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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.
Link9 kisses // Who loves you?

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.
Link7 kisses // Who loves you?

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?

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.
LinkWho loves you?

Other things

♥Jul. 25th, 2016 // 05:17 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1170470.html]

My parents came to visit, but they've gone away again now. While they were here, we had the hay delivery, so that's all sorted for the winter now. They left on the day of quilt club, so the nautical quilt didn't get shown and told.

There was a wren in the kitchen the other day. Somewhat surprising, but I managed to catch it in a shawl and it flew away when I took it outside. Also a cricket sitting smack in the middle of our duvet.

Magrat The Duck was lame one day. Worryingly, the traditional treatment of Frantic Chase Around The Garden Then Being Cornered And Picked Up didn't provide the usual 100% cure, but she was fine the following day. ("I heard a tremendous amount of quacking this morning," said my mother, "and when I looked the white duck was standing on top of one of the brown ones in the pond, giving her a tremendous ducking!" No, mother, you have the wrong consonant there....) She's also been doing her Houdini tricks again. Several days of setting up the stop-motion camera in various places failed to catch her in the act, but then (when we'd narrowed it down to one corner of the garden) Mike spotted the hole under the fence that she's been using. It's now blocked with a log, which should be enough provided that the hole isn't part of an active badger run.

The hollyhocks and gladioli are just starting to flower, and looking very pretty (other than the one that the horses can reach, which looks rather sad). TWWOTV asked what the hollyhocks were, and explained that until the flowers started to come out she'd been worried that they were giant hogweed. Because, obviously, we wouldn't notice eight foot dangerous high weeds in our front garden.

Jodie is doing really well, and looks much less silly now that the hair is growing back: it's still short, but at least she's the right colour now! She's walking for about ten minutes, three times a day, and will probably be coming off the painkillers and starting hydrotherapy in the coming week (I don't know for sure, because the vet hasn't returned my call from Saturday, grr). As far as she's concerned, she's completely better, which means that she wants to go chasing bunnies and thinks nothing of spinning 360 degrees while simultaneously jumping up in the air when we get back from leaving her alone for ten minutes. We may have to start crating her when we go to take the boys up the hill (although the surgeon said that she could start doing that towards the end of this week, thankfully).

The boys are fat and lazy, and have done very little work in the last week or so: it's been too hot and too full of flies. The horseflies, at least, seem to be stopping for the year. I've only had two bites in the last four days!
LinkWho loves you?

Invaded and battered....

♥May. 4th, 2016 // 04:53 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1154538.html]

We've had repeated incursions of visitors, some significantly more enjoyable than others, over the last week or so, which is why I've been so quiet.

On the plus side, Mike manfully removed the less enjoyable ones when he could, so I managed to get all of the background of the flying birds quilt quilted. Now I just need to decide what to do with the actual birds: the background is quite dense, so should I do something similar for the birds but in a different pattern, or should I leave them as oases of calm?

It has been very cold and miserable, but now it's nice and sunny: hopefully this means that our grass is finally going to start growing, because I'm getting quite worried about the state of the field (and, indeed, the prospects for the hay crop). This time last year, the boys were coming in when it was getting dark and only getting one hay net in the evening; this year, they're still on full winter rations and we're bringing them in before dinner because otherwise they're ravenous and grumpy when we let them in.

(We do at least think we have enough hay to last even with the late start, which is good as I've been getting friend-of-a-friend 'do you know anyone with any hay' queries and that suggests we'd struggle to get more. I'd much rather throw away (or onto the garden) half a dozen bales than be scrabbling around looking for more.)

(Actually, they're still pretty ravenous and grumpy, and would much rather stay in the stableyard and stuff their faces on slightly better grass for a while before they have their actual dinner. On Monday, Bugs was doing his usual trick of refusing to let Mike catch him and spooked GB, who ran off in panic. I was mid-way through putting GB's headcollar on at the time, and so unfortunately his pre-emptive wave of the back legs in Bugsy's direction got me instead. I have a truly *spectacular* bruise, and am finding walking up and down hills to be almost impossible, which is tricky around here. I--whisper it--skipped Pilates this morning, but at least now I have a good excuse for not going to London for a boring meeting tomrrow.)

