Tuesday 31 January 2012

Tilda. Again.

The Other Girls won't let Tilda get to the feeders while they are around.  This means that she doesnt get to see them operate the treadle and, as she has balance problems, she is taking a long time to learn it herself.

We tried all sorts of things.  The latest thing is that I stand her in front of the feeder and then gently, very gently, propel her forwards. She moves her feet, eventually one of them clips the treadle, and the feeder opens.  She then stands and eats.   If Custard spots her eating, she comes rushing over and pushes her off the feeder.  I've taken to standing with her in the morning and, more importantly, in the evening to make sure she gets her pellets.

Once I'm sure that she has worked it out, it won't be such a problem. Tilda will just wait until the others are busy before she goes and eats.  It's this learning phase that is tricky.

The new camera stopped working properly, it lost its vertical movement.  We'vetaken it out and contacted the supplier and we're trying to arrange for a replacement.   It was very helpful while it was working as we could see what the Girls were doing with the feeders (and with Tilda) when they thougth we weren't looking.  DH also set it up to record so that we could play back the morning eating to see who had learned to do what.

I'm sure my supporting Tilda isn't doing her any long term favours. I know I'm anthromorphasising the Girls, but I do image that they take their revenge on her when I'm not there,  a bit like spiteful girls in an all girls school. (I went to an all Girls school).

Removing the spiteful Custard won't help, as I've seen Florence attack Tilda as well.   I have thought about removing Tilda and getting her a companion,  but that may not work out either... and I certainly wouldn't be able to reintroduce her/them to the bigger group later once removed.

I've also accepted that I can't introduce any new Girls.  Tilda will be pushed even further down the pecking order, and I don't want to put her through that. 

Glazing over

It's so lovely to be able to wholeheartedly recommend a company.

Eye tests for self and DH last week.  DH prescription has changed and he needs new glasses,  my reading has deteriorated and the next step for me will be varifocals.

DH ordered new frames,2 for 1 from a well known high street optician (chemist).  Cheaper than normal as he decided not to go for Transitions lenses,  but did have some coatings put on.  I decided to wait, I'll order new specs for me when I have time to let myself get used to the varifocals.

I wanted to try getting DH's older glasses reglazed.  It's always been more cost effective to order new glasses when we've enquired before,  so I wanted to try one of the many online services.

I did quite a lot of research, and eventually picked a company called Ciliary Blue.  DH's requirements were straightforward,  and the lenses were going to cost £30.  This was for Standard lenses (they also do thin, super-thin and ultra-thin) and included anti-glare scratch resistant coating, and a coating which helps the glasses repel dust. Without coatings this would have been £15.

I needed a bit of help filling in the online form, as the information from the prescription I had been given didn't correspond exactly to the boxes on screen.  The chap who answered the phone was very helpful (and he gave me a code to get a 10% registration discount),  and so I placed my order on Friday last week.  On Saturday, the posting box arrived; I posted it back on Saturday morning.  Today, Tuesday, the reglazed specs arrived.

Very happy with the lenses, and the service was fantastic.  Once I've made a decision about Varifocals and got them from my optician (as I want the aftercare  and the security of knowing that, because I'm switching to varifocals,  I can change mind within 30 days if I don't get on with them) then I'll use Ciliary Blue to get my old pairs reglazed with varifocal lenses.


Saturday 28 January 2012

Quick catch up

Nothing particuarly eventful happening here.

The butchery equipment was ordered, and arrived by next-day courier from Scobies Direct.  We're getting our next half-porker in a few weeks, so we're all ready now. Although I do need to order some more sausage casings - Scobies are a proper butchery supplies place, and they don't do sundries like casings in domestic quantities.  As soon as the date for the pork has been confirmed, I'll place an order with Weschenfelder.

We've had our eye tests.  DH is having new glasses,  and I've also sent one of his three-tests-ago pairs off to Ciliary Blue to be reglazed.   If that works OK then I'll probably get two other pairs of his reglazed as well,  as he tends to have pairs (with varying out-of-dateness of prescription) in different places.

