Wednesday 30 December 2015

Done a runner

In Tuesday I wrote an update about Wash, including a picture of him zonked out on the rug in the living room.  

He's a very naughty boy.

Shortly after I posted my Tuesday entry, DH and I were in the kitchen, discussing New Year's Eve dinner and looking in recipe books.  DH popped his head into the living room to check on Wash, to find that Wash wasn't there.  He quickly checked the living room, before shouting to tell me that Wash had gone.

I checked the utility room. I checked the kitchen.  DH checked upstairs,  I went outside and looked for him.  We couldn't bleep him because he wasn't wearing a collar.

We realised that he was probably sitting quietly out of the way somewhere, and we recognised that in a panic one can look but not see. So, we started again.  I checked the living room, pulling out the sofas and checking in the cat tree.  I checked our bedroom, and the spare room, and (what I could of) the box room.  I went back outside and checked again.  I checked under the hedge. I checked under the cars.  I checked by the bins.  I checked next doors driveways.  

No Wash.

He could not have vanished into thin air.  I stood in the street, wondering where to look next.  I couldn't believe he was really out there, so I went back to the house.  Then I saw the hydrangea, and thought I'd better just look.  

And there he was. Curled up, quite comfortable thank you.  He looked at me with those "Oh hello, were you looking for me?" innocent eyes. 

He was back in his Pen quick smart.  We just hoped that he hadn't done any damage to his leg.

Yesterday he was back on supervised time out, and he was as good as gold.

His dressing was changed today, and the Vet is very happy with how the leg and foot are coming along. We didn't mention his escape.

Tuesday 29 December 2015


It's that period between Christmas and New Year.  Sometimes we clear the decks and put eveyrthing back to normal at this time,  some years we leave things as they are until New Year is done.   This year, we're leaving things up.

We finished the goose, which remained very moist (despite Nigella's assertions that it wouldn't) for several days.  We still had a fair chunk left after a couple of days of cold goose, so we made an enormous Rogan Goose, which was really rather good.  We've frozen the leftovers for later.    I made a banoffee pie for my dessert yesterday, without the pie. And without the offee.  Well, I had bananas and double cream whipped with a little sugar.  

The tree is still looking good and has shed hardly any needles.  The wreath is wearing well.
 The "new" table is looking lovely, but part of me is itching to put my embroidery machine back on it.  I'll leave it until the new year.

The guest bedroom is looking OK, although the box room is now living up to its name as a result.  It is full of boxes, and I had to fight my way in there to retrieve DDIL1's birthday present, card, and wrapping paper.   A lot of it is boxes for the Christmas stuff. Honestly.  It'll be better once we've taken some things down. Really it will.

I could sleep for a week.

Wash, again

Wash has now been home for a week.  He's been back to the Vet every 2 days to have his dressing changed and for them to test his urine for glucose.   He hasn't had a blood test for a week (due to his stress levels), so I guess they'll do that next time he goes in.

The foot is, apparently, looking good.    He's looking really good, and is putting on weight.

He's on cage rest, and we have the biggest dog crate we could find for him. It's huge, it's big enough for Weimeraner, Pyranean Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes (although probably not all at once!)

We let him out for a cuddle every so often, and yesterday he had a bit of a hobble around before sleeping in the sunshine streaming throught the french window.

This morning after he'd been pilled, we let him stay out and he's gone to sleep on the rug
We're so lucky.

Thursday 24 December 2015


The dumping ground that is the guest bedroom has had to be cleared again. 

In my defence, each time I have cleared it I have been brutal (ish) in my decision to bin/give away, so the amount of stuff left has got smaller each time.   In my defence, the first time I cleared it was when we sold the wardrobe and chests of drawers, and I had to relocate everything to our room, just for a few days.  The build up since then has been cosmetic, mainly stuff piled on top of the ed rather than being stuffed under the bed and in the wardrobe (mainly becasue we don't have such things at the moment).

The building work, that might happen at short notice, hasn't happened yet and I decided that after Christmas I'd get on with properly sorting out the rest of the room in anticipation.  Then DH suggested asking my DB1 if he'd like to stay over Christmas Night, so I had to clear the bed anyway... and I'd already bought the sample units from Ikea so we could put a couple of them up... which meant we might as well get on with turning the enormous and very heavy bed around... which meant that the last remaining piece of storage had to be emptied....    It's been a busy morning.