Bugsy has had the vet to visit, trying to narrow down what's wrong with his leg (or rather, trying to confirm that the problem is what we think it is). He was a very good boy about it all, right up to the point where he suddenly decided that he'd had enough. She tried sedating him a couple of times, but he (quite politely) made it clear that he wasn't having any of it, so she's back again tomorrow for round two, which will (just in case) not involve the exact (long-shot) thing that she was trying to do when he stopped cooperating. In the mean time, he's getting to swan around in the field doing no work: I would say he's getting fat, but he's not because no bloody grass.

GB, on the other hand, has maybe gone slightly backwards in his spring-time improvement. I'm hoping that this is just because I was pushing him a bit too hard in my delight at his getting better, and a time when I'm not really able to ride seems to be a good one to test the theory!

Today, I have mostly been gardening: there were a batch of seedlings that needed potting on, and then I was running out of space on the conservatory shelves so I figured that, if I sat on the walls around the beds, I could plant out some bedding plants I'd grown that were getting a bit sad at being tuck inside. Then I thought I could probably manage some hoeing, but mostly ended up contorting into strange positions so that I could dig out blobs of grass from the flower beds: one of those 'it's lucky I'm strong' occasions, I think. Really need to do more weeding.

Text messages with my sister:
Sister: [a date, next summer, presumably for her wedding]
Me: Do you want a quilt?
Sister: What kind of quilt?
Me: One for your bed. If you do, I need to start it in plenty of time.
Sister: No thanks, I have a nice throw on my bed.
Me: Ok then, let me know what you do want.
Sister: Just having you there will be enough, we don't need presents.
[a short pause]
Sister: I really like that stuffed rabbit you made for mum.
Sister: Here's a photo of my living room decor.
Sister: Here's a close-up of my tartan feature wallpaper.
Me: Yes, I was already going to make you a rabbit for your birthday....
Link1 kiss // Who loves you?

Catching up, yet again

♥Mar. 31st, 2016 // 06:50 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1149537.html]

Eastercon was good, except the bit where I woke up snotty one day and voiceless the next. I'm back to talking again, but still sniffly and with a bit of a sore throat. Still, an almost-entirely enjoyable con, other than a few wobbles that were either relatively minor or only short-lived. As I am weak-willed, I managed to get roped into doing things next year and the year after. As I am feeling crappy, I have failed to do most of the post-con jobs that need doing.

While we were in the area, we had dinner with my parents (but not my sister and other half: he tripped over one of the dogs, fell down the stairs, ripped the child gate (there to keep the dogs from going upstairs, um), and came to a halt on the back door, which is now needs new hinges. In one of those 'could have been worse' ways, he's got a broken wrist and toe, is black and blue, and only didn't break his hip because he had it replaced a year or so ago). Mike also had dinner and some time wandering around town with his mother, but I didn't make it along as they were running late and I had jobs to do by the time they went to eat.

We had a crappy journey up but a fairly good run coming home, so I suppose that it balances out. Mike finally gave in and got the Tom Tom app on his phone, so that I no longer have to spend the journey hitting refresh on Google Maps and trying to work around problems (which Google seems to be frankly crap at: there's no point telling me that Route 1 has a one hour delay and Route 2 a two hour one, tell me Route 3 that - gasp - leaves the motorway for a couple of junctions to avoid it!), although I did spend the trip home being an occasional stunt iPhone holder (proper one now acquired).

We don't seem to have suffered much damage from the storm, other than one of the stems of the elder on the drive having split and (fortunately) landed on the fence rather than the sitter's car. There are a lot of broken branches on the roads and in the woods, though. Animals all seem fine, although Bugs was a tiny wee bit lame (in the same leg again) today: worrying but probably not reliably enough present for a vet visit.

Today, my new iPhone arrived. I didn't make it to the Virgin shop at weekend, and I failed to order a new SIM yesterday, so that will be arriving tomorrow. It's a moot point anyway, though, as it turns out that I once enabled encryption of my iTunes phone backups and none of the passwords I'd expect to work did so. We're now, very tediously, doing an iCloud backup: it's been wandering between 19 and 22 hours remaining for about the last two hours. And, of course, once it's done and I've got the SIM, I'll have to re-download it, and then download all my apps. Mike's in work tomorrow, and if the process is at a stage where it makes sense to do so I may have him take the new phone and syphon off a bit of the office wifi.

