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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.
Link6 kisses // Who loves you?

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.
Link3 kisses // Who loves you?

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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Free stuff

♥Mar. 2nd, 2017 // 04:11 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1201064.html]

We've got various bits of surplus stuff that will be going to either the tip or the charity shop unless someone wants them!

- 1 x 80cm wide beech Billy with six shelves
- 2 x beech Benno

- a Morphy Richards steam floor mop, which works fine but isn't really up to Jodie's level.


- an adjustable rolling pin, a hand mixer, a pepper grinder, a copy of The Force Awakens on bluray.


- two printers, a very elderly HP business inkjet 1200wn and a fairly elderly Canon. Both still work as far as I know.


- coffee table, a bit knocked around but made of actual wood and assembled in a factory by the talented Mr J Lewis


- a nest of three tables, of which those are the largest and smallest, also non-flatpack John Lewis

Other than the Billy and Benno, we can probably take stuff to Eastercon (unless the car fills up).
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Ducks and flowers and decorators and seedlings

♥Feb. 20th, 2017 // 08:02 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1200575.html]

I've just been looking at the bird 'flu guidance for when the current control order runs out (at the end of the month). Given that free-range birds can only be kept in for twelve weeks before they become barn-raised, which happens at the start of March, I was expecting some changes and had my fingers crossed that I'd be able to start feeding the ducks properly again. Actually, though, they're just officially permitting what I was already doing on animal welfare grounds....

So, it looks like they'll not be getting ad-lib food until at least May. They don't like this at all, and my first duck egg of the year is getting further and further away. I'm very jealous of Mrs Farmer, who moved her hens into an unused polytunnel and is getting far better egg production than usual for the time of year.

In more pleasing spring-time news, yesterday we noticed that one of the dwarf irises on the drive was about to flower and a few more had green flower spikes. We went out at lunchtime today to see that half a dozen of them had suddenly burst into bloom. Oddly, the flowers last year came out the day we went to Eastercon and were pretty much over when we got back. It's been a cold winter this year, and was warm last, so I can only think that it's because they're better established this year: last year was their first.

The decorators have been hard at work on the living room today, and there's one coat of fresh paint on everything. We're camping out in the study: it's not a very small room, and would probably be fine with just the two sofas and coffee/side tables in it. Those plus the usual two desks and masses of books, though, are making things very cosy. Jo is bemused but coping.

Tomorrow, I'm going to pot on the first of this year's veg seedlings. Fingers crossed for a better spring / early summer than last year, and resultant shelves full of passata and other bottled stuff.
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Ah, spring....

♥Feb. 19th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1200325.html]

It's amazing what riding GB on a warm, sunny spring morning will do for my mood, especially when he's going really well (for a geriatric!) and we get to have a nice session!
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The fridge man cometh back again....

♥Feb. 17th, 2017 // 07:24 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1200100.html]

This morning, Mike woke me with the worrying news that the fridge and cupboard doors were not longer properly attached.

This afternoon, the fridge man came back and moved the attachment points to ones that are, in retrospect, far more sensible (we were both a bit "yeah, should have thought of that").

Fingers crossed....

Also this afternoon cameth the second guy to measure up and quote for the hall and living room floor. The first guy said "The floor's a bit uneven, we'll need to put something down first to level it off". The second guy, who was actually a floor fitter not a salesman, was really worried about the unevenness of the floor, and thinks we should get fake (vinyl) wood instead because it's cheaper and will work on an uneven floor.

I'm actually quite tempted: I'll be able to use a steam mop on it, for a start, which you can't do with actual wood (you have to use a very-lightly-damped cloth/mop, which sounds like a marvellous way to turn muddy paw prints into a thin even coating over the whole floor). When I asked first guy about dealing with mud, he said "you can wipe it up with damp kitchen roll", which didn't really seem like a satisfactory long-term solution when Jo's left a trail around the room: I think he thought I meant actual lumps of the stuff. Second guy, on the other hand, immediately said that he didn't think we should go with the kind of (fairly rough and grained) wood surface we'd been planning because it's a nightmare to keep mud-free when you have dogs.

Mike's slightly coming round to the idea, but wants to see it in a house. We shall see.
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Note to self

♥Feb. 15th, 2017 // 07:40 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1199703.html]

Defrost the ice box in the old fridge more frequently in future.

