Thursday, 31 March 2016

Just pick SOMETHING!!

I've got a list of sewing-related projects-that-I-want-to-do (SRPTIWTD) which is about an arm and a half long.   The problem with this is that, instead of getting on with one or other of them,  I sit and contemplate several and just don't make a decision.

What's worse, I see something and think "Ooh, I could make....."  and then I add a load of stuff to my stash and another SRPTIWTD to the list.

I'm the same with embroidery designs.  I@ve got lots that I'd like to stitch, I just can't pick.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Ikea, and I saw some lovely fleecy blankets,  great for baby blankets. I bought one to add to my stash, no recipient in mind,  and added it to my list of possible projects.  I also picked up a couple of white flannels, really thick and soft,  which would be ideal as a baby bib.  Another one.  And then I picked up a couple of clocks, as I had some ideas for clock faces. To be fair, that last one was already On The List, I just needed some clocks.

When I was organising the stash the other week,  I really really liked the flannel and the blanket.  So much that when I went to Ikea last week (to take some surplus bits back, and to get some more storage stuff),  I deliberately added more to my basket.

Also while organising the stash,  I rediscovered some fabric I had bought on a whim.  It was upholstery fabric, linen look. It was lovely.  It would make a wonderful table runner.  My mind started to whirl at the embroidery possibilities.    I then decided that the colour wasn't bright enough,  so I set about looking for the same sort of thing, but in colour.

Today the first batch arrived.   Burnt orange, lime green,  duck egg blue,  cranberry and a light grey.  Really, really lovely.    But I'd only bought a metre of each.  And I couldn't decide what to do.   I decided to wait,  until the, ahem,  rest of the purchases arrived.

Today I had a bit of a brainwave.   I could use some of the apron fabric (cotton drill?) as a backing,  and then make some "panels" out of the upholstery fabric, each one suitably embroidered, to make my table runner.  That would also enable me to use more than one colour,  and actually use less fabric.

I remembered that the apron fabric needed to be washed before use as it shrinks and runs.     I googled to see whether I should add detergent, and discovered that the recommendation is to overstitch the cut edges before washing, to avoid unravelling.    So,  I lugged the 3m of fabric upstairs, and got on with it.

It's in the washing machine now.

I can't make a decision on the panels until the, ahem, next batch of fabric arrives (at least I don't have to wait until the third batch arrives).   I just need to try and think about embroidery for the panels now.

I don't think I'm procrastinating.

On the bright side...

I was sorting out a box of fabric,   folding it and rolling the pieces onto boards.

One of the pieces was some bright, cartoon cat, fabric.  When I shook it out to fold it selvedge to selvedge,  I noticed that it was the perfect size for a tablecloth.I could just sew a rolled hem round the edge and use it as it was.  I could also fold it to make it into a table runner. 

I watched a couple of videos on how to use the rolled hem foot for my machine,  and then went upstairs to have a practice on a couple of bits of scrap fabric.

I couldn't find the presser foot holder.

It wasn't to be found anywhere.   I started to giggle.   If I hadn't moved everything upstairs, I wouldn't have lost it.  

There is a bright side.   I really wanted to get this hemming done,  so I retrieved my sewing-only machine from the floor in DH's study.  It's been there since the whole reorganisation thing started, weeks ago.  The plan was to have the megamachine at one end of my sewing table,  and this machine at the other end.   That wasy I'd have one machine set up for embroidery, and the other for sewing,  and I wouldn't have the excuse  faff of not sewing because I couldn't be bothered to change the foot holder on the megamachine.

That wasn't going to happen until I'd got a new, wider, desktop though and I'd actually been thinking that I might not bother at all.

Needs must, so I set the machine up,  did my tests while watching the videos,  and then did the tablecloth.   It was crude, but effective.

So I left the machine set up.

It also helped me make a decision on the new desk top,  so I've made some enquiries about that today!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Baby photos FFS

FFS: Fleur Fay and Sasha.


