Sunday, 31 July 2016


DGS2's bumbag

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Tanks, Monkeys, BumBags and Birthday presents

It was DGS2's tenth birthday recently.   We asked him what he'd like, and he asked for a Day Out.    So, that's what he had.

He likes military history, and we though he'd like Bovington Tank museum in Dorset. We arrived just as it opened, and we were there for hours. It was really interesting, lots to see and do.... and so...many....Tanks.  

Some of them had glass panels in, so you could see inside.    One tank was cut in half, with a walkway through the middle.   It really was fascinating. And horrendous, actually.

I found myself getting a bit teary at the WW1 Horse bit - memories of War Horse came flooding back,  and I had a lump in my throat while watching the stories of several individuals.

I was quite excited when I found a Scorpion Tank amongst the many tanks there.    My cousin Martin and I each had an Action Man Scorpion Tank when we were kids, so it made me smile to see it in full size.

I gave him some money to spend in the gift shop, and said that if it wasn't enough, to let me know and we'd see what we could do.    At first it looked like he was going to buy a bullet. A big one.  I inwardly shuddered. I don't mind, but I could imagine his mum wouldn't be overjoyed. (We'd already taken an extreme liberty by taking him to Air Rifling with us the night before).

And then he found what he wanted. I saw him from the other side of the shop, going through a rack of commando  vests. And then the utility vests.    And that's what he had. He was so excited!

We left The Tank Museum and drove half a mile up the road, to Monkey World.  I'd wanted to go to Monkey World since watching Monkey Life on TV.   I couldn't believe it when I found it was so close to the Tank Museum. 
A couple of weeks beforehand, I'd pre-booked a guided tour, got the last one available, 3.45pm.  The timing worked perfectly.  We arrived at about 2.30,  we walked slowly through the park looking at the enclosures and the gorgeous apes and monkeys.  We had an ice cream at the top, and then got to the meeting point at the appropriate time.

The guide was fab.  The background stories were really interesting, we learned stuff we wouldn't have known just by reading the displays next to the enclosures.  It was really lovely seeing some of the animals we'd seen in the show, and I really wish I'd watched some episodes again before we visited. Luckily, we walked a different way to the way we had come up, so we saw lots of things we hadn't seen on the walk down.

I was concerned that H might find it a bit "dry",  and he wasn't always listening.  But he did ask lots of sensible questions,   and I heard him relating lots of bits of info to his mum and then his dad later that evening over Skype.

At the gift shop H chose something very inexpensive, and said that he realised that we'd spent a lot on him at the Tank place.

We left just before closing time, and drove home.  H slept nearly all the way.

The next day, I was working from 11.30.  H wanted to make something on my embroidery machine, and fancied a bumbag. (We'd briefly mentioned bumbags the day before, when I had to carry some stuff for him in my handbag).     He went to look at my fabric stash, and was really excited to see some camouflage fabric, which would go REALLY WELL with his combat vest.

I explained that it was quite an intricate design and would take a while, and that I hadn't made it before.  He still wanted to go ahead, so we did.    I searched through my bits and pieces and was amazed to find that I had the necessary hardware.  I didn't really have the right sort of strap, but I used canvas tape instead. Not great, but it'll do. 

It came out really well.  I didn't take a photo before he left,  so I'll see if I can get one sent to me to post.

He's such a pleasure to have.   I suspect he presents his best side when he's with us.... to be fair, I suspect we do the same back, LOL.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Sudden tears

I was caught off guard this morning, staring out of the window whilst filling the kettle..

I tried not to cry, but my DH happened to turn and see, and asked me what was wrong. "Nothing, just something stupid".  "What?" He persisted.

So I told him, and the telling of it made it worse.

Silly gulping-for-breath, fat tears falling, as I tried to get out the words and deal with the emotions.

"It's the chickens. I was just watching..."

"The chicks? Is it the chicks?" he asked, thinking I was getting upset that they are destined for the table.

"No.  I was watching Sasha walk across the garden and, for a moment, I thought she was Lotti".

And then  I was really blubbing. Memories of Lotti my Exchequer Leghorn girl, and memories of the fox attack came flooding over me.

The release of emotion also brought up nemories of Lily, the Leghorn I had before Lotti,  the first chook that was really really tame, despite Leghorns supposedly being a flighty breed. The picture flashed across my inner mind, up out of nowhere and gone in a flash.  Lily made me decide there would always be room for a Leghorn in my flock.  I think about her from time to time, and but the memories haven't made me want to cry for several years.

With Sasha and Lotti, it's really only the black and white Borlotti Bean markings that make them similar.  That and they are/were both small and flighty.

My lovely LottiBorlotti
Lily (died 2011)

Friday, 15 July 2016

Highs and Lows

Last night, the chicks took themselves upstars to bed.  Amazing.  All 4 of them, no one left running around, panicking.  And they hadn't had  any experience of going u the ladder to bed before.

Very proud of them :-)

We extended their ranging area, so that it now includes a border. I would say a "flower border", but that's not quite true.  It's a border with meadow grass in.  Or at least, it had meadow grass in, before the chicks leapt on it in delight.   They spent most of the day rooking about,  having dustbaths, eating seed heads, and running around in the undergrowth.