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The fridge man cometh!

♥Feb. 14th, 2017 // 03:52 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1199288.html]

After a saga of epic proportions, six months of varying degrees of faffing, and six weeks of putting up with the fact that the fridge wasn't in the kitchen, I finally have my shiny new fridge:



Not only is it significantly bigger than the old one (and we've kept the old one), so that fridge tetris will be less of a common game, but it's also actually attached to the cupboard door, so that you only have to open one door!

I am probably more excited than I should be by this.

One of the things we'll be replacing when we have the living room redecorated is the side tables: if anyone would like a nest of three pale wood side tables from John Lewis, please say. Also up for grabs: a hand blender/whisk and a rolling pin with a set of interchangable thickness guides. We can bring them to Eastercon. (There is also our coffee table, but it's pretty battered and would need a good sanding and re-varnishing, as well as being a bit big to conveniently bring to Eastercon. Say if you've a particular desire for it. Again, pale wood from JL.)
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Oops

♥Feb. 13th, 2017 // 04:43 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1198772.html]

For a lovely change, although the wind's bitter, it's been lovely and sunny today.

I celebrated by taking GB for a little ride in the school, where he was doing really well (to the extent that I had to remind myself not to push him too hard), and then we trimmed and tidied up the willow fedge.

After lunch, Mike had to work so I took Jo out for a nice, long-ish (for convalescent pooches) walk. As we started back down the hill opposite the house, Mike appeared on the drive and frantically shouted "Hydrotherapy!" at me.

Oops. We'd forgotten that Jo had a swimming lesson in, um, fifteen minutes and, of course, I'd had no signal when Mike tried to call me to get me to come back early.

The ducks got a rather hurried lunch and then we headed off in the car and only arrived a minute or so late. At which point I looked at Jo and just about managed to see her under the layer of mud.

Lots of hosing her down with the shower did help somewhat, but the water in the tank was rather murky after she'd been in it for a few minutes. "It's a good job I like you..." said the hydro lady, before conceding that it didn't matter too much given that the next (and last for the day) dog was the one with something of a problem controlling his bowels.
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The kindness of strangers

♥Feb. 11th, 2017 // 08:00 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1198338.html]

At my last quilt workshop, I started making a quilt (duh) and then realised after I'd come home and carried on with it that I didn't have enough of one of the fabrics. And that the piece I had left didn't have the selvedge strip on it.

(Fabrics designed for quilters often have fairly detailed product information printed on the selvedge, to make it easier to get more when you get half way through and realise that you don't have enough. I dare say that sensible people make sure to keep the selvedge just in case....)

I thought I'd bought it at the craft shop in Canterbury the week before, but wasn't sure. The next time he went into town, I sent Mike in with a piece of it and he and the shop assistant looked but couldn't find it. I also went online and looked through all the fabrics sold by the supplier that they usually use, but didn't find it there.

Bugger. No idea where it came from.

This afternoon, Mike was tidying his desk in preparation for having the living room redecorated (we're going to decamp to the study while it's being done). I went and got a bin bag, as the bin was full, and when I emptied the bin into it I saw... a strip of selvedge! Admittedly it wasn't the one I was after, but did it mean that I'd not emptied my sewing bin at the workshop but instead brought it home...? It did, and a bit of rooting produced the one I was after.

Ten seconds with Google found me the (US) manufacturer's website (and the depressing news that the fabric's two years old and discontinued), and an hour or so more revealed that no one in the UK seems to stock it, nor did any of the shops listed on the manufacturer's list of 'shops that stock this fabric'. I did, however, eventually find a shop in Maine that had it in stock!

I crossed my fingers and sent them an email asking if they'd be prepared to send it internationally, and got a very nice email in response that said they would but wondered about payment: could I send them a US money order? Argh. Another look at their website showed that they do take Paypal for online orders, so I've emailed back and asked if I could just pay like that instead.

Fingers crossed, and if there's some reason why I can't then I suspect I'll be asking around for people coming from the US to Eastercon!
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I don't think we're going to be generating much power today....