..I think I might print some and have them in my handbag.  I can then whip them out when people start showing pics of their children/grandchildren :-)

Thread count

I know this will only be of interest to people who love fabric and thread,  or to people with a touch of OCD... but I don't know anyone to share it with, so I'm posting here: I finally finished the thread spool holders.

The threads are organised in Simthread number order,  with the additional (non Simthread) differently-numbered colours slotted next to their nearest matching colour.

I've almost got everything in the sewing areas put away.  I still need a new, wider, desktop;   I'm still waiting for the wall cabinet; and I need a small wardrobe pole so I can hang my zips in the cupboard.

I bought a new duvet and bed linen, and the room is looking lovely.

I moved my embroidery machine upstairs yesterday.  By the end of today I want to have cleared the table in the kitchen.  Ideally I would also like to have everything that doesn't belong in my bedroom, sorted and out of the bedroom.  That will leave just the box room (which has all the stuff that needs rehoming) to finish. 

Oh, and the landing to repaint and re-floor,  we have all the stuff for it we just need to get the appetite to do it.

Washy striding out

Wash still isn't exactly happy in his jacket, but he tolerates it and loves going out. He's been taking us for walks all over the place.  He particularly insists on going into the hen paddock, specifically so he can get to (what's left of) the catnip under the pampas.

  He's such a 'Nephead that he doesn't even bother to move when the hens come to investigate.

He's been all over the place, sniffing, probing, checking what's been going on.

Yesterday he stretched up, apparently to sharpen his claws on a low hanging Forsythia branch.  It occurred to me that he might try and use it as a stepping-branch to reach the top of the fence, and a split second later that's exactly what he tried to do.

His back leg is healing well, but it's stiff. The combination of that, and Jacky, put paid to that malarkey. He hung there by his front paws for a couple of seconds before giving in and letting himself drop.

That was a long (and tedious for me) walk.   I've now invested in one of those recoiling dog leads, in the hope that I might be able to sit on a chair for part of the "walk" in future.

Mm. We'll see.

In between makes

In between the mega reorganising, I had some cards to make... and DH made a special pressie for DS1's 40th birthday.

My dentist of 23 or so years is retiring.  He is a very kind man, and kept a completely straight face when I arrived holding a soft toy bunny when I first visited him.   At my last appointment it occurred to me that he must be getting to retirement age,  yet it was a bit of a shock to receive the letter before my next appointment.

I'll miss him.

It's DS1's 40th birthday.   He's doing the Marathon des Sables again this year,  and I found a good runner design to use...

I also made a label for our present, which DH made himself.  It's an egg shaped kaleidescope. The wood is amazing range of colours, as you can see from the three photos.

I've noticed that, quite often, where the woman is into embroidery/quilting/sewing, her partner is in to woodwork.     Every time I accompany DH to Axminster (the has-everything store for woodworkers, not the place in Devon) should get Janome (or whatever) to open up next to them,  that way both parties would be happy to browse for hours.  

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


The work on the front bedroom and the box room is nearing completion. 

I've spent days... and I mean, literally, days, putting stuff away, a bit at a time, trying to work out the best way to organise everything.    It also included making some thread holders out of cork floor tiles and golf tees, for nearly 200 reels of embroidery thread.  Just the hammering in alone took....I don't know how long.  I had to do a bit a day over four days.

I won't bore you (or myself) recounting the minutae of decisions.  I will post pictures, when it's done.

Today I was trying to sort out the pile of unsorted fabric.  It took me 2 hours to refold it and wind it on to cards.

I had to do another Ikea trip,  with the added bonus of taking some stuff back!  Yay!    I've got some more stuff to go back, I think, but I'm waiting until it's all done before I do so.

The inner design of the wardrobe had to be done bit by bit, with my original painstakingly done (to scale, in a spreadsheet) design going out of the window somewhat. 

The wardrobe doors arrived yesterday, and DH fitted them.  He's amazing, he can turn his hand to anything.