I also made wild garlic pesto, so there's a stock of that in the freezer. There's also still masses of garlic left, and I'm vaguely wondering if I could bottle it instead of freezing.
LinkWho loves you?

Oops. Oops. Doh.

♥Feb. 25th, 2016 // 09:38 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1143228.html]

This afternoon, on my way to settle down for a bit of sewing, I went to get a drink and noticed that the shelf next to the Aga, on which my little wooden DCUK duck lives, was dusty.

My parents are visiting this weekend, so this reminded me that I needed to Clean The Kitchen. (I'm a terrible slattern, and so don't do things like move the flour canisters and wipe under them on a weekly, let alone daily, basis.)

Several hours later, I finished (although I didn't bother washing the paintwork down, so I doubt it will Do).

This evening, on my way to get a drink before settling down with my book, I noticed that the shelf next to the Aga was still dusty, so I quickly moved the duck off it and wiped it down (after checking that I hadn't hallucinated the rest of the cleaning).

A little later, Mike accidentally knocked the duck off the place where I'd left it (and where it should not have been, so wasn't present in Mike's mental map of the kitchen), at which point its head and half of a welly broke off. Nothing I can't fix with a bit of glue.

I did start to wonder how the wood had got so brittle that it would snap like that, until I remembered that it had been on the shelf next to the Aga for several years.

And, in writing this, I've remembered that I didn't wipe the cupboard doors. Something for tomorrow....
Link3 kisses // Who loves you?

Stupid animals

♥Dec. 23rd, 2015 // 06:49 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1129317.html]

Both of the boys have been idiots, today.

This morning, we managed to get them into the field but only in the top part. After we'd let them go and put the fence across the middle to keep them up there, I was standing keeping an eye on Bugs while Mike squelched down to connect the fence to the power, just in case he decided to make a break for it.

We think that he didn't realise I'd closed the temporary 'gate', and thought he could make a break for it and get to some tastier grass: all of a sudden, he came charging down the hill towards me, which meant that he was going much too fast to successfully slam the brakes on when he realised he was going to hit the fence.... It bowed out in an alarming way when he skidded into it, but fortunately the tape didn't snap. It was probably also fortunate that Mike was still a few seconds away from turning the power on, because Bugs was already terrified enough without getting zapped!

This afternoon, we decided to ride them down the lane and back before taking them for a spin in the school (partly because Jo had only had a short walk, as we were worried about the light going). GB was a bit fretful as we went out, being worried about something in the woods, but nothing too bad and Bugs was as happy as he ever is. We got to the turning around point, and I pointed Bugs back towards home. Mike got about three quarters of the way through turning GB when he suddenly took off and fled up the field: most uncharacteristic behaviour! Fortunately, Mike did All The Right Things, and I managed to keep hold of Bugs so GB stopped fairly quickly (he doesn't like to run off on his own).

We've no idea what set him off, but I do note that he's been looking fretfully at that patch of woods for a few months now, and we've had an occasional spook when he's been on the way in from the field and turned to corner to face it. One of Mrs Next Door's dogs got very fretful about going outside after dark, around this time last year, and she thought she'd seen glowing eyes up there one night. I do wonder if there might be a wild boar up there. I do rather hope that there isn't.

(As a general rule, horses are scared stiff of pigs, because wild boar are dangerous. GB is actually ok with pigs, as he used to see them on the farm, but it's the only thing I can think of.)

ION, my parents kept talking up Lee Child's Jack Reacher books, and in the end I said "send them to me, then". They are absolute, unmitigated, implausible tosh, full of ludicrous conspiracies with even more ludicrous foreshadowing (none of which is remotely relevant to the even *more* ludicrous leaps of intuition that Our Hero takes in order to solve the case), and have the unfortunate habit of starting the climactic scene about three quarters of the way through the book, which has resulted in severe damage to my sleep patterns lately. (I was really quite glad to spend a few days reading the less compelling books I'd bought with my Amazon credits, as it let me catch up on my rest.) While they were here, my mother reported that one of them ended on a cliff-hanger without you knowing if he was dead or alive (although the presence of a further five or six books does rather give the game away). We also worked out that she was reading them completely out of sequence, though, so I didn't really think much of it. I've just finished that one and, on going to Wikipedia to check what the next title is, discovered that that was the last of the ones that they gave me.... Fortunately, Amazon has provided.

