Friday, 31 January 2014

You shift 16 tons

As predicted some part of the day was spent persuading delivery drivers that it was safe to get to HQ, well actually it wasnt, more of that later. What wasnt predicted was that the delivery of stone to "mend" the drive and to put down as a hard core base for the Swiss Chalet Kennel Block arrived today rather than tomorrow on account that Steve the Skip had realised it was the 6 Nations. He tried to fob me off with tomorrow the weather will be too bad to venture outside but we both knew that one of us would be sat in front of a giant screen watching England stuff France and the other would be shifting 16 tons of rubble.

The lake that has sat at the start of the lane since 1986 has had its day. First stage of dirt track makeover was to plug the massive aquatic areas. This also meant that if the job did not go well, and quickly, we were trapped at HQ behind several massive piles and the washing machine delivered anytime in your chosen four hour slot would not make it to the house.

Under the careful supervision of Rocky and Reba yours truly set about the man test and was almost completely successful.
The deepest lake was filled (almost), the minor lake uphill of the super big one was filled
but I fell at the 3rd as half way down the last two ton pile
the sound of a lorry in distress in the Oracles yard alerted me to the fact that the washing machine was going to be delivered but not where we wanted it. Neither was the old one going to be taken away.

This was small stuff as the lorry was A) Trying to get out of a ditch B)too big to get under the trees C) Too big to execute a 3 point turn and after several hundred back and fores, much swearing and praying the delivery team were facing the right way to escape and free from falling branches.
The washing machine was put in the Oracles out house for recovery later and I set about the final mound with renewed vigour, which lasted all of 5 minutes as it was nearly dark and fresh tidal waves of rain was falling on me all joy of road building evaporated and I squelched back to HQ.

Tomorrow I get to do it all again, blisters and bad back allowing (heaven forbid that I am too stiff to move and have to lie on the sofa, its not as if there is anything good on the telly, ahem) and will get to use the whacker plate I hired to smash the stone into the planet.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Fire and water

We live on a Bonsai Mountain, which is a good thing given the record breaking quantities of water falling on our heads at the moment. The Roof is still letting water in, its on the job list of Steve the builder, he will be round soon. Lucky its not raining eh? But aside from water running down the apprentice smallholders bedroom wall and the buckets catching the rest in the new waiting for the floor to be laid utility room we are getting off lightly. Have I mentioned the dirt track having canyon sized ruts? Nothing 20 ton of stone arriving this weekend wont fix. As ever jobs have piled up to danger levels just as the 6 nations starts. Ho hum, wheelbarrowing stone and whacking it into pot holes is far more entertaining than watching England. 
We have friends who live in the Somerset levels, a place where boats have replaced cars and had it been in another country the Government would be organizing food aid, providing money and sending the Navy. As its here they get a couple of bored squaddies who go back indoors cos its raining.
Where does fire come in to this? The rise of the machines at HQ takes a new turn with the oft overloaded mightily abused used at least 2x a day washing machine committed suicide and tried to set fire to the old utility room. Its take everyone with me attempt was thwarted and it was banished to the Helipad to cool off and contemplate life in landfill. A replacement was ordered, the refund for my training gizmo had just arrived so easy come easy go and a washing machine is much more use than a wrist device that tells me how knackered I am. I have no doubt that some of tomorrow will be spent trying to convince lorry driver that our lane is safe for passage by HGV and that pigs can fly. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The time has come to say goodbye.

 Rock HQ lost its oldest resident this afternoon, Preston the very aged Beagle scampered over the Rainbow Bridge to cause canine chaos in dog Valhalla.
 His swan song was 3.30 am when he felt the urge to wake the household one more time, just for giggles.
But he settled, said goodbye at breakfast and snoozed until he decided to leave us. Strange that he's gone, he's been a pain good dog for years, goodness only knows how many bins he's emptied, fridges raided, dinners stolen, shoes chewed/poohed in, cables bit through, lino torn up, duvets wrecked, books chewed, enforced long walks as hes run off again, times he was told he was going to the dogs home, especially when he stole the vicars bar b que sausages from under his nose!, but he was a great character and loved beagling about. 23 years in  along time for a dog to live. He got the most out of it and we shall miss him and his antics.
For once the Oracles bins are safe.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

It is real!

