Thursday, 19 December 2013

In control

Matilda had a few days where she refused to go out. Sometimes, I couldn't blame her - the weather has been a bit variable.  Other times, I've been surprised at her reluctance.  She's been exploring the kitchen a bit more,  even reaching the door to the living room at one stage. DH put her back in her pied-a-terre  (p-a-t)at that point.

Today was cold but bright and dry, and I decided she really MUST go out.   Fortunately for both of ud, Tilda did choose to go out.  She didn't go over to the netting that divides the "garden" from the "chicken paddock" though,  she went and sat near some shrubs in a different part.    That was unusual, and I think must reflect her uncertainty about her flockmates.

She seemed quite content sitting out there, so I left her to it.

Later - much later - I came into the kitchen. A few seconds later, I had a chicken standing outside the kitchen door,  beak apparently resting on the glass.  She'd obviously decided she'd had enough of outside, thank you.

She came straight in when I opened the door, and shuffled into her P-a-T.

She's sitting there now, tail up, eyes bright, and watching me.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Let them eat cake!

I finished my Christmas cakes.  I 'only made a few this year, which meant there was less pressure.

I'm pleased with the iced cakes...

The Creole cakes look lovely. I couldn't find the bag of pecan nuts, so I had to use toasted almonds instead.  I'm thinking I should probably have skinned the almonds first, but it's too late now.

This is my own cake, so I'll be able to tell first hand if the almonds cause a problem:

Fits and starts

Another Izzy fit this morning. 

I woke up and realised something had actually woken me. Rushed out of bed and could hear a noise. It was Izzy's feet, hitting the ashpan and the ashpan hitting the wall, which had disturbed me.

I'm actually pleased that the ash pan was there, as I might not have heard her otherwise.

It was partially caught on camera.

Later, as she was moving away from the food dish, her front right leg was rigid.  At first we thought she must have hurt it in the fit, but I had seen her walk from the hall to the food and her leg had been OK.   Izzy could not understand why she couldn't move her leg.

A few seconds later, it was OK.

The food diary we've been keeping since her last fit, 3 weeks ago, hasn't shown anything. 

If the previous fit patterns are repeated, she'll have more fits over the next couple of days.

She's sparko on the rug at the moment.

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Our neighbours were burgled yesterday.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Not today, thank you.

Since yesterday, having run out of any special food,  and having rejected the Dodson and Horrel Layers Mash, Tilda is forced to eat normal layers pellets.  Her diet has been layers pellets,  once-a-day mealworms,  and some yoghurt.  

She's not too happy about this. Whenever I go past, she rooks through her food cup shucking out the pellets looking for something more interesting.  I've explained to her that I have ordered some alternative mash (having failed to find any to buy locally), and that it'll be here on Monday.   She doesn't understand.

This morning, as I came the stairs, she was in the middle of the kitchen floor bokking loudly.  The cats were in the hallway, refusing to go into the kitchen without an armed escort. 

After her mealworms, I showed Tilda the open back door.  She did her occasional trick of scooshing through my legs back into the kitchen.     II tried again later, this time she ran back to the sanctity of her pied-a-terre.  I realised that there was an expectation that  reaching "home" meant I couldn't pick her up and put her out manually.

I have no idea why. It's cold out, but it's a sunny morning.  She's looking very perky.  

Maybe she senses that her time indoors is coming to an end and is trying to string it out?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Yesterday morning - before the Christmas card business and the house hen food business - was taken up with buttermaking.

8 litres of double cream,  all churned, washed, chilled, salted, made into blocks,  chilled and frozen.  2 loaves of buttermilk bread made. Much of it has already been eaten, but I've dried some to make breadcrumbs.  I know it's crazy to make bread to make breadcrumbs, but I've run out. We're mainly eating rye sourdoughs,  and the crumbs from those just aren't right for breadcrumbs.

Lots of portions of buttermilk measured out into yorkshire-pudding sized amounts and frozen.I've still got a jug of buttermilk in the fridge.

Then, the final Creole cake was made, using the fruit that I've ben soaking for the past couple of weeks. This one is a "thank you" for my cousin and his wife.

I didn't get round to marzipanning the to-be-iced cakes yesterday,  and I didn't get around to it today either.

I will definitely do them tomorrow.

Just realised I didn't make any dough for piadines for tonights dinner, either. Bother! bother!! bother!!!   Never mind, the pork will be fine until tomorrow.

I have, however, written all the cards and addressed the envelopes. 


We're nearly out of the Garvo stuff that Tilda has been eating.  I don't want to get another bag because (a) she only eats part of it, (b) even Lotty and Poppy - who hoover up what Tilda leaves - don't eat the pellety bits and (c) there isn't anywhere local that stocks it.

I thought maybe some layers mash/crumb might work. Tilda could pick out the bits she wanted, and there wouldn't be any pellets for her to leave.

My usual stockist doesn't stock it, but would be able to get some.     Pets at Home, alledgedly, stock Ex Bat stuff and Smallholder range,   so I popped over there at 7pm to see if I could get a small back.  No.  I did manage to pick up a 5kg bag of Dodson and Horell layers mash - but it wasn't at all what I was expecting.  Instead of little pieces of food, it was a bag of dust.   Tilda stuck her beak in the pot, but rejected it very quickly.

Not much more I could do at the time, so I made a start on the Christmas cards. 

I know it's less and less fashionable to send cards.  I don't send many myself now,  usually (but not exclusively) I send them to people I haven't seen and won't see for ages,  just to say hello and that I'm thinking of them.

I found the box of blanks, and the bag with last year's received cards in, and I spent what seemed like forever cutting out the ones that were suitable for re-use, pairing them with some backing paper and a card.   I went through several Pritt sticks.  IN the end, I gave up with the sticking and concentrated on the cutting and matching.

This morning, I let my finger do some walking,  looking for layers mash/crumb.  And then I drove to a few places.      Nothing doing.   Eventually I found a place which stocked Marriages crumb, but I could feel through the bag that it was also very fine.

I came home, and resumed the card making.  When I got to the point of wishing I'd just bought cards instead, I stopped.    This year, I decided to print inserts and use scanned signatures (in different colours), rather than hand writing a "Merry Christmas" blah blah message in each one.   I cur paper to the reuquired sizes and printed off the required number. They they look quite effective, and the "to" bit will still be written by hand (by me).  My worktop is now covered in cards waiting to be assigned to people, a task I'll do this evening.