I had been assuming that "K-turn" was an OCR error for U-turn*, but it's very consistent: is it American for three point turn? (Mike says not, and either he or my father suggested it was an OCR error for J-turn, being a reverse-fast-then-use-the-momentum-to-swing-180-and-accellerate-away, but the K-turns don't seem that urgent, and anyway there is one of those and it just gets described and then has admiring noises made about the driving skill involved.)

* Some of them are a little dodgy, although infinitely better than some old SF books I've read OCR copies of. The best is the one where 'Glock' has been consistently rendered as 'Clock'. The bad guys keep making me laugh, when they pull out their Clocks and wave them threateningly at Our Hero.
Link2 kisses // Who loves you?

Bits and bobs

♥Dec. 15th, 2015 // 04:22 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1127717.html]

The parents have been and gone. We had a fairly good time, although the weather wasn't terribly nice: at least it was mostly dry. I kept staying up far too late chatting, oops. It was Mike's work Chirstmas do on Monday, so they took me out for a lovely dinner at Deeson's.

I picked up my new glasses yesterday, and have been wearing them since I got home: no headaches, which is always nice, so I think they're ok. I also got a copy of my prescription: R -1.25, -2.0, 20; L -0.75, -3.0, 160 (was R: -0.5, -2.0, 25; L: -0.5, -2.75, 155, so the change is more eyesight and less astigmatism than I'd thought).

The splashback for behind the Aga arrived, so the decorator came back and fitted it (eventually: it was a tight fit!) and finished off the painting. It looks very nice, now that it's all done, so we're pleased with it. I must leave him some good feedback on MyBuilder: we'd definitely use him again.

I had a rather depressing riding lesson on Tuesday: it should have been Mike's turn to ride GB, but I've been a bit worried about his bad leg (I jumped on him for a quick fifteen minute ride on Monday, and he was fine until I cantered on the bad leg after which my very non-horsey mother could see that his walk wasn't right) so I rode him instead. Our instructor was quite pleased that we'd not stuck to the usual pattern because she'd been struggling to think of enough things that he was still able to do with Mike riding to fill 45 minutes. We did half an hour, and decided that he probably can't have lessons with me riding either (I might go back to just doing fifteen minutes, which we did for a little while last winter, but he's worse this year than he was then so it may not work). Just have to play it by ear, I guess. If I can get him through the winter, he should perk up again in spring, but it's still incredibly mild here (nothing below 8C on the seven day, 24 hour forecast!) so I'm very worried about what will happen if we have a bad January and/or February as they've been forecasting.

This morning, I had Pilates (we did Pilates circuit training, which was fun but a bit too (ie, at all) sweaty for my tastes), and this afternoon I've been boxing up the presents that need posting ready for Mike to take them to the Post Office tomorrow. I've also put the Christmas tree up, and now I'm really quite knackered.

I have a small pile of misc consumer electronics that are looking for a new homes (perfectly fine if annoyingly controlled microwave, digital radio that probably just needs a new power cable, Dyson that works but not as well as it should so probably needs a thorough service). Do charities take electrical goods any more? Any other ideas?
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I don't like Wednesdays

♥Nov. 25th, 2015 // 08:17 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1123061.html]

At least, I don't like Wednesdays when Mike has to go to London. Particularly when he has to be there relatively early....

Today, we chucked the boys into the field and I did a bit of mucking out while Mike showered, then we headed off to Ashford and I left Mike at the station and went to kill some time at the Designer Outlet Village: his train was at 9:30ish, my Pilates class starts at 11 (but I like to be there by ten to because parking is a nightmare and you have to be quick to snap up the spaces that the previous class were using as they leave). I failed to know, and Mike failed to tell me, that the shops don't open until 10, so I spent a bit of time walking around and then went for a hot chocolate. As soon as the shops opened, I dived into M&S and bought some jogging bottoms, because it's kinda chilly out there and I was dressed for Pilates....