Another good day today. At least, it was a good day. Until it was a slightly less good day.

I was, fortunately, in the kitchen; the back door was, fortunately, open.   I heard a feathery kerfuffle and walked to the back door to see what was going on.

I saw Poppy, who had escaped from the big girl paddock,  fluffed up and angrily hurling herself at the chick netting.    On the other side, the top chick was similarly puffed up and hurling himself at the chick netting.  I rushed out to deparate them, and chased Poppy off, eventually catching her and rturning her to the correct side of the netting.

I went back to the chick paddock and caught the little boy.  He did not wan tot be caught and was very squirmy.  I had to let him ride on my arm, which we normally avoid (a) becaise it's not really the best way to carry a chick and once they have the habit, it can be hard to break it;  and (b) because the chick claws are really sharp!  If I'm honest, it's really (b) that does it for me.

Anyhow, we got back to the kitchen and he hopped off on to the draining board.  He had a cut on his comb, which I bathed.  I couldn't see how to spray "purple spray" on his face, so I sprayed some onto a piece of kitchen towel (liberally dyeing the draining board at the same time), and I dabbed this on.  I then gave him so Garvo Alfa Chick (which is actually just chick feed, but we use it as a treat substitute), and we went back outside. 

He seems OK now.

He's a brave lad.

Poppy, on the other hand, really does seem to have a screw lose.  I know it all goes back to her treatment by that b*tch of a hen, Millie.   She obviously sees the chicks as a threat.     I did wonder whether she was also angry at them because she'd sat for 7 weeks and hadn't been able to hatch a chick (she wasn't sitting on any eggs, she was just broody).    I guess that's just anthrpoomorphising her somewhat.  I'm sure chickens done't really think like that.

Do they?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Growing up

The weather has been kind enough for the chicks to be out most of the day for the last few days.  For two of the days, however, there were sudden heavy showers. The chicks have no experience of rain (yet), so they don't know to go and shelter under the Go where it's dry;  and because they aren't quite fully feathered, we don't want to leave them out there to find out the hard way. So, this resulted in several mad dashes in the rain to catch the chicks and rish them to the safety and dryness of the shed.
One of the chicks has learned to leap up and perch on the top of the edge of the brooder, This is quite an achievemet as the panel is a metre high, and as it's only epoxy coated weldmesh , there is hardly any grip for the little blighter to catch on to once they get to the top!

It means that, after we've put the chicks away, we have to visit the shed frequently to make sure s/he hasn't escaped.  I don't really mind them getting outside the run per se - the shed is secure - although I don't really want to have to deal with chick poo surprises.  The issue is that that they seeme totally incapable of getting back in (to the food and water) that is the problem.

S/he has also taken to perching there if s/he isn't the first to be taken out in the morning.   In fact this morning, after I'd caught and taken the first chick out,  I came back to find two cheeky beggars sitting waiting to be collected!

They are 6 weeks old now, so don't need heat any more.  They haven't been sleeping anywehre near the Electric Hen for about four days,  the night time temperatures are warmish.  

The weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is reasonable, so I'm planning on letting the chicks sleep outside in the Go tonight

Friday, 8 July 2016

Strange behaviour

I remember some years ago - pre internet -  hearing that people in extreme debt often hid their unopened credit card / utility bills.   I couldn't understand that mentality,  hiding from the bills was 'obviously' the worst thing someone could do.

I was lucky enough to be offered a new sewing (sewing only) machine, at a marvellous price.  I'd been thinking about this particular machine since it was launched, and had been working out how I could get the money together to pay for it.   I'd got to the stage of contacting dealers to see what the best price might be, and I was in a good position because I was perfectly willing to walk away and wait.  I did not expect to pick up such a fab offer. After the briefest of hesitation, I accepted.

The machine arrived the next day.

It's still sitting in my hallway, unopened.

At first, I wanted to wait until I'd sold my current machine. I didn't want her to know she'd been replaced (yes, I know it's a sewing machine. I just feel the way I feel). I was expecting to have the current machine picked up yesterday, but the buyer couldn't make it. And won't make it until early next week.

So, I reasoned, I might as well open it.  I can keep it on the kitchen table, so the current machine doesn't see it.

And yet, all day so far, I've found other things I must get done, before I allow myself to open that box.

I've told people that I'm savouring it.    But that's not really true.

I've been this way with any 'spontaneous' large purchase, and it occurred to me today that it's a bit like hiding the unopened bills.  A bit like it.  A bit.


I guess I'd better get on with it.  I'll be fine when it's open, on the table, and I'm using it.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Wherever he wanders...

Wash stayed at the Vets for a few days.

We saw him each day, and each day he looked a little brighter.   Another xray, this one showed that the shadow on his lungs was clearing.  All the other test results came back normal.

We got a call from the Vet to day that Wash could come home, and we went and collected him immediately. 

He was so happy to be back! He's looking good, his fur is sleek and soft, and he's very purry.

Hes been back to the Vet since for another checkup, and he's got another one scheduled.

We put a GPS tracker on him overnight so we could see where he goes when he patrols.   His territory is enormous and, worryingly, still includes an area over the main road.   Idiot!

He's also deliberately patrolling in the area where the black and white cat lives. Idiot!!