The room has had its first vacuuming, the bed has been turned round, a couple of storage units made up.   I've started to put ctuff back under the bed.  It's going to be very controlled and boxed,  so that when the short notice building work happens I can whhip it all out quickly.   The bedding is organised into separate bankers transfer boxes, clearly labelled.   The suitcases, which probably should go in the loft but that's another stor(e)y (ha ha), have been nested and are under the bed.   The few items that will go into the new hanging storage (when it arrives) have been hung up in the corner.   It's getting there.

I'm just having a bit of a break.  My break involves getting on with the advance prep for tomorrow.   I made a bit of a blunder by putting the Ipot on to make yoghurt this morning, I should have waited until tonight.  In the meantime I have plates all over the kitchen with the weighed out ingredients for various stuffings and accompaniments.

I've done the prunes braised in armagnac (I have an uneducated palate and I suspect that brandy would have been just as good) and they are cooling ready to go in the fridge.

I'm waiting for the goose giblets to finish defrosting so I can put them on to make stock.  Ideal candidate for Ipot, but that's just tough. I want to try making the braised red cabbage in the slow-cooker function of the Ipot rather than the oven, so that's taking precedence.

I'm waiting for the sausages to finish defrosting so I can make the forcemeat stuffing.

Actually, I suspect that they're defrosted, so I'm going to go and do somethign with that and I'll come back later.

Wash has a Vet appointment at 3 to have his dressing changed, and we're hoping it'll be OK so he can stay home with us.

Tuesday 22 December 2015


I went to Ikea yesterday, not realising that their sale had started.  DH was horrified when I said I was going, and only stopped looking horrified when I said I was going on my own.   We rarely manage an Ikea trip without something on the range from a minor disagreement to a bit of a row.

I knew it would be busy - even not knowing about the sale -  so I was well prepared. I had my list. I checked the size of the flat packs and measured the car. I decided to take my tiny car rather than DH's estate because,  well, it's small. It's easier to manouevre on some very busy roads, easier to park and unpark.

 I got there in good time, wound the front seat down (manually, took ages) ready for my return, and went into the store. I didn't go round the showroom, I went straight to the downstairs bit.  I picked up some bits I hadn't put on my list,  I found some of the big bits I needed.  I then spent ages trying to locate everything in the warehouse.... I got most things quite quickly (by asking the chappy on the desk, as the self service screens weren't helping me), but it took me a while to dfind everything and I gave up on a couple of bits. Some of the boxes were heavy,  a lovely customer offered to assist me but I declined... if I couldn't get it on the trolley, I wouldn't be able to get it in the car.

I then joined the queue. It was long, it was expected. We slowly progressed. It took forever.   The pleasant chap in front of me had multiple trollies, he was kitting out several new flats.   It took a surprising amount of time, as they had a lot of items.   Eventually I got to the checkout and got through reasonably quickly.

It was raining when I got out of the shop. At the car, I flipped down the back seat. Only it didn't fold flat.   Sigh.  I opened the passenger door, and wound the seat upright, and then wound it forward. Only it didn't go very far forward.   I tried one of the long boxes. Nope.  I tried it diagonally-ish.  Nope.  Another sigh.

I wound the car seat back to the upright position, and wound it back down.  By now I had someone waiting to park in my space.  I ignored them.    I took the head rest off. I tool the head rest off the back seat. I folded it down. It was flatter, but not flat.. I put some of my non-breakable purchases at both ends to try and make a flat surface.  I then womanfully lugged the heavy long boxes into the car and, in a flash of inspiration, flipped them on to their sides. This would avoid them sliding over to me when I went round a bend.  I'm an old hand at small cars packed with Ikea furniture.

Eventually it was done.  I put my trolley away, and set off.  I was late home. DH had waited for me so we could visit Wash together.

Furniture unloaded later that evening, and a couple of items put together.  Well worth it. 

Another trip needed now to get some more.   

After the sale.

