Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Birthday Boy

 It was a slow start, a bad hair day
 but little t soon got into the swing of things opening his prezzies and
 after a bath and breakfast despite having a whole load of new toys found it hard to leave his favourite toilet roll tube behind.
 As a treat we went on a road trip, a real live safari.
 Well as we live surrounded by animals what better way to spend a day off than by looking at other peoples animals. The stars were the Rhinos
 the white lions (apparently there are only 70 left worldwide, 10 were here in front of us)
 and the ring tailed Lemurs (any one remember Animal Magic, got a lot to answer for that programme!)
 Best of all was the woodland walk where the Lemurs came over to say hello (and nick the contents of your pockets)
A grand day out was had by all, and we didn't come back with anything live that we hadn't taken with us.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Time flies

It hardly seems credible but little t (seen here with his new digger an early Birthday prezzie) is almost two years old. Tomorrow he will be, today we wonder where the last two years have gone. I mean was it really two years ago that I was in the delivery room where I watched England smash France in the 6 nations my beautiful and oh so patient wife go through 26 hours of labour to produce the match winner lovely little boy who brings so much joy to our lives.

Monday, 25 February 2013

More than a feeling

Last year was a leap year and on the extra day I did something different, I rode my bike. Nearly a year on I am still riding (no not everyday) as still loving that almost flying feeling. This despite setbacks like metal fatigue, saddle sores and flail hedge trimmers. I'm lucky enough to have three bikes, although only two are operational at the moment, time, space and funds have not allowed R200 to be taken to bicycle repairman. The SU70 (non nuclear) Life Fitness weapons grade exercise bike has given up the ghost after 10 years of abuse (the repair person call out fee could be better used, puncture repair kits for one) and I have got into spinning training which is just about as mental as you can get stationary in a gym. Currently the heavy weight MTB is being used for road work, its also been fitted with a child seat but as yet that has to be tried out by both myself and little t. The R100 lurks in the workshop daring me to ride it again after our last melee with pedestrians.  As we find ourself at the nearly year point another bike is about to be welcomed to the stable as we have just joined the Cycle2work scheme where you get a nice shiny bike and tax and national insurance refunds to buy it, well most of it. And as her Majesty's government rarely give anything away it would seem daft not to take them up on this generous offer!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Standing room only

 Everyone except yours truly is poorly bad at Rock HQ so its been a quieter than usual weekend. This did mean I got to watch the rugby in peace and quiet, but I did have to find somewhere to sit.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Whiter shade of pale

Our 100% wool door mats need a bit of a clean.

Little t caused some consternation today having slept 15.5 hours straight through I thought it better to wake him, hes not a well apprentice smallholder, whiter than milk (clean hygienic type as opposed to goat, more later) and a nasty cough. By lunch time he was sleeping again after he had cleared the house faster than a dog farting with the aroma from his nappies. Danger UXB took on a whole new meaning.

I escaped the blast area for a short time, dressed in full combats and body armour I took on the daily wrestle with goat to persuade as much of the white stuff from her udder. Not that the white stuff that is eventually coaxed out and collected in the pail is worth having after she has put her poohy hooves in it, the record in one go is three, she is trying for all four in one go. The detritus for milking forms a scummy white/green/red(blood, usually mine) coloured straw mat on the top. Once scooped off it is good for dogs who have come to expect this twice daily treat. So as I was getting my breath back and wondering how best to get out of the door less scathed than I already was and furious goat was plotting summary execution in wandered Bernese Mountain Dog called Bliss who casually sidled up and collected bucket of dirty frothy goat lactation and carried it off. Now dogs are not known for their ability to carry half full buckets of liquid, and if they can carry said container semi successfully, the placing down before drinking contents is fraught with danger. Fighting goat and myself watched in silence as Bliss very carefully placed bucket down on the straw in the corner of the stable. We held our breath. It tipped over and disappeared. Goat looked at me, no point crying about it she bleated. No. Same time tomorrow then. Probably.