Apare from yet more storage decisions,  and some Ebaying of redundant stuff,  there are two major things still to do: the new, wider,  desk top, which I can't order until we've cleared the room a bit and I am absolutely sure of the final dimensions;  and a sliding door cupboard for the wall (that's quite important, as it will impact the wall hanging stuff I need to do).

Saturday, 19 March 2016


A group of people who did a documentary about Thunderbirds went on to get Kickstarter backing to enable them to film 3 "new" eppisodes of Thunderbirds in Supermarionation, using only kit and techniques that were available when the original series was made.

You may remember that I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the Thunderbirds1965 film set, to meet lots of the people involved in the production, and to watch some filming.

Well, the chaps were trying to raise some more money, the studio buildings will be demolished shortly, so they offered come last-chance-to-see guided tours.   I snapped up tickets, and five of us went along.

There were about 30 people on the tour and we were divided into 3 groups. Each group went off on a different route. The lovely man who took us round was so interesting, full of stories, tales, and snippets  and we got to see the stage sets, hold the puppets, touch the clothes, learn all about it all.

It really was F A B.

I remembered to take my proper camera and I took, literally, hundreds of pictures.

It was a really, really great way to spend a couple of hours.

I can't wait for our Thunderbirds1965 DVDs to arrive.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Wash takes DH for a walk

Wash has come on in leaps and bounds (literally) with Jacky.

Over the last couple of days he's walked almost properly...and, briefly, properly....outside.   On Friday,  he was still falling over every so often, I suspect it was his way of protesting rather than a problem with Jacky.
On Saturday, he also did his first proper walk with it.   Instead of slinking along, he walked like a normal cat.

We were out in the garden, Wash had me on the lead.  He'd been slinking along and then fell over.  I fussed him, picked him up, and then suddenly he was off! He spied something the other side of some trellis.  I had to run walk quickly to keep up.  And then it was like that scene from ET, where the small Drew Barrymore sees ET, she screams, he screams.

Round the corner came the loopy Fay.  Wash, who I think had ben expecting a bird of somewhat more pounceable size,  was startled and jumped.   Fay,  who is loopy and does this exaggerated startled jump when she isn't startled at all,  did a massive jump, wings out, screeched like she had been stabbed.  Wash meowed in alarm, and made a run for it.

The good news is that he forgot all about Jacky, and was walking along happily, AND he had put weight on his damaged foot.


We went off for a long explore of the lavender.  This mostly involved me standing around waiting.


On Sunday,  Wash had me out in the garden in my dressing gown, with a coat over the top so I didn't scare the neighbours.    We had a mixture of slinking and walking, with the odd fall-over thrown in.

Later, Wash wanted to go out again. DH obliged,  I warned him that being taken out by Wash involved a lot of standing around waiting.  Again, we had a mix of slinking, walking, falling over.

Some time later, I remembered that they had gone out and wondered what had happened.  DH was sitting on a pile of bricks, patiently waiting for Wash who was sitting sunning himself in the middle of the lavender.

I went to get my camera, but then we had visitors and I didn't get a picture.

Eventually they came in, Wash was putting weight on his back leg again.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Goodnight Peter

I received a very sad email this evening.    As soon as I saw it in my inbox, it not being Christmas,  I knew what it was going to be.

Peter, a beautiful Dales boy, once mine, died today aged 28.

At Christmas he was fighting fit, winning competitions, looking stunning and looking too young to be in the Veteran classes.
Dear Hazel
It is with great sadness that Im letting you know our beautiful and beloved Pete died peacefully in my arms this afternoon. He had been ill for 3 weeks with an infection in his right knee and a subsequent bout of colitis We battled it daily and he was scheduled for surgery tomorrow but his blood count was dangerously low and I decided that it was just not fair at nearly 28 to put him through the procedure.
It has broken my heart and I will miss him enormously. He has been my once in a lifetime horse, loved by everyone who was lucky enough to meet or ride him. 4 weeks ago he was still fighting fit and hacking out loving life, and for that I am grateful.
We were both so lucky to have found our perfect match in each other.
With love
I bought Peter in 1996 after my previous pony, Pal, died.