♥Feb. 11th, 2017 // 01:31 pm
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Snow Jo!
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1 dpi

♥Feb. 8th, 2017 // 05:02 pm
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Can you tell who it is, yet?



The little old ladies at Little Quilt Club were utterly bemused when, having spent a while making perfectly normal square-in-a-square blocks for the storm at sea quilt, I whipped out my EPP box and started sewing together lots of brightly coloured squares. They were none the wiser when I showed them the printout I was using to remind me of the layout!
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Quilty

♥Jan. 31st, 2017 // 10:21 am
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(LJ app still letting me post to my LJ even though it won't log me in. V mysterious!)

It has stopped being quite so cold, for which I am very grateful. It is rather misty, but I suppose you can't have everything.

I seem to have been quite busy, with living room redecoration arranging, pooch wrangling, failing to find a new horse, and several quilt-related things.

...living room redecoration... )

...pooch-wrangling, failing to find a new horse... )

...several... )...quilt-related... )...things... )

The down side of my being out at weekend was that Mike had to horse wrangle by himself when they were coming in to bed. They behaved on Saturday but on Sunday went charging off, spraining a couple of Mike's fingers in the process. They were also behaving like idiots list night, trying to get to the new mares (even GB!): possibly they've come into season. To be on the safe side, even though it's going to be a bit slippery I'm going to just let them run down the hill on their own tonight rather than try and lead both of them in along the road.
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Fine weather for quilting

♥Jan. 22nd, 2017 // 05:58 pm
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Weather and Mike playing Skyrim mean I've been making great progress with a hand quilting project: it just seems like the right sort of weather to be sitting with a quilt on my lap. And a blanket underneath it.

The boys didn't get any carrots today:


They nearly didn't get any water, but fortunately we decided that we didn't quite believe the Met Office's assurances that the freezing fog would clear Real Soon Now and saved the left-over water from yesterday. That meant that, when the garage tap failed to thaw out in the non-existent sunshine, we only had to carry a couple of buckets over from the house to top things up.

(As I usually do, I posted the picture into a private LJ post using the LJ app and then edited the post to copy the html to a DW post, before deleting the LJ post. (Shh, this is actually the easiest workflow I've managed to find). Oddly, today when I opened the LJ app it gave me a message about authentication and demanded that I log back in, but repeatedly failed to let me do so. On a whim, I tried posting anyway and it worked. Suspect that this is not the intended behaviour.)
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Still chilly

♥Jan. 20th, 2017 // 06:06 pm
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Part of the reason it's so chilly down here is because this is what it looks like at 9:30 in the morning:



We have one of the horses' water buckets by the school, for when they're turned out nearby. This afternoon, we were intrigued to see how frozen it was, so we tipped it out to have a look:



(I managed to ride GB a little this afternoon, for the first time in a while. I was going to try yesterday but the school was still like concrete when they were due to come in. He was doing ok other than occasional stumbles when he stepped on a lump of sand and it confused him by not squooshing down like it normally does.)

Still, the good news is that "temperatures are set to plummet to -7C in rural areas" tonight, so at least it'll be warmer than it has been. Um. Right?
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Brr

♥Jan. 18th, 2017 // 06:47 pm
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It's been quite chilly here (yesterday, on the evening weather forecast, they mentioned that the afternoon had been sunny with a high of 13 in Scotland, and sunny with a high of 1 in Kent...), and we think that last night may have been the coldest since we moved here: the ducks' water bucket, inside the duck house inside the stable, was frozen over this morning, and when Mike did the animals' water this afternoon the garage tap (which gets the sun, unlike the stableyard one, which he didn't even try) took a while to run: both pretty much unheard of. (The weather station seems to be broken, so I don't have an exact figure. At least -10, maybe -12?)

Mike bought new carrots for the horses a couple of days ago, and yesterday I forgot to put some water in the bucket to store them (carrots keep better under water if it's -- ha ha -- warm weather). This morning, they were rather frosty looking, and the bucket of water from GB's stable that I poured over them had ice floating on the surface, with the end result that the carrots in the boys' dinners looked rather... chilly.



It turns out that the new people in the flat, who we've still not spoken more than a few words to for largely weather-related reasons, actually have three horses, all mares. Bugs was very interested in going to say hello when I brought the boys in past their field yesterday.