(My actual plan was to buy some nice Pilates-suitable clothes, but all the sports shops had was hideous fluorescent and/or pink-or-teal-or-purple running stuff. I know the sort of stuff I want, and indeed there are a couple of people in my class who wear it, but I have no idea what sorts of shops it comes from. Sigh. And, now that I think about it, a lot of it does tend towards the pink-or-teal-or-purple. But some of it's white and beige, so it must exist.)

Then I did Pilates, and discovered that I don't much like one-legged squats, a first impression that firmed up as the day went on. After Pilates, I came home, released the hound, had lunch while listening to the Autumn Statement, walked the pooch, and then did the rest of the stable jobs and tidied the kitchen. Foolishly, I sat down for ten minutes after that. It was a struggle to get off the sofa, let Next Door's dogs out to (fail to) have a wee, and bring the horses in.

Proper sit down came next, but falling asleep over my book sounded like a bad plan so I did some sewing instead before getting dinner ready to go and then driving back to Ashford to pick Mike up (yuck, I hate driving down the Roman road at that time of night: narrow and wiggly in places, no lights or cats eyes, and lots of traffic coming the other way to stop me seeing what's coming next. Made worse this evening by the fuckwit about 500 yards behind me with his full beam headlights on. He dimmed them every time a car came the other way, which was considerate of him, but then turned them back up again afterwards, which was not). Dinner, boys' bed time hay nets slightly early, collapse on sofa.

While I was 'making' dinner (dinner being frozen ragu, which I'd put in the oven before I went out, and dried -- the horror -- pasta), I called my parents, having had an answer phone message from Father while I was out. When he answered, he requested the complaints department. It turns out that last weekend Sister had been poking around in their fridge and found the bottle of ginger liqueur from last year's Christmas hamper. "What's this?" she asked interestedly, before saying "Oh, it's not been opened," and putting it back. My parents decided that they'd better at least try it before she came back and finished it off. (She has form for this sort of thing. I'm surprised she didn't just open it there and then, tbh.)

Now, I must confess that I've only ever had the stuff when it's about a month old, and it's pretty fiery. I don't know what happens to it if you leave it in the bottle for a year, but Mother took one sip and then poured hers back! (I suggested mixing it with lemonade next time.) Father seemed to be enjoying it, though, for all the complaints and questions about whether it was actually surgical spirits as a base.... He concluded that he would tell Sister to help herself next time she was poking around in the fridge, and have his camera ready when she took a gulp.

(Mother also got to score points on Father, as when he'd called and got the answer phone he'd hung up saying "Where are they? They can't be doing the horses at this time, in the dark!" and she'd replied "She's probably picking Mike up from the station." Father was ever so surprised to learn that Mother was right. Well, it keeps them amused!)
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Bah

♥Aug. 18th, 2015 // 09:55 pm
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1) Unforecast rain for much of the day put a bit of a dent in our plans to go out for healthy country walks, although we did manage one rather soggy one.

2) Instead, we mostly stayed at home and played board games with Mike's niece and nephew, who are staying the night while their parents go off to visit friends.

3) I blew nephew's mind by handing him a box containing a Game Boy, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Micro, none of which he had ever actually seen before. "It's so big..." he said, as he settled down to play Zelda.
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And so it begins

♥Aug. 17th, 2015 // 05:37 pm
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1) Off to the tip this morning, to get rid of misc stuff, much of which was a small sample of the flints that litter our garden.

2) Off to the hospital this afternoon, now about half way through the ultrasound trial and not really noticing any differences that can't be explained as "I'm paying more attention to symptoms because I know I have to write them down".

3) Mike's brother and family are here for a couple of nights (well, the kids are here for a couple of nights: the parents just for one night. It's a good job that Mike was reminded of this by email last week, as he'd forgotten about it and not told me!).
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Things

♥Feb. 27th, 2015 // 05:10 pm
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It's been a tiring few days, and lo: I am tired. And when I'm tired I get even worse about updating LJ, answering emails, and replying to text messages.