I'm on the cusp of needing varifocals.  I'm going to wait for a little bit longer and then order a pair through my optician. The reason for waiting is that, whilst varifocals will make it easier for me to read without having to mess about, I will lose some peripheral vision. So, I'll wait until the messing about becomes a hindrance, and then try varifocals.   The opticians do them on a 30 day trial, so if I don't get on with them I will be able to get my money back.

I've had (or rather, DH has had) to make some adjustments on my Pashley.  He moved the saddle for me so that it was as far back as possible.  He didn't tighten it up enough though, which I discovered en route to the Post Office the other day.  Luckily it slipped gradually into the upright position, otherwise it would have made my eyes water a bit.   Still haven't got a name for her.  I'm hoping the weather will be OK enough to ride her in to town next week,  and that should inspire me.   (Mind you, I've heard that the UK as a whole is expecting snow!).

The Girls are mostly gettng on with the feeders. Florence and Roobarb are fine.  Milly hasn't got a clue though.  We realised - a little ate - that during the accustomisation process, she was eating from the side of the feeder, not treading on the treadle at all.  We put cardboard on the sides,  and the camera showed us that she was still contorting herself in from the side. We put bigger bits of cardboard on.  Now she eats when someone else has the feeder open.

We've put an extra hole in them so that they are open a teensyweensy way, just enough to see the food. When they are in this position, Custard and 'Tilda work out that they need to press the treadle.   When the feeders are closed (overnight),  they just haven't worked it out.   Even when the feeders are in the slightly open position, Milly won't step on the treadle. She streeeeeeeeeeeeetches her neck, twists her head on it's side, and pokes her beak in from the side.

So, we've gone back a half step and are leaving then on the new barely open position for a few days.  (So they can see but can't reach without pressing the treadle).    We're confident that Custard and Tilda will soon be joining Roobarb and Florence in the being-able-to-open-from-closed club;  we have no idea whether Milly will work it out.

Monday 23 January 2012

Better this time

Back to the bike shop today, a much better experience.

They were busy again, but this time it was serving customers rather than socialising.   As soon as we entered, the chap on the counter (who was the chap who showed me the bike last week, not the chap from yesterday) looked up, recognised me and smiled,  and said Hello Mrs (name), I'll be with you shortly".

When he finished with the previous customer, he came straight round and got the bike,  and started fitting it for me.  

I cycled home.  Took me about a mile to realise that the gears actually have specific positions.  For some reason, I was under the misimpression that the gears were sequential (so you clicked one direction to go one gear up, or clicked the other direction to go one gear down).    This resulted in some interesting moments where I thought I had no gears at all (I was cycling downhill, and I now realise I had changed into First by mistake).

The upright position is sooooo much better than my previous bike.  I still wasn't 100% comfortable though.  To get into a comfortable body position I had to push my bottom right back,  so that it was off the back of the saddle.  I started to think that I had bought the wrong sized frame,  and I remembered all those for sale adverts I'd seen where the bike was the wrong size. I cheered myself up by realising that even so, it was more comfortable than my previous bike.

I got home, DH asked how it had felt,  and I told him about the saddle.  He told me it was adjustable backwards and upwards,  so he had at amending it for me.  It's now much better, and I'm a much happier bunny.   I need to go out for a longer ride so that we can do "final" tweaks. 

She is a lovely thing, and I'm really looking forward to taking her out again.

Sunday 22 January 2012


I had decided to buy a Pashley bike. The upright style should mean that it is easier to ride, less harsh on my back. Pashleys are very solid, well made bikes.

I looked on Ebay, I looked in various classifieds for a pre-loved one. Plenty around, none particularly nearby and none particularly cheap.  I needed some help in deciding what frame size was suitable and contacted Pashley for advice. They gave me some local dealers who should have a Pashley in stock, and one of them was only a couple of miles away.

