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Jodie in useful guard dog shocker!

♥Jul. 30th, 2017 // 08:49 pm
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I was weeding in the back garden this morning, with the radio on, when Jo went into the house and started barking.

When I went to see what she was worried by, I found the postman in the porch wanting me to sign for a parcel.

I'm being very crap at updating, recently, aren't I?

I had my second session with my new Pilates instructor last week, and could barely walk the following day: I may have to ask her to push me a little less hard.... On the other hand, I'd done nothing but sit in a car and walk at museum-visiting-speed for a week, so maybe not so surprising.

Thank you to everyone who made it along to our BBQ at the weekend, it was lovely to see everyone (even if it did pour with rain the whole time and thus was more of an Aga than a BBQ!). We have excessive quantities of beer left in the polypin, creative suggestions welcome. Do you think it would be a good or bad for the plants if I used it to water them...?

Someone left a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas in the kitchen: anyone claiming it?
Link7 kisses // Who loves you?

Here are some things that have happened

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I realise now that that's probably the last time he'll ever be ridden.
Link6 kisses // Who loves you?

Pooch problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don't really want to have to go back to crating her every night, if only because I can't imagine it will be great for her leg to sleep curled up rather than stretched out on her sofa, but I suppose we'll have to for a little while until she forgets about getting to go upstairs if she makes a fuss....
Link5 kisses // Who loves you?

Bits and coughs

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

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

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

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

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

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

LJ has reset my cookie, and I'm presuming that logging in will require TOS agreement, so I've stopped reading there.
Link2 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?

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?

Things for today

♥Mar. 1st, 2016 // 01:57 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1143972.html]

My parents have been to visit this weekend: we set my father to work doing DIY, and my mother was discovered cleaning the kitchen windows about half an hour after she arrived, so I guess they had a good time...?

My father has an Android tablet, which he waved at us in a 'make it work' sort of way. I've put an ad blocker on it for him, but was stumped by an email problem. He has two accounts set up on it, and if he creates a new message then he has a drop-down in the from field where he can choose which account to use, as I'd expect. If he's replying to or forwarding an email, though, there's no dropdown and he can only send it from the same account that the original email was sent to. Was I missing something, or is the default mail client crap and, if so, what's a better one for him to use?

Last night, we went to the Granville, which used to be run by some people whose *other* pub had a Michelin star. It's changed management, though, and is now serving food that is (by local standards) just perfectly ordinary pub food: rather disappointing.

I was pleased that it was dry while they were here, as it meant that the kitchen floor stayed reasonably clean. Today has been making up for it, however. Bugs, who had been looking positively clean, was covered in mud within about a minute of going into the field. We poo picked the field this morning, and when we'd finished GB saw us heading for the gate and came charging down the hill (Bugs came too and beat him to the bottom) before skidding to a halt against the gate and looking pleadingly at me. We left them out there, but I looked up a bit before noon and saw them both standing by the gate looking pathetic, so now they're tucked up in their stables again. (It has actually stopped raining, now, but there's a nasty wind and (Mike's in London) I don't fancy bringing them in through the mud for a second time on my own, so I think they can just stay inside.
LinkWho loves you?


♥Jan. 4th, 2016 // 03:02 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1131008.html]

We've had a lovely New Year, but Mike is somewhat sick of cooking, and I am somewhat sick of washing up, running the dishwasher, and doing laundry.... I'm also incredibly knackered, but we're going out to see ISIHAC this evening, so that should be fun.

It's been rather wet, which is annoying: we've had to keep the horses in for the last couple of days, and I suspect that the next couple will be the same. They aren't very impressed by this, as you can probably imagine, but it really is horrible out there. The standing water in the stableyard yesterday was very nearly deep enough for the ducks to swim in. (It could, of course, be Much Worse.)

