Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Meh

Despite my best efforts, including sausage and eggs for lunch, today is not turning out to be a particularly cheery day so here’s a cute photo of Midge in lieu of any words of wisdom from this end.

Midge - 1 April 2010

Midge - 1 April 2010

“Normal” business will resume as and when.

Hope you’re enjoying your Bank Holiday.

Advertisements

Chilin wiv ma boyz

Seeing Mac and Horatio earlier this week, I realised that I’d forgotten how cats manage to make themselves both cuddly and sleek at exactly the same time, though when it came to giving Mac belly-rubs, I was relieved to discover that I’d lost none of my timing vis-a-vis the getaway…!

Horatio - 30 March 2010

Horatio - 30 March 2010

Mac and Horatio - 30 March 2010

Mac and Horatio - 30 March 2010

Mac - 30 March 2010

Mac - 30 March 2010

I miss having cats around.

So much so, that I’m going to ask my landlords if I can have Queenie here. When I first moved in, they said it wouldn’t be wise to have a cat as they’ve got a semi-feral one who nearly killed the last to live here. However, I’ve been keeping a eye out and I’ve never seen her on “my” side of the farm, so I’m thinking that it’s worth taking the risk.

I’ll speak to them before making any decisions, but I do miss having a cat around the place.

Dogs! Who needs ’em?!

I am not talking to my dogs. On Monday, Snipe rolled in fox dung for the second day in a row. She stank to high heaven. So I plopped her in the bath.

Snipe - 1 March 2010

Snipe - 1 March 2010

Luckily, I was forward thinking enough to strip down to boxers and t-shirt beforehand, as the drying process left me as soggy as her! 🙄

Midge - 1 March 2010

Midge - 1 March 2010

We had a few pleasant days, but then yesterday, Midge did a runner when Ally kindly took them for a lunch-time walk and didn’t come back until dusk.

Then, this morning, they both did a runner! Snipe eventually came back, but without her collar. There’s no sign of Midge and I don’t suppose there will be for several hours.

I. Am. Not. Impressed.

Dog 0, Ornamental Cat 1

As I have said on any number of occasions, my dog Snipe is somewhat lacking in the brain cells department. In fact, the older she gets, the more obvious it becomes that she was at the back of the queue when they were handing out intelligence. And common sense. And grace. And dignity… Ok, I know she’s a Labrador, but even so!

Jo and Snipe - 6 September 2009

Jo and Snipe - 6 September 2009

On Sunday night, however, she exceeded herself and surpassed all my previous (lack of) expectations.

I knocked on my landlords’ door to drop off my rent and started chatting to them and a friend of theirs, who was visiting for the day with his dog, a Border Terrier. He asked if he could meet my two, so I popped back to mine (not that far to go – my flatling is an annexe to the main house!) and let them loose in their living room.

Midge made herself at home, jumping from lap to lap whenever she thought a better offer was on the cards. Snipe was your typical stupid Labrador, bumbling about and generally charming everyone. “Oh, what a pretty head, what a lovely colour” and so on. H even remarked on how sweet and clean she smelled (Fairy Liquid, which was a darn sight better than the fox poo incident that morning, hence the washing up liquid and its fragrance).

Suddenly, Snipe caught sight of an ornament low down on the bookshelf. A cat. A rather large cat. A rather large ginger cat, not that much smaller than a Border Terrier, now that I come to think of it.

Snipe started growling at the feline statue. It stared unblinkingly back at her. Her hackles went up. No response. In fact, the more it ignored her, she more scared she got and slowly backed away. By this time, she was shaking. So were we, but with laughter! M started making cat noises, which made Snipe cringe and jump away. Then their visitor took the cat off the shelf and put it on the carpet. Snipe practically wet herself at this, especially when the cat “pounced” and shot forward in act of unprovoked aggression against a poor, defenceless Labrador.

This went on for a good ten minutes before Snipe plucked up the courage to get close enough to sniff it. Even then, she failed to tell the difference between china and cat and backed away hurriedly, lest its painted claws scratch her eyes out.

Poor old dog, I love her dearly but I was crying with laughter by the end.