This local independent bike shop had one in stock, and I decided to go and take a look.  It turned out to be the model I wanted, the frame was the right size, they were having a sale.   The chap was very helpful, let me ride the bike around the car park,  adjusted it for me so I could get a good feel.    He explained that if I bought the bike, they would (of course) spend time with me getting it adjusted perfectly for me.   I decided to sleep on it. Not the bike, obviously, sleep on the decision.   It's a lot of money to spend on a bike.

In the end, I decided to go ahead.  He'd been helpful, I like to support independent and local businesses,  with the sale and not having to travel to collect a second hand bike,  the price differential was OK.  I'd worked out how to fund the purchase.

I phoned up, spoke to the same chap,  reserved the bike and paid a deposit.  I said I would be in on Sunday at about 12.00  to collect it, this would give them a couple of days to do their bike checks, and the weather forecast was reasonable so I would ride it home.

Sunday finally dawned,  and we went along to the shop to collect it. 

I came home without it, very irritated,  and wishing that I hadn't paid a deposit so I could just go somewhere else.

What happened?    What happened was the shop is a "proper cyclists" shop.  When I got there, it was full of "proper cyclists" having a natter. All were kitted out in "proper cyclists" gear,  I presume some club had just arrived after a ride or something.

It was difficult to get to the counter because all the proper cyclists were grouped around there having a chat, along with the chap on the till.  I groaned inwardly at the thought of having to get fitted for a Pashley with all these Proper Cyclists looking on.  It took a couple of moments for me to realise that these people weren't waiting to be served, they were just socialising.   I moved around a little to try and attract attention to get some service. We were the only people in the shop not wearing proper cyclist gear, so we stood out a bit.

The chap on the counter eventually looked in our direction, so I moved forward and said I was here to pick up the Pashley, and I indicated the bike which was still on the shop floor. He looked at me blankly, and then asked me if that was the bike (the one I was pointing to).  I said yes.  He moved to the till. Fearing that he was just going to treat it as a quick payment and off you go transaction,  I explained that it needed fitting - the saddle adjusting etc.  He looked a bit confused.  He pulled out a folder full of invoices and started leafing through it slowly, most of his attention apparently  still on the Proper Cyclists conversation.

I stood waiting, getting mildly irritated.  I said to DH that I felt a bit uncomfortable, and that I was starting to get cross.  He said that he didn't like buying things from these places because they were often like this.  I said, hmm, well, it wasn't like this on Monday was it? If it had been, I wouldn't have bought the bike here.

A moment later, someone popped out from the back of the counter, also dressed in Proper Cyclists uniform, carrying mugs of tea for the Proper Cyclists.   At that point, my patience snapped.    Before I knew what I was doing (it was like I was having an out of body experience, watching myself do this),  I'd told the chap at the counter not to bother, I'd come back another time,  and then I had turned on my heels and was walking out of the shop.

It's very, very rare of me to get to a situation where my I find myself doing something when my brain is a bit behind what is actually going on.  I can only recall  2 other situations when this has happened,  and I had been extremely provoked in both cases.   This time I knew I was irritated, but I had no idea that I was quite as annoyed as I obviously was.  

DH was very kind. I explained to him that I was really annoyed at the crap service,  I was also annoyed with myself for having put a deposit on the bike and that I couldn't just go somewhere else, and I was annoyed that I was letting myself get annoyed. At least I didn't say something rude.

When I do go back, I wonder if they will ask me why I didn't collect the bike on Sunday.   I hope they do, actually.  In fact, I'll be disappointed if they don't.    I doubt it's even registered with them that they have an unhappy customer, and I doubt very much that they have the vaguest inkling that (if I hadn't paid a deposit) I would be a lost sale.  

I doubt they'd care. 

That's not fair. They probably would care.   Now that I'm calm, I've replayed the whole thing a couple of times, and I know that what it was that actually made me snap.

It wasn't that the shop was busy, with Proper Cyclists. I appreciate that these regulars are the one who provide the bread and butter for the shop.