It would, of course, be a darned sight easier (and cheaper) just to buy cards. Or to not send cards at all  and to make a charity donation. 

I'm very happy to receive shop bought cards, and I'm equally happy if people don't send cards. I was trying to work out why I don't just do that anyway now. 

I think it's a combination of things:  I like the end result of my efforts -   I'm not a natural card maker,  and I am fully aware that they all look amateurish.  I llike that each card has taken some effort and a lot of thought, and don't mind at all that the recipients probably don't give them a thought.  The pleasure for me is in the achievement,  and in the occasional achievement of making that  special match between the cards I'm making and the intended recipient.   A cat one for my cat loving Auntie;  a cat one (in fact, the one they sent me last year) to particular friends;  that sort of thing.  

And I do like the fact that last year's cards get an extra year's life rather than just acting as kindling.

Will I do it next year?

Well, I've made those templates for the inserts now, so probably.

We'll see.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Senior moments

I was just putting the pitatoes in the oven to bake for dinner, when I had a flashback. 

I couldn't remember turning on the electric fence.

I realised that I probably had turned it on when I left the chooks, but I just wasn't sure. I couldn't risk leaving it, as I'd be mortified if we got there tomorrow and found the Girls foxed.

So I had to drive over there.

The fence was on, of course.

I did take the opportunity to peek at who was sleeping with whom.   Henry and his 6 wives were in the shed.  No suprise there, although I had wondered if Nora, Batty and Coffee might be in there too as they are now part of Henry's flock.

In the number 1 coop,  Nora, Batty and Coffee were on the roosting bars.  Mrs was in the nestbox. And to my surprise, one of the Small Hens was in with her. I couldn't tell whether it was Siouxsie of NotNorman, and I didn't want to lift her up to check.

Norman and the other Small Girl were in adjacent nestboxes in the Number 2 coop.

Everyone was well spaced out, so no need to worry about the weather at the moment.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Pig of a day

Picked up another half pig from Shirley today.  I think this is the 6th one we've had?

We wanted to have a go at Salami this time,  as well as some "midweek hams", so the cutting was very slightly different to previous times.

We ended up with:

Lean Diced Pork, bagged in 250g and 450g bags = total 1.5kg
Lean Minced Pork, bagged in 250g bags, total 1.2kg
Pork for sausages - not yet weighed. There was a lot of this, I know I put stuff in here that probably should have gone into "lean mince"
Lean pork for Salami: 1.3kg

Joints: (currently in the fast-freeze compartment -, I'll update the weights when I move them)
1 x Belly
1 x spare rib roasting joint (shoulder)
1 x shoulder

For Hams:
1 x 3.1kg (inc bone) for gammon ham
2 x small bacon joints (687g and 826g)

For Bacon:
2 x Belly (one for smoked, one for unsmoked) total 1.3Kg
1 x loin 1.276 kG

Spare ribs for dinner tonight
2 x trotters, for trotter stock (pork pie jelly) - unweighed
2 x hocks, 808g and 543g
Fat for lard (2 good sized jars made)
Hard back fat for salami - unweighed

Head - for friends who want to use it
Kidney - unweighed

Waste: unweighed
It went well.  The bacon and midweek joints are in their curing mix.   We still have to make sausages, and to start the salami.   The huge gammon leg still needs boning before we start that a-curing.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Dinner, B&B

Tilda stayed out all day.  In fact, she was permitted into the group of hens as they sheltered from the wind.

Even mealworms didn't cause too many problems.  I'd ordered some when I realised Tilda would be in for a couple of days; they are a good source of protein, and it's been ages since the Girls have had some.

Shutting in time did not go so well.   6 bowls of porridge, and Tilda wasn't allowed any.  She sat off to the side, waiting.   Eventually she crept, bit by bit, to a bowl and started to have a nibble.  All was OK until Custard spotted her.  Custard raced across the run to peck Tilda very hard on the head. Tilda rushed away, and wedged her hed down by the side of the dust bath  - safe from any attacker.

I saw this happen, so I went out. I opened the run door to see if Tilda wanted to come out.  I stroked her, until her head lifted. Then I moved away, opened the door, and called her.  For a second or two, she didn't move.   I got ready to shut the door, then she suddenly stood up and hopped over the threshold and waddled towards the house.

I wasn't actually ready for her in the house. I've been cleaning the kitchen all day, and I'd emptied out her pied-a-terre.  I quickly set it up, and she walked in and started eating her dinner.

I think we'll have a couple of days with her outside in the day, and in overnight.

Let's see how that goes.

Call of the wild

Tilda was up and about when I came downstairs this morning.

Today's Tildy-bombs were much bigger than yesterday's, although still small for a well chicken. Happily there were only two.  

I've had to put moisturing handwash (instead of scented) in the downstairs cloakroom, as my hands are suffering a bit from the constant thorough washing.   The toilet roll and Dettox are permanent fixtures on top of her cage.

After Tilda had some breakfast, I opened the back door.  There is a fierce and cold wind gusting outside, and no sensible chicken would want to be out in it. The other Girls were sheltering under a shrub.   Still, I tried.

As usual, I walked Tilda towards the door, one of my legs either side of her body.  When we got to the doorway she stuck her neck out and stood for ages.  I pushed a bit, and waited for her to turn round and run through my open legs.  She didn't. She stayed put. And then - plop! She jumped out of the door.

It was like watching a cartoon, as she waddled, feathers streaming, round to the side of the planter out of the wind.  I called her, but she ignored me.  I left the door open (in case she changed her mind), and put the coffee machine on.

And then I watched her crossing the path, feathers streaming, trying to reach the hen pen.  When she got to the netting, I went outside and lifted her over - the other side of the Pampas to where the bullies were sheltering.

I hope she's going to be OK.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The next day

Got up early (early for me) as the Tea Man was due.  I got downstairs to feed the cats, and Tildawas chatting away to me.  I'd partially shut her door last night, and I think she was objecting to being confined.

I opened the door and she waddled out, chattering away.  She is definitely too well to be an indoor hen.

I gave her some food, made tea for myself and DH.  I opened the back door and shuffled Tilda towards it.  As soon as I moved forward to encourage her over the threshold, she turned round and pushed between my legs to get back in to the kitchen. 