Monday 21 December 2015

Christmas Cakes

I finished decorating two home made Christmas Cakes yesterday.

One was a fully iced cake....

..and the other was a glazed nut topping for a Creole Cake.

I've got another Creole Cake which I've cut into 4.  I then realised I didn't have any cake boards of a suitable size, and I didn't have enough nuts to cover 4 cakes prettily. 

I'll do those later. After I've been out to get the missing bits.

Wash, continued

We saw Wash on Saturday evening, and were lucky enough to see the Vet who had performed the op.  He showed us the Xrays, and explained that the damage was even worse than the xrays suggested.

They've put pins in,  which will remain in place for about 6 weeks. The bandage is enormous. They'll then need to xray him under an anaesthetic and, if all is well, they will remove the pins.

front leg=IV,  back leg is the damaged one
He was trying to move about, and was very pleased to see us.
Hopefully he will be home before Christmas.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Long Friday

Eventually Friday came around.  The Op was scheduled for the morning, and we could phone at 1pm to get an update.

In the morning I busied myself with wreath making and the endless attempt at getting the downstairs into some semblance of order.  DH had a long standing arrangement, so left at 11.

At 1.05 I phoned the Vet.  Wash hadn't had his Op, he was just being prepped. Phone at 5.I texted DH, who would - because of the  circumstances -  have considered no news as bad news.

I spent the rest of the day putting up the last of the decorations, not really in a Christmassy mood.  I idled away on Facebook.  I made progress in the house tidying.

I phoned the Vet. Wash had come round from the anaesthetic, his temperature was OK, he'd eaten, he was awake.  I left the house immediately to go and see him.

He was fast asleep when I got there. I burst into tears when I saw him, relief I guess. He stirred but didn't wake up when I stroked him.  I texted DH. I was going to attach a photo but decided against it..

Thursday 17 December 2015


The Christmas tree arrived yesterday. It's bigger than I expected!

My Christmas tree of choice is a Fraser fir.   I love these because they are bushy (as in dense), but are compact, a very neat triangular shape.   The Nordmanns and the like were lovely, but so...wide. When I discovered Frasers, I really started to love having a tree again.

We used to like getting our tree on the 21st-ish of December, but found that everywhere was sold out of Frasers by then.  I learned to phone round the various Christmas tree farms and suppliers before making a journey,  and we started getting our tree a little earlier... but still we often had problems getting one.

I decided in advance of last Christmas to try getting a tree by post.  I was dubious, to say the least, but a friend recommended someone she used every year, so I gave it a go.  

My tree arrived on time, and was beautiful.  It was on the smaller end of the size range, but it was beautiful none-the-less. I missed the drive out to the Christmas tree farm...but, at the same time,  I didn't miss the drive out to the Christmas tree farm. I didn't miss the pang of guilt at picking up a tree and rejecting the poor thing.

This year, I ordered the next size up.

When it arrived yesterday, it was obviously at the top end of that size, and it seemed HUGE. It was actually too tall for the room, even before we put it in a stand, and after we'd sliced the bottom off so it cold have a good drink.  DH had to prune the top a bit, and take out some of the lower branches.  We left it overnight to relax.

This morning, the house smells wonderfully of Christmas Tree. 

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Wash date

So far the Vet has been unable to operate on Wash because he's got jaundice, likely a symptom of liver problems, and they can't risk giving him a general anaesthetic.

 He's undergone numerous tests and scans to see whether the casue can be identified.   On Monday, the scans showed that it wasn't a tumour, and it wasn't scirrocis.   He was on antibiotics to see if there was an infection causing the problem.

He was happy to see us on Sunday, but not at all happy to see us on Monday - maybe he was feeling better and was having a sulk.   Yesterday he was very pleased to see us, very purry, rolling around for us to stroke him.  He looked well - apart from having a drip attached to one paw,  and having an enormous saggy other paw.

Over the last 2 days, he's responded well.  Today the Vet said that they have pencilled in Friday as a date to operate on his poor foot. 

We're so relieved.

Displacement and replacement

We had to phone the vet this morning, to see what the situation was with Wash.  While we were waiting for the appointed time, I busied myself with displacement - or, rather, re-placement - activities.