BBMC training has started, but its all part of the pedals to peak challenge, that date has still to be set.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Maximum security

 Its taken a while, and there is still a way to go, especially on the tidy up front, but we are a few steps closer to
 completing the maximum security stockade at Rock HQ. It might be hard to imagine what type of beast needs to be contained on a smallholding behind a post and rail fence five foot high, higher in some parts, and that requires three strands of barbed wire on the inside at ground level to knee high.
But then again not every smallholding has a randy Swallow Bellied Mangalitza Boar called Thor who's sole aim in life is to get down and dirty with the lady pigs or bother horses. This is our last bid at keeping piggy inside. If he gets out of this then he will be put somewhere he cannot get out of. Mr Whirlpool.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Doing well

 Seeing as Red Kite is doing so well I thought a quick peek into how our name sakes are doing was in order. Now bear in mind this fantastic bird of prey with its nearly five foot wingspan was brought from the very edge of extinction with only one breeding pair left in 1977, from the following pictures you can perhaps detect a few more pairs and that the birds doing alright for itself.
 There are around 600 breeding pairs now
and a lot of them live in Rhayder!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Another long one

Miranda doesn't look out of place here, evenly coated with muck, mud and cat paw prints. Even in our local town she is one of the cleaner 4x4's, today she stood out like a pony in a cowfield (unless observed by Morriescoburyindusland's meat buyers) when parked amongst the gleaming automobiles in a busy metropolitan area of England's second city. Where the hell do you live to get your car like that? was one comment by an Audiman, while a petite Focuslady told me that she knew for a fact that in Chelsea they sell spray on mud. Thus it was that Miranda and I were on for a long day far from home in a busy city which only got worse when I arrived at my destination (without sat nav) and spent 2 hours in a stuffy room with 6 screaming kids each with their own mobile electronic noise emitter which played various types of music at full volume as they sat and watched an entirely inappropriate DVD and all the time vied for attention from their parents who were more involved swapping ring tones than they were in stopping their one year old climb in the pedal bin.
Once the torture ended and I was released Miranda and I fought a way through the traffic and negotiated the 80 miles back to sanity dropping off my passenger before heading up north to visit a family who want to join Red Kite. They being the sensible types had question a plenty to tax yours truly and so it was that Miranda and I headed home some 13 hours after leaving. As I pondered the meaning of life the universe and everything and sending psychic messages to the magnificent 7 plus 2 (Berners who would all have their legs crossed and would have to be walked in the dark and suffer a late supper) apologising for the delay I was glad that Miranda, currently traversing mountain bends, headlights feeling their way through the fog along narrow tarmac strips festooned with sheet ice,  was such a steady workhorse, equally at home on beach, country lane, mountain pass and urban highways.
So what if she was a bit dirty she was better than they were in all their shiny goodness.
And then it went dark.
How we laughed when both headlights blew at the same time.
Sorry dogs its going to be a late one!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Rude not to!

 Seeing as it was a sunny day and I was kicking my heels as my beautiful and oh so patient wife had lost her voice being struck down by the lurgy (so unable to tell me to get on with the jobs list) and little lost a bit of his hug appeal by oozing gallons of green facial mucus which he insisted on sneezing or wiping over anything that failed to move quick enough I was tempted away from playing nurse and fencing and hit the beach.
 Coincidentally Buddy (big lad) and Reuby were also there (she a big lass to) and it was a bit of a reunion as Buddy is Rocky's son and Reuby is Ripley's sister.
 Rocky was King of the beach, obviously the most handsome Berner ever to walk the golden sands of Ynyslas (real word)
 While Ripley got the award for the biggest pain as she immediately slipped her lead and ran off tail between her legs and hid in the sand dunes for half an hour until yours truly managed to find her hiding under a bush. Panic over I attempted to get  picture of all four Berners, epic fail.
 But it did show how much bigger Reuby (left) is than Ripley (centre) I am only wearing my coat as it got to cumbersome to carry, why we have hotter February days on the beach than we did last August is definitely nothing to do with excessive aerosol use in the 80's. I was in my T shirt most of the time looking buff on the beach (read fat and I was lucky there were no Norwegian factory ships off shore as they might have tried to drag me back out to sea)
 As ever Miranda was polished and sparkling
but as some of the roads were like this there and back I was happy in my messy 4x4 on  y 4 hour vacation.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Rush hour

On the way to work I got caught in a real traffic jam as these cows, or as most supermarkets would call them, horses, made their way to breakfast.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ready for action