I've been here before. 

I went upstairs to get showered and dressed. A little later, I tried again.  Tilda was still not having any of it.  This time she actually toddled back in the safety of the pied-a-terre. I could see I was going to have to physically force her outside.

I had to go out. I didn't want to put her outside while I was out, as I wanted to keep an eye on her interactions with the Mob.

When I came back, she was sitting tidily on the flor, tail up, watching outside.   It was raining ice, so I decided to let her stay in the kitchen for the moment.

DH is saying nothing.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Not so happy henniversary

One year ago today, Tilda collapsed and "died" in the garden, but we managed to revive her (more by luck than anything else). She had been attacked by the b*tch chicken.

She had a small dog crate in the kitchen where she was comfortable and could spend her last couple of hours before crossing the rainbow bridge.

The couple of hours turned into several months and, more susrprising still, Tilda eventually decided she wanted to go back outside with the others.

A year ago today.

For the last week or so, she's been looking like she's feeling the weather.  She's been eating, and she's been coming out of the run and going back in each day, bit she loooks a little fluffed up. I mentioned to DH the other day that she might have to come inside again. He wasn't amused.


This afternoon followed it's normal-ish pattern.  At 3pm, I opened the gate from the Girl's free range area so they could  have half an hour pecking round the bit of garden that is normally off limits.  I lifted Tilda over the netting to save her walking around.

There was a nip in the air, so I decided I'd make them some pellet porridge.  While it was soaking, I started weighing out ingredeients for bread.  As I walked to the cupboard where the flour was, I saw Tilda prostrate on the ground, with Florence pecking at her head, and Custard watching.

I ran outside, scooped her up, and brought her inside.  She looked OK.  I put her on the floor and gave her something to eat.   I wasn't sure what I'd just seen, so I wasn't sure what to do for the best.  When I told DH, he gave me one of those looks, the visual equivalent of saying "You're just looking for an excuse".

Maybe I was?

I wanted to look at the CCTV footage to see what actually happened.  I decided that if she had been attacked, then she'd better stay in the house for a day or two, otherwise I'd put her in the coop once the others had gone to bed.

It wasn't pleasant viewing.

It started off OK, with Tilda standing on one spot and the other girls ignoring her - walking past, running past, but ignoring her.

Then there was this rather unpleasant bit.  Florence and Custard walked past he, ignoring her, back to the covered run.  At the top of the path, they stopped and turned round.  Custard walked back towards Tilda, and Florence went off at an angle, between them making a triangle shape.  Custard reached Tilda, and jumped at her.  Tilda ran off into the path of Florence, who chased her back.

Tilda ran between them before stopping in the middle under the tree. And then the two of them moved in and started giving her the chicken equivalent of "a good kicking" (a good pecking, I suppose).

And then immediately I was there picking her up.

So, I know that they had only just started to lay into her when I saw them.

And I know that they did it in (what appears to be) a rather nasty and calculated way.

I understand the reasons why they do it.  A poorly hen is a risk to the flock, and it's for that reason that hens are so good at hiding illness.

But it's really not pleasant.

So, I went and retrieved the folding crate, and set up a pied-a-terre for Tilda.  This time though, she's on basic rations.

Unlike a year ago, where she was very close to death, Tilda looks full of life. Well, relatively speaking.  I'll let her overnight tonight (or maybe until after the forthcoming cold snap), and then see about putting her back outside again.

One caecal poo though, and she'll be out faster than that.

Friday, 29 November 2013

No, anything but a trip to Ikea

We were meant to get a new kitchen this year, but I couldn't find one that shouted me! me! at me.

In the meantime, we had been trying a couple of short term adjustments - in anticipation of them being replaced - such as trying out a new breakfast bar area with a bit of worktop we bought locally via Ebay.  We sold the table, as we didn't think we'd need it.  Then this temporary fold up table came along, with the plan of it living under the worktop (where we had temporarily  put a huge cupboard to store glass jars and butchery bits) when the kitchen was redone.

Fine when it was only going to be for a few weeks,  less fine when it's now been many months and will likely be many months more.

The kitchen worktop space is even more crowded than usual, as we have 3 x 25l fermentation things of cider on the go.

And then I bought DH a couple of new knives, and that brought our attention to the mess that is the working breakfast bar. This is our original breakfast bar, where we sit to eat breakfast and dinner,  where we prepare everything.

I came across an Ikea Hacker website, and saw something that looked like it could be a really neat solution, the lady called it her "Appliance Garage". We measured and decided it wasn't quite going to work, and we looked for alternatives.

The next chunk of this tale is a dull story of discussions, Internet searches,  and many many arguments as we tried to work out what to do.  I'll fast forward over that part of today.

>> >>

...eventually we were standing in the kitchen with the knives on one worktop, the magnetic knife block lying sadly on the worktop,  the utensils from the utensil rack strewn everywhere, and the utensil rack in pieces,  and the wall looking quite sorry for itself.

The glass shelf, which is extremely useful but so high up that it - and anything on it - gets covered in crud - remained in place.

We discussed the optimum height of the mangnetic knife rack. "I need to think about it",  I said.

And then I found a possible solution.  I thought about it for a while, I searched on Ebay, but the answer was the same.


No day is a good day for Ikea, they are just different shades of bad.  Saturday and Sunday are possibly the worst.   So, it would have to be today, or it would be early next week. 

The wreckage in the kitchen wouldn't wait until Monday.

No time of day is a good time of day for making that journey to  Ikea, they are just different shades of bad.  Having ruled out Saturday and Sunday, I decided that rush hour - any day - was a bad idea.

I looked at the clock. It was 1.30pm.     If I left now, I'd be there by 2.15.  If I ambled round the shop, I'd be leaving at 3.15, and home by 4.   I put my boots on.

"Where are you off to?", DH asked in surprise.
"Ikea." I said, in that flat voice that one uses when talking about going to Ikea.
"What?!?!" He exclaimed, in a tone of voice that expressed a combination of shock, horror, surprise, admiration, and any other emotion one can thnink of.    I think I would have got the same reaction if I'd say "I'm popping to my Mum's for a cup of tea". My mother lives 4 hours away.

I showed him what I was getting.  "I'm going to get two", I said,   "I'd rather buy two and have one too many, than buy one and have to go back for another."