The weather forecast was spot on today. Rain with some sunny spells. This was the sunny spell.
We are watching over Preston our very ancient beagle, I've had him since he was a pup and I was 27. I'm 50 this year. He's thinking of leaving us soon, he's had enough.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Danger toddler at work

 I was left in charge of the ranch today, ostensibly to write my first assignment for University (I'm a student, got a card to prove it) but in actual fact the day degenerated into crowd control if the combination of the apprentice smallholder and rug rat MkII can be classed as a crowd.
 While attention was diverted by one the other created events to deal with, like almost ordering a £2000 carbon fibre bike off ebay, honest it wasn't me would not have cut any ice had he managed to complete the transaction. Mostly the older of the crowd played with toys, and having the attention of a mayfly on heat the transition from Lego to farms to penguins to castles to puzzles to diggers all took around 10 seconds.
I read an article yesterday about how a child's choice of toys may be accurate indicators of future profession. So I would hazard a guess that the apprentice is going to be a builder.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

To prove a point

Its a well known fact that one of the rules of smallholding is that any animal can get through a gap exactly half its body size. Today Apollo the wonder foal demonstrated that not only can he pass through gaps smaller than he should he also occupied a space half his body size. Somehow he managed to get over a cattle ring feeder and then a hurdle placed (tied with the compulsory baler twine) across the doorway and into the bale store. Once inside having eaten his own body weight in nice fresh hay he unbelievably managed to turn around and wait for rescue. Once rescued he set off to find some other bother to cause.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

If it keeps on raining.....

 I stole an early morning bike ride in glorious sunshine (something told me I should have gone further but we had a lot on so I thought well, go out again this afty) to fetch Gerry back from Steve the menders. Gerry's had a number of vital internal organs replaced and now his engine runs when Metallica are giving it some welly.
 First job of the day was to go and see Will.I.Am over in the land of the Stable Sprite, he is a happy boy having lots of free food, friends to play with, which includes Hetty and Kobe (hes grown, almost ready for burgers) and flat fields to run about in rather than the treacherous slopes of the bonsai mountain.
Work then continued on the kennel block, its nearly finished, well the plan is, this isn't it, this is another creation by Stable Sprite to house his pigs, although why they need a sauna, TV room, snooker table and indoor pool is beyond me. But information was gleaned and ideas stolen ready for our Swiss Chalet Dog Block destined to be built 17 Feb this year. Once I have finished concreting. And the utility room. And repaired the drive. So after much fetching of supplies we got back to HQ to carry on the ground work. 
But not a lot of outdoor work got done (read none) as the weather took another turn for the worse.
So I did some university work, which meant look at my folder, doodle, order a book from Amazon and write my name at the top of my assignment sheet. Its not due til Monday so bags of time. Ahem.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Downhill from there

Not the best of starts to the day

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Whatever the weather

Everyone's fed up with the rain. These two are trying to find shelter, that or inspecting the dodgy flashing.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Still going strong

Preston, our very ancient beagle aged 23 plus, is still going strong for a doddery K9 and is still finding new ways to blot his copybook. Gone are the days of covering himself in paint and running around the house, or emptying the fridge and carrying the contents to his humans bed and making a nest, but he still manages to ransack the neighbours bins (he knows when its bin day) and today was found having made a den in the wash basket. As he was so comfortable and the basket was full of muddy outdoor gear I decided he could stay.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Land Rover recovery

Gerry was recovered today, as in we were dragged unceremoniously behind a fully operational smaller version, a mini-me as it were. We all survived intact, Gerry's front half sustained no further damage since I tried to push him with Miranda, and Mini-mes back half looked the same as when we started( my nerves were shot to bits) but I declined the we have to tow you backwards up here at full speed to engage the turbo so as not to slip the clutch on the slope and get you through these two stone pillars offer and allowed someone else that bit of fun. I felt I was too emotionally involved and already needed the toilet after being towed in front of a quarry lorry. 
We are awaiting the diagnosis on Gerry.

I'm not going!

