Friday, 10 February 2017


We have several large "bankers boxes" of 'memorabilia' in the loft.  

The other day when I was up there lookin gofr the sewing machine box (to send it off for service), I had to move one of them. The cardboard cut-out handle couldn't take the weight, and the box ripped.     Moving the contents to another bankers box would only result in a repeat performance,  so I bought some different sized boxes to try.

I've bought some small, sturdy, lidded boxes.  Size A re A4 footprint,  size B are A4+half again.  I also bought some "transfer boxes", which turned out to be more flimsy than I expected.  So, I shoved a load of them in the loft hatch, and then last night I went to start separating the memorabilia.

The box burst completely when I removed it from the shelf, so I had to try and do it while I was up there.

I used a size A box to house "cards".  Cards to me from Geoff, to Geoff from me,  and some cards from other people.  I didn't dwell on them - I can dwell another time, when I review that particular box,

I put letters (like letters from the step children) into a transfer box.  I stopped myself from reading them.  Again, I can read them when I review that particular box next time.

I put photos into another transfer box. I tried to flick through them as I put them in, putting some to one side to bring downstairs to make sure I had a scanned copy (some of them are 36 years old).   Two transfer boxes fit precisely into a Size A,  3 into a Size B. 

The "other memorabilia" was put in a pile. I need to see what sort of stuff it is, so I can decided how to handle it.   Some bits - like my step daughters school reports - I put to one side to give to her. 

A small amount of stuff was thrown away.  

After about an hour, I couldn't take the cold anymore, so I gave up.  I scanned the photos, and sent electronic copies to the relevant people.   I also had some photos where I am going to give the subjects the actual photo and just keep the electronic versions for myself.  These were mostly pics of the children from the various holidays we had,  but I also found some of my parents' long-deceased dogs.





I'm going to go and finish that particular box now, wonder what else I'll find?

At some point in the not too distant future, I will do the same with the other memorabilia boxes.  Not just now though.

Thursday, 9 February 2017


The Garden Girls are getting fractious.

I'm not surprised, t They've been on lockdown for two months now.

At the beginning, there was some squabbling and bad tempered pecking.  After about a week, things settled down and they stopped screeching to be let out.   We keep the run supplied with plenty of hanging treats:  at least 2 green vegetables, a swede,  3 peckablocks.   The run  is is F shaped, and has (technically) enough floor space for goodness knows how many hens.   It has long shelf perches at different heights,  plus a wooden garden chair and two nestboxes, which together give them plenty of opportunity for getting - and keeping - out of each others way.

We also have both Cubes open and accessible, plus the two aforementioned nestboxes, so that if there are you're-not-coming-in-here problems, they have plenty of choice of where to sleep.

Last week, the comb on  Fleur (my young Cuckoo Marans) returned to its gorgeous vivid red, and she started to lay. Not every day, but she was laying nonetheless.   Over the last couple of days I've seen the combs start to redden on the others and, along with it, we've started to have some unsettled behaviours.

There's been a lot more...whingeing.    We've had some hen-crowing.  We've had squawking, as Poppy chases the two smallest girls.    Today, they have been vocal almost non stop.

Spring is in the air,  and the Girls are feeling the pressure of being confined.

I've tried explaining to them how lucky they are. How light and airy their run is,  how much space they have each. How lucky they are to have on-tap cabbage, cauliflower, swede and peckablocks.   I've told them about otherhens, shut in sheds, or in hastily contructed pens.

They don't care.  They want out. And they don't care who knows it.

Lockdown continues until 28th February - and there is no guarantee that the restrictions will be lifted then.

DEFRA has agreed some respite for free range birds (who will otherwise lose their free range status), in certain areas, with very strict conditions.    This will, I expect, be misinterpreted by hobby keepers, not least because there are huge numbers of  areas classed as "high risk", hundreds of miles away from the outbreaks.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


....get on with some sewing.

I've done nothing since the beginning of January.

I thought that, without my embroidery machine, I'd get on wth sewing some clothes...but no. No inspiration.  It's ridiculous.

I have a top cut out, ready to overlock. It's been waiting since just before Christmas. 

I have an almst finished top on my mannequin, waiting to be hemmed. 

I've got my abandoned duvet cover folded up and put on the side.  

I've got the pieces for a skirt cut out, but I wanted to wait until I'd made some leggings to wear underneath.  I bought some crushed velvet to make another skirt, also waiting for leggings.  And I can't/won't make the leggings until I've made my final trouser pattern. The last one was so close, but not quite right/

I just have no enthusiasm for it.

I thought that it would come back of its own accord.    It didn't.