"You can come if you like?", I asked, partially hoping he'd say yes, and partially hoping he'd say no. 


The run to Ikea was OK.  I parked easily,. The shop was relatively empty.    I toyed with the idea of going straight to the pickup area, as I knew what I wanted.  But I couldn't help myself.  I had to walk round the shop, just in case.

Of course the few people that were in there, were ambling around in groups across the whole of the walkway.  I zoomed around, cutting corners to get past them.  I stopped once when I saw that therewere some new doors for Billy; and again briefly at some new wardrobe doors. 

 I reached the kitchen area, slowed down a little to take in what they had to offer, and then stopped and spent a long time looking at one kitchen. This shocked me a bit as I did look in Ikea a year or so ago and didn't find a finish I liked. And  I hadn't liked this one, back then. I stared at it, trying to work out why I liked it.

I spent a few minutes in the kitchen bits section,  considering whether to buy some Grundtal things for the kitchen rail.  I couldn't make my mind up.  In the end, I picked them up anyway, as I didn't want to get home and kick myself for not getting them.

I reached the Marketplace and got a trolley to hold the items DH wanted.  I found a useful clip-on light, at a bargain price,  that would clip on to the music stand on Orla.   And a bit further on, I found it's non-clip on but very adjustable brother version.   I stood looking at the two packets, trying to work out which would offer the best solution.   My brain was befuddled. "Better get it than go home and regret it" I thought. 

Some square picture frames at a bargain price. Just what I wanted! Well, almost.  I really wanted them a bit smaller. And I really wanted them in a pale woor finish, not white.  But at that price -  "I can paint them to match the wall". 

I had to get help to find what I went in for, I hadn't seen them in the kitchen section. Turns out they and they were one of the things one has to order at a desk, pay for at the checkout, and then get from the collection point.  The man typed in "1".  "I need 2", I said.  Somehow, I bought 3.  I only needed one.  But if I had to take things back, I might as well make it worth my while. And, or so I reasoned with myself,  I have resisted buying new doors for a cabinet, and new doors for a wardrobe, and goodness knows what else.  Ha. at least I hadn't bought any of the Ikea tat!

The queues at the cashiers were reasonable, and the cashier was a jolly chap.   It did take a looooong time at the collection point. I had no idea what the time was.

I finally got outside and I was a little surprised that it was still light.

I had been in Ikea for nearly 2 hours.

Heaven knows how long I would have been in there if I had actually been looking at things.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Chickens don't forget

I've somehow managed to get into the daily habit of bringing Tilda into the kitchen for a little smackerel.  I didn't mean for this to become a habit but, in the chicken world, things they approve of become ingrained as habits after just one occurrence, whilst things they disapprove of never reach that status.

I remember that Tildy was looking a little glum.  At the time, I wasn't convinced she was using the feeders properly, and I'd been out every day putting her on the treadle so she could eat.   It was only much later that I caught her on camera using the treadle quite happily.

So, I had started bringing her into the kitchen for 5 mins to eat a handful of the Garvo that needed using up and would otherwise have been binned. Probably.

Before I knew what was happening, it was an every day occurence.  

In a vain attempt to break the habit, I tried varying the times.   It didn't work.  Tildy would wait patiently by the door of the run.

A few times I waited until afternoon, and then I'd find that Tildy would move out of the run, walk down the garden, and wait by the netting round the pampas grass.

We're getting to the end of the bag of Garvo now.  She doesn't eat the pellety bits anyway.   I don't want to be ordering another blooming bag of it. [I do realise the only way is to just stop it. I am not stupid, just soft]

She didn't get any the day we went to London. We left too early and came back too late.   Yesterday, one week after the London trip, we were going to visit DGS3. So, I didn't bring her in in the morning. I shut them away when we went out.  We got back at 3.30, and I made the cold-weather-porridge for them.

When I walked into the run with the bowls of hot porridge, Tilda hopped out and started walking down the garden path to the house.  I called her, but she ignored me.

I put the bowls of chicken porridge round the run for the others, and walked back to the house. When I got there, Tilda was inside, tucking in.

I was a bit surprised.  It was 3.30, porridge time... and she had decided that coming in to the kitchen to eat a few bits of Garvo was her preferred option.

It crossed my mind that she was considering moving back into the kitchen for the winter. It is almost a year since she collapsed in the garden and came to live inside. 3rd December, I believe, is the Henniversary.

Later - when she was safely returned to the run - I casually wondered out loud whether Tilda might want to move back for the winter.  DH said nothing.   

Saying nothing said everything.


Time to deal with the quinces.

First priority - Quince Vodka.  Second - Quince Jelly.

I weighed the quinces and set aside enough for the jelly, and then calculated how much vodka I needed to deal with the remaining quinces.

This year I thought I'd try Suzy Atkin's recipe. I've made a few things from her book How To Make Your Own Drinks, ad been happy wiith them.   It's a simpler recipe than I've used previously, so I hope it'll be OK.   

Wth two such great ingredients (quince, and vodka) I guess it's difficult for it not  to taste OK.

Of course I couldn't find a jar the right size. 

Anyway, I ended up using the most enormous (3 litre) jar,  a present from frieds S&K some time ago. With hindsight, I coulda/shoulda used several smaller jars, and then I wouldn't have had to mix the two brands of vodka.   Or I could have tried two recipes.

And with even more hindsight, I've just realised that I do have a jar  that would have been the correct size. It's  sitting in the fridge with dried fruit stewing in alcohol for an extra cake I'm making.I've only just remembered it (the jar, not the fact that I have fruit in the fridge). 

Oh well. It's sitting on the worktop, in a bit away from sunlight, so that I can agitate it daily for two weeks, then it'll go into the utility room for 4 weeks (or until I remember it again).

Next up will be quince jelly, but that might need to wait until tomorrow when my grocery delivery (containing lemons) arrives.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Another one

Izzy had another fit this morning This time it didn't involve falling downstairs.

Looking at the dates (of the fits we know about), they seem to come in clusters and then stop for a while.

I've looked at things like the dates they have their flea treatment, and there isn't any corresponding pattern.

I can see weare going to have to start noting down exactly what varieties of food she has, to see if we can rule that out.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Upstairs, downstairs

Izzy had another fit this morning.

I was already awake, the radio alarm went off at 7.  I heard the noise and realised what it was. I grabbed the videocamera on my way downstairs.