Little t and his big sister having a moment when he encounters an escalator for the first time. He had to be carried once he finished screaming "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

The Cube

No, the title of this post isn't to tempt unwary search engines from ITV to this site, its a reference to the dominant brand of racing bike amongst the Red Kite Riders, over half the group have the German machines. My Boardman is the only stand alone British specimen apart from my old R100.  Todays ride was fantastic, all things bright and beautiful for a change, finished dry, 25 miles of pure joy.
Late tonight we lost Supergrandma who is over helping us out as per usual. Her absence was noted, we even spoke about where could she be. Then we remembered she was sat in the car and the child locks were on. Ooops.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Changing places

This isn't a pic from today, its November last year when sunnier times meant lots of fun outdoors. Todays weather kept us housebound, except for this pair as my beautiful and oh so patient wife walked Will.I.Am over to a rendezvous with the Stable Sprite. Will.I.Am is going to stay at his place for a while to keep their horse company after they lost their lovely cob called Alfie.
I was coaxed outside in the teeth of the storm to drive over to see the Technohermit who made his first appearance since being taken to hospital. Unfortunately some scrotes had seen fit to ransack his cave while he was getting better, looking for treasure I expect. I helped a rueful hermit pick through his belongings but he was consoled by the fact that he was a better hider than they were seekers. He and his treasure are safely away from the cave and we are being extra vigilant in case the scrotes return.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Seemed such a good idea at the time

My battle with all things mechanical and electrical continued today as the plan to get Gerry to the garage went awry as soon as I got involved. Gerry was facing the wrong way to be towed so had to be rolled backwards down the ever narrowing lane to the turning space by Trixie and Renatta. Had I been a bit braver we would have made it but as I erred on the side of caution and hit the brakes when we got faster than walking speed Gerry rolled to a stop 20 yards short of target and blocked the lane. Beuatuiful and oh so patient wife appeared at the right moment to be press ganged into pushing Gerry and we both managed to get him the 20 yards necessary to unblock the lane, except we couldnt turn him. Much heave hoing managed to get him at a 45 degree angle exposing 4 feet of clear dirt track but we ran out of steam and at that point the small god of bright ideas appeared and offered the solution. So while MBAOSPW went back to the cottage and played with toddlers yours truly drove Miranda to get up close and personal with Gerry. Bumper to bumper, the bright idea being that Miranda provided the necessary muscle to move Gerry out of the way. And it worked. Up to a point. The point being where Gerry moved exposing 7 feet of dirt track and a sound akin to a jet aircraft hitting a greenhouse. Panic striken I leapt from Miranda imagining the stern look from MBAOSPW when I reported that her baby Land Rover was a bit bent thanks to the mighty Gerry, but in actual fact Miranda was happy pushing Gerry about and was unscathed. Gerry on the other hand had left the majority of his big black bumper in bits across the lane.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Why I hate technology part deux

