Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Cloud babies

 Low cloud and heavy rain in our backyard made today's training run exciting
 and needless to say I got lost in the gorse bush maze, fell over in the fresh mud
but made it to the top and back in less than 36 minutes. This time next week I will be approaching the start line of my toughest challenge yet!

This time next week!!

Pig out

Sometimes it doesnt pay to think. Late last night I was thinking as to the probability of the trainee sausages Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum lifting a five bar gate off its hinge and making a break for freedom. I concluded that they could not do this and that the gate latch would give way before they got it off its hinges. Perhaps if had thought to tie the gate shut instead of relying on the catch holding as they tried to life the gate then I would not have had to round them up this evening and my beautiful and oh so pregnant wife would not have spent half her evening chasing pork.

Monday, 29 July 2013

A load of Bull

Little t getting up close and personal with a famous local landmark

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Reservoir Pups

 Bliss has an unusual feeding stance which is, I think, why she has accidentally squished two pups. She seems to half sit and the pups gather to feed, eventually she nods off and slides down and as bad luck would have it squash a pup. Last night I checked her every ten to twenty minutes and constantly moved pups at risk, even managing to pull Ms Pink and Mr Blue out from under her. Even with all that effort Mr Purple bought the farm last night, I tried to revive him but he'd gone.
 So by 3am anti squish rails, 3 of them were fitted, they wouldn't have made a difference to Mr Lilac and Mr Purple but they might protect the others. The reason there are 3 is that that was the number of brooms I managed to find and break up, wedged in with card collars they are holding up to pressure. Bliss has finally started to lie down, I think through exhaustion and having had 8 hours sleep in the last 72 myself I know how she feels.
 Morning roll call and all Reservoir Pups were growing fat.
Mr Blue after a particularly large post breakfast stretch.

After the sun comes rain

 For those that asked about the extra carrying capacity that can be found on a Freelander in an emergency here's how.
 I got to do a bit of leg work today using the apprentice smallholder as ballast for a clockwise ascent of the Bonsai Mountain. Luck would have it that the sun shone when we set out
but in the final stages ominous dark clouds chased after us and even though I tried my best the downpour caught us 100yards from Rock HQ soaking us both. Lil t thought this was hilarious and was disappointed that smacking me around the head yelling "Again, more rain more water" only led to going indoors rather than a second circuit.

No lazing around

 With only 12 days to the epic physical test of the W3P2P I should be ramping up the training but as 15 pups and two mums need quite a bit of my attention, and lets not forget the rest of the Dolyhir Clan, the critters, a porcine escapologist and the apprentice smallholder, training has taken a very back seat. Not that I have been lazing around, oh no, lazing is something I dream of if you can dream in a state of sleep deprivation as for the second day in a row I made it to bed at 4am  and got up 2.5 hours later to groundhog day.
 Yesterdays puzzle box is being put to good use and anyone needing a whelping box would find it hard to do better than this flat pack MDF that we got from at a cost just pennies more than a cardboard disposable one. As long as the pups don't chew it too much it should just unpeg, no glue or nails, slots together in 5 mins,  and should we ever be stupid enough to have two litters of pups at the same time again then it can be reused.
 Part of the day I managed to escape dog watching and instead subjected myself to the perils of single parenthood in the city with a very interested and independent toddler who was "helping" get his mother a birthday present. Perils included cashpoint button pressing, shop stock rearranging, sitting on floor refusing to move, market stall dismantling and ice cream  wearing. Thankfully we both survived the experience although it did reinforce my preference for on line shopping rather than the high street  I managed to return with intended gifts and much to my beautiful and oh so patient wife's surprise, a total lack of airfix kits and cd's.
 Its another late one tonight, or early one tomorrow, but things are getting calmer with the pups getting bigger so perhaps some training will get done tomorrow. After I've slept. A lot.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The quick and the brave

With Reuben celebrating his new additions to the Dolyhir Clan (see dog blog) by "helping" with the dog food run, Thor our Bernese Mountain Pig continued to cause chaos at various locations around the smallholding. Yesterday in the frantic effort to get Bliss to the vet the soggy sack of aviary bird seed was placed on top of the bin store, well out of reach of rampaging Ryelands but totally within the grasp of a hungry boar with Spiderman like abilities.
How we laughed on return to find around 1kg of mixed bird seed left in the chewed remains of the sack which just for a laugh he had spread over the front door step. Full of stolen calories Thor turned his attention to exciting things like our post which he carefully opened for us, say carefully, imagine bite through, defaecate on, stamp on and shred. The nice lady from Wagg had sent us a load of puppy packs and vouchers, so any new members of the Clan will be getting goodies with their puppy with interesting puncture marks.
His morning was further livened up by chasing a delivery man, called Steve, who was trying to drop off a whelping box for Elf. This made a change from bothering the horses. Steve eventually threw the container of MDF puzzle pieces into the Oracles outbuilding. Miranda came to the rescue by carrying this back to HQ on her bonnet as the rear seats were taken up by Berners who had been out on a publicity walk for Hounds for Hero's and my epic man test W3P2P. Photos later.
The Karma police must have been keeping an eye on the boars antics as somehow the dozy porker has managed to break his right tusk off. This sabre like weapon is now hanging out of his mouth and looks distinctly painful. Any volunteers to remove this will have to be extremely quick and very brave (or stupid)

given the left sabre is fine and in full working order. 

