Tristan appreciated the efforts made and after an excessively tiring yawn continued sleeping like a baby.
Monday, 28 February 2011
Tristan appreciated the efforts made and after an excessively tiring yawn continued sleeping like a baby.
Sunday, 27 February 2011
I could tell you a tale of poor communication, of lost medical notes, not being listened too, lost property and being moved around the hospital, in one door and out the other like in a Warner Brothers Cartoon. I could mention being packed in a room like battery hens with a gang of foul mouthed 16 year olds all wanting to give birth to their third child while talking to Fanta and Chardonnay, their two daughters, and yelling that they should be good for grandma Kylie otherwise Keannu (presumably mummys new partner, whoever it was, he had ADHD, which was why he was phoning and haranguing the already overstretched midwives) would sort them out. But I wont mention it.
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Bags were packed, final checks made, the space hopper put to one side, Tracey was ready for the off, the trip to hospital to be induced. Then the phone rang, our glorious NHS was unable to find a bed so would we please stay at home. Bit of a let down. To make matters worse Biffer and Reuben decided to play with the frogs so had to be dragged out of the pond, and to add insult to injury the space hopper gave birth.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Monday, 21 February 2011
I took the Berners around and over the Bonsai Mountain, there was a point where we were all technically lost, we knew where we were, but not how to get back. Eventually we stumbled down North Face Gully and that's where we spotted the UFO hovering, lights flashing. Keeping dry was more important than alien encounters so we ignored it and continued searching for the cottage and a warm fireside.
Sunday, 20 February 2011
As I am determined that this year my companions on the BBMC are not accompanied by a fat knacker I have committed myself to weight loss and some severe training. The weight loss part is working, the training is not going so well due to time constraints, but today I got a good session in after fixing taps, oh yes tick that job off and add plumbing to the list of skills. I thank you, standing ovation from the crowd, laurel leaves thrown in tribute. Knowing that the worst that could happen, I break the tap and we get a plumber called Steve to come and put right my wrong, it became easy, I applied brute force and ingenuity to the task. Brute force removed the tap top, ingenuity came into play when I found the washers didn't fit, oh thank you B and Q. Chances of finding the right size washer on a Sunday afternoon in a town that has only just got electricity was remote, however the shop indeed had a pletora of washers stocking 1/4 inch 1/2 inch and 3/4 washers. Our taps were 9/16ths, just typical, so rather than submit to defeat the oversize washer was purchased and cut to fit, this completed without a trip to casualty to repair damage to hand caused by scalpel. In fact so successful was I at changing the washer I changed the cold water one as well once the bleeding had stopped, just because I could.
Washing machine front is still a disaster, I took the utility room apart, plumbed in the new second hand one, surprisingly this job went exceptionally well, all done before breakfast and without the myriad of parts B and Q plumber advisor insisted I needed. The pipe wrench might come in handy next time I go to seek a refund. Why disaster then? Well the washing machine door refuses to open. Its ready to go but as we cannot get soiled articles in its a bit pointless. I abandoned that task for ones I could complete like trimming goat hoofs and putting the straw out for new bedding, see the video below to see the pigs helping me.
Back to the BBMC, the top pic is the Bonsai Mountain from the bottom, the long haul route, basically draw a straight line across the brown stuff to the skyline on the right of pic and follow ridge to the top. Easy. Quite a challenge but the view from halfway back to the start line shows the height gained over a short distance and makes the pain worthwhile. Halfway up I was amazed to find some mountain bike tracks in the gorse bushes, absence of wreckage and lycra clad skeleton indicated the suicide jockey had somehow survived. Once on the top myself and three Berners, Rocky, Spotty and Bliss went on to Hergest ridge where we met an old friend. A mare we met last year, this time by herself and again very pregnant.
On Hergest we hung a left and went to the Whet stone where we paused to think of he who cannot be named in a land far away. From there we could see the Bonsai Mountain looming in the background, it was getting dark, so as no one could see me I ran from here all the way home (me running, believe me not a pretty sight) Back at the Ranch, tea and medals, but no small smallholder arrived while I was out.