In the ongoing drama that is gategate, Mrs Next Door phoned a few evenings ago to ask for help: someone had re-hung Mrs Top Of The Hill's PGATRTIOTTAPINUTR, and then either the same or a different person had tied it shut with a knotted piece of baling twine. I drove up there with scissors to let her out and then, having thought about it a little more, drove back up with a chain and padlock to make sure it didn't happen again. It had been off the hinges still a couple of hours before, so the chances of two different people being involved are slight. That means that either someone helpfully put it back as a favour to Mrs Top Of The Hill and then idiotically tied it shut or they went to a huge amount of effort in an attempt to inconvenience Mrs Top Of The Hill (which failed because she's not here). It's all very odd. Anyway, I emailed her and told her what I'd done and she said thanks and she'll sort it when she gets back.
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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Trees, both in and out

♥Dec. 11th, 2015 // 04:28 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1127525.html]

We have had an infestation of Teenager this week, but she's gone home now. (Actually, she's been no bother as she's been doing Complicated Maths the whole time she was here.) Tomorrow, we're getting an infestation of Parents, which I suspect will be more stressful.

Shortly before lunch, the doorbell rang: it was the tree surgeons, team of four, come to get rid of the enormous conifer and the boring and shade-inducing maple. We thought it was a bit odd that they came when there were only three or so hours of light left, but in fact they were done in about two! Very interesting to see them do the conifer, which they did from the bottom up, particularly the bit right at the end where the bloke was standing on the stumps of already-removed branches, swaying gently in the wind, having a fag break (eCig, admittedly). Infinitely quicker, more professional, and safe-looking job than the one we had taken out just after we moved in.

Even late on a grey December afternoon, the garden was much lighter through the livingroom patio doors.

We're now down to only one remaining Enormous Conifer, and it's a less dense kind than the ones that we've had taken out, and about six or eight leylandii, which are right next to it: I suspect we'll have a think about whether it will stay or go when we've taken the leylandii out and have a better idea of what that does to the light levels in that corner of the garden.

Then, after we'd brought the boys in, we popped out to buy a somewhat less enormous conifer, although we struggled somewhat. We went to the place we usually use (a small garden centre), but all they had left was one that would have been just right but was reserved, one that was too tall, and half a dozen tiny ones, so we went to a place that just sells trees and traipsed around a field trying to find something that didn't have an enormous bare spike sticking up from the top of it (whilst we would be quite happy to get one like that and take the scissors to it, they sell them by height and we've no wish to pay for three feet of twig that we're going to get rid of). We did get an ok one, although I'm a little worried that we'll have to take off a couple of the lower branches as it's got a very short stump.

Not sure why the decent trees are getting sold out so early, though, and I'm glad we went today rather than over the weekend: last year we bought it on the 14th (which is the equivalent to this coming Sunday) and "they only had about half a dozen left".

I've just bought a new microwave, because Costco had one with good reviews at £30 less than Amazon or Tesco in their Christmas deals. We've neither of us ever liked the one we have at the moment, which was a quick grab off the shelf in Tesco job when we moved and left the old one behind: it has a dial to set the timer, for example, which is horrible. If anyone wants it....
Link3 kisses // Who loves you?

Busy busy

♥Sep. 27th, 2015 // 03:14 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1109029.html]

We've had a lovely weekend of visitors, but I'm knackered now and have sneaking suspicions about Plague acquisition (this is what happens when you go to That There London, I'm convinced).

On Friday, we went out for lunch and then I headed into town: had a couple of hours of nice chat with my dentist, and then a couple of hours of deeply tedious charity meeting. After a little while, the Chair and I started playing 'we had this exact same conversation and action point at the previous meeting' bingo.... Too many very busy chiefs, no one actually doing the work. Managed to resist the urges to offer to do it myself so that it would be done and done properly.

I was late back home, but found the house full of people and a glass of wine waiting for me, so all was well.

Yesterday, we went to the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, which was absolutely packed (and, in consequence, the car parks were all full -- I think we got the last spot in the biggest one -- and the traffic was snarled all around the ring road and beyond so that it took over twice as long as it should have done to get there/home). I can only assume that we went on the Friday last year, and possibly also that it's a lot more popular this year. They're going to have to do something differently next year, although I'm not sure what.

There were lots of interesting stalls but by the time it was lunch time they all also had enormous queues so that we decided to just give up and go into town for food where we could sit down. It wasn't a total loss, though: pork scratching, pork pies, ice cream and blue cheese were variously bought, and we got a free bag of incredibly cute little peppers from our veg box people (because I did a sad face about never getting them in our box -- they don't get enough, and I suspect they're expensive).

