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Accidental pumpkins

♥Jul. 26th, 2017 // 09:01 pm
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We decided to try growing butternut squash for the first time this year, and I thought I'd improve our chances by buying some grafted plants.

It turns out that the root stock is pumpkin:



(We've chopped off the bits with pumpkin leaves, now!)
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Hmm

♥Jul. 25th, 2017 // 07:33 am
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Please, I said to the sitters before we went away, please help yourselves to vegetables, and be sure to pick the courgettes before they get too big.



(Mrs Farmer's been picking tomatoes for about three weeks now. "They are in the polytunnel," she said consolingly, but then so are mine!)

We've been travelling around The Frozen North* for the last few days, including Chester, Glossop, Ripon, Harrogate, Barnsely and Stoke. The sitters seem to have mostly done a good job, although I'm going to be having A Word with them about getting the gravel out of GB's feet when they come back in a couple of weeks for worldcon: I must have spent five minutes on what's normally a thirty second job, this morning.

The Wedding went pretty well in the end, although there was quite a lot of venue drama beforehand. My aunt is threatening a blistering TripAdvisor review, although I think my sister would rather have a refund!

* I had to borrow a coat from my mother. Never occurred to me to take one with me!
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Hay-fever

♥Jul. 17th, 2017 // 09:15 pm
My mother had hay-fever when she was younger, and it went away entirely when she was pregnant with my sister.

My sister has always had really horribly terrible hay-fever, and childhood eczema, and dust allergies.

When my mother was pregnant with me, her hay-fever came back.

I've never had hay-fever, or indeed any allergy in my life.

We've always put the whole thing down to some sort of pregnancy / immune system weirdness. However....

I've been sneezing for the last four or five days, and feel otherwise fine. Bah! I guess it's caught up with me at last.
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How embarassing!

♥Jul. 15th, 2017 // 08:51 pm
I just went to vote for the Hugos, and the only category where I had any strong opinion was Best Series (which I'm still not entirely sure I agree with as a concept anyway) and maybe BDP:SF.

I don't think I've read any of the fiction other than one novel that I bounced off. I've seen one of BDP:LF, and half of BDP-SF but couldn't tell you which episode was which. While I do think that Chuck Tingle deserves some Fan Writer kudos I'm not sure I want to rank him top in the category....

Oops. Am obviously a Bad Fan!
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Multi-tasking

♥Jul. 15th, 2017 // 11:20 am
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This morning, I pruned the wisteria, which (despite, or possibly as a result of, not getting to flower) has grown very vigorously this year.

This had the added advantage of providing Jo with a bijou snackette (once she figured out how to unwrap it) and, I very much hope, stopping expectant-mama-pigeon from waking me up at 4:30 every morning from now on.
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Awkward to the end...

♥Jul. 14th, 2017 // 10:41 pm
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It's very common to have a horse who spends his working life wearing shoes and then has them taken off for his retirement, on account of them not being needed when all he's doing is wandering around in a field.

GB's been happily barefoot for a decade, but today the farrier said that now he's not working we need to think about putting shoes on him for the two hundred yard walk up and down the hill each day to the summer pasture. It is true that his feet were a state, but I was thoroughly expecting to be told not to be silly when I mentioned shoes....

What I'll probably do is put booties on him, morning and evening, just for the walk. I ordered a set this afternoon, and they'll probably arrive before we go away for The Bloody Wedding so that I can check that they fit / he doesn't object too much before the sitters have to deal with him.

When we first took his shoes off, I bought him some ferociously expensive booties, which he hated with a passion. Now that he's had no shoes for so long, they don't fit him any more, so they've gone back in the box. Hopefully he won't complain too much about the new ones...
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Rain!

♥Jul. 11th, 2017 // 05:49 pm
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It's raining! And the forecast is for it to keep doing so all night! (Maybe now the fertiliser that Mr Farmer put on the field the other week will actually get washed into the ground: radical concept!)

The swallows have fledged their chicks. We suspect that the wrens have as well, but they vanished fairly quickly. The swallows, on the other hand, are still around and learning how to fly: we keep walking into stables to be met by confused birds trying to avoid flying into us.

I'm a wee bit worried about Esk, who seems to be having some difficulties in the egg department: she keeps laying wonky ones, and a couple of days ago she produced two in one afternoon, the second with a rather squidgy shell that Jo was very pleased to receive. Mind you, that was the same day when we found one that Agnes had laid actually in the pond, so, y'know....

This afternoon, I had my first private session with my new Pilates instructor. I'm rather tired now. I think it'll work out, though: I've booked another session!
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I had thought it was cooler today...

♥Jul. 8th, 2017 // 06:18 pm
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... but we've just been up the hill to get the boys down, with detour to get the ragwort* out of the Up The Hill's once-and-maybe-future veg garden**, and now I've changed my mind....

We had been going to go to the County Show on Friday, but decided that tomorrow looked cooler and so better for Jo (and me!). It now looks as though we'll have to leave her at home anyway.

* It's next to the road, and I noticed some while walking past the other day, so I sent a text asking if I could get it out before it went to seed: the seed would have blown straight onto the summer pasture, and just led to more work next year.

** The old Up The Hills had a veg garden there, it's currently something of a jungle featuring head-high nettles, willow herb and St John's Wort. Apparently, the girls have been exploring it but I'm probably the first adult to go down there in a year. If they have, they must be getting very used to nettle stings.
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Bloody horse flies....

♥Jul. 6th, 2017 // 02:27 pm
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The horse flies have been leaving me alone to a surprising extent over the last week or so. I was starting to wonder if new Mr Up The Hill (another one of us poor blighted folk who is beloved of insects) was running interference for me, as I'd had no bites in ages.

Sadly, it wasn't to be: yesterday, they started before I'd even left the stableyard, and I collected half a dozen bites as well as killing a few more before they got far enough to leave a lump.

(My guess is that the second generation was delayed by the dry weather, and that we're now n days from some rain, where n is the time taken for them to go through their pre-bitey stage of life.)

One of them, on my arm, is much nastier-looking than usual, with a big, hot swollen area around it: we decided that it was a bit worrying and so consulted the local hospital app (it works out your best A&E/MI unit based on current waiting and driving times, utterly genius) and headed off to a health centre near Whitstable with a minor injuries unit.

After a little convincing the nurse that no, really, I get bitten a lot and I know when it's worse than usual, and a bit of worried confusion when he thought that the lump was all the way up my arm (solved when he looked at my other arm and muttered 'oh, you have good muscle definition!'), he sent me off to the chemist for better antihistamines than I'd already been taking and told me to keep an eye on it.