Peter was so lucky that Karen agreed to take him on.

She was with him for many years,and she was kind enough to send me an update each Christmas, complete with pictures.   She was a perfect match for him,  much, much, better for him than I was.  

He was a very lucky boy.
Waterside Peter, 1988-2016, in 1988

Peter, in 2015 (not me riding)

Lofty ambitions

I've spent the last five or so hours in the loft.  

I had accrued a pile of stuff to put in the loft,  I had decided that I would go through the enormous "pictures" box, and I had decided I would tackle the next un-excavated area.  I was keen, eager, ready. 

While I was up there I decided if I moved this, and got DH to raise that shelf, the pictures box could slide underneath.... and then I'd have a free space and we could move my grandmother's ornaments cabinet in there.  As that would be an almost permanent fixture, the box space behind should be stuff that I probably wouldn't need to open.

And so it began.

I went through boxes and boxes of stuff. The boxes themselves fell apart upon moving, so I went though countless new "bankers boxes".  I scribbled the detailed contents on each box, then photographed it... if I can decipher my scribbles, and if I have a few hours, I might even try and catalogue them in a spreadsheet.

The dead boxes got chucked through the loft hatch.  I crated up stuff that we no longer wanted that might be useful for the local animal shelter's next jumble,  and I bagged up stuff that was rubbish..or which annoyed me. (It's amazing how bits keep getting in the way, or falling over, or have to be moved and removed repeatedly until I've decided I don't care anymore and want to get rid!)

The box of pictures was a bit of a revelation.  Pictures I had long forgotten we owned.  Lots of framed cards Far Side, Fred,  which still made me giggle).   Lots of WInnie the Pooh sketches.  Lots of Beryl Cook framed cards.   

During a much needed break for a cup of tea, I retrieved a box of Beryl cook framed cards  from under my bed, and took that up to join the others in the box.   Some of the boxed ones made me laugh, and I wished I had somewhere to put them up. 

Eventually enough space was created, and I cleared a path so DH and I could get the cabinet in to position.  I broke a shelf.  I can't believe it. All these years, and I break a shelf.  

I loaded the boot of the car.   Taking it will be tomorrow's job.

And then, suddenly,  I ran out of steam.

Unusually for me, I didn't finish the area I was working on.  I really had had enough. 

I kicked the last empty box through the hatch, came downstairs,  and put the ladder away.

I collected the eggs. We had a full house and I wanted to take a photo.  I couldn't find my phone. 

DH rang it for me.   Sure enough, I'd left it in the loft.

Do you know, I almost left it there?!

Full House!

Our first full house since the litlees started to lay!
Little things please little minds. And this pleases me :-)

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

All fall down

Wash has decided today that wearing Jacky makes him fall over,  He's been falling over everywhere, including on the landing upstairs. That was a bit unfortunate as I'd had a bit of velcro strap sticking out and he got stuck to the carpet. 

It wasn't that bad. It just made that ripping sound that Velcro makes when you pull it apart.  It didn't stop him walking for a few steps and then falling over again. 

I had to bring him downstairs and shut the hall ddoor. I could foresee that he'd do a melodramatic fallover at the top of the stairs, and not be aware of the consequences.

He's now walking around and falling over around me.

I hope this phase doesn't last long.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Take a Bow

I had another go at making bows by hand.   This time it worked much better,I still followed this video and I only made one layer. I have to say that satin ribbon (the bright pink bow)  and, even worse, organza (the lilac bow), aren't really the easiest things to work with.

I'm not sure two 10 year olds are going to appreciate the effort, lol.

One of the Twins is getting 2 pairs of earrings, the other is getting a home-made voucher for a sewing class or workshop of her choice.   I folded the voucher up and put it in a small box, but it looked a bit sad, especially considering Twin S has 2 boxes to open.

I had a brainwave, and went off in search of a little Origami book I'd found whilst excavating the bookshelves.  Thanks to my reorganisation, I found the book straight away.