Izzy was fitting at the bottom of the stairs.  I talked to her and stroked her (whilst filming her), and waited until the fit stopped before turning off the camera.   It took her a minute or two to come back after the fit stopped, and I went to get some kiytchen towel to clean her up. 

When she was back with us, I gave her some cat food. As usual, she was ravenous. She ate two packets (fed half a packet at a time0, and would have eaten more if I'd given it to her.

While she ate, I cleaned up the hall floor. Thank goodness for solid flooring.

Later, I went back upstairs...and noticed some cat pee on the second step.   I realised that poor Izzy must have started her fit at the top of the stairs and then fallen down to the bottom whilst having her spasms.

I checked her over. She looks OK.  She's spent most of the day sleeping.

Poor little poppet.

The recording was rubbish - not enough light.  So I'll have to remember yo tuen the lights on next time.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Hadrons and Shard

Went to London yesterday as a treat for DH.

We had to get a rush-hour train, which I haven't done for a looooooong time.   We were lucky, the weather yesterday was Autumn at it's best.

We started at the Science Museum,  at the Hadron Collider exhibition.  We visited another exhibition while we were there, and then left. DH could have spent all day, but I had other things planned and booked.

We crossed London to have lunch near London Bridge.

After lunch, we visited the Shard.  It was fairly quiet, easy to get to the telescopes. The views were amazing!

And then home.

A good day.

Monday, 18 November 2013

This little piggy...

We are collecting a half pig at the beginning of December.  We haven't finished the last half pig yet, but it'll be a few more months before Shirley has another one ready.

We've still got a few pork joints in the freezer and, with it being winter and therefore cool/cold outside, we thought it was an ideal time to try a bit more curing.  As well as the usual bacon and lardons, we'll do some small hams - including (hopefully) a dry cured one -  and we're going to have another bash at salami.

We're pretty much out of everything - curing salts,  sausage skins, etc - and we've managed to get our order in with Weschenfelder in plenty of time, instead of at the last minute. In all the time we've been doing this (inlucding all the time we were making susages etc before we were getting the pork from Shirley), I think this is the first time we've managed to place an order in good time.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

No blood shed yet

It was a lovely day yesterday. Cold, sure, but sunny and bright.  DH phoned to say that he was going to take away the fence separating Henry & Harem, and the Old Girls. 

We still have to replace the Old Girls coop, and had been waiting until that was done before mingling the two flocks... but the weather is due to turn nasty, so DH was thinking he'd let them mingle anyway. 

Henry is a really lovely Boy, and he's very considerate with his ladies.  I wondered if the sudden addition of 6 old girls might be a bit much for him. I wasn't sure what they would think of having a young man suddenly in their midst.

They seemed to mingle OK. Fortunately the allotment is big enough that they can keep out of each others way if they want to. 

OC (Other Chap) reported that there was "no bloodshed" this morning, and Henry had been burbling away.

I imagine there will only be problems if one group decides to occupy the other group's housing, without permission.

We might try putting a camera up to record what happens at bedtime.

Friday, 15 November 2013


It's been a week of gorgeous weather.    Very cold, but very bright and sunny.

The low sun comes streaming in through our south facing windows, and shows up all the dust. And smears. And cobwebs.   I've been round and cleaned, but it's just impossible.

Still, I'd rather have that that have a north facing back garden, so I shall stop complaining.

Teh dry-ish weather gave DH an opportunity to put away the temporarily dry garden furniture.  The garden is looking very bare now,  and the terrace, which is only in full sun at the height of the summer, already has lots of green algae growing over it.  I expect it will spread completely over the coming months.

The Girls are going to bed earlier, and I'm having to make sure they get plenty of corn at about 3pm to keep them warm.  They are still moulting.    It'll be porridge time soon.

The chicken coop is still waiting to have the vents put in. We really must get on with it.

And I must get on and do something with the quinces.

The forecast for next week is rain, and that's not so much fun.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Fits and cobwebs

A helicopter flew over our house in the night, waking me up.
Isobel, our cat, had another fit last night. Actually, it was 6.30 this morning, which was better than the usual.   Unusually, DH heard it first, and it was DH getting out of bed that woke me up.

I got out of bed, grabbed my dressing gown, and grabbed the vide camera which we keep upstairs ready to capture a fit for the vet.  By the time I'd opened the flap and found the record button (which was surprisingly difficult when I wasn't really awake) the main fit was over and it wasn't worth recording the denoument.   Turns out the battery was dead as well, so I've put that on to recharge now.

It took her a while to come back to us and, as usual, when she did she was ravenous.  She had a whole packet of cat food in two goes. I fed her, while DH cleared up.  Then we all went back to bed.   It took ages for me to go back to any sort of sleep, and then I dozed until about 9.30am.   When I got up, my head felt full of cobwebs.

Outside, it was a gorgeous sunndy day.  I opened the french window in the kitchen and brought Tildy in for a snackerel, and  I left the door open to air the house.  (The cider from the most recent batch  has reached the smelly stage).   I also opened the french windows in the living room, and I'm tempted to open the front windows too, especially as I am in the living room.

There, I've just done it.

The change in air pressure was a bit startling, like when blocked ears suddenly clear.

Speaking of cobwebs, we've got quite a few rather dirty ones hanging around now.   I like to be a spider friendly house, and I don't really mind cobwebs as such... but these are looking a bit grim, so I thnk I'll have to go and clear them away.

I'll greab a few lungfuls of fresh air first, and then I'll be literally and metaphorically clearing the cobwebs.


Cakes and Puddings

Just before my work started, I prepared some dried fruit in alcolhol (lots of alcohol) and put it in the fridge to soak.   I was making two Creole Cakes (a la Delia), one for us and one for a friend.  Delia says to soak the fruit for a week, but I find three weeks with an extra dosing of alcohol at the end of the second week works well.

I managed to get the cakes made one day when I needed a break from work, and I was very pleased to be working to schedule.    I don't dress them until December and so they are stored, wrapped in greasproof and foil, in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

I also had three iced cakes to make and some puddings.  On Wednesday last week, I soaked fruit in brandy for the cakes,   and made up christmas puddings mixture.   I made the cakes on Thursday, they are wrapped and stored, and will be fed with brandy over the next 3 weeks. 
While the cakes were in the oven, I put the pudding mix into basins and covered and tied them all.  This was the first year where I had managed to get all the right sized basins beforehand.

