Saturday 17 August 2019

Olfactory sensitivity

My brother's granddaughter, Miss A,  has very heightened senses.  We know that she is very sensitive to noise, and light, and smell,  and sometimes her processing system gets a bit overloaded and she has to do the human equivalent of going offline and rebooting herself.

My brither and I were taking her to London recently, to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  It was actually a birthday pressie for two of my grandchildren,  and we were meeting them in London.

When my brother and Miss A arrived at mu house,  I asked if they wanted some breakfast.  Dinner, before the show, wasn't until 5.15    Miss A declined,  so I offered my brother some waffles.   I have a waffle maker, which I rarely use,  and I'd recently bought some ready-made waffle mix.  I was keen to try it before risking offering it to the grandchildren the following day. I guessed that Miss A might change her mind, once she saw the waffles.

My brother realised what I was doing, and saud he'd love some.  I got the two of them to make up the battr, while I sorted out the waffle maker.    When it was ready, I put some batter in - not too much, I've had major leakage before.

We waited and waited and wondered howto tell when the waffles were cooked.  We agreed I should open the maker and look.   I did.  They weren't done.  It was a mess, as i'd opened the maker right up instead of just opening it slightly.

We laughed,  I put more on,  and my brother and I ate some of the partially cooked rejected waffle. It wasn't bad,  Miss A nibbled on a bit.

We speculated again about how long to leave the second attempt.   Siuddenly, Miss A said "It smells different now".  We looked at her.  I sniffed the machine, and she was right.  There was a slight sweeter smell.  I opened it up,  and we had two perfectly cooked waffles.

MIss A decided she would like some waffles please.  She tried some maple syrup on her finger, and then decided to have that, and ice cream, as well.

The next lot went in,  and my brother and I smelt around the machine.  It smelled like....someone ironing clothes, actually.  I kept having a sniff,  and then suddently, the smell changed.  Just as I smelt it, Miss A announced from the other side of the room that the smell had changed so they were probably done.    We were right. They were.

That was all the waffle mix used up.

The next morning when my grandchildren got up, I offered them waffles.  I told them abouf Miss A's olfactory sensitivity, and the fact that you could smell when the waffles were cooked.

And do you know what?    

For the first set, I couldn't smell a change so I opened up the wadffle aker, just a teeny bit.  T=I hadn't smelt annythng, because they weren't done!.   A minute later, I could smell the difference.

It worked for all the waffles !

Tuesday 13 August 2019

MOving Day

Wew got everythingpacked in the car (food,  cover for the run which we'd forgotten the day before, greens, etc).  The travelling crate was in the boot and ready.

The Barnies were easy.  Once I'd caught them, each sat beautifully in my hand and ate my treat offering.  I popped them in to the travelling crate with some treats.   teh Leghorns were difficult to catch and would not eat once caught,  not even Long John.   Bertie Junior was a bit of trouble, but happy enough.

We drove slowly and carefully.  At the allotment, we put them in their coop, with the door shut.  We rhen busied ourselves with other jobs, like egg collecting and washing and filling waterers.    We then opened the coop door, and carried on with jobs (mucking out, this time).

Paul came out early on and wandered around.  He ate some corn, he had a scratch around.  I caught him and stroked him, and put him on the feeder, but he ran off.  A little while later, I opened the nest box to find the others all sitting in there.  I told them to go out and explore, and threw some more corn.

I caight them, put them on the treadle.   They are used to operating a treadle feeder,  but they need to know that there is food inside.

All but BigBoy came out.    Eventually I had to open the nestbox door again to encourage him out.

I've seen it before:  the one who is boss here in the garden is not so cock sure when they move to the allotment.

By the time we left, they'd all been scratching around, drinking,  and listening to Bertie Sr crow.  Bertie Sr obviously knows they are boys, because he had to get on top of one of the coops to crow, and he did a lot of displaying for his laydeez.

We'll go back tonight to make sure they all manage to get to bed, and to see if they've managed to work the feeder. 

And I'll be back again tomorrow morning.

Nothing to crow about

Last night we decided to try shutting the coop door on the Littlees.    It doesn't sound like a difficult decision, but it is. Was.

Firstly,  there are 11 very small chickens in a small coop.  It;s OK with the door open, they are still small.  If we shut the door,  it could get a bit too hot.

Secondly,  if the door is shut and one of the hormonal boys decides to start trouble,  there is no way for his victim to escape.   BigBoy had been causing trouble and dissent all day.  I had even seen him chasing and pecking the girls,  and not in a playful way.

We decided it was cool enough to risk it.  They are just below us in the garden, we slept with the window open,  and we can hear them well enough.

I decided I'd get up at about 6.30 to let them out, before trouble broke out.  If it worked, maybe they could stay for a couple more days.