Round two. See pevious post for Round One.
Mobile Phone Nokia Lumens 510 or similar crap name.
 For reasons only know to itself and the prepubescent computer programmer who designed the thing (for which I was told the reason no instruction book is issued is because it would be over a metre high A5 but it is available to download, you could watch the instruction videos on it, but your best option mate is to sit there pressing buttons, so says 12 year old phone vendor) once they finally managed to organise the switch over of my number to my new phone, all by itself it decided that all it should do is make phone calls. Now I remember the first ever mobile phone, my mate in bomb disposal had one, it was a suitcase with a car battery and a phone with a round dial, the big Bakelite type phone found in every other hall way in the UK in the 1970s. We marvelled at how it was "mobile" and you could make phone calls. Nowadays if your phone only operates as a phone then its lacking somewhat, most do everything up to and including make expresso coffee. So my phone taking longer to send an email than a 1st class letter takes to arrive, or refusing to send or receive picture messages was a sure fire way to vex me mightily. Especially as it took superhero in phone shop 25 miles away 2 hours to persuade it to stop playing silly buggers.  It now works but the apprentice can operate more functions than I can, I caught him making toast with it in his house. 
Training Gizmo Suunto T6D plus movement sensors.
I have finally conceded defeat and throw training gizmo back in its clever packaging because after pressing the buttons like a demented Skinnerian rodent it failed to do its part by recording how worthwhile my training is going/has been. Of its seven functions it rarely bothered to monitor two, one was heart rate but as most of the time I could hear my own heartbeat I didn't need a wrist device who's display required the eyesight of a Peregrine Falcon to see. The fact that the wretched device then refused to store any data and transfer it to my PC was almost the final straw, but the one that gave the camel who's back was about to break the final shove was an email declaring 47% discount on rival products with easier to read displays and more efficient functions. Its now in the post back to the manufacturer who have apologized and promised a refund. The only benefit gained from having the device was carrying it.
Compaq Presario PC
Ok so its 12 years old but thats no excuse to fail to connect to the internet to allow yesterdays posting. its also slower than a retired racing snail. Any change of function now requires the window to be closed with a sharp slap or the inevitable turn off and turn on again. 
 Gerry. Land Rover Discovery.
He has been brillaint since his inauspicious start when he broke down and refused to move after I changed the audio output from Radio 3, the preferred channel of the OAP who was his lifetime owner, to some British Heavy Metal. The shock of Saxon's 747 caused immense upset and we coasted to a halt in the darkness until rescue. Well the little scamp has been talking to Renatta, our mobile disco and bin van and has copied her in the lets not start malarkey. He is currently awaiting recovery and examination by Steve the mechanic who will no doubt cure him of his sloth like tendency. Until the next time. 
Boardman Team Racing Bike.
Not a usual target for venting my spleen but he almost let me down, or rather let me know that a fart and go faster super bike needs better TLC than being left in a warm dry conservatory between spin outs. As there was a gap in the rain storms and as Gerry was disabled bike was necessary but in the classic way I can do things I had not changed the burst rear tube from the last ride (yes I know how long ago that was but since then activity based lard reduction has centered around spinning, running, exercise bike, looking for cadence sensor for turbo trainer and chasing toddler) Anyway in the lay off of only a week his chain (bike not toddler's)  was set solid and would not turn with wheel. Panic set in as I simultaneously oiled and prayed to the small god of bike repairs to release my bikes chain from the rusty grip. The embarrassment of having to take this speed machine to Steve the bike with a solid rusted chain through lack of care would have been too great to bear. Finally after much bending, pressure, oil, cleaning, swearing and promises never to be so slack ever again the rust demon departed and we were mobile again. I did have to wear wellingtons for the first half mile of today's outing thanks to a massive amount of water still on the lane but eventually we had a fantastic ride average speed over 5 miles was 23mph. But then some more techno narks set me off again.
Another crap Nokia
The one that prompted the replacement and hours of wasted time trying to get it working has now been demoted to mp3 player. I use heavy metal or prog rock to act as a training aid and quell the voices in my head. It had a flat battery so todays ride was accompanied by bird song and th sound of rubber on tarmac. Nothing wrong with that but as I was going for a personal best the cadence offered by Wheels of Steel acts as an incentive to churn faster when chasing lorries down the A44.   
Garmin GPS bike computer thingy.</div>
Having failed to make a personal best on the way in and having got a recharged battery so a heavy drum beat and metallic rift to set the pace the return leg was going to be superfast, and it was. It felt superfast. Some sections I was even out of the saddle sprinting. However my efforts are unrecorded as the GPS which my nose is almost pressed into on the bars could not identify any of the 13 satellites above so no land speed record was set as none was recorded. It did manage to aquire its position just after I pushed it through the conservatory door 5 miles after being asked to do so. 
Big Red Double Decker Bus
Tonight was fat camp and after getting in a 10k run I set off to see how much of the Christmas excess I had shed. Big red double decker bus caused a traffic jam at one of the two road junctions our town has. Once the traffic had cleared I got in to fat camp club at the stroke of 6pm, rather than my usual 5.59 and as such the fat scales were deactivated as the oprators turned to mice at the stroke of 6. This meant I had to wait an hour to be weighed and had I been weighed at the right time I would have won the not quite as fat as last time award for the week and got a nice sticker as a reward. Appeals to the ref fell on deaf ears and whilst its sad that a grown man should be so annoyed at not getting an ikkle pritty sticker for being the best less obese than last time attendee, I had earned that sticker by refusing cream cakes and by eating spinach and dust. 
I was robbed. 
I consoled myself with a Chicken Jalefrezi, Garlic and Chili Naan, Mushroom Rice and Poppadoms. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The power of advertising