We've had various visitors, including my parents, which was nice (but tiring). On the plus side, my father did lots of DIY, which was helpful: Bugs now has a rack for his rugs, so they're not in a heap on the floor of the tack room.

Bugs seems to be settling in, although it was unhelpful of the weather to dump masses of rain on us just when it did: they couldn't go in the field on Friday or Saturday last week, so we had to have them all in the stableyard together, slightly earlier than I'd planned on letting them socialise as a group. There were a few scuffles, but nothing too bad: GB landed a few bites on Bugs, and Bugs landed a few kicks on GB, but no actual injuries. It dried out slightly, so they had three days in the top part of the field, which is now horribly churned up due to a combination of scrapping, Bugs still having shoes on his front feet, and GB being utterly determined to always stay between Bugs and the Baby (he seems to have slackened this policy now, thankfully). Then they had another two days in the stableyard, and transformed it into a good recreation of the Somme, so they just had to stay in their stables or be tied up all day today. They did get a bit of excitement in the form of a visit from the Back Lady, though. She pronounced them all fine, once she'd done a little bit of tweaking of Bugs.

We had a power cut in the early hours of Thursday morning, which Mike discovered was because the breaker had gone on the fish pond circuit and blown the whole thing. Fortunately, Fish Pond Guy was coming on Thursday anyway, to take out the old fountain and put the attachment on the pump to make it make a pretty jet of water. He declared the pump to be bust, which was annoying as it's less than a year old: Mike will be complaining, and then Fish Pond Guy will be back to fit the replacement. We've got a new pond cover as well, but it needs a little fettling to make it work properly: I suspect that we're going to end up removing a strip of grass around the pond and putting pebbles down, to make it possible for Mike to mow the lawn without having to move the cover each time.

Our bins didn't get emptied last Friday, which was annoying: the official reason is because there was -- shock -- a pair of traffic cones on either side of the gate when they arrived. Not blocking it, or anything, just, y'know, existing. The fact that it was raining may also have had something to do with it. There has followed a week of comedy and delight, including a reprise of the old favourite "But you don't have a wheely bin, you have purple sacks", some Twitter action from the local councillor, at least three failed "within two days" and, apparently, they will be emptied tomorrow. Honest.

(The cones, by the by, were put there by the road mending people, and thus the bin lorry would never have got to the reason for them. They've resurfaced a couple of meters of the road, and done the outside two thirds on a fair bit more. There are, of course, still places that need doing but that was the worst stretch. My current theory is that, back in October, the Amazing Vanishing Road Crew were supposed to put patches on all the problems and then these guys were booked to come and do the worst bits properly. Even though the AVRC vanished in an amazing fashion before doing their bit, the second booking still happened. I suppose that we'd better report it all again to see if the same thing happens next winter: there are now some nasty potholes on the flat part of the road as well.)

Project Grow Your Own is moving along, although the next stage is somewhat hampered by the fact that two of the planks in the side of one of the big planters have swelled in the wet and pinged out: I've emailed the people we got them from to complain. We've got to the stage of planting some of the seedlings out in bigger pots to grow on before they go out, although I'm a little worried by the germination rate of the early tomatoes. There is an actual pod on one of the mange tout plants, as well as masses of flowers, which is very silly.

And I am very tired and achy and brainless and tired. Now. Text messages, then at least some of my emails before I give up.
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Alas, poor fishie

♥Jan. 18th, 2015 // 04:44 pm
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(Yuck, new DW beta update page is hideous. They've increased the font size and added acres of white space, presumably to make it easier to use on a mobile, so you now have to scroll and scroll and scroll. In what universe does anyone need a 1000-pixel-wide dropdown to distinguish between the names of their icons? I've slightly improved it by manually changing the font size for the page, but it's still enormous in the text entry box and generally bleh. Anyway.)

It appears that our last indoor fish is no more. I saw him a few days ago, but then my mother asked why we had an empty fish tank and I couldn't find him to show her, yesterday or today. Ah well, they had a good run.

(The visit seemed to go well. No one died!)