Modern basins are slighly larger than 1pt/2pt. At least, they are if you fill them to the top and, as the puddings shrink anyway, it seems rude not to. I usually find I don't have quite enough mixture,  so I made a little extra this time.  I made a bit more "extr"a than I thought, so not only were all pudding basins filled, but I needed to go up from a 3/4 pint to a 1 pint basin for us. 

On Friday lunchtime, I set the puddings to steam for 8 hours.   It was relatively painless. When they were done, I set them on cooling racks overnight. First thing Saturday, I took the foil and papers off the now-cold basins,  cleaned them up, and re-dressed them.  I even wrapped them in cellophane, which I don't normally do until December.   Still on schedule.

As I was admiring my cellophaned handiwork,  I realised a friend had asked me to make an individual sized pudding, and I had forgotten.   I looked at our own pudding, which was probably an individual-sized pudding larger than it needed to be and rolled my eyes at myself.

I'll need to get some more ingredients, and I'll make the additional pud (or puds, I don't think I can sensibly reduce the recipe quite that far) next week.    

On a positive not, the tinies only take 3 or so hours to steam.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Orla, again

I loved Orla.

She was easy to play,  sounded fantastic,  had an incredible sound.... 

I wondered if I should have gone for another model.  At the time, I didn't really think I'd play her much, I just wanted something instead of my C55.   Orla was about as much as I could spend on something that was a bit of a whim and might not get used.

But Orla was getting used, played all the time.    I wondered if I should have spent more money and got something even better.   I looked around.   I found what the next few models up were called, and what they were like.

I emailed Orla Direct to find out more about the differences, and what I could expect to pay.    Turns out they had a DLX2 available, and would do a swap allowing me full part exchange on what I had paid for Orla originally.

I thought about it.  For quite a long time.

And then I decided to do it. 

And so the men came again, took Orla away and left me with another Orla.  Outwardly, she looks the same.  A few small differences.     A few more differences in the sounds available.

Work and family happened, and I hardly played Orla at all. 

She sat in the smallest bedroom, which we now - tongue in cheek - call "The Music Room".   She sat, barely played, for about a month.

Until yesterday, and again today.   I played her for hours!

DH was out, so didn't have to put up with it.

She's lovely.   
In fact, I'm going back to play her some more now.


I've gad a quick flick back through my posts, and I can see that I mentioned saying goodby to my Yamaha C55.

I'd bought an Orla GT 9000 LX.   

It scared me.

The chap who delivered gave me a very detailed introduction, and left me with a manual and a DVD.  My brother, who was there to help shuft the old organ,  and I sat and pressed keys for about two hours.  We couldn't stop figgling at how clever Orla was.

Over the next week, I played Orla every day.  I bought new music books, more suited to her.  I played, with relative ease, songs I had never played before.   I played for hours.

I loved Orla.
I started to watch the DVD.  I tried out new things on Orla.  I learned to understand her  little more.

And then I decided to send her back.


A month or so ago I had a fit of decluttering, and sold lots of back-of-the-cupboard items to help pay for my Orla (did I mention my Orla? I don't think I did, I'll post separately).

Then family and work happened, and I haven't done much.

Work is in hiatus, so I was trying to tidy up in the aftermath.  I spent a few hours yesterday accidentally clearing out my desk area.  It doesn't look any different outside, but it's much tidier and emptier inside.  ]

Today, in the search to find Magic Tape to help me wrap Christmas Puds,  I ended up clearing out the over-stairs cupboard in the smallest bedroom.  

It took a couple of hours.   A man on a galloping horse (or my DH) wouldn't notice anything different.  However, I have got a small pile of stuff to Ebay,  the paper-recycling bin is full,  and I have an enormous stack of old work papers that I'll burn on the stove.   

Looking at the stacks of stuff I've removed,  and looking back at the cupboard,  I can't quite see where it all came from. It certainly wouldn't fit in again.

I didn't find the spare magic tape.   

I think I might buy some more.  I've had enough decluttering for now, thank you.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I went (with DH) to see the Allotment chooks yesterday. First time in a few weeks.

Henry and some of his harem are moulting.  The blue-ringed girl, who moulted early, now has a full set of feathers and seems to have stopped being a pest.

The Old Girls, who are cockerel-less, seem to be getting on well.  A few of them are moulting.  Mrs., is still waddling about.  She looks a bit stiff, but her comb is a vibrant red and her eyes are bright.

The Dinner Chooks are looking really well.  The one who started laying at a ridiculously early age is, we think, one of Spike's offspring.  She's black like the Wlesh Blacks, but she has a Leghorn comb and tail.   We think her mum is probably one of Henry's wives.  

Redhead, the cockerel, looks the spitting image of his grandfather, Roo.   We all loved Roo, and we have to remember that Redhead might look like Roo, but he isn't Roo and he doesn't have Roo's amazing temperament.   

We still haven't moved the new hen house down to the allotment.  It needs vents putting in, and a combination of work, family commitments, and bad weather have meant it's been sitting outside doing nothing for a couple of months now.  Any spare time has been taken up with doing the apples, or raking the garden, or other can't-wait activities.

We are probably going to try and combine Henry's flock and the Old Girls flocks for the winter.   We wanted to get the new hen house down there and the Old Girls using it before we did so, so we'll need to get on with it soon.    We can then separate Henry and a hand picked selection of hens in the spring to breed from, putting them all back together again once we've hatched.   At least that's the plan. The current plan. 

It would be good to have some baby Normans.    Norman (and sisters Siouxie and NotNorman) are getting on a bit now; same age as Mrs,  but bearing it much better than her breeding lets her do.   

 I'm not sure what Norman x Henry would be like. Better than having no Norman at all, I think.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

PMT in Garden Girls

It's been a busy and rather stress-filled few weeks.

Family stuff provided part of the busy and most of the stress.  Work provided the rest of the busy.  I would describe myself as a part time worker, but not in a conventional way.  I work non-stop (6 or 7 long days a week) for about 4 weeks at a time, and then I do nothing at all for a while.   I've just completed my busiest work period of the year.

The Garden Girls have been, mostly, quite well.   They've settled down together now that Milly (the most spiteful chicken ever) isn't there.     Recently, PMT (pre/pro/post moulting tension) has set in, and those affected have become even more loopy than usual.