 The apprentice shouted his breakfast order through to the kitchen this morning and it required investigation as it was not the usual request. Yours truly was busy getting chopped sausages ready as opposed to Wheatabix with yogurt or sometimes toast and jam, but the apprentice was adamant he wanted porridge. On checking it was evident why such a radical change from planned menu was required, the full page advert on the magazine he was looking at was for porridge, easily swayed toddler would accept no substitute.
 Meanwhile rug rat MkII was getting his second tooth around something different to milk. First impressions of pureed strawberry, apple and banana was not promising but we both persevered and eventually he swallowed more than he sprayed over me.
Keen to expand the apprentice's skill set and lay a firm foundation for future hobbies, under some supervision he made his first Airfix kit and where better to start than with a Spitfire. This was a Christmas present to me from my parents, or rather the drinking voucher they gave me was exchanged for it and as it arrived in the post today it seemed daft not to make it straight away rather than place in on the shelf alongside the many kits that will be made one day honest.
 This is in fact a weird type of Lego Airfix hybrid (Lego have dropped their we never make any war type toy stance) and thanks to a series of coloured bricks that will only ever make a Spitfire you get the finished article. It stayed like this for around an hour until yours truly was distracted and missed the I'm doing more building clues uttered from the direction of the sofa. We now have a pretty reasonable diorama of an air crash.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Good pig

Thor's antics have so far spared him the final destination, Mr Whirlpool, but having discovered the culinary delight of a proper Scotch egg made from our sausages and free range eggs, he had better behave himself from now on!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The rise of the machines

The apprentice is keen to use the "walking machine" as he has seen it being used as part of yours trulys prep for the BBMC 2014. Yes its that time of year when I forget the promise never to do it again as long as I finish and the pain stops routine and fill out the application form and hope that I get my place again this year. The event calendar is filling up, sportives in June and July, BBMC in May, some mountain marathons in December, and the three peaks 450 mile bike ride in 72 hours date to be decided.
I am in training but the training blog is a bit behind as any time free for that is spent pressing buttons on my training gizmo, a futile exercise as it still only deigns to tell the time. The on line support is not proving useful as its a series of videos of a well manicured hand pressing buttons with different digits while the LCD screen displays all sorts of technical info. This might be some help had whoever decided in the Suunto camp (they made the watch) to make the videos put a commentary to go with it. On watching the opening sequences I was convinced the apprentice had altered the settings on the computer again (we have only just recovered from him turning everything German) and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find the mute off button until I spotted some angry feedback from other punters who lamented the silent film techniques.
The exercise bike that died November 2012, and for whom an engineer tasked with fixing it wanted a £150 for the privilege of looking at it before undertaking any work, has taken the hint of the skip outside the workshop and has found a fresh lease of life. On the off chance it would work I twiddled the pedals and the self powered computer box glowed red and displayed the necessary info to prompt a full on personal best assault. It tried to kill me tonight as we did 33.3km in 60 minutes, which I was very pleased with (really, today I could not have gone faster, five hours on I am still feeling it) but it occurred to me ( the random thoughts that fill your head as you pedal furiously are often maths based, how many calories have I burned equating to sugary snacks I can then consume/should not have consumed, average speed not good enough/better than expected, distance covered ditto, how much faster/slower can I pedal to achieve target, will I pass out at 140rpm, how much longer is there left and so on)  as I sweated at a standstill that this speed meant I was doing 100 metres in around 9.5 seconds.
Only just faster than Usain Bolt can run the same distance.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Pigging ground clearance