As they're drowsy antihistamines, I'm hoping that they'll do the job quickly and not leave me unable to drive at weekend....
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Cherry surprise

♥Jul. 4th, 2017 // 08:14 pm
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After Little Quilt Club today, I headed cross-country to the big local farm shop: it's not the closest, but I wanted both flowers and cherries, and that rather limited my options. ("Are you going all that way?" the ladies at LQC asked, before conceding that they couldn't actually think of anywhere closer that sold both.)

About half way there, I passed a cherry stall at the side of the road, so I made a mental note and kept on going.

The farm shop provided a lovely bunch of flowers (for Mrs Farmer, as that was all the payment that Mr Farmer would take for doing the field at weekend), after which I headed back and (via an only-slightly-dodgy u-turn) stopped at the cherry stall.

Much to my surprise, it was being manned by the lady who I used to buy cherries from on the A2 on the way to Pilates. I hadn't realised that she had the stall in both places, and this one is much more convenient than the other. I realised later that I should have asked which locations she did on which days of the week....

There's now half a jar of cherries in booze in the cupboard, and a bowl of cherry pie filling* in the fridge. My new cherry pitter works well, although it's a bit of a squeeze to get the biggest ones into it and a couple of the stones got stuck and had to be bashed out. She also had the first English peaches of the year, so I bought a few to try: they're ready to eat and tasty, so I'll go back next Tuesday (presumably she'll be there again then, and I'll be in the area anyway) for more cherries and peaches, which I'll stick in jars as long as I can keep them away from Mike for long enough!

* looking online at cherry pie recipes, and having discounted the ones that include cherry jam in the list of ingredients, there seem to be two broad classes: ones where you cook the filling first and then thicken it with corn flour/starch; and ones where you cook it in the oven with the rest of the pie and include tapioca to thicken it. I'm unsure whether this just means that they are all based on one of two ur-recipes or whether there is some difference in the nature of corn flour and tapioca that makes the different methods better. Either way, a) I have corn flour in the house; b) I was brung up to blind bake my pies; c) I want to adapt the recipes to make smaller pies that I can cook in the Aga (which both make it tricky to reach the specific temperature and cooking time needed to set the tapioca-style filling); and d) I'd rather freeze prepared filling than raw cherries; so I've gone for the cook-it-first method. Anyone have strong opinions either way? I am wondering whether it would be better to freeze it pre-cornflour and then defrost and quickly boil it up to add that later.
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Overly optimistic jars

♥Jul. 2nd, 2017 // 06:23 pm
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To go with the jar of wild strawberries in vodka (much better crop this year than last, the jar's pretty much full), I thought I'd start a jar of cherries from our new morello cherry tree, on the patio (where the pointless grape vine used to be).

The books say that morello cherries do well on north-facing walls, which seems to be the case, and that birds don't eat the fruit because they're too sour, which seems not to be. After we lost the first few, we netted it and I've been picking the cherries as they come ripe.

I'd guess that about half of them are in the jar, now.



It's possible that a smaller jar might have been sufficient....

Yesterday morning, Mrs Farmer rang to say that Mr Farmer was on his way down to us, so now our field is nicely spread with little blue fertiliser granules. It would have been even better if last night's rain had actually amounted to anything, but as it was it was little enough to not help our field but enough (I suspect) to have caused problems for the hay that Mr Farmer had on the ground.

After he'd been, we headed northwards, carefully avoiding the M11 and associated 90 minute delays, where we spent a lovely afternoon sitting in the garden with friends, food and wine. I was a bit worried about how Jo would be, given that she's still rather clingy (a few days ago, Mike went to bed with a migraine and she refused to come out for a walk with me), but she was absolutely fine, even when she got left without either of us for a little while, and even said hello to another dog. The sausages that people kept sneaking her probably helped....

Mike mowed the front lawn today. Although much less colourful it does look vastly neater. In some ways it's good that it's too dry for it to grow much in summer, as he doesn't have to mow it so often, but it does end up looking a little odd when the non-grasses get going.

It seems to be a good year for squash: does anyone want some courgettes...?
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The sweetpeas are taking over

♥Jun. 25th, 2017 // 05:42 pm
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Last year, I planted a couple of perennial sweetpea plants in one of the flower beds. They did ok, but weren't really anything special.

Either they needed a little while to get themselves established or they much prefer the weather this year:



I had a go at putting normal sweetpeas along the drive this year, as I had spares and thought they'd look nice if they grew up the fence. They've rather been out-competed by the stuff on the other side of the fence (in the stableyard), though. I think I might get myself another pack of perennial seeds and see how they do there!

We went to see a horse on Sunday: he seemed to have a lovely personality, and looked nicely put together, but he'd never been ridden properly and didn't have a clue what he was doing in the school. Hopefully she'll find him a nice home where he can do nothing but go for long hacks....

I went to London last week, to see the dentist. Some sort of viral thing seems to have come back with me, which explains why I was so knackered all weekend, and probably also the upset stomach. I'm not exactly *ill*, but I'm also not entirely well. Possibly, in the light of this, I should have spent less time weeding today. It did need doing, though: it's been too hot recently to contemplate working in the garden.

We seem to have a lot of what look almost like yellow thistles appearing in the garden this year. Not sure what they are or where they've suddenly appeared from!
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Too hot....

♥Jun. 18th, 2017 // 08:15 pm
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I spent much of the day in the hammock. Jo is also too hot, poor thing.

The last couple of years, we've had a paddling pool on the patio for Jo to go in after her walks. It's not entirely satisfactory, as it's bigger and shallower than she'd like it to be, and takes so much water that I don't like to change it often, so it gets very icky. I did some noodling around online last week, and discovered the existence of something called a plasterer[']s['] bath, which is used to mix stuff up in and sounded like a very good size: 4'x2'x1' deep.

Jo does seem to like it, but it doesn't like being left full of water....



(It looks even worse now, the other side's also bowed out. I suspect it's going to die a death next time she climbs in!)

Bizarrely, GB seems to have bonded with one of the mares: when we brought them down the hill, he stood in the corner of the stableyard watching them, and when we put the boys to bed he was calling to her. Most unlike him, he's much too old to suddenly develop a taste for the ladies!
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Bitey

♥Jun. 18th, 2017 // 10:02 am
I am completely unsurprised to have woken up this morning with the evidence of yesterday's work in the field on my legs: four horsefly bites, the first of the season.

(And I've realised belatedly that my sister's wedding is in the middle of horse fly season, which may well scupper the plan to make my mother happy by wearing a dress!)