I know that the Pashley, although expensive for me, is not an expensive purchase in "proper-bike" term.

If these people had beeen buying stuff, then I wouldn't have minded having to wait for service.

I think it was the realisation that socialising with this group was apparently more important than my custom. 

Saturday 21 January 2012

Treadmilling, again

I've just completed my 7th week of treadmilling, and last week was my best so far. I've been keeping a record on the "Treadmiling" page, but I'm so happy about last week, that I thought I'd post it here.

My target was 5 sessions of at least half a mile each (hey, it's all relative!). In fact I did 6 sessions,  and a total of 7.5 miles.

The breakthrough was doing it early in the morning (pre shower), and watching something on the TV...with headphones so I could actually hear the TV over the noise of the 'mill.  I can't watch TV for the sake of it, so I picked things that I like to watch but DH doesn't.  Recorded them, and then watched them while treadmilling.

Not sure how long it will take me to catch up with Alexis (Girl Rural) and her 2 miles.  I ony managed that once.

Friday 20 January 2012

Feeders are closed

Mid morning, we set the Grandpas Feeders to the closed position, meaning that the Girls need to stand on the plate to get the feeder to open.   

There was a lot of complaining to start with, so I went out and showed Tilda how to do it. I also tried to show Milly, but she was so shocked at being picked up that all she could do was bok loudly. 

They are now shut in their run for the evening. The new camera has been installed, and i've seen that Florence and Roobarb have managed to operate the treadle and feed themselves,  so the others will pick it up soon (if they haven't already).

No more getting up early to put out the feeders.  DH has done this for probably 11 of the last 14 days, so I'm really happy that he won't have to do it any more.

Just saw Roobarb eating from it on her own. Custard sidled up and started to eat too.   Roobarb moved away and I winced as I waited for the lid to shut on Custard.  By luck, she had her foot on the treadle, so nothing happened.  She moved away, and the feeder shut.  Then she came back.  She was confused that the food had apparently disappeared.   She pecked the lid and the front of tyhe feeder, and then wandered off.

It won't take long.

Silly thing to do

I don't drive very often any more - I work from home, so there isn't much need for me to be out and about.  

I've caught my car on the brick gateposts as I was reversing into the drive. Paintwork is scratched, but no dents.

Went to the dealership to see what it would cost.  Went to another bodyshop for a comparison quote.  DH offered to fix it for me too.  If it was my old car, I'd have left it, or asked DH to do it.

Decided to try a "Smart Repair" through the dealer.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Custard and Tilda.

Custard and 'Tilda are sisters.  Tilda is a highly intelligent, friendly, girl; she suffers from a number of physical disabilites.  She's bottom of the pecking order. I think there is a link between her friendliness and her disability - she was easier to catch,  so she got used to being caught, and she vecame very tame.

Custard is really really horrible to Tilda.  Whereas the others might give Tilda a single peck to remind her of her lowly status,  Custard actively seeks out Tilda and then attacks her.     When they are shut in their walk in run for the night, no matter where Tilda hides,  Custard seeks her out, runs at her, and makes her move somewhere else.   It's very upsetting.

If the weather was warmer, I think I'd remove Custard into her own accomodation  for a week or so.     If I didn't know how wrong it was to introduce a lone hen, I'd move Custard down to the Allotment to join the breeding girls.  

As it is, I am trying to monitor whether it is only Custard that is persistently bullying Tilda.   Roobarb doesn't seem to do anything to her, even when they are foraging in the same place beak to beak.  I haven't observed Florence and Tilda on their own together;  Milly gives Tilda a peck on the head when their paths cross, but I haven't seen whether it's only done when their paths cross, or whether she is bullying also.

We're upgrading the camera in the run, so maybe that will help me keep track.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Buttering up

Ran out of butter at the end of last week, and started to use some shop bought stuff from the freezer.  I bought some to make christmas cakes,and bought twice as much as I needed, so I have (or, now,  had) 5 spare blocks in the freezer. Couldn't face Costco at the weekend, so we just carried on with the shop bought stuff.  It's OK, but it's not the same as home made.