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Friday, 18 February 2011
No new smallholder arrived today so the curry was a waste of time but at least Tracey is having still having fun on the space hopper. Every ones waiting for news, The Oracle opened the gate for me today, and was visibly disappointed when told there was nothing to report. So jobs have got done, animals have misbehaved, Biffers come over for his holiday and all is fairly normal here at HQ. I went to work and returned to find it a very good job I have lost over 19 pounds of lard over the last few weeks as the bedroom had been totally rearranged and my "side" of the room has shrunk by around 3foot. The rooms are small in the cottage anyway but now if I jump out of bed with any sense of enthusiasm in the morning I run the risk of stepping straight out of the bedroom window and surprising a goat by a sudden free fall. The reason for the move around was the inclusion of a moses basket by the side of the bed. I stupidly asked why it was Tracey's side and why had I lost more leg room than a Ryan Air passenger. Tracey patiently explained that i was welcome to have said basket containing progeny my side, thus preventing goat fatality, provided I was prepared to breast feed. The room stays the same.
Thursday, 17 February 2011
William muscling in to Apollos stall to get an extra breakfast! Twos not company, its a crowd!
Rock HQ is in limbo, its D Day for the birth of our new smallholder. Unfortunately no one told it and its refusing to come out and play. Tracey was in hospital plugged in to various monitors and donated an armful of blood for tests and the best diagnosis the NHS could come up with was that she was having a baby. Soon. So we resorted to curry and making her play on the space hopper but still the trainee ankle biter hides from the world. Maybe tomorrow.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
This is Nemo, our uber lazy ginger Tom, the one who "caught" a mouse in the mousetrap, was in the right place when a squirrel had a heart attack and fell out of tree right into his lap, and the very same who was found almost unconscious face down in a sack of cat food having eaten so much he couldn't remove his face from the bite size kibble biscuits. He does move, obviously, usually only to check to see if the feed bowl is refilled. He does, however, have one particularly strange habit for one so lazy. He has to follow you. Wherever you are on the smallholding you can usually play finding Nemo, he stalks you, probably with the theme tune of mission impossible in his head. Failing that he will be found by the fish farm. Watching. Waiting. Waiting for a lazy trout.
If you look closely at the picture above you will find Nemo, better still scroll down to the picture of Hetty and you will find Nemo, not as easily as the pic above, but you will find him.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
We wondered how Preston, the aged and white beagle front of pic, would do after the demise of his sister. They had after all been together for the best part of 18 and a half years, inseparable, so faced with the sudden loss of his litter mate we thought he might pine and fade away. But being a beagle he is made of sterner stuff and it is good to report that the old man is doing alright. He's a bit slower in the morning, perhaps his bark is a bit croaky at times but he is holding his own, bossing Pip the rescue collie around and generally being as annoying only as beagles can be.
Monday, 14 February 2011
Sunday, 13 February 2011
Whatever the cause I had one chance of getting it back upright, and as that was no chance I wrestled the feeder through the mud and over the bale. The feeder was designed for a radically different mathematical shape than the one I was trying to force it over so something had to give. This happened to be my sense of humour, especially when some suspiciously warm mud ran into my boot, the cow the prime suspect of the cause, so the task was abandoned and with the feed ring was positioned as best it could be and I left them to their breakfast deliberations and began the search for new socks.
Now it may not come as a big surprise but DIY is not a strong point of mine. DIY theory, that I can master, DIY practice fails to meet mine and other's expectations. It started well, the utility room was dismantled, the machines positioned, the plastic pipe work and connectors laid out and ready, I managed to get into the small space behind the white goods and cottage wall and I prepared to disconnect the cold water pipe to the already connected machine.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Its been a strange day, the suns been shining, the sky has been mostly blue, the birds singing their hearts out in the trees and all the critters ate hay while the sun shone. I did plan to get a lot done today, especially as we are only 5 days from the birth of a new biped at Rock HQ. Tracey my beautiful and oh so patient wife has supervised most of the days activities with her eyes shut, I would post a video clip of her snoring but the threat of a severe beating has made me change my mind. Its been a strange day as we said goodbye to he who cannot be named (aka Ben) who has gone off to another hot country where the indigenous population celebrate his presence by shooting at him. He was hoping that the new small would arrive at Rock HQ last night, but our civvie timing is not as good as military planning so despite a curry Tracey refused to cooperate and he left without seeing his new sibling. Even so he left in a good mood, once we washed the cat paw prints off his nice shiny super car and chastised Rocky for putting his muddy paws on the newly cleaned bonnet. I decided pointing out he was lucky the goat hadn't slept on it would only add oil to the fire of temper smouldering and we waved goodbye hoping to see him again. Soon.