Jo had her first (this time around) swimming lesson today, a very easy session to get her back into it but she seemed happy enough and the physio was happy with how she looked in the water.
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Bloody hipsters

♥Jan. 13th, 2017 // 06:48 pm
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My fortnightly box of flowers arrived today (we have a brave DPD man, and his route to get here doesn't involve the hill. As he was leaving, I asked where he was going next and after some discussion, including my describing the van I'd watched take three goes at it before giving up a little earlier, he decided to go the long way around to avoid having to try it).

They are, as ever, lovely -- roses and wax flowers, which are tiny wee things with a lovely lemon scent -- but this week's box included a special free gift as well! A good friend of Freddie's has just launched a new company, and here was a sample of his fabulous new artisanal... toothpaste.

They offer a subscription service, or you can buy it in Waitrose.
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Ponies in the snow

♥Jan. 13th, 2017 // 02:59 pm
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Pooch update

♥Jan. 11th, 2017 // 12:57 pm
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Jo continues to look slightly less silly every day, and her leg seems to be healing on schedule as well.

We've just been for our 'walk': a few minutes down the road and back, but at least it's getting her out of the house. In another week or so, she'll be cleared to lie on the ground outside, so we won't have to keep tying her up in the barn, and she'll be back to swimming lessons.

I do hope that we don't get lots of snow tomorrow. I'll feel very mean if we do when she's not allowed to bound around in it!
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Picking up the pooch

♥Jan. 6th, 2017 // 09:35 pm
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After a rather rushed early morning (the farrier, and Mike being in London, meant I had a fair bit to do with the boys), I headed off to collect Jo from the vet.

Shortly after I got onto the A2, a couple of policemen, car parked across the road, waved me back off it, which made my heart sink: that meant I'd have to brave the Canterbury ring road to get back on track, and the Canterbury ring road locks up at the drop of a hat let alone the addition of all the traffic from the A2.

Fortunately, it wasn't actually too bad: getting to the ring road was slow, but it moved well once I was there, and I was only about ten minutes late to the vet.

Jo was, as ever, very pleased to see me, and nearly dragged the nurse across the waiting room. The poor dear looks very silly.

On the way home, I realised that I'd actually been incredibly lucky with the drive there: the car accident that caused the closure was just being loaded onto a flatbed, and there was a long line of parked cars sitting on the road behind it. When I got to where I'd been waved off the road, there were three police cars and lots of flashing signs: I must have got there very soon after they closed it, and was just too late to miss being stuck there for an hour or more and just too early to miss having the ring road full of diverted traffic.

Jo's putting a reasonable amount of weight on the leg now, but she's obviously sore and struggling to get comfortable when she lies down. Hopefully she'll feel better in a few days. I'd forgotten quite how silly she looked with her leg shaved!
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It feels very odd...

♥Jan. 5th, 2017 // 10:24 pm
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... to be making my evening snack of cheese and biscuits without the sound of scurrying feet when I open the fridge, and the sight of a very politely drool-dripping pooch sitting next to me while I make it....

(The night nurse says she's fine, though, and is eating and accepting of cuddles.)
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Vet news

♥Jan. 5th, 2017 // 01:15 pm
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I took Jo down to the orthopaedic vet this morning, and he thinks it's either a tear in the meniscus of the knee or (less likely) an inflamed tendon.

She's stayed in for surgery, and if it is the meniscus then he'll remove the damaged part and she should be better for two or three years, after which it will become painful (if she's still around).

Just as she'd finished growing her coat back, she'll be back to looking silly again. And then there will be the rehab.

Edit: it was a tear, she's out of surgery and waking up.
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Pooch update

♥Jan. 4th, 2017 // 06:16 pm
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Jodie's continued to be varying amounts of lame since we went to the vet last week, so today she went in for x-rays.

We've just picked her up, very happy to see us. When the vet showed us the x-rays, there was obvious swelling on the joint that had the surgery, and the vet said there was quite a lot of movement in the joint (just like before the surgery). I asked what it meant and she said "Well, I've never seen one of these repairs fail, so I'm not sure," which rather implies that she thinks it has.

Off to the people who did the operation tomorrow, with orders to prep for her going into surgery the same day.