At 5.15,  Sasha started.  Then Fay.  I got up, checked out of the window,  nothing there.  I stomped outside, caught them both and put them in the little wooden nestboxes.  These have been brilliant. They are tall enough for any of the Girls to walk into and sit down and make herself comforrtable.  They aren't tall enough for a bird to draw itself up to make the loudest racket possible. I left Fleur alone;  the two Oldees, Gloria and Poppy, hadn't even got up yet.

I heard BigBoy crowing in his coop.

I went back to bed.   At 6 am, Fleur started.   Fleur rarely gets gobby unless everyone else is, in which case she joins in so as  not to be left out.  I waited for about 30 seconds to see if it would subside, and it didn't.   I got up and went out.  The Oldees were getting up.  I shut the auto door on the main coop,  caught Fleur, and posted her in to the main coop through the nest box.

Big Boy and Long John both crowed, and there was lot of impatient shuffling as I walked past.

I made a cup of tea and went upstairs.  I was wide awake, so I came back down again.

I opened the Littlees coop and they all streamed out.  The two leghorns crowed.   There was some squawking and some bad tempered chasing around the run.     I opened the run so they could get out on the grass.  

Today it is.

Monday 12 August 2019

Stone the crows

BigBoy (the Yellow Partridge Leghorn) and Long John Silver (the Silver duckwing  leghorn) have been crowing for some time .  BigBoy has almost a proper crow, just not the shrillness or volume yet; LongJohn has a strangled couple of notes.

Up until this morning,  they would both crow at an unsocuable hour, say 5.30 am,  do about 12 crows each, and then shut up until 4pm.  Then they'd both crow again.

This morning, all started as usual.  Except they wouldn't stop at one verse.  And after the two of them had had a go,  a third strangled squawk could be heard before they all started again.  The third crow is from Bertie Jr.     They started again at about 8am, and I'm sure I heard a 4th crow in there, but I couldn't tell who was the culprit.

They've had more goes during the day,  and is pretty antisocial.

So, they have to go off to the allotment.   We would have taken them today, but  I had to spend most of  the day at the hospital;   so DH got the allotment ready for them, and we're taking them tomorrow morning.

We've decided to leave all the girls here for now.  Only 2 of them are going ot the allotment,  and we don't want to have 2 girls in with 6 boys.   Even though we should have another 6 - 8 weeks before it becomes an issue,  we can't guarantee it. The Leghorn boys have matured really quickly,  and I don't want to have to be worrying about the girls.

Miss Tween is away, I'm really sorry we couldn't wait until she got back.

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Long John Silver

One of our chicks is a silver leghorn cockerel, with a dodgy foot, and we've called him Long John Silver (because he's got a leg problem; and he's a silver leghorn. I had to explain it to Miss Tween).

Of all the boys we have this year, Long John is by far the friendliest.  He loves to do jumpy uppy. He's happy to be held and cuddled.     He's almost as friendly as Penguin was, last year.

I've no chance of rehoming him, because of his deformity.  Today I found myself just looking at coops,   and tryng to work out how I could fit a coop for him and two of the leghorn girls at the allotment.

I briefly wondered about trying to keep him with another cockerel in one big flock,

Or here.  Maybe I could keep him here and he'd keep the old girls in check. He might not be noisy.

It's silly.  I don't want to breed leghorn.   If I'd wanted to keep a lightweight bird, I could have kept Pengy last year. And I didn't.    And he was even friendlier than Long John..

Why has Long John got under my skin?

I put my emotions to one side, and thought about it.   I guess it's partly because he's disabled,  and he therefore reminds me of Lottie, the exchequer leghorn I lost to a fox about 3? years ago.

But its also because, this year,  we will be keeping 2 leghorn girls at the allotment.  We won't be breeding from them (not with a dual purpose cockerel, anyway), so they could be kept separate. If we had space. And a coop. I guess in the back of my mind this made me consider a little trio. Blondie, Sunshine, and Long John.      It as the attraction of  no necessary introductions to the big group.   Keep them separate. Happy.

This wasn't an option last year when we hatched Pengy. We had only dual purpose girls,  so there really wasn't a choice with him.    If I'm honest with myself, there isn't really a choice with Long John,  it's all just (chicken) pie in the sky.

Maybe he'll turn out to be a teenage thug and I'll be glad to be rid of him.

In the meantime, he continues to be first to run up for jumpy uppy, and I keep trying to work out the best ways to keep my options open. 

I won't mention any of this to Miss Tween.

Monday 5 August 2019


Today I went to Pilates for the first time in..... many, many months.    My leg was a bit inflamed, but it wasn't too painful,  and  decided I should make the effort.  The longer I leave it, the harder it will be to re-start

It was...OK.   I had to wear my PJ trousers because I couldn't bear the pressure of leggings on my leg.  I couldn't wear socks either, same reason.  Some of the exercises I just couldn't do. so I did simple movements while those were going on.