Agnes is, if not actually fine, back to her normal level of limpiness today, so I guess that the pick-her-up cure did the trick again.
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Hot hot hot...

♥Jun. 17th, 2017 // 08:17 pm
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This morning, we went up to the summer pasture and set up the electric fence (to keep the boys away from the (rickety and barbed-wire-topped) real fence), and then took them up there. It was quite warm. As ever, they spurned the water trough up there and so drank all the water in the stableyard when they came back down. Sigh. (It always takes them a few weeks to deign to drink from the trough up there, presumably because it tastes different: it's a stone trough when they're used to plastic, and/or the water doesn't go through the softener that treats our water.)

I'm a little concerned by Agnes, aka Limpy McDinosaur Duck. She's being even limpier than usual, and holding her wings very strangely as she hobbles around the place, and when she's lying down she's been wibbling her beak and twitching her wings. I was half thinking I'd pick her up for a quick check when we put them to bed, even though she hates being handled, but she made it easy by getting most of the way to their house and then just collapsing with a splat on the ground. Couldn't find anything obviously wrong, and I'm not going to be calling a weekend evening vet for her, but I am quite worried that she's suddenly got much worse. Fingers crossed that the magic 'pick her up to see what's wrong' cure will work and she'll be better tomorrow.

The garden, on the other hand, is going along well. The polytunnel's looking very green, and there's at least one actual tomato set on the early russian variety:



(10th May, to compare: they have grown!)

We've also got actual you-could-eat-those baby courgettes, very teeny squash, lots of tomatillo cases with baby fruit inside, and runner bean flowers. This afternoon, we shared the first mange tout of the season. The wild strawberries by the riding school are also doing well, and the jar of strawberries in vodka is filling up nicely.

I have been appreciating my hammock, which is on the grass in the shade, and so lovely and cool. I *almost* came inside to get a light blanket when I was in it a couple of days ago!
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Huh

♥Jun. 16th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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While I was mucking out this morning, I saw the wren, mouth stuffed with insects, hop through the drain and into the empty stable. I was only a step or two away, so I poked my head around the door to see where he went next.

After perching on a stack of pallets for long enough to give me a suspicious look, he flew up and delivered his insects to the row of open mouths waiting in the swallows' nest.

I guess that the wrens decided that a disused swallow nest was a nice place to raise their brood, but now I'm wondering where the swallows are living this year!
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Oh, hello....

♥Jun. 14th, 2017 // 09:52 pm
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Today, we found some horse flies in the polytunnel. Bets now being taken on time until my first bite of the season....

I wanted a Thing that was an Amazon add-on item, and Mike could only think of another add-on item that he wanted, so I had a look at my Wish List and bought the annotated Pioneer Girl (Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography). Naturally, the book arrived yesterday, Mike's Thing came today, and the Thing that I was actually after still isn't here.

I'd been putting off buying the book (and, indeed, putting off people from buying it for me) because I was hoping for an ebook. Now that it's arrived, I've realised why there isn't one: it's very annotated, and the footnotes are at least twice the length of the text, so it's very much easier to read on paper. I've been reading a section of the bio and then skipping back to read the notes. It's very interesting, although I'm somewhat disappointed to have found an error already (the fictional Wilder family didn't name their cow 'Wreath of Roses'. That was the name she came with and Ma sniffed and said something like "Bah, foreigners, we'll call her 'Spot'"). Still, very interesting and likely to be available to borrow in the not-too-distant future if anyone else was feeling the same way I was about buying it.

Also, *still* nothing about how Pa makes the loo seat nice and smooth. V disappointing.
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And swallows!

♥Jun. 12th, 2017 // 05:38 pm
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The swallows are very busy, swooping around the stableyard. When you poke your head around the door at the right time, you can see a row of little mouths lined up waiting in the nest. There are at least three, possibly one or two more. Fingers crossed that they don't have a problem and have to start a second clutch this year.

We've also see a wren going in and out of that stable (although usually by the drain at ground level rather than flying through the door). It might be that the one who nested in GB's stable last year has decided that he prefers the neighbours down there, and at least it makes it less likely that I'll find drowned fledglings in the water buckets this year!
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Here are some things that have happened

♥Jun. 12th, 2017 // 03:59 pm
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Last Tuesday, it rained. It rained lots and lots and lots. Because he is a special snowflake, GB decided that it was nice weather for a walk and so Mike and I spent an hour or so walking around the stableyard in circles until the vet arrived and gave him some drugs.... I'm increasingly convinced that he gets gassy when the air pressure changes rapidly, because this is by no means the first time that he's had a colic in the pouring rain after a sunny spell. And then there was the time he did it in the snow.

Anyway, he was fine fairly soon after the vet did her thing, so no harm done! (It was also Little Quilt Club that day, so I missed going to that for the morning: bah. On the other hand, if I had gone then Mike wouldn't have had the car to go and collect people, so....)

While we were enjoying our lovely walk, our incoming visitors, who were cycling to see us, phoned to ask if we could possibly go and get them from where they'd spent the night. Once the vet had been, Mike did so, and shortly afterwards the rain (inevitably) stopped.

Still, we had a nice visit, including a trip to The Sportsman, which we'd never previously been to as we'd not got around to booking a table sufficiently far ahead. It was quite nice, but I'm not sure we'll be rushing back, and we weren't terribly impressed by the veggie-friendly-ness of the menu (which didn't have any veggie mains, although when we asked they were able to make two of the starters into mains).

We went to see a possibly horse (not Git Face; someone who managed to co-ordinate better with the owner's schedule got in before us and he's sold), who was terribly nervous of Jo. We put Jo back in the car, but he was still terribly nervous: not actually doing anything, but very tense. While the woman was riding him for us to watch, Mike said "I'm not sure I want to get on him," and I said "I'm not very sure that I do, either," so we said thank you and went home instead.

We've sent off some soil samples from our field for testing, in preparation for getting Mr Farmer to fertilise it when we've moved the boys up the hill to their summer quarters.

My hands seem to have got over their over-use, and I've been able to do some weeding and some sewing, which is a relief. I'm slightly concerned that the tomatoes in the polytunnel aren't setting fruit. We have been leaving one of the doors open, so there are insects in there, but it's possible that we need to open the other one for a few hours each day to get a bit more pollination going.

Today, we've had more visitors, but just for the afternoon. It turns out that iPads make small children much more easy to entertain than I had feared, and that running down our field is terribly fun but walking back up it in order to do so again is less interesting. Horses are a bit big and scary up close, though, which GB would probably be happy about if he realised: he was very grumpy this morning when I put his saddle on and rode him twice around the stableyard to check he would be up to a pony ride, but it turned out not to be necessary in the end.