Lunch was at Salt, which we'd been meaning to try for a while, which is a tapas-style place. There were five of us, so we just ordered one of everything, and it was almost entirely really really good, with one of the dishes being a little dry. Mike and I came home to Release The Hound while the others stayed for puddings. (The festival website said service dogs only. In fact, there were lots of dogs there but it would have been much too crowded for Jo so it's probably a good thing we didn't take her.)

In the evening, we played Concept after dinner, which I'd got Mike for his birthday for just this sort of occasion. Very fun as long as you don't try to follow the rules too much.

Today, we've been to the Devil's Kneeding Trough and the King's Head, where we had their Sunday menu for the first time (although, pleasingly, they still offer most of their regular menu as well: I hate it when it's obligatory to have an enormous roast if you're not in the mood). V excited to learn that the new menu starts tomorrow, and the new scotch egg is pork and chorizo: I dare say we'll be back soon so that I can try it!

I am possessed of a laundry mountain and a small stack of washing up, but I think I'm just going to leave it until tomorrow and have an early night instead.
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Tired now

♥Aug. 23rd, 2015 // 04:13 pm
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Apparently, having 24 people spend the night is a doable thing, although apparently someone was snoring *really* loudly!

We had our party yesterday, and it seemed to go well. We had really good weather for it, too, although it was a bit too warm for my tastes. Now Mike is making lists of what we had too much (bread rolls) and too little (salsa) of, so that we know for next year.

The gin and tonic marshmallows collapsed into a lump. I may have mis-remembered how much gin to put in. But, hey, I put some spoons out and it all vanished.

We're quite tired, now. Jo's happy to have the place quiet again.
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Poor Jo

♥Aug. 20th, 2015 // 04:21 pm
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1) Off to Costco this morning, via Uniqlo for new shirts for Mike. Rather a big shop, and poor Jo was left alone for weeks and weeks and weeks. Not-A-Loo is now rather stuffed, and various things have overflowed to the floor outside it!

2) Van Man's van was still there when we went out this morning, although he'd not left our spade for us (not really surprised). We're wondering if we should call the police to let them know it's there: he could still be in it, for all we know (it's quite a way from the road).

3) Lovely dinner out with S and G, just a shame they that the praline icecream (which we'd all planned on having) was still in the freezing stage having just been churned....
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♥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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Mucky (no, not the ducks. Oh, wait: Magrat, leave her alone!)

♥Aug. 15th, 2015 // 01:30 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1096600.html]

1) I spent a couple of hours this morning getting ahead of myself (or trying to) for numerous upcoming visitors. More still to do. Mike even tidied his desk!

2) Mike also trimmed hedges. The beech is now nearly all looking tidy again. I dug things up: more stuff-that's going (the saffron patch is now about half ready, I would guess), and half of the very congested and weed-filled patch of yellow irises, the best of which I've moved to the space I cleared yesterday. The other half will just have to wait and be moved at a less optimal time, as the bed where they're going is currently full of tomatoes. In the process, I found my very over-shadowed agapanthus, which I'd assumed had been got by some critter or other after I put them in last year: I've moved them as well, even though it will probably knock them back. Hopefully they'll be happier in the clearer patch where they are now.

3) The cows are out in the road, and will be for the next couple of weeks: upcoming visitors take note!
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Oh, yes, I remember: posting is a thing!

♥Jul. 5th, 2015 // 04:30 pm
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I seem to have been failing to post very much lately. I have been doing things, though. Here are some of them:

- Killing horse flies (nasty little buggers. At least they're easy to squash). Bugsy has already trashed his (brand new) fly sheet, and is now wearing Baby's old one, which mostly fits him. They both have lovely posh new fly masks, which they are mostly not removing and leaving at the top of the field.
- Making Interesting Drinks, such as elderflower vodka and wild strawberry vodka.
- Having several sets of Lovely Visitors.
- Working on my quilt, which is still not finished on account of Busy. It's only the actual quilting part that still needs doing, though.
- Looking at orchids: we've now seen early purple, common spotted, pyramidal, lady, monkey, fly, butterfly, man, fragrant, musk and twayblade orchids, mostly at Park Gate Down. The orchid twitchers are very helpful, as they comb the place methodically, plant book in hand, and you just have to wander over when they start getting excited to see what it is they've found!
- Ragworting. Bah.
- Going to Finland for Archipelacon, which was a very laid back con for us. Had some lovely dinners (turns out that our hotel restaurant was the best in town), tasty ciders and several nice walks around Mariehamn, which has very variable ecology that's mostly about six weeks behind here (daffs in one garden, and lilacs everywhere) and which never seems to get dark.
- Being Much Too Hot, which I suspect wasn't helped by coming back from Finland (c20-23C) and into The Hottest July Day Ever (c34C here). The Aga is now firmly off. This afternoon is much nicer, after a very wet morning (which we really needed).
- Boggling at the way that the garden has exploded while we were away. The first tomatoes are ripe, and the wysteria is taking over the house, patio, and several adjoining shrubs. There are some lovely cornflowers and poppies in the orchard, which is nice.