Poor pooch.

Various other stuff is also sucky, so I'm feeling rather glum at present.
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Pooch

♥Dec. 28th, 2016 // 05:41 pm
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Jo was still lame this morning, so I booked her in to see the vet.

The pain is in her knee, and she's not showing any signs of an infection (unlikely after such a long time), so it's either that the joint's developed arthritis from the op (certain to happen at some point) and she tweaked it yesterday morning or that there's something gone wrong with the repairs (worrying).

She's got a weekend of pottering around but no walks, and pain killers, and we'll see how she gets on. Hopefully she'll improve, if not there will be x-rays.
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Worrying

♥Dec. 27th, 2016 // 03:35 pm
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Jo's limping, on the same leg that she had the operation on over the summer. Somewhat ominous, hopefully unconnected.

Vet tomorrow, if she's still not right in the morning.
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Sale dilemmas

♥Dec. 25th, 2016 // 09:05 pm
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We're plotting new sofas, and have pretty much decided which ones we want and narrowed the fabric choices down to two or three (just waiting for the swatches to arrive so that we can see them in the living room).

One of the sizes we want (the one that will be the pooch's) is in the sale, half price but only in red (yuck) or a slightly darker beige than we currently have, which we were avoiding because it shows the mud and such.

Decisions, decisions....

(Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you had a lovely day!)
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Flowers

♥Dec. 24th, 2016 // 04:31 pm
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My flowers, a week and a bit ago, were half a dozen amaryllis stems. My mother told me I had to put canes up the middle of the (hollow) stems, or the weight of the flowers would make them flop over in the middle, which I dutifully did.

This morning, I cam downstairs to find that one of them had flopped over anyway, right behind the flowerhead where the cane didn't reach. I threw it away and put it down to bad luck, but then another one went while we were walking the pooch and I decided I'd better do something. I put some florist's wire around the weak spot on all of them, but it wasn't keeping the floppy one entirely upright, so in the end I poked a cocktail stick into each stem, just behind the flower, and have crossed my fingers.

Then I went and got some greenery from the garden, to confuse the eye and make the supports less obvious. We'll see how they do, and I'll know for next time!



(I also, today, got an arrangement of roses from my sister via M&S. I suspect my recent experiences will have me going 'tsk' when they don't last as long as I think that they should.
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Hurrah!

♥Dec. 23rd, 2016 // 03:58 pm
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The Aga is fixed!

Of course, now I'm worried that this wind will put the power out.... We've already had a couple of little flickers.
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Bow ties

♥Dec. 22nd, 2016 // 06:16 pm
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On and (mostly) off, I've spent the last six months folding linen squares into little bow tie shapes.

I've finally finished doing them:



And today I started sewing them together, which is looking like taking *far* less time:



(The fabric isn't actually beige, it's pale purple!)

Also today, the Aga Man failed to fix our Aga (someone with the right part will come back tomorrow), and we took Jo for a run on the beach, where we met an 18 month old Bernese bitch, who was very friendly. We really should have taken a picture for those times when people give us funny looks for saying that Jo's a midget, though.
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Oh, and....

♥Dec. 21st, 2016 // 07:59 pm
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While we were out, Jodie took advantage of her muddy feet to get rid of the crisp fresh laundry scent on the just-changed bed linen.

Sigh.

And the ovens on our year-old Aga have stopped working. There's an engineer coming tomorrow.

Sigh.

Saw the first bluebell shoot of the year, though!
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Miss Whiplash

♥Dec. 21st, 2016 // 07:23 pm
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(Only not in the fun way.)

My neck's been getting steadily more painful over the last few days, so today Mike drove me to the physio to get it checked out. Much poking and prodding later, he happily told me that he was fairly sure that I hadn't cracked an vertebrae: yay?

What he does think is that I've got whiplash from coming off Bugs, which probably also means that I didn't catch Mike's illness, I just had headaches and feeling crap and aching because the whiplash was developing. This explains why I didn't get various other symptoms, like a fever and a cough.

On the way there, we stopped off at John Lewis to look at fabric samples for the new sofas we're planning on getting. They had an ex-display coffee table of the model we we also planning on getting, so that came home with us. Half price with a couple of tiny chips to the corners suits us just fine!