I realise now that that's probably the last time he'll ever be ridden.
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Jo 3, crate 0

♥Jun. 4th, 2017 // 11:30 am
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Yesterday, we took Jo to the vet to check that there wasn't anything physically wrong with her. She's now got a clean bill of health and a pack of over-priced woo-woo pills, made from milk protein and designed to mimic the way that babies get stoned on breastmilk.

Needless to say, they made absolutely no difference last night when we moved the crate back downstairs and put her in it at bedtime. Mike, who is apparently softer-hearted than I am, gave in after fifteen minutes of banging and crashing. I needn't have bothered going downstairs to get her, though, because fifteen minutes was apparently all that the crate could stand as well:



I've ordered her a new dog bed for in our bedroom, and I guess the crate will be off to the tip on our next trip.

In better news, I did an hour's weeding yesterday with no ill effects, and the drive is now looking neater. Somewhat to my surprise, the spare sweetpeas that I put out there a couple of months ago are doing pretty well even though they got swallowed up by nettles and grass coming through the fence very soon after planting. Hopefully now that I've been able to give them some breathing space they'll bulk up a bit, because I think they would look nice growing over the fence.
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Garden serendipities

♥Jun. 3rd, 2017 // 09:41 am
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I've been philosophical about the fact that the fancy yellow columbines I planted in the garden are gradually being out-competed by the simpler pink/purple/blue ones that grow wild around here, but I was quite impressed today when I spotted a few fun hybrids as well:



I doubt that it's worth saving seed, as they'll be different again next year, but it is quite fun to watch!
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Sigh

♥Jun. 1st, 2017 // 03:50 pm
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Jodie )

Horses )

Wrists )

Oh, and grandad got thrown out of an expedited discharge from the hospital because he was causing trouble, and it looks like he's about to be thrown out of the latest home as well.

Still.

The ducks are laying well and the horses are busy getting fat.

The tomatoes and tomatillos are flowering, and I'm expecting the veg patch to suddenly explode into life any day now.

Mrs Farmer gave me a couple of evergreen honeysuckle last week, which I've planted next to the front fence in the hope that they'll grow over it and look / smell lovely, and the dahlias that I thought had been lost by the courier have arrived and been planted out.

I've just realised that the Pilates book that I bought months ago and never actually looked at not only goes through the exercises but has some ready-made routines in it, which helps with my vague plan to give up on classes in favour of doing it myself at home with an occasional (monthly?) private lesson to check I'm not getting bad habits.

Even with the good things, though, I'm feeling rather brittle and balanced on edge, which isn't a good way to be if you then have a wobble.
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Last night...

♥May. 31st, 2017 // 02:02 pm
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Jodie discovered new and exciting ways to break out of her crate. Sigh.

We're currently planning on moving the crate upstairs: if she insists on sleeping outside our door, she can at least do so in the box. Maybe that will make it less attractive and we'll be able to convince her to stay on her nice comfy sofa. Maybe.
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Pooch problems

♥May. 30th, 2017 // 07:36 am
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We've had a busy weekend of lovely visitors, but Jo seemed to be coping very well with it all until it came to bed time....

Three nights ago, I went to bed and left her in the living room with visitors under orders to cover the sofa, turn off the lights and close the door when they went to bed themselves. I've done that before, with no problems, but (in retrospect) it's always been people she knows better.

This time, though, she kept wandering upstairs and being brought back down again, then (after the door was closed) she started trying to bash the door open. Mike went down a couple of times to try to settle her, but she'd got herself worked up by then and when she started scratching the door he gave up and let her come in our room.

The next night, we didn't want a repeat performance and there was a thunderstorm forecast (which was indeed impressive), so I brought her up with me when I went to bed.

Last night, visitors having left, I put her to bed as normal on her sofa. Ten minutes later she started crashing into the door trying to get through to us, so we came back down, assembled her crate, and settled her in there instead.

Shortly afterwards, there was another crashing noise as she disassembled her crate followed by a panting at our bedroom door. We decided to leave it at that for the night, if only because we were tired and she was worked up again, and at least she didn't try to get through our bedroom door.

Today, the crate has been reassembled, and cable-tied to prevent easy disassembly. She's had two sessions in there so far, a shorter one with me pottering in the kitchen and a longer one with me upstairs. There were a few small exploratory thumps the first time but the second time she settled down and just looked mournful.

I don't really want to have to go back to crating her every night, if only because I can't imagine it will be great for her leg to sleep curled up rather than stretched out on her sofa, but I suppose we'll have to for a little while until she forgets about getting to go upstairs if she makes a fuss....
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Bah

♥May. 22nd, 2017 // 06:41 pm
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So I may have got the garden weeded but I did it at the expense of my wrists, which have been very sore for the past few days. I've been trying to rest them, which is frustrating as I have things that I want to be doing!

It's also a pain for Mike, who keeps having to do things like follow me around the garden while I point at places where he needs to dig up weeds or plant out seedlings. Still, "we"'ve got most of the veg bed planted out now, so hopefully it will all get on with growing and making tasty food. About the only useful gardening that I can do at the moment is watering things and pulling up nettles, which means I'm covered in stings!

On the assumption that it was actually a combination of gardening and cutting out pieces for quilts wot done it, I've put aside the quilt I started last week until I'm doing a bit better. I did, this afternoon, have a go at making a block for a different quilt on the grounds that it's paper pieced and so involves less repetitive/precise cutting of fabric. I'm quite pleased with the results, but my wrists aren't. Sigh.



The whole quilt will have the dark blue and cream fabrics in the background, and then I've got a range of different blue and cream fabrics for the stars.

The Up-The-Hill's came for dinner at weekend, which was nice and (we think) went well. Various amusing but not unexpected things about TWWOTV, including the fact that she's already not speaking to them although they're not sure why!
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Things we have done

♥May. 17th, 2017 // 08:11 pm
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The swallows have come back: we've seen lots of activity in the last few days, including plenty of flying in and out of the stable, so we didn't scare them off. Phew!

The bird 'flu restrictions are, finally, over, which is also a big phew. The ducks are very happy to be back in the garden, and it's meant that we could put the boys in the stableyard, which was getting rather overgrown, so that the field could have a rest. It's currently raining steadily, and set to keep doing so for a few more hours (another phew!), so hopefully the grass will be able to get a bit of growing done tomorrow without being instantly munched back to nothing.