And now we have a day off between sets of visitors: just long enough to do laundry and tidy the house....
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♥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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N Things

♥Oct. 23rd, 2014 // 07:44 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1047452.html]

- My shoulder really hurts. Waa. Physio tomorrow.

- Mike's finger also hurts, after a scissor-related incident this afternoon in the kitchen.

- GB hopefully doesn't hurt anywhere, after a week on the 'bute. Yesterday, he was Not Good when I rode him. Today, he was better but still Not Right. I phoned the Back Lady at home and left a piteous message with her husband. We'll see if she gets back to me.

- Baby has a bit of a manky foot; we've been cleaning it out and the farrier will pop in tomorrow (as he's doing The Horse Next Door anyway).

- The Road Guys still haven't reappeared, but have at least replaced the 'Road Closed' signs with ones saying that the road will be closed from the 30th for three days.

- Which, I've just realised, might be a problem: our Riding Instructor happened to mention to another client that we were looking for a horse (actually, probably two: one for each of us, because Mike and Baby just aren't progressing like they should be), and this woman said she might be interested in Baby for her other half. And she phoned today and we arranged that she'd come down on Thursday. Hmm. Note to self: ride him as much as possible over the next week.

- It also might be a problem on account of how the road is full of cows, and I really can't see the Road Guys agreeing to work with them around. In one of those mysterious coincidences, the cows were by the main road and Not Very Near Neighbour phoned Bad Farmer to say she was worried about one of the calves. The next morning, they were in the valley, out of sight. Spooky.

- We had Alison and M staying at the start of the week. On Saturday, Mike's entire family, yea unto the third generation, is arriving for the weekend (and his mother is staying on afterwards). There has been much doing of laundry and making up of beds. Also, on Mike's part, baking.

- We've had no mobile phone signal since early on Saturday afternoon (I mean, actually none, not just the very small amount that we usually get). This afternoon, Mike phoned Virgin to ask when the mast would be back in action, and was bizarrely told that, as they had no report of the mast being down, they needed him to try to make five phone calls in 24 hours, at least half an hour apart, and then email him the details of them. He did actually do it, but I can't honestly see any reason why he couldn't have just made it up. I think I'll ask Mrs Next Door to report it to ee, as it's their mast and she has a contract with them.

- I've got a few possible horses that I'd like to look at. Need to wait until the family have departed, though.

- We've started moving the boys across the field. They have already eaten the new bit bare.... They're nearly as bad as the ducks!
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Duck duck duck

♥Jul. 6th, 2014 // 03:23 pm
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Mrs Next Door and I went out for a hack, this morning: her horse is poorly, so she decided that she'd have a go on the Baby. It was nice, and she relaxed a lot when she realised that, really, the Baby is not mad like her horse....

When we got back, we found that the girls had wandered up into the field, and were half way up the hill pottering around:

They followed us back down, which was either getting away from the horses or in the hope that it was time for their corn (it wasn't).

Of course, the girls are lucky to be getting corn at all: we went to the beach with Jodie and added Alice on Friday, and when we got back the boys (who'd been left with the gate open so that they could go inside if it got too hot) had pulled their feed bin over and eaten the contents. I say 'the boys', I suspect that it was GB. Mutter. Fortunately, the horses weren't poorly after eating a huge pile of corn. Fortunately, most of the duck food is in the big feed bin, in the barn. We've now put a little stretch of (non) electric fence around the girls' house and pond, so that they can come and go as they please but (hopefully) the boys will keep out.