Not much got done around the smallholding today other than essential animal maintenance and tidying. This had less to do with the fact that I was tired from a mental week of child protection and more to do with the 6 Nations, watching England thump Italy made up for the boredom of the Wales Scotland match. I did do some cooking and freezing of meals, we might be grateful of oven ready meals when new small is demanding attention in the next week or so. Tomorrow is going to be a busier day. I can say this with confidence as there is only one rugby match to distract me.
Friday, 11 February 2011
Misty was giving a lot of signals, standing alone, off her food, holding her tail aloft, kicking the boys teeth in if they dared breathe. Linked to the fact that she is huge we thought of little foals. So we persuaded her to spend some time in the stable, just in case. Two days later we find shes not about to give birth, but she does have worms. So 24 hours after medication she is back to her old self, and kicking the boys around the KO corral. Well, she does have to have her hobbies.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Monday, 7 February 2011
For some time yesterday I thought I had finally lost the plot. Signs supporting this theory were many, if subtle at the start, trying to put on a pair of glasses while I was already wearing some should have alerted me to the fact I was going to have one of those days.
Saturday night while walking the Berners something strange was happening in the lane, torches, figures crossing the fields, parked vehicles. In the wind and darkness they went about their business oblivious that I and eight carnivores were watching their every move. I say eight, there were seven Berners and a Technohermit, who, after observing the nocturnal goings on from atop his bone pile declared to the world in general, and me in particular that he was in fact a vegetarian. Doesn't eat much meat see. Me, having seen him destroy the best part of the Christmas Turkey was somewhat taken aback by this remark, especially as he was noisily devouring a Ginsters steak and kidney while musing on the comings and goings of our night time prowlers. I left him to his vegetarianism and scrubbed the idea of a full roast for his Sunday dinner.
Above the noise of the chainsaw I was alerted to their presence. In a scene reminiscent of Mad Max save for their gaudy technicolour outfits a gang of trail bikers and quads raced across the militias field approaching our smallholding. Now as no motor vehicles shall be allowed to use the Bonsai Mountain unless in pursuit of rogue sheep this was not a good sign, these did not look like farmers. Keen to prevent any repeat of quad bikes ripping up the pipework to the small scale fish farm I took my indignation down the lane to remonstrate with the miscreants. This might seem rash, fat forty something tackling hoodlum biker gang, but as I was holding a chainsaw I thought I would have the upper hand. As I crested the rise in the lane the expected horde had gone. Disappeared. Nothing to be seen. Vanished. Curious. I went back to my labours.
Perhaps the Technohermits declaration of not wanting to eat anything with a face, unless wrapped in pastry, planted the seed of the idea. Or Tracey, my beautiful and oh so patient wife's assertion that since being pregnant she was less inclined to eat meat, or that Rob and Beth were expected to dinner, more likely was that I had bought a job lot of veggies from the supermarket, whatever, I decided to cook vegetarian for Sunday dinner. I had all the ingredients for a butternut squash casserole. Except I didn't. I started to cook, but after much searching of the fridge, the pantry, both cars, the dog basket, the workshop, Tracey's handbag (most missing items are located within) no trace was found. After Rob and Beth arrived I still only had enough in the pan for one hungry Technohermit, the missing root vegetables could not be located anywhere. Tracey made helpful comments like, "but I distinctly remember you buying them" as my sense of madness heightened. Finally the goat got the blame, I changed menu, fed the Technohermit the precious veg casserole, who's response when opening the foil tray of "wheres the meat?" meant he was nearly wearing it, and all was well. But I still had a strange feeling like I was going slightly mad. The veggies were weighing heavily on my mind.
Ten thirty pm, last walk for Berners before bedtime. As they bounced around with excitement in the conservatory they knocked into my rucksack. The sloth of memory stirred. My rucksack. My large rucksack containing thirty pound in weight carried around the Bonsai Mountain as a training aid for the BBMC. Comprising mainly of root vegetables.
The missing bikers conumdrum also solved. My torch picked out bike tracks where they ripped up the gateway and up the slopes out of sight. They had been here, the gate still chained shut. The shiny surface of the hinges the far end showing how they had got in, lifted it clear and putting it back. The night time prowlers were obviously checking the route.
So you don't have to be mad to live here, but if you keep goats then you certainly are well on the way!