It's been quite hot for the last couple of days, so the Jug Of Minty Water has reappeared in the fridge:


It was much appreciated this afternoon when I came in from weeding the jungle front bed, which is always a sod and got away from me rather this winter, not helped by the lack of ducks disturbing the weeds. It's taken me a week, but at least it's not quite a Forth Bridge job.

I finished off the quilt from my workshop:



("How did you get it done so quickly?" someone asked me at a fabric sale last weekend. "I've had my mother-in-law staying..." I replied. Then she mocked me because I was carrying bolts of fabrics in two solid greys and three beige patterns, so I picked up a plain teal as well and bought some just to show her!)

Does anyone fancy having a go at some orchid identification? I'm stumped by this one, which is potentially more troubling than it would otherwise be as it's in the field we borrow in the summer and I don't want to let the boys near it if it's rare!


It's probably just an odd common spotted, but.... It's not monkey or military, or an insect one. The pink buds make it look like a burnt, which I don't think we get around here and the petals aren't right for anyway. The petal colours look a bit like a chalk fragrant, which is local, but the shape is wrong. That pink border, and the lobe shape, have me quite stumped. It *might* be a lady, but I can't see any 'arms'. They do have the pink buds, and the two-lobes on the petals, though. Hmm. I might go and have another look at it tomorrow....
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Swallows and hay bales

♥May. 13th, 2017 // 09:46 am
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Last summer, as we do when we haven't got three horses, we put some of the year's hay into the spare stable, which is also the one where the swallows have been known to nest. We moved some of it a few months ago, but there were still a few stacks in there.

I opened the top half of the stable door a few weeks ago, when the swallows arrived, but we've been seeing a lot of one pair over the last few days.

Coincidentally, we're just using the last of the hay in the barn, so this morning we moved it all over and left the stable to the swallows (at least until, hopefully, we get a new horse).

Fingers crossed that we didn't leave it too late: there was the start of a new nest on the roof beams next to the one from last year, and just as we finished one of the swallows arrived with a beak full of nesting material. He flew around the stableyard a few times and then went away again, but the pair reappeared just as we were coming inside so hopefully they just went away while we were there and will come back later to go back to work.

(Based on last year, they will start off the season vanishing to hunt when we're out there but then get less and less concerned about avoiding us as time goes on and the chicks get hungrier. Last year, one of them -- mouth stuffed full of food to be taken to the nest -- nearly flew into me!)
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Sewing

♥May. 10th, 2017 // 06:02 pm
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I think it's pretty much done other than stitching it all together....

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All change

♥May. 10th, 2017 // 03:19 pm
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I've just got around to taking the LJ links out of my style sheet. I guess I've really given up on it, now! One of these days, I suppose I should switch to using a modern style: I'm still on a legacy LJ S2 style....

I had Quilt Club at weekend, including a class on Sunday (fortunately, it turned out that the speaker / tutor was far better at the latter than at the former) where we did a modern take on log cabin blocks.

This is what the class produced:

(Mine are the six entirely beige/grey ones about just over half way up the left hand side of the table. "That fabric's very... grey," said Teddy in disapproval when I showed it to him.)

I've done a bit more on it since, and am probably going to do a bit more again shortly. It's been quite interesting, and I'm enjoying it far more than 'proper' log cabin blocks on account of not having to be super careful about cutting the fabric to exactly the right size.

Mostly today I've been gardening. I've potted on almost all the tomatillos and most of the small chillis, and I've planted out the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in the polytunnel:


(We did have a frost last night, but the thermometer in there recorded a low of 0.0C with the doors open, so they should be safe.)

Unfortunately, I did it a bit on autopilot and forgot that The Plan was to put one of each tomato variety outside thus leaving a grow bag spare for the big chillis, so they'll have to go in the conservatory instead. Which means that it's a good job that I didn't have enough compost to pot on all the tomatillos, as I'll need pots to do that!

Now that I've watered them all in, the polytunnel smells even more of wet dog than it did before (from the old carpet underneath): lovely! Hopefully the bits of the irrigation system that are on back order will arrive soon, so that I don't have to do too much hose-pipe watering.

(Jo was very helpful: after coming in the polytunnel once and knocking half a dozen plants over she decided that it wasn't a good place to be and scampered around the garden instead, where she's probably dug up something that she shouldn't have. On the plus side, she did hear a delivery driver that I didn't, so I was able to dash out and get the package. It's amazing how quickly the driver ran back down the path and through the gate when she bounded into the front garden barking.)

Jo and I are on our own today, as Mike's taken his mother to Belgium for an overnight stay. My grandad's had a partial hip replacement, the op seems to have gone well but he's quite confused and groggy. He should be ok as long as he doesn't pull any of his usual hospital tricks (eg, pulling his drip out, ordering taxis to collect him, attacking the nurses), but the chances of that aren't great given his past form.
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This isn't going to end well, is it?

♥May. 8th, 2017 // 02:45 pm
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My passport expires in a few months, so (being the organised sort) I applied for a new one.

It was a surprisingly smooth process, and the passport office has been sending me lots of status update emails, the most recent of which was on the 2nd and said that my passport had been dispatched.

So I waited for Postman Rob, or DPD Darren, or Proud Parcelforce Grandad, or Yodel Guy With The Ferrets, or maybe even FedEx Guy Who Goes Next Door A Lot, but none of them brought me my passport. (Well, Postman Rob brought me my old one back, but that's less useful.)

And then I had a letter from DX Delivery, saying that they'd been unable to deliver it and I could arrange redelivery online or I could call them on their premium-rate phone number. Rather suspicious at the absence of a while-you-were-out card, which does tend to suggest that the driver didn't actually bother to come here, I went onto the website to see what the tracking said (nothing), then went looking for a geographic phone number and found some really bloody awful reviews / rants / complaints.

It seemed safest to call the passport office, so that they'd have a record of it, so I did that (got through instantly; nearly fell over) and pretended that I hadn't had the letter. The nice lady there could looked up the tracking information, and it said that the driver had been unable to access the property: did I live in a block of flats, maybe? Er, no.

(So it's a toss up between 'driver just didn't bother coming' and 'driver came down the hill, saw TWWOTV's Bloody Gate, decided opening a gate wasn't in his job description, reversed back up the hill and went away'.)

Then she put me through to DXDelivery, which at least meant I didn't have to keep looking for a geographic number, and then I sat on hold for about ten minutes while I read terrible and near-identical reviews on TrustPilot, and then I hung up and booked the redelivery online: 9-5 tomorrow, if you pay a tenner they'll give you a 9-1 or 1-5 slot and then (based on the internet) fail to deliver during it.

I'm quite glad that I didn't leave the passport renewal to the last minute, because who knows how long it's going to be until I get it....
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I was going to do some more weeding...