There was a bit of a commotion in the conservatory this afternoon. The type of commotion when a large boar with a horse fetish breaks in and searches for foodstuffs, much to the Bernese Mountain Dogs consternation. 
Thor is the HOudini of Bernese Mountain Pigs, a jolly giant of potential bacon who has the amazing ability to break out of anywhere eventually. To be able to ransack the conservatory and terrorise the canines he has managed to get out of his pen and is clearly enhancing his skills as he is now an expert at breaking in. 
After establishing that there were no calories on offer and evicting all of the K9's  the curly tailed brute ran back outside leaving yours truly to clear up the mess. 
He on the other trotter demonstrated expert judgement and somehow managed to guess that Gerry was stocked full of goodies (I did another feed run as there is a slight chance we might get snow soon) and unaided opened the amour-plated rear door. 
Discarding tinned food for easier bagged pig nuts the little scamp was tucking in
like his life depended on it (I on the other hand was plotting how to end it for him) and after an almighty chastisement reluctantly followed the blue bucket (full of allure) to the med bay at the back of the stable which is serving as a temporary jail. 
The pig based shenanigans followed a visit from some family members who called in to see us and Apollo the wonder foal who may be sent to logging camp where he will learn to be a useful pony dragging timber from forests. It will be poetic justice as he is responsible for the felling of a small patch of forest thanks to his vandalism of the fences here at HQ. Now, we do tell people where we live, and what its like, and that the distance between us and the gate to the world is around half a mile and requires negotiating a dirt track with bigger potholes than the M25. The type of non road surface suited to a 4x4 rather than a sleek sports car with minimal ground clearance.  
The sleek sports car made it, not entirely in one piece, but the bits that fell off fitted neatly in the large boot-space so they could be reattached at a later date. . 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sneeze and you go faster

Most days the pic on the blog has something to do with what its about, that's most days, not today. Today's is an old pic of the evolution of bike, or my sneeze if you go faster racer behind my iron age velocipede. Both in the warm sunshine of just a few weeks ago.
Yesterdays pic had nothing to do with technology but a lot to do with Ice, our ram, taken Monday. We have been lucky with the weather in so far as it has only got things wet and muddy, but yours truly found Ice yesterday trapped against the fence in a new stream of water. His wool weighed him down, his foot was through the fence and the poor lad could not get a grip to stand. The rushing water built up a dam of debris behind him, his back legs when I got to him were stuck fast in a vacuum of mud and ice cold water. I managed to drag him from the mire, drip dried him for a moment or two on the gate carried him to a bed of straw in the goat house and he spent the day in a dry comfortable bed with some nice munchies. Ice was our first casualty of the sever weather. He didn't make it. It was too cold for Ice.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Why I hate technology