It's now in the "charity shop" box, as the instructions weren't detailed enough for a klutz like me.    

Google, as my online friend Sybil might say, is my friend.  I searched for "easy origami" (coincidentally the title of the rejected book) and found quite a few allegedly easy pieces.  I chose a crown.     My first go worked well, but the resulting crown was too big for the box.  I quickly re-did the voucher so that I could cut the paper smaller, and my second attempt was just about right.  (Just in case you want to have a go, the instructions are here

I packed it all up before I thought of photographing it,  so here is a pic of the too-large version.
Again, I'm not sure that a 10 year old would particularly appreciate the thought behind it. Her mum might.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Embroidery success. I hope.

I haven't made anything with my machine for weeks.   I didn't even make Mothers Day cards,  I sent flowers instead (waste of time on one count as the courier failed to find the address).

Anyway, I wanted to make pencil cases for the Girls.  For some reason, no idea what, I've been putting off making pencil cases.  It's silly, as I have made lots of smaller fully lined cases.  Every time I get the urge, I end up not doing it.

Anyway. Again.  I decided to push the boat out and use an Embroidery Garden design.  I like Reena's cases. They are fully lined with no exposed seams.  There is a requirement to close a small turn-through opening at the end, but I use SteamASeam to do it, it's very easy.

I picked the size I wanted, sorted out my fabric, got started. Then I worked on some personalisation, did that, and continued.

I wanted them to be similar but different, so I did completely different personalisations.   I also chose the lining based on their interests.

I'm really pleased with the results. I hope they like them.


I emptied the front bedroom yet again today.  This was stuff for the loft (which is now in boxes in the box room),  stuff for the animal shelter (in a crate on the landing),  stuff that will eventually go in the front bedroom when the floor is down (all over our bedroom), and several boxes of "oh I don't know!", also in our bedroom.

The mess in our bedroom is....annoying.  It's chaos. Really.  There are boxes piled on boxes everywhere, and boxes and stuff piled up in front of everything. 

It's driving me mad.No. It's not.  I knewit was going to be disorderly, and I knew how long it was likely to take.   It will be worth it.   It's temporary.  It won't be there for much longer.  3 more weeks at most. At least I have an excuse.

I needed to empty the front bedroom (how many times have I done that in the last few months!) as I wanted to paint the ceiling.  I knew I should have done it when I was painting the walls last week, but it looked OK. Honestly.

I was cursing it today.   I hadn't moved the iron bed or the enormous desk, and this meant it was difficult to get into a whole area of the room - even with my trusty Painstick.   Elsewhere, part of the bit that DH had filled and sanded caused all sorts of problems when I rollered over it.  My roller was covered in bits and I managed to roller said bits over other parts  of the ceiling.  A 5 minute job took me nearly an hour.  It looked horrible.

When it had dried, it didn't look quite so horrible.  There are horrible bits in it,  and these will need sanding, filling again, sanding again, and then repainting.  That'll get done in the next few days.

I've taken a break to make something for our twin granddaughters birthday. I've finished that now, so I'm updating my blog, then I'll have a cup of tea, and then I'll have run out of excuses.  I'll start moving the loft boxes into the loft.

It will all be done soon.

Cat training

Wash's jacket ("Jacky") acclimatisation is going well.

He's had "Jacky" on several times now, usually done up very loosely.  Each time Jacky goes on, we go outside.  I'm now able to hold him by the ring at the back of the jacket to prevent him jumping down. I did put him on the floor, briefly, but he started backing up.  I could see that the jacket was too loose to allow him to continue,  he might have got his paw stuck in it. 

Today I did the jacket yp reasonably firmly.  He was OK with it while we were outside and he was on my lap.  He was allowed on the floor briefly.  We came in, and left the jacket on.  He tried to walk, but clearly didn't like the sensation.  I remember what cats are like when collars are first put on, so I wasn't orried,

He started trying to back out of it, walking backwards, backwards, backwards.  He sat down.  He lay down.  We gave him treats.  He wouldn't bend down to get them.