This afternoon, we've been pruning trees in the garden. This evening, as it's forecast to be below freezing until mid-morning, we're going to defrost the freezer.

I heard today that our new vegetable planters are ready, and should be with us mid-week, and I had a small accident buying plants online....

It's exciting, out in the countryside!
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Lots of planets have a North

♥Dec. 14th, 2014 // 09:30 pm
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We went on a flying visit to family this weekend: my parents, lunch with my sister (and her New Man; she seems very happy), Mike's mother and brother. For the first two of those, Mike spent a lot of time muttering "It looks very Northern up here...."

By the time we left, my mother was almost visibly twitching with the urge to get the vacuum cleaner out and get rid of any sign of Jo. In contrast, Jo charged into Mike's mother's house and left a line of black footprints across the carpet; "Oh well," she said, "I'm sure it'll vacuum up when it's dry."

Long weekend, but we got through it, and the boys / ducks seem to have coped ok with having four different people doing various bits of looking after them! Jo's glad to be home, though I suspect she'd rather have been with us than not.

Tomorrow, I'm back at the dentist for tweaking my tooth, and the day after that I think we'll put the tree up. (We just got back from buying it, and it's a good job we didn't leave it any later as they only had about half a dozen left!)
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Plumbing

♥Oct. 27th, 2014 // 02:39 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1047820.html]

We've had Mike's family staying this weekend (his mother is still here, but she's gone off to Canterbury for the day today): teenagers sleeping on every flat surface in the house, and so on.

When I ran the dishwasher with the dinner plates in on Saturday night, they didn't get clean. Odd. I ran it again, and that time realised that it wasn't actually getting hot: it was doing a full cycle, but without heating the water. Not great timing, but there were at least plenty of people to help with the washing up!

But then the kitchen sink stopped draining on one side... and then it stopped draining on the other as well. So washing up after dinner last night involved carrying bowls of used water off to tip down the loo instead.

Plumber tomorrow, dishwasher repair man on Thursday.... Sigh. At least the dishwasher's from John Lewis, so it's under warranty still.

(Lovely visit other than that, although Jo is a bit unsettled and tired from having to be on guard all the time and sleeping on our bedroom floor instead of her bed the sofa.)
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Bloody Game Of Thrones...

♥Jun. 4th, 2014 // 12:12 pm
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I'm currently earwormed by Gordon Lightfoot's "The Mountains and Marianne"....

The girls seem a little less timid today, in that when shooed out of their house they wait for several minutes, and occasionally nibble a bit of grass, before dashing back to safety. Magrat seems to be the bravest, or at least least cautious, as she's usually in the lead.

We had three eggs, yesterday, all very 'we're new to this': one is just small, one is small with an uneven shell, and the third didn't quite have enough shell on it. I'm sure that they'll get better with practice.

Jodie's been to the vet and come back straight away, which was a nice change. All the stitches are out, and the vet said he was very pleased with it. We're to bathe it, and keep putting her sexy trousers on at night, for a couple of days, and she can start having part of her walk off the lead from Friday, building up to being back to normal by this time next week.

Mike's mother and aunt are staying for a few days, but today they've taken themselves off to do Things Suitable For A Wet Day (Turner Contemporary, last I heard), so we can try and catch up on ourselves a bit.

And this morning I did all of GB's mucking out, all by myself. Well, other than moving the wheelbarrow, which I left for Mike.
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Walking in the woods

♥Mar. 10th, 2014 // 05:58 pm
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Jodie has been terribly full of beans, today: not sure what's got into her! We took her out for a nice walk, in a wild flower reserve (lots of space for bounding around whilst keeping us in view) and then in the woods. We found a rather unfortunate bluebell:


It's ok, though, as a) we rescued it after I took a picture and b) it was not alone:


The wild flower reserve had some terribly clever not-stiles, very well suited (one stereotypes) for use by elderly ladies who want to look at the flowers but aren't quite up to clambering over the regular type of stile:


Yesterday, mindful of complaints that previous videos showed the boys darting too quickly around the field, I shot one with the frame rate dialled right back. It was quite tedious to watch. Here's one that's a bit quicker than that, with special guest appearances from the two mares owned by TWWOTV, who like to stay close to the boys when they can.