♥May. 5th, 2017 // 06:59 pm
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... but it was drizzling when I got back from walking pooch, so I hit the sewing machine instead.

This is going to be a cushion cover for Sue's Mum's boyfriend, who used to have a tame pheasant in the garden.



Note to self: remember to do the eye!

(It stopped drizzling shortly afterwards, but ah well, the garden will still be there next week.)

While walking the pooch, I saw Mrs Farmer, who had a genius idea: ducks are filter feeders, so I can make their pellets into soup and leave it out all day without the wild birds being able to get much of it. Worth a try to get a bit more food into them, especially as I'm worried that the case that was reported overnight might mean another extension of the bird 'flu restrictions.
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Bits and coughs

♥May. 4th, 2017 // 10:10 am
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My post-Eastercon stomach bug turned into a post-Eastercon cold, which several other people have also been complaining about.

I'm getting better, I think, but I've thought that several times now and then woken up the next day feeling grotty again. This has led to quite a lot of lying on the sofa feeling pathetic and not very much actual getting things done. The weather has cooperated with this: we've finally had some rain, after an entirely dry month, which is very good and means that the grass is finally growing in the field. This also means that the weeds are taking over the flower beds, and neither feeling grotty nor the weather is conducive to doing anything about them.

And we still haven't planted up the polytunnel, but we have an excuse in the form of the irrigation system, which should have been here yesterday but isn't yet, and which probably needs to be in place before the plants go in, to avoid disturbing or damaging them when we try to get it figured out.

GB also got a bit neglected in there: going away and then being ill meant that he didn't get ridden for about ten days in a row, and I'm afraid that that might have been too long for him. We've had three goes on him since, most recently this morning, and he's not doing very well. A couple of times, he's also nearly gone down on his bum when trotting down the hill at bed time. I'm going to wait for a warmer day and then have a go on him in the afternoon, when he's had plenty of time in the field to get rid of any stiffness, but I fear it won't be much better and it'll finally be time to officially retire him.

It's not been all bad, though: in there we've had some visitors, both overnight and for the day, been out to Margate to see an exhibition that wasn't as much as we'd expected about textiles but was quite interesting anyway and gave me a few things to think about (coffmayhaveboughtanewloomcoff). We also hosted various fannish crafty types for a day of crafty things, during which staggering amounts of tea were consumed (at least until we ran out) even when you allow for the fact that Mike and I kept forgetting to ask if more was wanted....

Coming up in the next week: Quilt Club, and a workshop, and then Mike's Mother is coming to stay. So nice and recuperative, then.

LJ has reset my cookie, and I'm presuming that logging in will require TOS agreement, so I've stopped reading there.
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Ah, yes, the English weather

♥Apr. 25th, 2017 // 03:09 pm
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Mike's just come in from mowing the lawn to let me know that it's snowing.

Edit: Aaaand now hail!



Lovely and sunny on the other side of the valley, though.
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PhotoKeeper

♥Apr. 23rd, 2017 // 03:23 pm
Someone has, apparently, added a photo (presumably of me, presumably taken at Eastercon) to a service called PhotoKeeper, and given them my email address. I've just received a very spammy/scammy email from them inviting me to click on the link to see it, which I have no intention of doing.

If it was you, please delete it. Please don't let people like this harvest your address book.

If you took what you think is a nice photo of me and want to let me have a copy, I hear that email is fairly good for that sort of thing.
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Unexpectedly good bin collections

♥Apr. 21st, 2017 // 03:02 pm
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Today is our bin day, which is often a bit of a guessing game: given that they have to go a mile out of their way to just do us, we're usually the first to be skipped if there's a problem.

Today was also double bin day -- green waste/food and recycling -- so twice the chance of one of them not turning up.

Happily, I was able to bring in a full set of empty bins after walking Jo, so I was quite surprised to just see a bin lorry go past. I popped outside while it was turning around, and the driver pulled up at the end of the drive.

It turns out that the scheduled lorry had had a problem, so he'd come out and found that they hadn't done half the bins on the way here, so he'd come down to do ours (on his own: the rest of his crew didn't want to do overtime and had already gone home) and was quite shocked that we'd been done.

Maybe all the complaints that we make are sinking in!
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Garden bah

♥Apr. 20th, 2017 // 04:14 pm
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I'm not sure what wisteria blossom is hardy to, but last night's temperature (which also froze the surface of the duck pond) was evidently below it.

(The weather station, annoyingly, is broken. We must get that sorted out.)

We were looking forward to a lovely display this year, as there were masses of buds just breaking. There are two left now, both ones that were tucked up against the wall.



One of the grape vines has also lost a few leaves, and I'm a bit worried by my new, native to Siberia and hardy to -34C, kiwi plant, which is looking rather droopy and a bit blackened in places. Even the budlia is looking a bit sad and droopy, but I'm sure that will perk up later.
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Post-con...

♥Apr. 19th, 2017 // 08:53 pm
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We had a nice time at Innominate, which seems to have gone very well indeed (I only heard about three or four proper problems, and most of them were very quickly resolved). Sadly, I woke up yesterday rather off-colour, and spent most of the day feeling (and occasionally being) sick.

Fortunately, given Mike had to be in London, I'm feeling much better today (which makes me think it was a food thing, not an infections one).

It did mean that we couldn't plant the tomatoes out in the polytunnel as planned, but then again that was probably for the best as we had a frost last night!

In the interests of experimentation, can anyone not see two photos in this post? Some people seem to be having problems with access-locked images not being visible to anyone, and as I didn't even realise that DW had image hosting (I'm sure it didn't last time I checked, or I'd have used that rather than my faffy work-around via LJ) it's not something I've ever played with before.


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Ouch

♥Apr. 11th, 2017 // 05:46 pm
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I'm not having a very good week of it.

Two days ago, I fell off the folding chair I was standing on to water the veg seedlings in the conservatory (yes, yes, I know. The new stepladder arrived today).

Today, I've managed to slide down the stairs after slipping on the power cord of the fan I was carrying down in an attempt to speed up the defrosting of the freezer....

I suspect I'll have an even more impressive collection of bruises tomorrow, and -- most annoying of all -- I've scuffed my fresh nail varnish. Still, if that's all the harm that's been done then I should be glad.

Well, other than to the fan. That'll be off to the tip with the next batch of stuff.
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Finally!

♥Apr. 11th, 2017 // 01:32 pm
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Esk has finally done her duty, so for my lunch today I had the first duck egg of the year!

(I also had one of the veg box hen eggs, just to check, and even though they're free range from a small farm they really don't taste anything like as nice.)