Got the cream yesterday, 8 litres this time, and left the cream on the worktop.   Set up for butter making this morning - which means cleaning the sinks and worktops, getting out all my butter bits.  When I came to use the cream, I found the seal under the lid of one bottle wasn't properly sealed.  I decided I couldn't risk using it (you have to be scruplulous with butter), so I poured it away.  

As I put the first 1.5 litres in the mixer, I remembered that I had a new second bowl and rummaged in the cupboards to find it.  Last time I made butter, I speculated for about the fifth time that a second large bowl would speed up my "production line" considerably; last time was a bit of a marathon butter session,  and I actually ordered the new bowl as soon as I had finished potting, so that I would have it ready for this time.  I bought a glass one, which is slightly larger than the standard metal bowl.

My production line today was even slicker than usual.  Firstly,  I cleaned the empty cream bottles (using the water from washing the butter) as I went.   A small thing,  but it made a reasonable difference to the workload at the end.  And the second bowl was fantastic.  As soon as the last of the cream had been churned to cream in the metal bowl,  I wiped the blade and then put the first lot of churned butter on, in the glass bowl, to blend in the salt.    While this was happening I washed the first bowl and got it ready with the next lot of churned butter and ,  and then carried on washing up.

When the first lot of salt-blended butter was ready, I put the second bowl on,  and started to pot up the first lot.   This is where the real time saving came in, as usually the machine is idle while I pot up.  I did have to give the machine a rest for a few minutes part way through,  as the non-stop work was causing it to get a bit warm. 

And while the final bowl of butter was blending,  I did the rest of the washing up and clearing down.  Then, when everything was in the fridge, all that faced me was one bowl, a couple of potting utensils, a tray, and cleaning the splashes from the mixer.

Very happy with it.

Saturday 14 January 2012

A negg


Our first egg for aaaages.  A blue one, covered in poo (delightful!) from Milly.  I had thought she might be laying at some point because she crouched for me a couple of days ago.   However, her laying has been erratic for a long time, so it may be that this is our one and only egg from her.

The other girls don't look like they are ready to come back into lay. Custard is still moulting and looks like an ex battery girl; 

Roobarb has a lovely new set of feathers, but still has pin cushions around part of her head; 

 Florence has refeathered beautifully, but her comb is small and pale; 

Tilda (our special needs chook) has been sporting her gorgeous new feathers for months, they are lovely and soft and fluffy.... but her comb is very shrivelled and pale, so she doesn't look like she's planning to lay for some time. 

I don't mind them freeloading. Even if they've all given up completely (which is unlikely) they've all given plenty of eggs - and enjoyment generally - since we hatched them,  and they all entitled to a happy retirement with us. 

A little treat

Thought I'd let the Girls out on to the back "lawn" (= the bit of grass outside our kitchen window) for a treat.  They aren't allowed on there very often as we like to reserve it for the chicks.

As it happens, they weren't very interested in the grass. They decided to investigate some tubs instead 
Tried to take some photos, but they were not that interested in posing.
I caught Milly off guard....
The Grandpas Feeders have been put into the next position now, which means that they are patially open. The lids open fully when someone stands on the plate.  Roobarb got straight to it, no problem.  Custard and Milly have been standing to the side of the plate and craning in.  I haven't seen what Florence and 'Tilda have been doing.

Water was frozen today.

Thursday 12 January 2012


Woke up in the night to hear a dog barking...but it was an odd bark. Not deep enough for a big dog, not yappy enough for a small dog.   realised it was in my garden and therefore must be a fox, and I jumped out of bed.

A bit dazed, I wondered if it was on the radio. I have heard foxy screeches before, and this wasn't one of them.   I pulled on my dressing gown while trying to see if the radio was on. I realised it wasn't,  heard the barking again, and ran downstairs. I grabbed the torch and back door key,  opened the door, and ran out into the garden.