In fact, he tolerated the jacket a lot better than I thought he would for his first full go.  After 5 minutes, as recommended,  we removed it and made a fuss of him.

We'll continue to build up gradually.   As soon as I am sure he is happy moving in the jacket,  we'll put a lead on... and then we'll progress to him exploring outside.

The key thing is that we want him to associate Jacky with Outside.


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Leather Jacket

Wash's (faux) leather jacket has arrived... it is gorgeous!

The lovely Maria from made it for me straightaway.  I had a reflector strip put on it at the same time, it looks fab.

On her website, Maria provides detailed instructions on how to get a cat used to wearing a jacket.  Wash puts up with most things, so we aren't anticipating major problems,  but we're following Maria's recommendations anyway.

So far he's sniffed the jacket.  I used it to stroke him, this is getting his scent on it too.  I've fed him treats from it. I've laid it on the rug and put him on it.   I've closed and opened the Velcro next to him (he's very sensitive to unexpected noise of any sort).  And I've opened it, laid it on his back, and fed him treats and given him cuddles.     That happened over the course of this morning.

He doesn't seem that bothered by it, so I put it on him did up the tummy strap lightly, and fussed him. Then I took it off.

The next step will be to put it on, do it up and see what he does.  If he doesn't go mad, I'll take him outside and sit him on my knee.    As recommended, I want hi to associate having the jacket on with the thing he wants most - going outside.

We'll see.  Don't want to rush it.  Well, I do want to rush it,  but I'll try not to.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Second thoughts

After my last blog post I felt a bit sheepish.  I went out to the dustbin, retrieved the bag with all the painting rubbish in, and pulled out the roller frame thing.   I then set-to with my embroidery tweezers, which have curved ends , and are  fantastic. 

I failed to get the jcloth out.

I put the frame back in the bag, pleased that I had, at least, tried to sort it out.

I went and had a shower, washing the remaining paint stuff in the shower with me.


I was also having second thoughts about the colour.  Surprisingly, perhaps, it wasn't that I was wishing I'd chosen the yellow instead;  it was just that the morning sunlight was streaming in through the East facing window, and the result was almost dazzling.  Perhaps I should have chosen a much deeper colour, or a much darker colour, one which would absorb the light a bit.

Then I remembered that there were going to be bookcases along that wall, so the dazzling wouldn't happen.

I felt better.

DH had finished putting the radiator back, and he wanted to put the sub floor down in the box room.  Yay!    I hadn't expected him to start until the weekend.  I went to a nearby animal sanctuary to donate some items for their upcoming jumble sale.  My boot was full, mainly of books, but also a wide variety of other stuff. Some of it, I expect they'll jumble,   some will probably come in handy at the sanctuary.   On the way home I called it at the Range store and bought a few bits and pieces,  and I stopped at an M&S and bout myself some daffodils and the Dine-in-for-£10 offer.  I haven't done that for a long time, it was mainly the apple pie that made me do it. (And yes, I could have just bought an apple pie and saved myself a few pounds).

When I got home, he'd had a bit of a rethink due to the Elephant in the Room (EitR).  The EitR was Orla, my lovely organ.   We didn't have anywhere to move her to while I decorated, so she'd been covered with a dust sheet.   Plan (A) had been to move her out on to the landing while DH did the sub floor, then back in the room,  and then out again while he laid the flooring. 

DH had decided that he didn't really want to move Orla so much.  Plus, he'd carefully piled up 9 very heavy boxes of flooring outside the room, and these would have to be moved so Orla could get past.  So, instead, he laid the sub floor in part of the room,  then laid the flooring for that bit.  The idea was we could then put Orla back in her usual place,  and he could get on with the rest of the floor.   

The flooring looks lovely.  It goes really well with the blue-green of the walls.  Of course the phone camera is rubbish, it has once again washed out the colour of the walls.
camera has washed out the colour of the walls
 I'll have to find my proper camera and try again.

Watching paint dry

I finished the first coat of paint by about 1.30 yesterday afternoon.  