Yesterday, we went, with Jodie and added Alice, up to Cambridge, to [livejournal.com profile] dorispossum, where we had a lovely time and Jodie gathered a fine collection of special Cambridge grass seeds, which were obviously keen to find a new home in Kent.
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Busy weekend

♥Jun. 23rd, 2014 // 01:06 pm
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We've had a busy weekend, being inundated with the Cabal and Jan.

Actually, we didn't get as much done as I thought that we would, but we've helped Jan out with some Worldcon stuff, so all is good.

We had lots of healthy walks, which often involved looking at orchids:

And were often too hot for Jodie:

(We came back early from one of the walks, which was a Good Thing: there was a certain amount of dragging her the last hundred yards to the fish pond.)

And this morning we had riding lessons, which we had completely forgotten about (I think that we said "we can do M/T/W that week" and she said "Ok, I'll let you know" then didn't, in fact), but it worked out ok because we just left people to fend for themselves and Giulia even did the laundry for me: win!

And, in fact, yesterday we also left them to fend for themselves while we went to Baby Next Door's christening, which was small and thankfully short: it was a touch embarrassing, as there were so few people there that the audience participation bits were barely audible. Good job that there was no singing involved!

We're obviously terrible hosts, and no one should ever come to stay with us again!

Oh, we are now fairly confident that Magrat lays the white eggs, Gytha the blue eggs and Esme the ones where she forgot to include the shells. There was scrambled duck eggs with breakfast one day: nom!
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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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This week, it's my turn

♥May. 27th, 2014 // 12:20 pm
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We've had a lovely, if chaotic, weekend with C and [livejournal.com profile] groliffe. They were very good about pretending not to mind too much when we had to detour to the vet, or leave the house in shifts to make sure that Jodie wasn't unattended. We even managed a trip to the zoo:

We also had pony rides: C did superbly and had a couple of nice canters on GB, and even managed to look as though she was enjoying it on the second time around!

Jodie's stitches are holding, but I'm not yet relaxing as she's now starting to get bored and bouncy. She's leaking a bit, but it's just slightly pink plasma. On the other hand....

My arm has, pretty much, been getting steadily worse over the weekend, not helped by GB headbutting me in it yesterday. (Rode him anyway, one handed, but it was a bit uncomfortable and I had to get C to do the saddle-moving parts of the operation.)

When I had to get Mike to put my bra on this morning (much to his disgust: he claims that it's the other end of the process that's his responsibility) and just couldn't face trying to plait my hair, I decided that the time had come to get it looked at. The GP was full, but in retrospect the hospital walk-in was a better bet. I've not broken anything but, based on the range of movement* and the fact that the muscles don't feel as though they're in spasm (which she expected them to be), I'm to go off to the fracture clinic and get it checked by a consultant to make sure I haven't torn anything. Sling for now, and drugs: paracetamol four times a day, 'profen three times, which should be fun to keep track of.

* I hadn't realised how small it was, until she made me try without using my other hand to help. And it didn't get any better an hour after she gave me codeine.
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♥Apr. 15th, 2014 // 04:28 pm
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It's been another lovely day, although colder than the last few: we had a frost first thing this morning, and I was glad of a jumper during our riding lesson:

We've been busy with K&M staying for the last few days, which was lovely but I'm tired now! There was much walking around the woods and admiring the bluebells, which are very fine.

Here are some less fine bluebells, from when we went for a hack a few days ago:

We went into Canterbury for dinner last night, as the pubs all seem to close on Monday evening. Much to Jodie's relief, the Belgian beer place allows dogs, so she just went to sleep on Mike's feet. Before we ate, we had a little wander around town. There's a very peculiar tree in the grounds of the cathedral:

It has little fuzzy red flower balls on it, and what looked like the remains of last year's seeds were brown balls about an inch across. No idea what it is!
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♥Dec. 16th, 2013 // 04:12 pm
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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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Good and bad

♥Nov. 29th, 2013 // 03:40 pm
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As I was walking the pooch in the woods on Wednesday, and incidentally admiring the fine collection of twigs she'd put together:

my phone went beep and "Bridge!" said [livejournal.com profile] dougs, as he and J came for a visit.