I had expected that the fox, if it were a fox,  to have run off the moment it heard the door undoing,  but it didn't.  I managed to catch it in my torch beam as it ran down the grden. Then it stopped, turned round, and ran back to the chooks. Then it repeated the exercise, it ran down the garden, stopped, ran back.  I realised that the Fox watces - one by the house and one by the chooks - were probably confusing it.

I managed to open the gate into the chicken area, but I wasn't actually sure what I was supposed to do - or going to do.  I wouldn't be able to catch it.   As I started to walk ito the run, it turned in the only direction available: the fence to next-door.  It leapt over the fence (it's 6 foot high) and away.  It was barking a few minutes later.

I opened the pop hole to check that the Girls were OK, and the two who are currently using the nestbox as a bedroom just looked at me sleepily. No sign of any distress. 

Any idea why the fox would be yapping so much?  The only thing I can imagine is that it was telling his/her family that it had found something interesting.

I found a few audio files on line, and one particular one sounded like our visitor.  The poster says it's when his pet fox is expressing curiosity or playfulness. 


Tuesday 10 January 2012

Choosing new bees

We've started to look at getting a new Nuc of bees.  A few ads in Beecraft and the BBKA magazine, for different strains of bees;  looked at posts on the Beekeeping Forum

Of course, all bees seem to be advertised as having the characteristics one would want: gentle, not too much propolis.... all the good traits.  Carniolan, Buckfast, Italian, British Black, whatever the variety, the adverts sing their praises.

The reality is that, to some extent,  it doesn't matter what you start with:  you have no control over what type of bee the Queen will mate with,  and the second and third generation Queen will determine the future temperament and characteristics of the hive.

Having been through a hive loss though,  and our angry colony last year, I think I'd have little hesitation in re-queening if we ended up with a bad tempered queen/hive. So I'm not as nervous as I was before we started.

Monday 9 January 2012

No Bees

Well, the worst has happened and we have no bees.

We wanted to take the opportunity of the mild weather to do a routine varroa treatment for the hives.  We couldn't risk doing it at th eend of last season, because had brood, and the treatment kills brood. 

It was warm yesterday, warm today, and warm forecast to the end of the week, so it seemed like now or never. Time to treat them, and then mild enough weather for them to recover from the hive being opened. 

So, today, we suited up.  First hive, no bees.  Second hive, no bees.   Very sad, but not entirely unexpected.   At least we know,  and we can bring the hives home, sort them out, and get ready to start with a fresh nucleus in the  Spring. 

We've learned so much, and we'll be better beekeepers next time round.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Feeding time

You may remember that the Parish Council cleared the vegetation on the other side of our fence,  which resulted in rats making their way into the Girls' run.  You may remember that we've been putting down poison, blocking the holes, and bringing in the feed every night.

Bringing the feed in means that it needs to go out in the morning, preferably before the Girls get up.  The Girls are used to being able to get up at their leisure, and then take breakfast immediately.  It's been this way since they were eggs.  They don't like the changes in routine - unless, of course, it's to their advantage, in which case they embrace the change whole heartedly. Some beneficial changes seem to become habits after just one instance, funny that. But I'm digressing.

Getting up in the morning to get the feeders out is a real chore, especially as neither of us start work early at the moment.   Poor DH has got into the habit of getting up and doing it.  Every evening, I resolve to get out of bed and do it before he does; every morning, a warm bed and a snuggly cat dissolves my good intentions.

We decided we'd switch to a Grandpa's Feeder (GPF).  Once they have learned to use it, we can leave it in the un overnight and bring in the other feeders.  We can then take out the other feeders when we get up.   So, I bought one.  This is my fifth,  the other 4 are on the allotment. (Apparently the record is 12 feeders, so I have a bit of a way to go).

It arrived swiftly, and we put it in use.  As recommended, we've pegged it completely open to start with, which gives the Girls time to get used to the shape of it, and putting their heads in etc.    Step 2 is partially open so they can see the food and they  get used to the clanging when they step on the footplate; and Step 3 is completely closed.    Because we don't want to encourage the rats again, we're not leaving it out until we've achieved Step 3.