I thought last week's my long-awaited trip to the fabric shop on the way home from my parents would inspire me to get started.  It hasn't.

So, yesterday,  I ceared the kitchen table.... and set it up for fabric-ing.  It's covered in cuting mats.  I retrieved my notions (bit and pieces you need for sewing) from  their pre-Christmas-clearance-strorage -place (a box under my bed), and put them on the table.

It's ready.  It's waiting. Will it call me in to action?


I was having one of those weeks. You know the sort. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.  I broke this, I dropped that.  The shop servicing my machine didn't.  The washing machine failed.

Of course the washing machine didn't really fail,  I did.  I went in to empty it, and saw that it was full of suds.  Like in the cartoons.   The machine wouldn't (or couldn't) drain, and I couldn't get the door open.   I got a bowl and, being an old hand at this sort of thing, some newspaper and old towels,  and opened up the bottom drain hose.  I drained the little water in the machine, checked the filter, and found nothing.

I put the machine on rinse, to try and get some water in.  Then I drained it. I couldn't hear the pump. The water was exiting the drum, but the pump wasn't working.  On the plus side,  I was able to pop open the door.   I emptied the suds out by jug, until I realised that I was putting a jug already half full of suds back in the machine.    I used my hands instead.

When I'd cleared out most of it,  I tried the partial rinse and drain again.   I got the manual, I'd already done what it said as the first thing to check (filter).  It's next suggestion was a kink in the hose.   This seemed highly unlikely - there is a shelf above the machine and there isn't any way that anything could get there to kink the hose.  My guess was that the pipes were so full of suds that the machine couldn't do anything, and that the best thing would be to wait a few hours for the suds to pop.

Still, I though I should check.I'd hate to wait a few hours and then find there was a kinky hose after all.

I heaved out the machine.  There was no kink, but there was a load of stuff behind there.  I hoiked it out, by balancing on top of the machine and stretching my arm so much that I though I  would pop it from its socket.  Then I got a broom handle.  Then I got the vaccuum cleaner, which works quite well for picking up large objects and holding them until I can retriev them from the brush.  Small objects -not so much. I'm sure I didn't want them anyway.

I left the machine to sort itself out.

Several hours later, I tried again with my rinse program, stop, drain..and this time the pump kicked in to action.    After a couple of goes,  there was no longer any suds in the drum.

I put the machine on - empty - on a quick wash cycle, with nothing else. .   There were an alarming number of suds,  presumably recalled from drum,  so I was pleased that I'd given it a run through with nothing in.

And then it was OK.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Birthdays and stuff

I've been away for a couple of days, visting my parents.  It's my Mum's birthday,  so my brothers stayed at a nearby B&B.  Our respective partners weren't able to come, each for a different reason.

We had a family tea on Sunday, and it was lovely for us to be together.  A pleasant evening, and then back to our usual B&B.  We saw them the next morning,  then DB1 had to depart.   DB2 and I tool mum and dad for a lovely homestyle lunch, and then we collected a new combi oven for them, which mum had just bought. Her previous, and rather ancient, one had given up the ghost a few days beforehand.

The afternoon was more chatting,  and for 'tea' we had some Christmas Cake which I'd taken with me. I had thought about trying to pass it off as a birthday cake, but that would have been disingenuous/

We had booked a second night at the B&B, and so it was another relaxed evening. We popped along the following morning, and finally left at about 1.30 to start our journey home. 

We were coming home the long way, so that we could go via Swansea. My brother came fabric shopping with me, even buying some with the intention of doing a few home makes himself.     We took a while, and it was rush hour when we left.   We might as well have stayed in the shop for longer. Or gone somewhere to eat.

We stopped at some services. Quick wee.  It was almost deserted.   Pick up a sandwich and some crisps in M&S, and get a Costa Coffee.  How long could that take?

DB went off to get the coffees while I paid for the food.  The Costa in the entrance was just closing, so he had to go to the main one.  I joined him.  There was a short queue in front of us.  I don't know how it can take quite so long to deal with so few customers.   There were two baristas, and I wondered if there was a hidden camera somewhere.   There was one person after us in the queue, then no one..  We paid for our order and joined the queue waiting for the coffees to be made.  

The Baristas worked hard to avoid catching the last man's eye.   Thet walked up and down fetching things, and neither of them had the customer service skill to look at him and say'sorry about the wait Sir, I'll be with you as soon as I can'.   The chap was getting a bit fed up (I was getting fed up on his behalf).   I could see that he wanted to walk off...but there was no where else to go.

Eventually, we got our coffees.  Our 5 minutes (which we had expected to be about 15 really, allowing for queing) was over 40 minutes.