Vast amounts of food were heroically consumed, and we had a wander around Faversham, which has a pretty church (indeed, lots of pretty old buildings) and not much else:

Unfortunately, as we were on a pre-lunch walk in the woods this afternoon, Mike said "There's blood on Jodie's foot!", and indeed there was. Masses of it. We brought her home and, after hosing it off, I slapped some gamgee and horse bandage on (I *knew* that horse first aid kit would come in useful!) and whisked her off to the vet, at which point the clot that had formed in the car came off, and through the soaked bandage, and left a nice trail all over their floor.... The nurse popped out and re-dressed it while we waited for the vet: I was amused to see that she was using exactly the same stuff I'd used, just on *much* smaller rolls.

She has a nice big cut under her stopper pad, which (the vet just called to say she was waking up) has now been thoroughly cleaned, neatened up and stitched closed. She's going to have to be on the lead, with a plastic bag over her foot, for a couple of weeks, but is otherwise fine. We're going to get her in half an hour or so. No word yet on if there will be a cone of shame involved.

Of course, this may bugger up plans for tomorrow: I was going to go up to London for lunch, but will probably cancel if she's being pathetic, and we were all going to spend the evening at a party, but ditto. Hmm. Play it by ear, I guess.
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And relax

♥Oct. 21st, 2013 // 09:18 pm
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This weekend, we hosted the Cabal for the first time in the new house. Well, first time ever, for me. Gosh, but there's a lot of washing up involved. And cooking, I dare say, but I only get to experience the end products (both tasty and washing-up-related) of that process.

We had lots of healthy walks, in the woods on either side of the valley and on the beach, and there were pony rides. It turns out that the Baby's extra couple of inches of height and extra several inches of width make a more significant difference than I'd realised when it comes to getting people on his back. There was also an Oysterband gig, which was really quite fab.

We also learnt that Jodie is far more ready to accept people when she's been on a walk with them, which is useful information for the future.

We failed miserably at getting remotely close to doing a fanzine, so no change there, then. Maybe if we get snowed in at New Year....
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♥Aug. 16th, 2013 // 08:21 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/905204.html]

So, what have we been doing?

We had our first visitors, [livejournal.com profile] coth and family, en route to a very early morning ferry to France. As part of the prep, I spent a day running up pairs of curtains so that they'd actually be able to get some sleep. (Today, I went and bought Even More fabric, to have a crack at a table cloth that will not only be big enough for our enormous table but will also extend with it. Watch this space.)

We invited the neighbours 'round for a drinkie on Saturday evening: we had been thinking about a BBQ, but the forecast is a bit poor so drinkies it is instead.

We got a delivery of Even More Flat Pack Furniture. Mike is complaining that his wrist hurts from all the screwing, which I'm sure isn't the way around that such things normally work for men. We also got most of the bedroom furniture, which meant that we could actually unpack clothes. I'm looking forward to wearing a different pair of trousers tomorrow.

We took the boys out on a longer and much less road-filled hack in the woods on the other side of the valley this morning, which was nice. I jumped on the baby at one point, because he didn't do as he was told when Mike tried to get him to canter up the hill without (but towards) GB. He did as he was told for me, and Mike even managed to hold onto GB and stop him from following us up the hill....

Which, ouch, was more than I just managed. There's a somewhat nutty gelding in the field over the road, currently being turned out at night to stop the flies from bothering him. I just went to give the boys their first haynet and rather than go 'ooh, food' when I opened his door, GB decided to barge through his stall guard (a chain across the door, basically) and me to go and run around snorting and glaring at the gelding over the road. Sigh. I went and got a headcollar on him and coaxed him back to his stable, where I hit a snag: Mike hadn't got around to putting the top bolts on the stable doors, so they only have kickplates (at the bottom of the door) on them, which is why the stall guard was up. With the stall guard ripped from the wall, and me not having four-foot-long arms, I couldn't actually shut the door. So off he went again. Sigh. This time, I tied his haynet up *before* I went and dragged him back into his stable....

I'm not actually sure if it was tGOtR that was setting him off or something else: the Baby is very worked up as well, and when I was bringing GB back up to the stable he kept stopping to stare up the hill, in the opposite direction to tGOtR's field. It's possible that they were all smelling something worrying in the trees, I suppose. Either way, my leg hurts from being barged, thankyouverymuch.
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