I'm pleased I went.

It goes to Show...

After a year of pretty much going nowhere, at all, we've been to  the theatre in London 4 times in the last couple of months.

First (and second) up was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This is in two parts, and I was lucky that a theatre group I belong to managed to make a group booking. We saw Part 1 on a Thursday, and Part 2 on the Friday.    

We'd been talking about going for years, but it was expensive, involved 2 trips into town, and we jist couldn't get round to it.     This year, one of my brothers/his wife, and my husband/ I decided we wouldn't swap birthday pressies, and we'd put the money towards tickets.  We be celebrating all 4 birthdays in two days, with two meals out, so it wouldn't seem quite so extravagant.

It was AMAZING.  If you like Harry Potter,  if you've seen the films,  then go and see the stage show.  The story is good,  the acting superb (especially young Scorpius,  son of Draco Malfoy), and the effects were excellent.       I'm so glad we went, it was so worth the money!

The Only Fools and Horses Comedy Dinner ShowWe'd been to see Only Fools the Musical with tmy best friend and her husband,  a mega fan,  a couple of months ago.  It was a great show, really well done. 

Following on from that, the four of us had a chance to go to the Only Fools Dining experience.  DH and I had been to a Fawlty Towers one previously (thanks to his daughter and her husband) and thouroughly enjoyed it.  We weren't sure how they'd weave the meal into Only Fools, but they did it really well.    The actors did a great job, and seemed to be having as good a time as the audience.

Next week I'm taking two of DSD's children to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  I haven't seen that for... longer than I care to remember.    My niece's little girl is coming as well.  I hope they all like it!


Friday 2 August 2019


A few days ago I got a shirt out of my wardrobe recently to cover my arms when playing jumpy/uppy with the chicks  They have long nails and they scratch when they scrabble up.  I noticed a top in there, which was unusual (unusual that there was a top in there,  not an unusual top) as most of my tops are me-made, and live in a drawer.

Today I was getting changed and decided to try on that top that I saw.  I did.  It didn't fit and it didn't suit me.  I don't remember buying it, I haven't bought tops for some years (apart for a load of long cotton tee shirts for doing Pilates in).  .  I noticed another one. And another.  At least 3 brand new tops, all with the tags on.    I tried each of them on.  They were all sort of pretty on the hanger,  but none of them fitted, none of them flattered,  and none of them are wearable (not by me anyway).

I am really confused. 

If I'd bought them in the shop, I would have tried them on (either there or as soon as I got home).  If I'd bought them online, I would have tried them on and then returned them.   One of them was in a bag, so it must have been an online purchase.

I checked my M&S account, but the online account order information only goes back a year.  I went through my scanned invoices for online purchases, nothing.  Maybe I didn't scan the invoice, assuming I'd be able to access it through my account?

I guess this is how people with the start of dementia feel.  I'm seriously trying to work out who might have put something in my wardrobe...and part of me is scared that it was me and I don't remember.

Thursday 1 August 2019

Tempus fugit

We've had a busy couple of weeks looking after The Tween.  I'm exhausted!

We started with a trip to Monkey World.  This was meant to have happened at half term, but I was too unwell to travel that far.   It was a fab day, and we were able to see all the monkeys and apes that we wanted to.  We were up to date with Monkey Life - or at least as up to date as the end of the most recently televised series.  The park held a couple of not unpleasant surprises for us, including Bart being in charge of Paddy's group.

A lot of  the time has been spent doing homework related stuff.  Today's topics included hunting down some local Monkey Puzzle trees (we took a pic of her by a small, 8 year old, and another a very old one);    cleaning and disinfecting two coops (the task was actually  'wash a car',  but this was much more useful to us, and more interesting for the Tween.    

Yesterday we went to the cinema to see Toy Story 4 (part of "watch 3 Disney films you haven't seen before").  I don't think she's written that up yet,  we made fresh lemonade, and... I've forgotten the rest.

She has to do at least 10 (and ideally 30)  of the listed activities and write about each of them.  Each one has to have photographic evidence, and has to be signed by a responsible adult to confirm that it was genuinely done.

It's a bit of a nightmare - there's so much of it!

The chicks are now small chickens.  There is a lot of battling for position, and the two leghorns are crowing.     ShyBoy, our most handsome Barnevelder,  has gone to a new home.  I've been looking for homes for the other purebred boys, but no luck so far.  

The 5 Girls have, at last, all got names.  We also know who is likely to go where in the future... and if the boys start crowing any more, the future won't be too far away.   The Tween loves playing with the chicks and she's really good with them.  She knows how to hold them properly,  and she spends ages getting them used to being handled, practising their "jumpy uppy", and other things.   She's really observant as well, so we always listen if she notices anything about them.