It's taken me hours and hours to get some semblance of order in the kitchen and living room (living room was the dumping ground),  and to try not to just relocate the mess to the guest bedroom.

The tree should be arriving today, so I also had to clear a space for that.

My flat screen laptop fell off its stand on to the floor. 

I looked at it in horror.

The screen was still on.  I picked it up, placed it back on its stand, and tried a few programs.  I'm doing y backups at the moment, just in case.   Luckily it seems to have fallen flat on its back, rather than on the front or on an edge. I daren't turn it off and on again yet.


I bought another electric desk, to use as a kitchen table.  It was very inexpensive, even with the cost of a private courier to collect and deliver it.

While we waited for it to arrive, we discussed options.

My ideal was to take the bamboo worktop - bought this time last year as a temporary thing, but extremely lovely - and put it on top of the desk. It didn't have to be now, it could wait until we re-did the kitchen. (We've been going to re-do the kitchen since 2013, but I haven't found one I want yet.  And I haven't looked for about a year).  The desk could be dismantled and stored in the summerhouse, or the shed. .Or it could stay mantled in the summer house. 

It was likely that the new desk wouldn't be able to take the weight of the worktop (and the rest of the stuff), but my sewing desk upstairs can take 150kg so a swapsy was a possibility.

When the desk arrived, it was quite a neat little thing, much less industrial than its upstairs brother.  We speculated about the weight of the worktop.     We had a piece left, so we weighed it, and calculated that the full worktop is 57kg.  The new desk can cope with 100kg, so we decided that was probably OK.

We discussed whether to do something, or to leave it until later.

We decided we'd do something.  The something was going to involve some lifting and shunting,  so I called upon my DB2 to see if he could help.  He came over almost straightaway, we'd only got as far as emptying the units that currently lived under the worktop.

For the next few hours there was a humongous amount of activity.  Taking the worktop off,  fixing it to the desk.  Moving the two Units. Both were from Ikea, but from completely different ranges. One has sliding doors in a sort of pink colour, the other has drawers.units in a very high gloss cream colour.  (Bought at different times, for different purposes, and to try out different Ikea kitchen styles. Each was hidden under our worktop, so it was never a problem). 

With the new arrangement there is only space for one unit, so one unit had to go. The one that stayed could either live under the desk, looking like a pedestal  or (in the case of the sliding door cupboard)  we could try wall mounting it.   We tried the Ikea sliding door cabinet first.  Luckily, it was a wall unit which we had mounted on tall legs on the floor.  It actually looked good in both places.  Lots of photographs and discussions,  and the decision was made.

The pics came down, the nails were removed, the light fitting had to be moved a bit. Wall unit up, table in place.

It it's always been that way.

The table can now be moved and used as a proper table.  It can be lowered for small children, raised for sewing or a bar,  it can be pitched at the perfect height when we are dealing with a half pig.

It's great.

The rest of the house looks like a bomb has hit it.  Operation clear-up had to wait, as it was Vet time.

Sunday 13 December 2015


Panto yesterday, local show, great as always.

Got home, no Wash.

Found him, huddled under radiator.  Smelt awful. Lifted him up to check he was OK and discovered that he had a broken leg. Hit by a car.

Emergency vet at t11.30pm.

He also has jaundice, so they can't x ray or operate until they know what's causing it.  If it's liver damage, he won't be well enough to operate anyway.

Blood tests today.

Saw him again  at 5pm today. He looks brighter, despite being on a drip, mainly because he's on happy meds.  He was pleased to see us, tried to get up but failed.

We'll know more tomorrow lunchtime.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Slip up

I'm battered and rather bruised, and I'm lucky.

The young chickens have taken to making a racket at about 7 in the morning.  Each day one of us gets up, looks out of the window, can't see anything, goes downstairs, unlocks the back door, pads down to the Run, and checks that everything is OK.  (It is. however, the dog a few doors down is usually barking, so we think we are having a foxy visitor each morning).

Yesterday it was my turn.  barefoot, I managed to slip on the carpeted stairs. Worse, somehow I managed to get my ring caught on a balustrade. The weight of the rest of me was pulling on my finger, and I was unable to move myself to use my feet to stop.