This morning, I was catching up on the last couple of Archers omnibuses. Am I the only one who, after the first session of nets, assumed Usha was being deliberately crap-but-perky to make Lilly and Molly feel more at ease? I was thoroughly expecting her to wait a few weeks and then 'fess up to actually having played for her university team or similar. I certainly didn't expect what's actually happening. I didn't expect to be saying "Hello Tiger", either....
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Animals....

♥Apr. 9th, 2017 // 09:46 pm
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Yesterday evening, we took the fence down so that the boys can have the whole field.

(Fingers thoroughly crossed that we'll get some bloody rain some time soon so that it can get to work growing before they strip the new half to bare earth.)

This evening, GB is in an utterly foul mood, waving his teeth at me at every opportunity and not eating his hay. Can we say 'tummy ache'? I think that we can.

Sigh. I'm sure he'll be ok in the morning....

Still, polytunnel's ready to go for when we get back after Easter!
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LJ/DW

♥Apr. 8th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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I've been crossposting from DW to LJ for a while, but mostly reading people on LJ for the comments. I'll be changing that to mostly reading on DW.

At present, I'm feeling unable to bring myself to hit the button to accept the LJ ToS change, which means that I've been skim reading the non-crossposted posts in the background, but haven't been able to click on links / read comments / look behind cut tags: I expect that to continue until I get sick of it, at which point I'll either stop reading LJ or give in and click the button.

So: if you're on DW but think that I don't know, please let me know / add me on DW.

This does, unfortunately, break my photo-posting workflow. Does anyone have any suggestions for other easy ways to get photos from my iPhone to A Free Hosting Site? (I know Ang posted the same question t'other day, but see above re: not being able to click on links to see comments!)

In other news, this afternoon we've put up the frame on our new polytunnel but decided we'd done for one day: anchoring it to the ground and adding the cover will be a job for tomorrow, probably. I doubt it's going to blow away in the night.

I've had to move the tomato seedlings to the tops of the shelving units, as they're too big for the middle shelves! Must start some courgettes and beans tomorrow, as well.
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Mmm, Zelda

♥Apr. 2nd, 2017 // 02:50 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1208337.html]

On Friday, the nice young men from the tree surgeon came to visit. They took out the last few leylandii (we are free! Free!), and the variegated conifer by the front gate, which was getting a bit too big and squashing the ornamental cherries (we now have a much better view of the road, as an added bonus).

They also took the top off the beech hedge along the side of the house, so now it's hopefully at a height we can keep better in check. (Unlike all the letlandii, the beech is actually useful, acting as a windbreak.) Unfortunately, doing that involved standing on the roof of the very dilapidated shed, at least until one of them put a foot wrong and did the comedy disappearing from sight thing.

We'll be looking for a new shed, then.

Yesterday, the Nintendo Switch arrived, so I was mostly playing Zelda when not moving the contents of the shed to a different outbuilding. First thoughts are that not only do the controllers indeed frequently drop their connection but that they do it in a bloody stupid manner: rather than just stopping moving, Link wanders off in a random direction, eg: off a cliff. It is quite fun so far, though.

Today, we went to see a horse. Either we've been lucky or we've got a lot more picky about which we actually bother to go and see (probably a bit of both), because we both liked Galahad enough that I'm trying to set a date to go back with our riding instructor to see what she thinks. (Unfortunately, she's in France without her diary. Back on Tuesday, though.)
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Living room!

♥Mar. 30th, 2017 // 08:46 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1207414.html]

After a hard afternoon and evening of furniture rearranging and assembling, it's all done other than putting the pictures back up on the walls!



(I very much hope that that rug will start behaving. It's currently got a Wii balance board and a side table holding it flat in an attempt to give it the idea.)



(Jo seems to like the new rug. It's already showing signs of her presence....)



(Sinister Ducks.)



(Aaaand I've just realised that the new sofas aren't really visible in any of those pictures. The blue bit in the front of the last one is the pouffe (it's got a storage space inside!), the sofas are the same colour.)
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That was quick!

♥Mar. 29th, 2017 // 06:56 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1206929.html]

Quicker than expected, in fact: the new floor's all done, when we were expecting it to take until tomorrow. Unfortunately, we'd ordered things like new shelves, rugs and little felt pads to go under the furniture to stop it from making scratches for delivery tomorrow to tie in with it, so we're still a little short of furniture in here. Hopefully, we'll be all sorted by tomorrow evening. Hopefully.

Jo is pleased that she has her sofa back. The sofa bed was just not a suitable substitute, her legs were always hanging off the edges.

Both the anemones and the horses have been making the most of the sunny weather we've been having recently:


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Springlike

♥Mar. 27th, 2017 // 09:47 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1206204.html]

(Only not today, when it's currently rather foggy. Does seem to be clearing, though, and at least the fog is a sign that the wind has died down!)

We've been seeing lots of little flowers appearing in the woods, including wild strawberries and cuckoo flower/ lady's smock. There's a fine patch of violets up a tree, as well:


After the usual sense of weeks with little progress (sewing together piles of small bits of fabric to make piles of slightly larger bits of fabric), I got to the stage of sewing together the blocks for my Storm At Sea quilt (started on a workshop a few months ago) so all of a sudden I've got a quilt top ready to start the actual quilting:

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out, although Mike says that he can't look at it for too long without his eyes going funny. (Also pleased that, in the end, it turned out that I didn't need to get more of the fabric shipped over from the US!)

Today, we're having the new garage door fitted, as well as having the old living room and hall carpets removed and the floor levelled. The floor guy just said "You might want to look at this..." and showed us a drain cover in the hall. We're guessing that it's at the point that was once the back door to the house, and that it isn't actually connected to anything any more, but we're really not sure. Fingers crossed that it never needs to be opened up!
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Bits and pieces

♥Mar. 23rd, 2017 // 01:46 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1204709.html]

My parents have been to visit, which was nice, and short (possibly the two are related!). They brought us new living room lights (we saw the ones that we wanted in John Lewis, but they were out of stock when we went to order them online. A short panic that they were being discontinued later and my mother had bought them in her local store, as she was going there anyway. They are, of course, now back in stock online), which was good, and then put them up for us, which was better. They're much less fussy than the old ones, and removing the centre light from the ceiling fan / changing the blades on it has also made that look much better.

Just the floor to go, now, and it is finally booked for next week. We went for the middle ground, in the end, and are having laminate from the guy who did the third quote after the other two had annoyed me too much. I honestly couldn't have told you which of the sample books was wood and which laminate, so hopefully it's going to look nice! And then we need to buy some rugs. And new shelves for DVDs. But other than that it's nearly done....

