couldn't really get onto the sofa either. This is what has happened to our sofas. Little scratches in the previously unmarked leather.
I discovered that some dark brown with a smidgen of black shoe polish, rubbed into the scratches and then buffed and buffed again minimises the scratch marks.
We then had the disaster last week. I came home to discover that a section of the gerbil cage had been dislodged, leaving a small gap. All five baby gerbils were nowhere to be found and sadly were never to be seen again. We suspect that the kittens had not only dislodged the section of gerbil cage but ate the little guys.
The kittens say that they resent the implication that they have had anything to do with the disappearance of these rodents.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Introduction of Haloscan

I've just installed Haloscan to do the comments on this blog. I know! I know! It wasn't broken, so why fix it?

I just liked the look of the other blogs I visit that have Haloscan. It seemed to be tidier.

Well, during the installation, I have managed to wipe off all my old comments. I hope that they are stored in cyberspace somewhere and I can get them back.

More information will become available as events unfold.

p.s. The kittens got to the baby gerbils. I'm glad nobody was home when the horror struck. There isn't a squeak left. The adult gerbils are fine, but the babies are all gone.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Old Blind Bill

It is with great sadness that I have to pass on the news that old Bill has died.
He had a full life as a working dog and he will be sorely missed. Please know that his last months on this earth were ones of comfort.
Bill used to come to visit us. You may remember an entry I made entitled Love is Blind. I don't know whether his visits were to see Polly or to have a warm spot to sleep. Polly was always ready to play and he indulged her to no end. After their play sessions, I would let him in and sleep in the orangery. He was quite old and had arthritis. After a lifetime of sleeping outside or in a barn, his owner took pity on him and started to let him sleep in the house at night. This stopped his visits completely. I was glad. It wasn't safe for an old blind dog to be trotting down two miles down a country lane. I still took Polly up to the farm where Bill lived from time to time and they'd have a nice romp.
I have attached a photo of Polly and Bill at Christmas. Bill is on Polly's blankets and she looks as though she is telling on him. "Mum! He's on my blankets and won't share!"
He was run over by a muck spreader and went instantly (no suffering). Life isn't all honeybees and lambs out here in the country. Sometimes good, hardworking farm dogs die.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Swarm!

I haven't been well this week. I came down with some sort of bug and by Friday afternoon, I had a temperature. Having even a slight fever really knocks me out. Today was the first day I've actually done anything outside. I was helping The Man of the Place haul grass clippings to the compost bins and chicken run. While wheeling the barrow over to the chicken run, I heard bees. A lot of bees.

I've managed to upload this bit of video. Please note that my voice has been affected by the terrible cold.

The old beech tree at the top of our drive had attracted a swarm. I knew it had just arrived, so I ran and told the guys and then went in to phone our plumber. Not only is our plumber a great guy and world class plumber, he and his father keep bees. I knew that if anybody could, they would be able to collect this swarm and put them to good use.

James Rae Sr and James Rae Jr showed up with impressive amounts of beekeeping gear and set about smoking out the bees and collecting the swarm in a basket.
In this photo they have sucessfully smoked the queen out and she settled on a low branch. She is then attended by the entire swarm. The weight of all those bees bent the branch. This was handy as they only had to shake the bees into the basket.

Here I was worrying that I wasn't going to have anything to write about because I've been so idle due to illness.