I thought about calling for DH, but I realised that was pointless. By the time he'd woken up enough to realise there was a problem,  had got up, and got to me, and freed me,  my finger would be broken. Or the balustrade. Or both.  My shoulder was hurting from being pulled in two directions, and I tried in vain to get one foot up somewhere to give me leverage.   I did it in the end.

The chickens were OK. When I got back in, I inspected my finger and realised that I needed to take action to get my rings off, before they had to be cut off.  I put my hand under the cold tap and soaped.  My engagement ring came off, but my wedding ring was stuck.

I remembered something about dental floss and removing rings.  I googled.  I searched the bathroom cabinet until I found the floss. I tried, it hurt more than I imagined, I gave up. I soaked my hand.

I googled again.  Elastic band.  Found band. Tried it. Fail.

Elastic.  I couldn't get this to work n my own, so I had to ask DH for help.  We argued (of course).  We tried it.  Nearly.  I soaked my hand and we tried again. DH used tweezers to try and get the end of the elastic under the ring. It HURT.   A LOT.  We pulled the elastic.  It was very painful.  The ring moved a smidge. And a smidge more.  Enough for me to soak my hand, re-soap, and then I got it off.

All day I felt like I was in a cartoon,  my bulbous finger was pulsating and looked horrendous.

Today it looks better.  But it's still too big for the rings.

And I have some rather impressive bruises. All over the place.

Nothing broken, though.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Christmas cards

My machine and I are getting on at the moment.  When she's working well, she really is lovely.

I had a break for some time, I couldn't make myself do anything on it.  Then the software arrived, so I did some reorganisation in preparation for using that,  and then I decided to bite the bullet and do some christmassy stitching for some special cards.  

There was a problem with the software which set me back a bit.  Janome responded immediately and emailed me a fix, and I was back up and running.  

It's been a busy few days.

The kitchen looks like it's been hit by a craft bomb.  There were card blanks and enveloped everywhere. Piles of stitched designs.  Piles of fabric.  Packets of bought cards (bought in the sales last year) for people I want to send a card to, but don't want to hand make one.   A neat pile of printed address labels.   Printed card-insides, and sliced off remnants where I've trimmed them to fit. Pritt Sticks in various states of decay.   Several rolls of double sided stucky tape. Scissors.  Reels of thread.  Rolls of felt.  It was horrendous.

Today I wrote, addressed, and stamped all my non-made cards.  Then I started working through the made designs, and matched the design with the intended recipient.    Then I started on some very individual designs, and while they were printing, I attempted to clear the decks.

The kitchen now looks better.... but the hallway is a bit of a disaster zone.

I had licked-and-sticked a number before I thought about taking photos. Oh well. 

I've still got some very detailed designs to do, so I hope I can keep the motivation for another few days.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Gorgeous Girls

So, we had a spate of the Litlees sleeping out on the Verandah.

This isn't as bad as it sounds... the Verandah is a platform that I got DH to construct, just outside the door of the orange cube.  It was designed to help Lotti (who had a deformed foot) get into the Cube more easily.  She could wait on the Verandah until there was an opportunity, then rush in.

After we lost Lotti, we left the Verandah in place because the girls really liked it;  sunbathing on it during summer days, and sometimes sleeping on it during hot summer nights.

Anyway, it's not summer and, although I'm sure the litlees aren't getting cold, I'm pretty sure they were sleeping on the verandah because Poppy and/or Gloria wouldn't let them in to the Cube.

We decided to give them more choice. We connected the purple cube to the main run, so we have two cubes open. For the first night, I forced the older girls, Gloria and Poppy, to sleep in the purple cube and let the litlees sleep in the orange cube.

The next night they organised themselves.  Poppy was in the purple cube,  Gloria was in the orange cube with the littlees (although Gloria was in the nest box).

The third night, Poppy and Gloria were in the purple cube.

Then Fleur laid her first, dark brown, egg.  (I did the egg dance, in my dressing gown, in the rain)

Then all of them were in the orange cube (Poppy and Gloria in the nestbox).

And it's been that way since.