Later in the afternoon I decided to check what the lapsed time was for next coat, so I had a peek on the Dulux website. 2-4 hours. Really?

It was 6.15pm, so I got changed back into my paint splattered clothes, and did the "final coat".

This morning I inspected, and did a bit of sanding and a final bit of painting.

I then dismantled all the painting gear that I'd used for the coloured paint. The roller head had been wrapped in clingfilm after every paint session for these two rooms, so this was the first time it had been washed. 

I use a Paintstick,  I have done for years, it really really works.    I looked at the paint sodden head and sighed.  I know how long it takes to get it properly clean so that the head can be reused.  I decided  that life was too short to wash the roller head, so I rinsed off some of the paint and put the head  in my rubbish bag.   (I had, after all, saved money by sticking to the original paint choice).

I then made a fatal error.  I was trying to rinse out the metal bracket thing that holds the head.  This too takes a while to clean because it is full of paint.   I pushed a small bit of J-cloth into the handle. It went all the way down to the bend, and then I realised I couldn't get it out.  


I tried with a screwdriver.  No chance, I just ended up with the piece of cloth even more firmly wedged.

I did a terrible thing.

Reader,  I put the handle in the rubbish!

I decided I'd just buy another new Paintstick if necessary.

That was an hour or so ago, and I am still smarting at the waste.

Thursday, 3 March 2016


Having had his bandage off for 5 days and being confined to his cage,  the Vet said we could let Wash out of his cage.  We checked with the Vet what this could and couldn't include, as we know what Wash is like.

On Monday night we let him go upstairs for the first time, and he spent forever exploring every inch of every open room.  Last night, Wednesday,  he got on the bed during the night.

He's still not really using his bad leg,  he scuttles around on 3 legs.  He's using his "bad paw" to scratch, and when he's standing he puts it against the ground.  Ocassionally we see him try to walk on it, but mostly its hoiked up while he scuttles.

He and Izzy have been playing chase,   he's been jumping on everything - every little leaf, feather,  bit of fluff,  legs under the covers,  everything.  He's so happy to not be confined to his cage anymore.

The cage is still up, just in case.  It also houses one of the two litter trays we have for the cats to use.

He's desperate to go outside, but that pleasure is several weeks away.

 I have ordered a cat jacket for him, so that we can take him outside, in the garden,  on a lead in a few weeks.  I've had a bad experience with a cat harness in the past,  so I don't trust them at all.  This particular jacket is hand made, and looks like it should work.   It'll take a while to get him used to it before we can risk him putting his paws on the ground in it (a lesson learned, sadly, from the cat harness experience many years ago).    That's why I've ordered one now, so we have plenty of time to get him used to it before he's able to go outside.

He now weighs just over 5kg.  I'm sure much of that will drop off when he finally gets to go outside and can start running up tree trunks and doing all those active things he's used to doing.

His fur is amazing and, apart from his dodgy rear leg, he is oozing good health and happiness.   The raw food diet, Nutriment,  is really suiting him well. 

Is Poppy the new Millie?

You may remember I had a nasty bullying chicken called Milly.   We'd had her, and another chook from the same place,  from when she was 8 weeks old.   Milly didn't just become top chook, she was really, really nasty.  I didn't entirely realise it, I thought it was just a bit of hen pecking.  The only time she stopped being a bitch to the others was when the last of her peers died, and it was only the slightly younger group left.  She was then OK with them, but was horrible to the next group.

Eventually, after far too long, I realised that her nastiness went way beyond hen pecking.  She would seek out the new chickens to attack them, she just wouldn't let them do anything. Eventually, after too long,  I realised she had to go, and we culled her.  I resolved that I would never again let this happen in my flock.

After the fox attack, the only chicken we had left was Poppy. She had suffered under Milly's reign of terror.  When we introduced Gloria, there was a lot of hen pecking, but it was the stuff you'd normally expect.  Gloria won and became top chook,  and the two of them lived together happily.