 Its a vision thing. Turning this 70's style shed into a modern office suite ready for Red Kite Fostering (children not birds) and SunCare to carry on their good work. It was our official opening today so I took these pics in the quiet moments before the mime artists, buskers, dancing llamas (we asked for the Dali Lama but there was a mix up with the agent) arrived to entertain our honoured guests, foster carers and Red Kite team players as they devoured the free buffet.
 I don't have the before pics, but believe me this plush reception area was carved out of a nasty dark brown wood brick glass facade that workers could barricade themselves behind. Thanks to the Stable Sprite and his team of gremlins its a professional welcome well lit area where members of the public or visiting professionals can find us. This place has everything, toilets x4, shower, waiting room, kitchen x2, 7 offices, admin area, staff room, sensory and perception room (already nicknamed the touchy feely room) therapy suite, contact suite and even
 corridors x 4 , enough to walk a kilometre in 35 circuits, or get on a trike and do The Shining. Actually trikes are not allowed indoors as it will mess up the carpet, same applies to my bike apparently, hence the soon to be installed bike rack outside (with roof)
 Talking on the phone the social worker I was chatting to told me there was an echo on the line, probably caused by having such a huge office to play in.
 Everyone has their own space to get organised and operate from
which is not bad considering we all used to work in a room smaller than this less then two years ago. The skies no limit. Or as my grandmother used to say "He who laughs last laughs the longest"

Friday, 15 February 2013


Its all about me!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lifes a burger

Unlike some supermarkets or large food gobble pot manufacturers who have been forced to admit that they can only trace their  meat products or ready meals from stable to table, to us at HQ Black Beauty is a burnt sausage. So while the Directors cut of War Horse available at all good supermarkets might not turn out to be the special edition DVD but a mislabelled meat product where foreign ponies are coming over and taking our cows jobs we know definitely know at Rock HQ where our meat comes from, what its name was, what it ate and who killed it before yours truly bagged it up and put it in Mr Whirlpool.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The full tourist

 He who cannot be named is about to depart on another all inclusive action packed adventure holidayin a land far far away so he has spent a couple of days at Rock HQ remembering the good things in life like my cooking, countryside and his little brother. As the next time we see him will be just before his wedding to his better half we did the full tourist bit for them, firstly the care for little animal zone
 then the short hike to secret waterfall
 and a mess around like we didn't use to do when he was little, ahem, and then
 an even shorter trip to see if the stones were still standing, which they were, so after tea and stickies we
 set off with a brace of Berners up to the ridge and into the snow
 where we met up with the mountain ponies (the Bonsai Mountain is in the background) and
 wandered over to the monkey puzzle trees, which I remember being the height of the bench when I first came up here (yes I remember when all this was fields etc)
pausing to pose by the Whet Stone, which hasn't moved despite the weather. It was good to spend the day so well, sad to say goodbye and fingers crossed for a safe return trip when we plan a wee dram session to wet the Whet Stone. .

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The earth moved

No time  to tell you about today, other than on our travels we found a sign of just how wet and saturated the ground is. This massive boulder has moved downhill by around 45cm as the earth around it has given way. One day it will reach the foot of the Bonsai Mountain which is the slope on the left.

Monday, 11 February 2013


 We have cats.
Four of the vermin beasts and it is a constant battle to keep them from the worktops and my breakfast/lunch/dinner. Several times I have caught sight of an intended roast being dragged out through the Bernese Mountain Dog sized cat flap. Today one of them added a new trick to their repertoire.
 And before I get any smart emails, text messages or semaphores this is as it happened and the resulting fire was nothing whatsoever to do with my successful rewiring of the central heating.
So my beautiful and oh so patient wife was entertaining the apprentice smallholder in the living room when she could smell burning. As the woodburner was in full flow this was not an unusual occurrence, however the quantity of smoke billowing from the kitchen was. Following the guidance of the fire brigade of get out stay out she went straight to the source of the fire, our cooker (see nothing to do with me!) where several articles of my clothing were merrily turning into black plastic and flames. After smothering the flames, turning off the stove, opening the windows and taking little t outside she waited for things to settle, which they did before hypothermia as it was a tad cold this morning. Certain it was now danger overtime MBAOSPW and little t then forensically examined the scene. The electric hob that set fire to my smalls was one that is never used, except at Christmas when all 5 are put through their paces. No one had had a full cooked this morning, soggies were breakfast of champions today. My smalls were not usually on the electric cooker, even I know that trying to dry clothing that way (or under the grill) doesn't work it just makes it smaller/smell funny/crack/explode/turn black, but they were in a basket on the worktop. Cat prints the final piece of puzzle.
So moggy unknown decided to kip in clean washing, tipped it over (perhaps a second moggy wanted the place) and as it succumbed to gravity (the cat not my pants) it tried to stop its fall by clinging on and so managed to turn the ring on thus causing an interesting half hour for its owners. If that seems unlikely then the only other explanation is paranormal. And we all know Heidi the ghost at HQ is a kleptomaniac not a pyromaniac.