Two (Custard and Florence) of the three old girls are moulting.  Roobarb, the other old girl, is already pristine in her new feather coat, her comb is red, and she looks rather smug.   Custard and Florence's slower moults mean that they have gone from looking a little worse-for-wear to downright down-and-out.

Moulting also seems to have affected their ability to find their way in to the run when I need to shut them in temporarily so I can go out.  

Lotti, my little exchequer leghorn, bottom of the pecking order,  no longer gets particularly bullied.  She is able to get into the coop at night, and isn't showing any outward signs of being pecked any more.   She is moulting and is very unhappy about it.  She can't bear to be picked up (which is understandable), and she has gone even more loopy than usual.   Her gorgeous floppy comb and wattles are very pale.  She won't come near me.   Hope it's just the moult.

Poppy, my not-so-little Welsh Black (Australorp x Indian Game), isn't moulting. She is, however, pretending that she doesn't know how to fly up on to my arm.

Tilda, our special needs Girl,  is still living out with the others.  She comes in for a snackerel every day, and I can't believe that it's almost a year since she collapsed and "died".  She's not getting overtly bullied by her sisters,  but she is low in the pecking order. 

Overall, aoart from the PMT induced spats, it's relatively calm.

No one is laying.  Or at least, if they are,  I'm not seeing any eggs.   The only two who could be laying are Poppy and Roobarb, and I am wondering if they are laying somewhere else (haven't found a nest), or whether their rare eggs are getting eaten?

I've had to resort to buying eggs.   We're fortunate to have a place with truly free range chickens fairly close by,  so I buy eggs from there when I need them.  

The flooring that DH laid in the run is standing up well.  I cleaned them out on Sunday, and it was very easy as there was very little Aubiose to remove. It took very little to provide a new topping too.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Dash

Hard disk on laptop corrupted.  Fortunately I knew it was going to happen and  I take regular backups anyway, so I was able to backup the data changed since last backup,   and I was able to identify programs that I use, relevant licence keys,  settings, etc. 

DH installed new disk for me, and it's taken ages to reinstall everything.    

I've been doing some housekeeping as a result, and I came across this poem, stored in a long-forgotten email folder since 2007.

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
©1996 Linda Ellis

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Goodbye my lovely Boys

The Dinner chickens were 20 weeks old at the weekend.  The Boys have not caused any trouble yet, partly because we deliberately hatch late  and partly  because we had a very early developing cockerel who has acted as Cockerel since he was about 6 weeks old. 

However, that lack of aggression can change overnight. We've found that out before with a bunch of Dinner boys a few years ago, where they were all getting along together remarkably well until suddenly they weren't.  We had to separate them off quickly back then, as it isn't fair on the Girls.

We;ve seen a bit of squaring up recently.  They are still juvenile enough that they don't know what to do and both end up running away, but it won't be long.   So, we decided that this week would be the week we culled the first lot. 

We have 11 Dinners, and we decided to take 4 boys this time.  We agreed that Red would stay for now,  no point making a space for another cockerel to fill,  and the 4 biggest boys were taken out.  

This leaves Red,  at least one (maybe 2) cockerels, and 5 or 6 Girls.   Hopefully the forthcoming cold weather will help keep the other cockerel(s) under control until we're ready to do the next batch.
We also removed Spike, so the Oldies are currently cockerel-less.  It will be interesting to see if they seem bothered by it.  He wasn't a very generous cockerel, but I do remember that he got them all (apart from Mrs) up on the roof of the coop.    Still, it  may not be for long.  We're probably going to remove the netting which separates the Harem and Oldies for the winter.
The potential bully, Blue Ring, in enry's harem had not been seen causing problens for a couple of days, so she was spared.  

4 plus Spike was more than enough anyway.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013


There was an egg in the Dinner Chickens' nest box today.

They are only 19 weeks old, so it was something of a surprise.

No idea who laid it.

Monday, 30 September 2013


The title of this blog refers to me.

 It was my turn to see to the allotment chickens today.  I took some rinsed tuna, and some mealworms.  I gave the tuna to those in Henry's harem who were moulting.  I took them, one at a time,  off to their shed to give them a once-over to check they were OK,

The leftover tuna I put on the ground in front of Henry, who made me smile by picking it up,  gurlgling for his ladies, and then putting it back on the ground and looking at it.  He did this several times with the same tasty morsel.

During all of this, I kept an eye out for the Potential Bully.  In fact, she was one of the moulters, and I put a ring on her so that there would be no risk of confusing her with any of the others.  She had a bit of a pull at the yellow-ringed-and-saddled Girl -YRaSG-(one of the ones she had a pull at on Saturday), but was otherwise OK. No one else picked on YRaSG.

In the other pen,  Spike attacked me, and managed to get my legs before I found a stick to hold in front of me.  It bloody well hurt, and I found myself being quite pleased and relieved that he will be joining the Dinner Boys shortly.

When all was done,  I came home, and emailed OC (Other Chap) to let him know that I had put a ring on the Potential Bully,  and that I had observed only one feather plucking incident.

He replied to say that he had watched them for half an hour yesterday, and she had been having a pull at a number of the others.  

So, she's on the Probably list for joining the Dinner Boys.

If we weren't planning a cull shortly, I'm not sure that I'd be ready to make that decision. However.  Henry was actually only meant to have 3 wives, but we somehow didn't get round to culling the last lot of Girls.  He has plenty.  He may soon have a lot more if we decide to combine flocks for the winter. 

But the real reason is what happened with Milly.  Now she was in a different bullying league, I know.  But it took a long time and a lot of heartache to make the decision,  and it was a decision that I should have made earlier.  Things are much better without her.

The pain and learning from it has made me much less tolerant. Almost intolerant.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Has peace broken out?

I've continued to check each night that Lotti has managed to get inside the Cube.

Tonight marks the ninth consective night that she's been in.

Has peace broken out?

Or is this just a lull in the war?

Chicken trouble, part 2

Having caught Lotti and put her in the run, I went off to do the allotment chickens.

I arrived, opened up, and Henry and his Harem poured out to have a munch on the grass.  One of the harem, NoRing, launched herself at one of the saddled girls.  And a few seconds later, did it again, this time pulling a feather from the poor Girl's shoulder.