The chaps have, it appears, now entirely finished the kitchen, including unexpectedly patching up the missing bit of plaster in the dining room ceiling, by the front door, and have now moved onto the hallway. The wooden panelling is more than half done (and that's the tricky half, with the radiator to deal with), and the woodwork has had a first coat of white: already looks much lighter and brighter in there, which is good.

Tomorrow, The Parents Arrive. This should be interesting (they are not staying here, but in a B&B nearby). I'm, in some ways, pleased that it coincides with the chaps causing mess and chaos, as it gives me an excuse! Father has Plans for our spherical pigeons, which reminds me that I must warn the Next Doors not to worry unduly if they hear gunshots coming from the house....
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Family....

♥Dec. 16th, 2013 // 04:12 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/936719.html]

Mike's brother and his family have been for a flying visit (the brother with the angelically good children). Yesterday, we had dog walking in the rain, pony rides in the rain (much to GB's annoyance), card games and tasty curry for dinner.

Today, the kids helped us to walk the dogs around the field (for which we were very grateful: this was the first time we'd had both the Next Doors' dogs, the WWOTV's dogs and the WWOTV's ex-husband's dogs, and nine was a bit of a handful! I really should have taken a picture, but am an idiot and didn't think to) we went up to the Devil's Kneeding Trough, where there was a lovely view of the cloud that we were in the middle of, and then had lunch at a nice, and very dog friendly, pub in Wye: we'll go back there, the food was lovely if a little slow to arrive.

It's just possible that went into Plokta Cabal mode when preparing for the visit: the fridge is still rather stuffed, even though they've now gone back to Dublin....


It seems to always rain when we have visitors, annoyingly. It was better than the forecast, though, so that's something.

Tomorrow, we have more rain on the forecast, and we have our first proper lessons with our new instructor. At least if it's raining GB will be up for doing some work!

(Peter O'Toole (rose_gialle) and Joan Fontaine (clanwilliam). They're now joint second.)
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Brrr

♥Jan. 22nd, 2013 // 03:44 pm
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Although it wasn't, in the end, a nightmare journey, Friday was probably not the ideal day to drive from London to Chester, nor Sunday the best day to drive back again. Still, all of Mike's Mother's descendants made it with relatively little travel trouble. Mike spent the entire weekend driving around saying "I can't believe there's this much snow in Chester...".

Back at home, [livejournal.com profile] vgrumpybastard has been stuck in his stable for five days, now, other than a couple of half-hour breaks in the snow-covered sand school (I dread to think how long it's going to take for the school to be back in use, now that it's been churned up and the snow compacted!). I had hoped that I'd be able to get him out today, just for half an hour of plodding around the flatter local roads, but I was stymied by the fact that there is a couple of metres of completely smooth compacted snow to get over, around the gates, between the stable yard (mostly cleared, or at least crunchy) and the road (a bit icy at the edges but fine in the tire tracks). I'm not at all sure that I'm going to be able to get up the lane for my lesson tomorrow, but I really think he needs to get out and move around so I'm going to go out a bit earlier and see if I can do anything with a shovel and some grit. I have reasonable hopes that I'll be able to get a path through the owner's driveway (which we aren't normally allowed to use), particularly as it's thawed a bit this afternoon.

(I totally stole the grit, but I'm treating it as payment: no one else bothered to grit the entrance to our flats, so after I'd done it I took another bag full out of the grit box and stuck it in the car, Just In Case.)

(I actually think, if I could get there safely, that I'd be absolutely fine to hack him out in the woods: no one else dares, because horses with shoes don't cope very well with snow on account of getting lumps of ice inside their feet, but that's not a problem with him! Sadly, I'm fairly certain that that end of the lane will be a sheet of ice by now, with people driving over it.)

On the plus side, he had the chiropractor in today, and she said he was doing fabulously, so at least he's not stiffened up entirely with standing in.

Mike had a second go on Andrew, on Monday night, and pronounced himself quite happy with him. I might start making vague enquiries about price.

Despite riding on Monday night and pilates this morning, I'm feeling distinctly underexercised. Bleh. May have to get the wii fit out.
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