Thursday, 26 February 2015

Doing a Madonna

Many times I ask myself why horses and today was no exception. In the horizontal rain carrying a bale of hay your truly found himself less than upright and in pain in at least three places after stepping blindly onto a slippery when wet wooden pallet that wasn't supposed to be where I was. As I struggled for composure, yours truly, unlike Madonna who had millions of fans gasp with horror as she took an un-choreographed step backwards, was surrounded by laughing K9's, sniggering horses and a sarcastic goat. The only similarity was that, both being consummate professionals, the show went on and I fed the hysterical animals before crawling indoors to cry.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

I'm still standing

 As yours truly is resting his Achilles tendon the pre dawn raids on the Bonsai Mountain are on hold (training for mega man test) so Daffodil's plight was not spotted for 24 hours, or rather it was spotted but the predicament she was in was not recognised.
 From the dirt track to the ranch it looked like Daf was being sensible and sheltering from the weather under a bramble bush. As she was still there 24 hours later it was clear some help was required to extract her from the thorny embrace before something nasty happened.
So what did you do on your morning commute? We rescued our cognitively challenged sheep who was eternally ungrateful.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Big guy, little guy.

 This impressive K9 crashed out is Thunderpaws, a massive Berner. His real name is Diesel, and he is on his holidays, hence the chilled out mode. To show how big he is, he is two inches taller to the shoulder than Trevor our amorous shitland.
 This is the tiny fiend pictured this morning when he came to breakfast, for some reason he wanted a bit of fuss, probably nothing to do with a personality transplant but more to do with the bucket of feed just out of shot.
 Talking of food, here is a tasty morsel, well the bare bones of the start of a birthday cake for the apprentice who is currently infatuated with a Disney film and one of its characters, Sven, a reindeer.
So this is our version of Sven, minus snow and antlers which will be added when creativity allows. Choice for antlers is nougat cleverly whittled into shape, fall back plan is pipe cleaners, effective but not so tasty.

Monday, 23 February 2015


Yesterdays weather, even by our standards, was vile, snow, ice cold rain, strong winds, icy underfoot and on tarmac (and these were the good bits) So what better day than a day like this for the first meeting of Red Kite Riders since October 2014. Three plucky souls, read idiots, set out in various colour and quality Lycra and managed 18 miles before hypothermia and the threat of Polar Bears forced them back home again.
Meanwhile Chester was found braving the elements, not through choice but because a naughty Ryeland called Daffodil fancied a dry warm stable and Chester being the big woosey had been evicted.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Against the odds

 The scraps of snow hanging around were rewarded early doors by a fresh dusting. The Bonsai Mountain was spared a visit from the Dolyhir Clan and yours truly as my Achilles tendon is playing up big time thanks to all the hill training. So as yours truly was going to be put back together again by our very friendly Osteopath, I decided to set her a real challenge by hurting as much of me as possible before I went by clearing the runway.
 Two hours of intense spade and barrow work left a blank concrete canvas ready for more artistic attention from the equines. Without their bottom sculptures what would I do with a Saturday morning! Suitably aching from moving several tons of horse doing I went to be Agnesed who in less than an hour managed to repair my Achilles, mid back, arms, neck and a rib that had the temerity to try and cause some bother once the previous body parts had been sorted.
 Back at the ranch a quiet afternoon was had (if it can ever be quiet with 15 dogs and two toddlers demanding attention) Against all odds the new floor looks like it should do ie. without pawprints and next on the list if the top coat, or tiles. This is next weeks job and Steve the tiler is going to do it as the task is beyond yours trulys ability by several miles.
I rescued my bikes from Red Kite HQ where my office looked like a bike park rather than the hub of a thriving private sector care business. Tomorrow Red Kite Riders meet up for the first time in ages so access to serviceable bike is essential.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

So far so good...