In the less successful home improvement department, we were supposed to be having a new garage door today but the chap phoned first thing to say that his minion had called in sick. Hopefully that will get rescheduled in the not too distant future.

(My parents broke their journey home at Ebbsfleet, in the end, on account of not wanting to get up very early. It all worked ok.)

Following my failed attempt to listen to a bloody mp3 on my bloody phone, I bought the album (digitally, for £7, as the CD was £40!) and then remembered that I no longer have an optical drive in my laptop, so couldn't burn a CD to listen to in the car. In theory, I can use the drive in the desktop as an external drive, so we fiddled around trying to do that but, although I could see the drive, I couldn't see the blank CD that I put into it. (The next day, Mike messaged me from the office to ask why an untitled CD had appeared on *his* laptop. Sigh.) In the end, Mike bought me an external drive, so I spent an afternoon ripping and burning copies of all the CDs that have come into the house since I ceased to have a means of doing so: actually not that many, but it does take a while.

Yesterday, presumably to be blamed on one or other of the parents (although they claim not), I had some sort of odd twelve-hour lurgy: I woke up with a sore throat, got increasingly shivery as the morning went on, spent the afternoon wrapped in a blanket while each of my joints individually got more and more achy, developed weepy eyes and a splitting headache, didn't finish my dinner and felt a bit sick afterwards, felt a bit better by (early) bed time, and woke up this morning with a slight headache but otherwise feeling fine.

In between all that, I've mostly been playing The Last Guardian, which is exactly like the reviews say. It's very pretty, very Japanese, and very random. You are a small boy who is accompanied by a giant cat-bird, over which you have very limited control, while you wander around a mysterious and largely abandoned complex of towers and dungeons. The controls are utterly terrible, and this is a sadly common conversation in the house these days:
Flick: [repeats $keystrokes over and over for five minutes in an attempt to make the cat-bird do a $thing]
Flick: Can you see what I'm doing wrong here? I think that I need to get cat-bird to do $thing but he's not doing it.
Mike: It does look like that's what you need to do. Do you want me to look it up?
Flick: Please.
Flick: [continues to repeat $keystrokes, throughout the conversation]
Mike: It says you need to do get cat-bird to do $thing.
Flick: That's what I'm trying to do.
Mike: You need to hit $keystrokes.
Flick: That's what I'm doing. That's what I've been doing for ten minutes. This game has the worst controls ever.
Cat-bird: [for no obvious reason suddenly does $thing]

I have no objection to tricky puzzles, but these aren't, they're just capricious. Or, possibly, the cat-bird is capricious. Either way, it's a bit tedious. Very pretty game, though.
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Am I missing something here?

♥Mar. 15th, 2017 // 07:55 pm
[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1202680.html]

I just downloaded an mp3, and thought I'd pop it on my phone (to join the other three on there; I very rarely listen to music on my phone).

Rather than open iTunes (which a) takes ages at the best of times and b) keeps crashing on open, really must restart my laptop one of these weeks), I thought I'd just airdrop it to my phone.

Yep, no bother, seconds later it's there and... the phone opens the Dropbox app, which asks if I want to upload the file to Dropbox.

WTF?

Opening the download link on my phone just plays the track in Safari. Am I really going to have to reboot my laptop and then plug my phone into with with an actual cable in order to get an mp3 onto it?

Edit, as Mike just sighed in a 'how dumb can you be' way: there's no option on export from Dropbox to put it into Music. I did try that!
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Navigating London

♥Mar. 13th, 2017 // 02:08 pm
[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1202225.html]

If you were driving from Darkest Kent (M2) to The Frozen North (probably M11 but maybe A1 or M1), and wanted to break the journey, park the car and tube / train into Liverpool Street before carrying on, where would you do it?

I'm looking at the map and thinking maybe Ilford, or Woolwich, or Walthamstow Central, but I don't know what parking is like at any of them.

Anyone got any suggestions?
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1 dpi

♥Mar. 9th, 2017 // 08:06 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1201986.html]

I'm getting to the stage where I have to decide what I'm actually going to do with them....



I've vaguely thought about making a bag from them, in which case I'm pretty much done. Or I could go on and make an actual quilt, in which case I'm very much not! Decisions, decisions.

Jodie's sofa has arrived, sooner than we expected. It didn't arrive in Ashford on today's lorry, and when they did some digging they found out that it was actually in Dartford. Rather than drive it to Ashford to then drive it here, they just brought it directly. It's rather bigger than the old on, Jo looks positively small curled up in the corner of it!

We've given up on the Dettol automatic hand wash dispensers, because they start having hissy fits after a couple of years and spew soap everywhere until you take the batteries out. However, we've still got three soap refils: does anyone use one and want them?
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Bits

♥Mar. 8th, 2017 // 06:05 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1201583.html]

We're still rather up in the air about the new living room floor. In fact, I've just booked another quotation: wood-flooring guy replied to a request to quote for vinyl with cheaper wood options, vinyl-flooring guy a) still hasn't actually produced a quote and b) lost a lot of brownie points when he looked at our upstairs bathroom flooring and pronounced it to be cheap B&Q stuff. That didn't quite ring true with what we know of previous-owner's decorating habits, so we checked the box and it's actually the brand he's pushing us towards, admittedly their cheapest range....

On the plus side, we do have a new sofa. On the minus side, we don't have two new sofas: one of them didn't make it onto the delivery lorry and is in the wrong warehouse somewhere, although we're assured that it does actually exist. At least it's only Jo's one that's missing, not ours!

My mother has panicked me slightly by revealing that she's got her outfit for my sister's wedding all sorted. I did have a look in the shops in Canterbury this afternoon, but the only thing I was ever slightly taken by was a £200 (in the Hobbs discount shop) beige linen trouser-and-tunic combination. Given that I have at least one much nicer beige linen trouser-and-tunic-and-jacket combo in the wardrobe upstairs, my next mission is to rearrange enough of the living room furniture currently in the spare room to actually get into the wardrobe and see what I have that might be suitable. As my parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks, I may enlist mother's help. (Father is tasted with putting up the new living room lights, which should do to keep him happy for a few hours.)

I think I have found some suitable shoes, though: some lacy Skechers, which look vastly nicer in the quick snap I took in the shop than they do in that official website photo.

We were supposed to be going to look at a horse this morning, but then the owner sent me a message to say that they'd decided they couldn't bring themselves to sell him. This, I suspect, will be the down side of trying to buy someone's beloved but no longer needed middle-aged horse.
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