I picked up the saddled girl and checked her over.  She looked like she was moulting, but I was concerned that she was perhaps unwell, and the others were attacking her.   She looked OK, so I put her down, and none of the others gave her a second glance.

As I wateched her, I saw NoRing suddenly attack another Girl, pulling a feather from her bottom.

So, the problem was with NoRing, not with the saddled girl.  I picked her up and checked her over.  She was moulting herself, and was quite hot, but there wasn't anything obviously amiss. 

I put her back down.  Maybe she's having a crabby day?

I let OC (Other chap) know that we had a potential problem, and asked him to watch her tomorrow to see what she does.  Feather pecking can become an incurable habit,  and she might draw blood (in which case the bloodied chicken will be attacked by everyone).

If we see more of this behaviour in the next few days, I'll separate her from the others.  If that doesn't work -  well, she'll have to go.  My experience with Milly (my superb*tch chicken)  has taught me that if it needs doing, it's better to just get on with it.  We're culling some cockerels for the table shortly and, if she does carry on,  she'll join them.

Hopefully she only has her cranky pants on today.

Chicken Trouble, number 1

It hasn't been the best of days, chicken-wise.

I got up very very late.  

I'd had a bit of an interrupted night. I'd had cheese on toast for my dinner last night (DH is away, and I end up eating some odd things at odd times), which augered an approaching migraine.   My cheesey induced dreams were bizarre, involving me meeting Tom Kerridge by winning a competition, but incorrecly thinking that the prize was a meal at his restaurant in Marlow but was instead a normal meal in a normal pub.    Actually, thinking about it now,  that dream seems to have been on repeat last night,  I got sutck in it a la Groundhog Day.    

Sorry, I digress. 

I was rescued from embarrassement by hearing Isobel meowing pathetically. I leapt out of bed because this has been a sign that she's had a fit.  I couldn't find any evidence of a fit, and she didn't look like a cat coming out of a trance.

I stroked the cat and went back to bed.

Next, still stuck in my Tom Kerridge embarrassement,  the chicken alarm went off. I woke up with a start, saw it was 7am, and attempted to spring out of bed.  It wasn't really a spring, it was a bit pathetic really.  Anyway, I got out of bed,  looked out of the window, saw them all standing to attention and shrieking.  Dressing gown on, ran downstairs, unlocked the bck door, ran out to see what was happening. Which was nothing.

Back in the kitchen I contemplated staying up, but decided I'd really like another hour in bed, and I could feel the threat of a migraine hanging over me. I drank some water and took some Ibuprofen.

Back in bed, the two cats decided to snuggle against me one on either side, and I fell asleep.  I woke up a few times, but closed my eyes determindly.

Eventually, I decided I really had to get up.  It was my turn to see to the Allotment chooks.   I decided the best thing would be to have my shower,  shut the girls away, go and do the chickens, then come back and have brunch.  I reluctantly pushed the cats away, and got up. 11.15am.

Out in the garden, shutting the Girls away, I coudn't find Lotti.  I called and called.  Nothing.  I looked in all the hiding places.   I decided she was just in another hiding place, and I'd leave her to it...but I couldn't.

I painstakingly looked everywhere, including standing on a chair so I could do a quick sweeo if next door's garden,  and looking through the gate down the driveway.  I combed every bit of the garden. I checked the house.   

I realised that Lotti really wasn't in the garden anymore.

I locked up, took my key, and went to check the front gardens and to check the area that backs on to our back garden.   In the front garden, I caight a tiny movement out o fthe corner of my eye.

Lotti was sitting in a Vinca bed, by the cat flap.  I went over to her, she crouched, and just as I went to pick her up she ran off - straight back through the hidden gap in the trellis that the cats used to get from front to back.  She left an egg behind.

I guess I knew she'd find it eventually, but it's really well hidden.  Trouble is, she knows it's there now, so it's going to be an ongoing problem.

So, we need to decide how to fix it, whilst still allowing our cats access. 

Another catflap perhaps?


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Kitty Update

Izzy had another fit, waking us up at about 5am.
Later, at about 6.30, we had a cacophony of panicked hens at about 6.30am.  I leapt out of bed, as much as it was possible in my sleep-disturbed state, and rushed to the window. I couldn't see a fox, I opened the window and "shussed" very loudly, but they carried on.

I ran downstairs and opened the back door. All the Girls were in Alarm Positions on various perches in the run.  I then saw a cat - the cat - streaking across the garden.

I called it, and it was meowling pitifully. I grabbed cat food and a bowl, and went out the front, calling it.  I put the food down and she gobbled it all up. She was a very hungry cat.  I stroked her, and she purred.  It was tooo early to take her to the Vet, so I went back in the house and left her, thinking that she might come back if she was still hungry.

I googled for tips on integrating a new adult cat with existing adult cats.

At 10am DH announced that "my friend" was back at the front door.  I went out with another packet of cat food, I gave her half, which she gobbled down. I phoned the Vet to ask if they could scan a stray and give me the address if she was microchipped: yes, they could do that.

DH got the cat basket out of the loft.  I gave the cat the second half of the cat food and when she had finsihed, I scooped her up and put her in the basket. She is a really lovely thing.

DH marked his territory by telling me that if she wasn't microchipped, she'd have to go to the local lost cat place.  I said we'd have to see. We then had one of those mini arguments, where arguing is pointless.   We agreed we had to see whether she was microchipped and then take it from there.

She was quite good on the way to the vet. She yowled a bit, but she snuggled down in the cat carrier, and was happy for me to stroke her through the bars.  In the Vet she was scanned, and then the Nurse went off to call the chip company. I was happy (and sad) that she was microchipped.

Eventually she came back to tell me that the cat was flagged as missing, and that they were trying to contact her owner.  I needed to wait while they did so.  I was left on my own for a few minutes, and I felt a bit teary.  I could imagine how I would feel if my lost cat was found...and I was sad that I wouldn't be adopting her after all.

Jess's owner apparently burst into tears when she was told that Jess had been found.  She'd been missing for exactly one month,  and she lives in a village about 7 miles from here.   I was happy to take Jess back to her mum, but the Vet said that I needed to leave her at the Vet, and the owner would collect from there.  (I imagine there are some catnapping/blackmailing scams that go on).

So they took her away to put her in a kennel, and eventually came back with my empty carrier.

I cried all the way home.