So far we have managed to keep 15 dogs, two under 4 year old humans, 4 cats, 4 peacocks, 1 curious horse and several lame ducks off the new floor. There is another 24 hours to go before we can consider this mission successful as the floor is still soft and distinctly unfloorlike until late PM tomorrow when it magically transforms to solid. Meantime the vigil continues and to make things easier (for us anyway) the apprentice and rug rat mkII are staying over at their grandmas.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Waiting to happen

 Then floor arrived today
 It only took four hours to lay, and considerably less before the apprentice decided to test it.
Once finished and repaired it looked like this. Chances of it looking like this before it sets hard?
Zero to none?

Monday, 16 February 2015

The great clear up

 The work at the back of the house has created chaos , which in view of the fact that we are used to chaos, for us to notice the difference then it must be bad. The two smaller members of the family were collected from supergrandma's house on Saturday, which looked like a small whirlwind had been through every room, the joy of toddlers, and brought back to Rock HQ in time for bed. The morning had been spent at work, an event yours truly found very difficult to motivate himself for.
 Sunday was spent trying to persuade the apprentice not to bash chunks out of the soon to be repaired hole in the wall (incidentally our local supermarket hole in the wall became a grand opening when a gang of thieves in a stolen tractor removed the cashpoint machine) or watching him sing his favourite Disney songs whilst at the same time cleaning everything that had been coated in dust from the demolition work.
 Time out was granted early doors to see the last of the snow on the ridge and
 refuel the Berners with drool fuel.
 Late pm saw another chance to escape from Disney and cleaning when our daughter arrived for some TLC, food and exercise with the apprentice. The usual route was followed culminating in an exciting
Pooh sticks marathon in which there could only be one winner.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Cloud walking

It took a lot of effort to persuade myself it was a good idea to roll out of bed and set off on a circuit of the Bonsai Mountain this morning. At Fiveways we walked into the clouds and horizontal rain. The dogs were happy though.

Big jobs!

 The internet saga reached its climax Thursday with an interesting exchange between yours truly and a very nice lady representing the 32 Openreach engineers busy digging up the road between us and civilisation. The nice lady admitted that there had been a big fault on their part and that it had all been fixed days ago. No reason could be found for our internet not working, it was all fixed, honest. Had we tried turning it on and off again? Being one step ahead of the techno nerd I happily informed her that I had indeed tried the well used on off again routine. Had I reset the system. No dammit, no, aha she cried sensing victory, hit the reset for 30 seconds  and she was certain the 32 engineers could go home early. Sure enough 31 seconds later we were in touch with the world. Simple when you know how.
 Big jobs continue at a pace and we are definitely at the point of no return. The sun room is now weathertight, so the wall and window has been removed in some order. The house being so bashed around by so many trades required the removal of the two youngest members of the household who went to stay with supergrandma so we could demolish the place without risking small casualties. The house was strangely quiet without our boys, if quiet entails a background noise of hammers, drills, smoke alarms set off by the fumes from the plumbers blow torch (incidently the plumber who really was called Steve must have thought I had the word MUG written across my forehead as he wanted £200 extra to return and fit a radiator plus £385 for the thing. I went to B and Q that evening and got the same spec radiator for £140, delivered, and I'm pretty sure another Steve can be foiund to fit it for substantially less than £200 call out) hoovers, music and swearing from the plumber who was 9 foot tall and hit his head at every opportunity.
 Eventually the dust settled, lots of it, imagine the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, the trades left promising to return and finish the job next week. So as my beautiful and oh so patient wife were left all alone with no children on Valentine's eve for the first time in 4 years we took full advantage of the situation.
MBAOSPW fell asleep and I made some model tanks. Who says romance is dead.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Worry ye not!

Fear not, we are still here at HQ enjoying life but without an internet connection. There are two sets of roadworks, 9 Openreach vans and 32 engineers in the 4.3 miles of roadway between us and civilisation but no one seems to know why they cannot make the internet work. So we have been enjoying walks (aka chase toddler though the woods)
Been training for the BBMC using rug rat mkII as a training aid.
It has also been very cold
and whatever is happening at the back of the house is
still happening.
Plus there was still time to go for a bike ride with the Stable Sprite who refuses to relinquish his champion gurning status for another year.