Its a long story!

 Anyone wanting to know how we ended up with 17 puppies at Rock HQ today then tune into the dog blog. Anyone who doesnt, normal service will be resumed tomorrow with tales of pigs unloading 4x4's, rearranging bikes and chasing deliverymen.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Feeling it

 My beautiful and oh so patient wife is feeling the heat and weight of our new apprentice and Bliss is also suffering from the heatwave. Its safe to say that Bliss is in the first stages of labour. MBAOSPW has a few weeks to go.
2 weeks today the support team and vehicles set off to Snowdon, hopefully wiht me, Spotty and my bike. Plus a crate of jelly babies.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Its been shear fun weatherwise

 I bet I wasn't the only one who went to bed last night leaving his car windows open. But I bet I was the only one who left the rear door window open on his freelander and allowed the half inch of rain that fell at 5am to fall onto the 20kg paper sack of aviary bird seed. This is going to provide an entertaining 5 mins or so when I can get round to it as I transfer soggy contents from Miranda to a more suitable receptacle. Or I could just leave it and see what interesting plants appear in the boot. I also hazard a bet that I was the only one delayed getting to work by having to shear a sheep who appeared in distress in the yard. Daffodil was suffering from fly strike and the nasties were in her fleece so they and it had to go. I made a much better job of it than the last time I solo sheared but Daffodil isn't talking to me since she saw her reflection.
Just over two weeks to go!

Monday, 22 July 2013

No Royal Puppies!

 Not one to jump on the frenzied media bandwagon but in an effort to crowbar a link into today's happy events there are no Royal puppies at Rock HQ but Bliss is massive and can hardly waddle down the the lane.
It was worth the effort though to see tonight's sunset, although she would not have seen much of it as there was a hedge in the way and the bits she could see were wasted on her as she sees in black and white. Today was one of much animal husbandry, catching peahen, catching boar, worming goats, pigs, horses, watering all same, trying to establish why Pam is limping and following Bliss wearing wicket keepers gloves just in case she popped one out.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Breakfast is served

 Early doors saw a quick blast on the bike burning off enough calories to earn the promised breakfast in the kingdom of the Stable Sprite. Weather forecaster's got  their chicken entrails in a jumble as it was raining when I set out, but this was a light refreshing rain, albeit horizontal, not the downpours we are used to in summer. I was first in the breakfast queue so had scoffed mine down by the time other guests arrived but I did stay to have a quick catch up with old friends. I was offered a Hobbits ration (second breakfast) but my will of steel was unbending and I refused to give in and set off back to the ranch.
 My primary role today was dog bothering, so see the dog blog, but no amount of close supervision saw Bliss or Elf drop a load of Berner pups in the whelping box. When time allowed other critters were attended to, pig club trainee sausages were excellent entertainment while their testosterone charged father charged back and forth entertaining himself
 with only one thing on his mind
 Girls!He seems to have been cured of his equine infatuation and as he is able to climb fences this high with ease he is very happy to find Pam and Bridget waiting for him as often as he can manage, which judging b the noises from the pig pens is about 36 times an hour.
After the rain comes sun, this was the state of play just after lunch, the sun bouncing off the parched face of the cliff that gives Rock HQ its name.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tinned meat

 While our pigs, or rather our boar Thor was finding new ways to keep cool in this hot spell (bear in mind the brute has climbed a 5 foot fence to enjoy an early bath with Bridget) the Stable Sprite has been working wonders on his kingdom turning the wasteland into a lovely landscaped garden complete with pond, waterfall, compulsory fake heron, fish and gothic batwing sunlounger. All this was done to provide a fantastic location for his lovely wife's birthday.
 Hoards of hungry partygoers descended on the newly created garden and as a special treat Stable Sprite cooked us one of his pigs
 in this very technical tin can.
Once the tin opener had been found short work was made of the contents and a fair number of guests stood "listening to the band" which was code for picking the juicy bits left on the bones. Thank you Stable Sprite, but most of all thank you pig. Tomorrow I have been promised breakfast which is too good an offer to miss as their place is almost on the finish line of a really big training W3P2P (Downhill all the way) ride planned for sparrows fart.

Friday, 19 July 2013


 There I was taking in the view (one that I will never tire of) pondering the virtues of cycling in 30 plus degree temperatures
 and there he was shouting "Toys!" and making a right old game out of the contents of my saddle bag.
 Obviously the thing to do with energy gels is to smack them with tyre levers
before making a comparative analysis of metal over plastic levers. Bought a helmet video camera today following an incident that happened on Wednesday night, the summary of which is on the training blog, link on margin.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


 Another day of brilliant sunshine.
 A day where pigs vaulting five foot high fences in order to be the first to fill their slavering chops
 failed to annoy yours truly, even when naughty pig covered me in frothy pig slobber in his effort to persuade me to drop the feed bucket instead of using its allure to persuade him back into the pig pen for another 23.59 hours. A day where vermin cats stealing a loaf of bread were forgiven their misdemeanors (for now)
 A day where sitting in the shade was preferable to doing any jobs on the list.
And a day where the sunset knocked spots off anything Santorini has to offer. And the good news is that tomorrow is more of the same. Except the pig and cat part. I can do without that.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Big and small

 Misty, smaller than your average horse.
Berners, bigger than your average dogs. Elf in front is fatter than your average Berner being so close to giving birth.