And then we started to introduce the 3 newbies,  Fleur (a cuckoo Marans), Fay (a Fayoumi), and Sasha (am Appenzeller Spitzhauben).   There was the usual hen peckiness from Gloria and Poppy.   Gloria, as top chook, mostly stopped the harassment, just doing it occasionally when one of the youngsters crossed her path.

Fleur managed it quite well.  She's a big chook,  she just hunches up, lets them peck her, then goes back to whatever she was doing anyway.    The two littlees don't cope so well. 

Poppy continues with the hen pecking.  Mostly, it's when the youngsters cross her path.  Mostly, they see her coming and dodge away.    I've seen no blood drawn.  The youngsters are easily able to fly up on to the raised perches in the Run (when they are shut in), and they don't need to be in her way.

I know that she doesn't want to go down in the pecking order, so I can understand why she needs to keep making sure she is higher up the order than they are.  Gloria doesn't need to do that,  she IS number 1, and no one wants to usurp her.

But sometimes, like this morning,  I see Poppy chase them, a little bit more than is really necessary.

I love Poppy very much.  She is my very favourite (living) chook.  I understand why she feels threatened.  I understand that her experience of being an introduced chook was horrible, thanks to Milly.   I realised today that if I didn't love her so much, and understand so much,  I think I'd already be considering whether her behaviour warranted removing her. 

Realising this,  I have to think about whether I should do it anyway.  Just because she's my very favourite (living) hen,  I have to think about the welfare of the others.

I can't take her down to the allotment - it's not fair on her to introduce a lone hen to all the others.  I could take Gloria back too, I suppose. Maybe that's an option?

I think I'm hanging on because she's likely to go broody soon, and then she'll be out of it for weeks.  Without any eggs to hatch, she'll be broody for 6 or 7 weeks.   If we put fertile eggs under her and let her hatch them (which I was hoping might make her a bit more amenable), then we'll have the time while she takes care of her chicks too. When she goes back in, maybe the two littlest youngsters will have settled and will be able to stand up to her.

As I am writing this, I guess the question is, can it wait that long?  Has the damage already been done - have the others learned the behaviour and will they replicate it when we next introduce new birds?

I also don't want to overreact.  She isn't Milly.  Her behaviour isn't any where near as bad as Milly's behaviour.  Maybe I'm just so annoyed at myself for not sorting out Milly sooner, that I'm in danger of overreacting.

Maybe this sort of thing goes on, unseen,  all the time in most flocks. There's no physical signs of bullying.  I only know about it because I see it.....  most people aren't working in their kitchen so they can see what goes on all day. 

I don't know.

I'll see how the situation develops, I guess.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The camera lies

I've neutralised the yellow in the box room, with a coat of white paint.  The coving, which for some reason I had also painted yellow,  has just had it's second coat.  DH has done all the necessary filling, and will sand it tomorrow so I can put on the first coloured coat.

I took a photo of the mostly-empty box room, before I started any painting.   That was Monday, I think...? Yes, it must have been, because I painted it white yesterday.

I looked at the photo on Monday, before I started with the white paint, and I had to do a double take.  I really liked the shade of yellow. It was a pleasant, spring, pale, yellow.  Why on earth was I repainting the room?

I was sure that the yellow in the room was a really deep yellow, I was sure  it wasn't anything like the colour in my photo.

I went upstairs and compared the actual colour of the room to the colour that the camera showed me.

Completely different.

I really like this yellow.  The camera lies, it's nothing like the real thing! 
This is more what the colour on the walls actually looks like
I  considered buying paint to match my photo.  However,  I had already bought a 5l tin of trade paint, specially mixed,  in a completely different colour. I like the colour I'd bought, and I wouldn't even have considered another yellow if I hadn't taken the blummen photo.

Even now I can hear that little voice  "the paint you've bought will come in handy for touching up the other rooms.... buy the colour you really want".

I was about to write that I'd dismissed that idea.

But I haven't.

I don't want to end up with the worst of all worlds, where I repaint the room in the aqua, and then decide to paint it yellow.