Friday, 6 February 2015

A good start

 Given events yours truly decided to take a day off work and so early doors set off for a wander across the ridge, extending the usual circuit of the Bonsai Mountain. It was a good start to the day, seeing the sun rise
 and the moon set over the Whet Stone which had obviously returned from a heavy drinking session.
 For company I had six Berners, Rocky, Reba, Rippers, WooZah, Bliss and Spotty, a pathetic triever, Poppy, and the cartoon dog, Missy. Poppy came over all dog food advert and posed by the monkey puzzle trees.
 All around us the last of the snow was waiting for reinforcements
and Rocky  the Dolyhir Clan 2ic (I'm pack leader) made sure the stragglers at the back kept up.
A crisp, clear, bracing start to the day, a good start, no matter what the rest of the day may bring it got off to the best start. England play Wales tonight in the opening game of the six nations. Which is why I keep reminding myself of how well the day started, come what may.

Love you too

 This was the base of the extension as discovered Wednesday morning, surprisingly only one species of paw print across the wet concrete
 the obligatory vermin cat trail. But at least it was hard, or at least that's what I thought.
 The same concrete pad on Thursday morning
showing signs of animal activity. Good job we love them.

Common sense prevailed...for once

So there I was, poised to set off up the track to bag the summits of Pen-y-Fan, Corn Du and any other in reach before darkness. My work done, a perfect mountain day so I had the foresight to load up Gerry with my mountain gear, an hour and a half to nightfall, it was looking good. Except for my phone with only 3% battery. I pondered the sensible options of setting off into the wilderness alone without a phone in the snow and around dusk. No one knew I was here, a few minutes passed as I looked to the summit beckoning ahead and for once common sense prevailed and fat  lorry drivers crowded around the burger van saw me reluctantly throw my gear back in the car and set off homeward.
Which was just as well really. I parked to take this picture on my rapidly expiring phone, a layby unlike the other as this one had a phone signal. A message popped up, probably the worst type of message you can get, up there with "Your house in on fire"(I actually got that message once, and it wasn't a joke) This one said hope you got the message that your beautiful and oh so patient wife is in an ambulance en route the hospital. This was, as can be imagined, a surprise, and as I had no idea how long ago people had been trying to get hold of me due to lack of signal in the Welsh valleys I set off in some haste, via HQ for an overnight bag just in case. Thankfully super Grandma was staying so she had the boys and I could concentrate on the unfolding drama. Which it was. MBAOSPW was in A and E waiting patiently for yours truly and medics. We both arrived at more or less the same time, they were much more helpful than me but despite their best efforts she had to kept in for observations and dealt with properly the following day. In all a very sad and emotional time passed, I went to the supermarket to buy nightwear as the stuff I had packed from the laundry basket looked like a puppy had slept on it (it had!)
Finally after much TLC from the very capable medics she was allowed home, still looking like she had an encounter with the Grim Reaper, but very much happier to be reunited with the chaos at HQ.
Thanks to all those who have sent best wishes and apologies to those whom I did not contact to let know. Its been a tad busy. For a change.

The intermittent postings are due not only to drama but to BT who are currently upgrading the network around HQ which means the .4 a meg whatever that means broad band speed we used to get has been replaced by a lethargic slug.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Racing with Berners

The apprentice is learning valuable lessons when it comes to racing down the lane with Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Berners do not need protective clothing or helmets as they are well covered by thick fur and their skulls are so thick (on account of their brains being so tiny) so are always ready for a good race.
They also cheat and run off to the finish line before you have a chance to say "GO!"

It wasn't me!

 No idea why we had no internet connection over the weekend, it might have been due to the weight of ice on the phone line, or too many sparrows, either way it wasn't my fault and nothing whatsoever to do with the ground work going on at HQ, which despite what the photos might show, is progressing well.
As usual the concrete had to be protected by some heavy duty sheet material to prevent various species including human from leaving their unique moniker. Here we see Bear lay slap bang on one trench and the apprentice jumping on another. Thankfully by the time they found it the concrete had mostly gone off. This was especially good news when a very large thoroughbred horse decided the helipad was the place for breakfast and robbed the rabbit hutches for hay.