I am no ludite but yours truly and technology dont really get along. The root cause tends to be my learning style which is see one, help one, do one, or look at pictures (cartoons) and ignore text, better still press a button and see what happens.
For Christmas I got a super duper training gizmo that monitors everything physiologically except what colour shorts I am wearing. So far all I have been able to establish while wearing it is time of day (providing the time is daylight, night time back light function is a tad on the dark side and unless I have glasses on I cannot read it, glasses function usually needs to be operational during daylight too but this is difficult when I am gurning and concentrating on not blowing my lungs out of my backside)current heart rate and calorie consumption since Christmas.
 No matter how closely I study the 4 inch thick instruction book (I am so keen on operating this gizmo effectively I have broken a non reading instruction manuals resolution) I am unable to press the five buttons on the wrist watch device in the correct sequences to provide me with any meaningful data.
This is further compounded by having an apprentice smallholder who at every opportunity shouts ooh buttons go beep daddy and hangs off my wrist frantically stabbing an extended digit at my wrist.
To support my I hate technology stance we only have to look at todays experience with a mobile phone. My mobile needs to be robust and idiot proof. Three have expired in puddles in the last 12 months but as they were supplied by work they dont count.
My own mobile has survived many an adventure and after 18 months started playing silly buggers so was shipped off to the network supplier for fixing. They sent it back saying it was repaired, but no, surprise surprise it had the same "software related fault", in other words you pressed a button and it did anything other than what it should until it was banged on the closest hard object and sworn at.
 A not so quick call to a call centre in a land far away and I was told that the phone was not repaired as it was water damaged and that was my fault. No amount of arguing resolved this, I was told that I could "upgrade" for a mere £196, so I carried on banging the phone on hard objects and swearing.
Eventually pity was taken on me and work gave me a nice shiny not quite so robust phone but one that promised to work as long as I refrained from the treatment dished out to its predecessor.
Unfortunately the nice shop that sold me my new phone omitted to tell the network that they had sold it and as new phone needed a micro sim card and my sim card was the size of the Oxford English Dictionary, new phone was inoperable and network provider would not switch my number from my old phone to my new one on the off chance that I had stolen the new phone. After much delay and debate, filling out on line forms and waiting the alloted 24 hours, three times, much more arguing with a call centre in a far away land meant another sim card was sent to me.
 Except they sent a nano sim card which is so tiny its sent with a magnifying glass so you can see it. It was clearly the wrong one. Rather than face arguing with a helpful bod in another time zone again I took the rash decision to drive the 25 miles to the phone shop to resolve the matter once and for all.
Within minutes of my arrival a shop assistant who looked like he was skiving off school took both phones, deftly transferred my data from the old to new, tried not to laugh when I asked what an i-pad was for and most importantly fitted a correct sim card and told his computer to swap numbers and to get on with it.
 I left happy.
He was my hero.
 Until half a mile from the shop my old phone rang which was an indicator that new phone was not working or a bloody good ventriloquist. Back to shop. Hero asks if there is a problem. I hand him both phones and he attempts to solve it by taking out new micro sim and licking it and putting it back in, shaking both phones, pleading with computer and eventually resorts to fitting new sim card.
I leave shop again with new non licked sim card with the promise that all will be well. And sure enough it is. At 17.07 hrs I got an email saying my sim card swap was going ahead and as I type the old phone has been switched off by the netowrk and yes you have guessed already the new phone isn't working.
Even when its banged into the desk and sworn at.
And to add insult to injury and as further evidence of technologies conspiracy against me is that gremlins are in the matrix and paragraphs etc are proving difficult due to wrong sort of rain.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Little and none

Its hoofing it down with rain, again, some 40mm are predicted to fall on our house with its leaky roof in the next 12 hours. While I was out walking dogs, changing rear lights on Miranda, feeding critters (all by torchlight) one of us didn't want to leave the sofa and fireside and come out to play with the clan. Chances of prising Poppy the pathetic triever off the sofa. Little and none.

Other news. Rug rat mkII has a tooth.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


We can just about store 50 bales of hay, and this is what it looks like safely packed away. As we were down to the last few mouthfuls a fresh batch was delivered today by a new supplier as true to form yours truly had misplaced the phone number of the haymaker and sidekick who would deliver 50 bales for a small charge (read cost of another 15 bales) The not so dynamic duo would rock up in a battered white van and trailer and together (read me) we would unload and store precious cargo.
Me being easily distracted by anything shiny and completely unable to concentrate on counting and talking would rely on the honesty of hayman and looking back the conversations were peppered with thats 10 so far, theres a good 25 there mate and so on interspersed with stories of how he deflowered a woodsman's daughter in these here parts many years ago. Had he not been a wizened farm type he would have been a pirate. His colourful conversations and dodgy maths probably explains the picture below, for having owned up to losing the newspaper advert with hay-pirates number (and getting other people to search their recycling for the right back issue) I phoned a number I thought would be his and found an entirely different vendor. He would deliver 50 bales with no charge for delivery (winning already!) and when he arrived today with compulsory mutant sidekick, just after the most unbelievably harsh downpour and thunderstorm, I set about the task of beating the weather.
Once the usual store was full I was left with 10 spare bales. Now there were three left from the previous supplier, but I used one as a bonus meal for the critters to give a bit more room, so it was a surprise to find I could only get 38 bales in the store. Even though I had packed them in the same formation as before, so the "extra" bales cannot be due to these being larger therefore taking more room. Yes I know 38 stored and 10 in the pic still makes 2 less than 50, 2 more were given to greedy critters while I pondered the hay conundrum. These "spares" were eventually stuffed in a disused goat house after the merits of sticking them in Renatta was dismissed and the goat house cleaned out. 

The horses were so grateful for the bonus dinners that they took a break from their demolition work.