Now I just need to order my own copies of the fabrics that we liked, so that we can look at them some more and start thinking about curtains.
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How not to ship things

♥Dec. 20th, 2016 // 10:31 am
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If you're a fancy hamper company, that goes to the trouble of having your own branded cardboard boxes to protect your fancy hamper boxes while in transit, and you only make hampers that come in three sizes of fancy boxes, I'd have thought it wasn't beyond the realms of sensibleness to have three different sizes of branded cardboard box, rather than shipping things in a box three times bigger than is needed.

And if you must send things in an enormous box, at least get those cellulose packing chips that dissolve in water, rather than the plastic kind that will just end up taking up half the volume of my landfill bin at a time of year when it's likely to get far more full than usual, hey?



(It is possible that they'd just run out of the right size box but, if so, the same thing happened last year which might also be a hint about stock control....)
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Mid-winter things

♥Dec. 19th, 2016 // 09:46 am
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We have both been poorly. Mike is still poorly, I ache horribly but think it's more horse- than virus-related.

In contrast to the last couple of years, when riding schedules have been messed up by rain, this year it's been mist that's the problem (as well as being ill. And sore). I had a go on GB last week but had to stop because a) it was painful and b) GB kept stopping and going 'I don't like this' because he could tell I wasn't right, and Mike hopped on GB yesterday while I lunged Bugs braced myself and clung onto the end of the rope while Bugs charged around the school in circles making occasional contact with the ground, but that's been the extent of it lately.

Ponies in the mist: like gorillas, but less endangered.


Our field is is comparatively fabulous condition, because it's been fairly dry: we're not only still using the steep gate, but we're also still letting the horses run down the hill on their own rather than leading them the long way around. Long may it last!

Still, we have managed to get the Christmas tree up:


I did initially think that this year's brown Amazon wrapping materials were a bit dull, but they go quite well with the decorations I've put on the tree this year, so that's nice.

In bad news for upcoming visitors, Mario Run keeps suggesting that I move to a location with a better mobile signal. On the other hand, thanks to a saga involving the new neighbours finding a water pipe in the way while widening their drive that would have been moderately entertaining had I posted about it while it was happening, our water pressure is now better than it's ever been, so that's a win for people trying to shower while we're filling the horses' water buckets.
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Ditto

♥Dec. 10th, 2016 // 03:02 pm
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This morning, Mike went out to give the boys their breakfast and found Bugsy happily eating the front lawn.

I must have not quite latched his door last night, and then he smashed his way through the chain that's there as a second line of defence (this was odd, as previously he's just gone under it).

In retrospect, this explains the happy horse noises I heard outside late last night: at the time, I just assumed it was TWWOTV's mares and a weird echo / sound reflection, which we get plenty of. I'm surprised that GB wasn't shouting, though. He had sweat marks on his coat this morning, and his stable was a complete state (for the first time since we've been here, I just threw away his whole bed and gave him a new one. Contrast with Bugsy, who gets this about once a fortnight), so he'd obviously spent the night being a big bundle of stress.

My back was feeling much better, if still sore, yesterday morning, which was fortunate because Mike was in London so I had the whole stableyard to do on my own. My back is feeling much worse today. I have learnt my lesson and Mike will be doing the mucking out for the next couple of days.

Some experimentation has shown that the ducks will neither eat nor use their pond indoors. When Mike moved the pond outside and refilled it this morning, they charged over to have a bath and Agnes (who has a bad leg and spends a lot of time in there) doesn't seem to have left it since except when they had their corn. We're being careful about getting rid of left-over food before to corvids notice it, but I don't really think that there's much else we can do: there's no point stressing them to death to avoid the risk of catching 'flu.

We went, with a certain amount of trepidation, to get a Christmas tree this morning. Last year, when we went on the equivalent of yesterday, we had great trouble finding one. Today, though, the little garden centre had a good dozen that were much nicer than the one we ended up with last year, and the one we bought seems to be very suitable: nicely symmetrical, branches not starting too low down, no enormous bald spike on top. Phew.

Mike seems to be coming down with another cold. I have explained that this is Just Not On, as it's currently *my* turn to be lying around feeling pathetic, but he's insistent on having it. Men!
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