To encourage the Girls to use it, we've only got one other feeder out there, and this has only a small amount of food in.     Totempt them to put their heads inside, I initially prinkled  a small amount of corn on top ofthe feed.  'Tilda was straight in there, sideways on, and didn't give the others a look-in.

Spying on them from my bedroom (they can see me if I stand by the itchen door), I've seen Roobarb eat out of it.  And today, at last, I saw Milly eat out of it.  Milly is a crean legbar, has a crazy comb which means she can't see out of one eye,  and it takes her a loooooong time to get the hang of things.

Florence acts as though it isn't there.  When she's eating corn out of my hand, I lower my hand into the feeder, and she just looks at me as if to ask where my hand has vanished to.  She walks past the feeder looking straight ahead, in that "if I can't see it, it can't see me" way that small children - and daft hens - have. Heaven knows what she's goin gto be like when she steps on the plate and it clangs.

It's only been a couple of days.  And I know from past experience that, when they get used to it, I'll be wondering what the fuss was about.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Fantastic Camera detail

I decided to change my desktop background photo, and I picked a photo I'd taken last year which had 'Tilda in the middle.

This is the original photo:

When Windows applied it to my Desktop, the whole screen was taken up with Tilda's head.      I left it like that, as she has such a pretty face. 

And then I noticed something incredible. In Tilda's eye, you can see a reflection of me taking the picture!

Look how small her eye is in the real picture! Yet, hidden there, is my reflection.  How clever is that?!

The Desktop image is too big, but I've done a screen capture of just the eye bit.

Isn't that amazing?!

Cracks me up

I ordered some china from Debenhams sale (60% off, plus cashback through Quidco, and free delivery).   A huge delivery arrived in between Christmas and New Year, which surprised me as I had only orderd a few items and was expecting one medium sized box.

It turns out that Debenhams wrapped and boxed each piece individually.  The delivery contained 3 side plates and 2 saucers (the rest was "to follow"), and the amount of packaging was unbelievable. 5 large boxes, and a huge bag of bubblewrap.

Today, the rest of my order arrived - 4 dinner plates, 2 cups, 1 side plate - in another huge delivery.  Once again, each piece was wrapped in huge quantities of bubblewrap, each in it's own oversized box.  

I put the bubblewrap into a bin bag to Freegle.

And, despite the individual packaging,  one of the plates is broken in half! 

I'm tempted to just send it back by courier, but the plates were such a bargain that I'm going to go to my nearest Debenhams to see if I can get a swap.

Monday 2 January 2012

Catching Up

Sorry, been a bit out-of-sorts for a few days (probably an overdose of sugar) and haven't felt like writing.

Popped round to see DS1, DDIL, and their two children yesterday.  Z (who is 4) had been watching The Lion King and came to the front door in floods of tears.  Poor little thing.  She cheered up eventually and was back to her normal bubbly self.

C (who is 1) was also gorgeous. He's walking now,  and he's of an age where I can pick him up with a good chance of not getting baby drool on me.  I'm pleased, as I do feel quite self conscious about my refusals to pick up babies. 

Today was the day for taking down the decorations.  This was done quite quickly, with everything neatly sorted and boxed in what must be a record time.  However, trying to move the furniture back showed up dust bunnies, cat hairs, and dust created by having a real fire, everywhere.  I spent several hours doing a fairly thorough clean (including under and up the insides of the sofas). 

The walls need repainting.  I considered  - briefly - doing it today  as at one point I had the sofas in the middle of the room so I had good access to two of the walls.  But I think I'll make it one of my first Spring jobs to do.

The living room looks very tidy;  the hall has lots of light coming in now that the ginormous wreath has gone from the door;  the kitchen looks a bit bare.

I walked the tree and wreaths round to the recycling point.  I always feel very mean discarding the tree and naked wreath. It seems so ungrateful somehow.