Ah, that’s better!

I only managed two hours sleep last night but today is already a better day … my head feels quite clear and I am more or less ready to take whatever the day throws at me.

So … what to blog about?

The pigs, I think.

It’s two weeks since I sent the five Kune Kunes off to the abattoir and ten days since the epic trip to collect and distribute hundreds of kilos of pork. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Picasso sink to its knees and beg for mercy, but mine came close. The boxes of meat just kept coming … and then there were the bags containing the “bits”. You know – heads, trotters, ribs etc.

Thankfully, we were able to leave three pigs (who shall remain nameless) in Wales and returned back across the Severn Bridge and down the M5 with just two.

I didn’t keep any, still having a freezer full of Bailey, Harold and the last bits from Vicky and Albert, but I have been sampling Ally’s pork and home-made bacon and ham, which has simply reaffirmed my belief that Kune Kunes are the ideal smallholder’s pig. Yum!

I miss my pigs. I miss having pigs. I miss giving them belly rubs and watching them eat. I miss the sound of them snuffling in a fresh bed of straw. I miss their curiosity and intelligence. I miss their friendship.

But I know that I am not in a place where I can look after myself, right now, let alone livestock. I can just about cope with the dogs. But that’s my lot.

So giving them up was the mature, sensible and wise decision.

I can even cope with the thought of selling my Eglu Cube (see here if you are interested) but the thought of selling the pig arks hurts too much at the moment. Maybe I’ll keep them – maybe not. We’ll see.

The five adults and Snipe - 27 November 2009

The five adults and Snipe - 27 November 2009

Curly, Pinky and the piglets - 21 December 2009

Curly, Pinky and the piglets - 21 December 2009

I do know one thing: after delivering all that meat and sampling the end result, my days as a pig keeper are not over by a long shot.

Finally, some news about Fergie and Brini. Gardening girl, who is looking after them has described them as “the BIGGEST time wasters ever 😆 Everyone loves them, they talk to you 😳 The OSBs that are going on Thursday just don’t have such characters.”

Good news!!

Settling in

Now that I’ve unpacked, the dogs are starting to settle into their new house and routine. Snipe loves the orchards, which my landlords have said I can walk the dogs in. Midge, on the other hand, is in disgrace as she took herself off for a walk the other day … into the neighbouring farmer’s field! So she is now resigning herself to life on the lead, not least because there’s easy access to both the main road and the railway line!

Snipe - 11 February 2010

Snipe - 11 February 2010

Midge - 11 February 2010

Midge - 11 February 2010

I took them on a three mile walk yesterday and was pleasantly surprised this morning to discover that my legs don’t ache at all. I consider this a victory, though I admit I took a downhill route…!

Tree in the orchard - 11 February 2010

Tree in the orchard - 11 February 2010

My bad days consist of hiding under the duvet. Better days involve watching DVDs, attempting to read (I have concentration issues 😦 ) or playing Civilisation IV to distract myself. Good days involve walking the dogs aimlessly, enjoying my new home in the Somerset hills.

Sunset over the orchard - 11 February 2010

Sunset over the orchard - 11 February 2010

Quite what I’ll do if it buckets down with rain on a good day is anyone’s guess!

Unpacked!

All you cynics and pessimists may now apologise… It is official, I have UNPACKED! Yes, you read that right, unpacked. Well, ok, there *are* three or four boxes under my bed … BUT … they contain Stuff. You know, that Thing you don’t know what to do with, but don’t want to get rid of…

But as for the rest of it, it’s unpacked and either lives somewhere useful or has been consigned to Freecycle or the bonfire. The latter includes you don’t-want-to-know-how-many boxes of paperwork. Does anyone know why I still had my GCSE French folder? Or the exam papers from my first year at university? No, nor me! But along with a car load of other combustibles, they are gone from my life. Or at least they will be, once I can find some matches or a lighter!

So there you have it.

I have officially Moved.

Now I just need to track down a sofa bed and then start being sociable and invite people to stay. And then torture them with my cooking (*evil grin*).

The only thing I’m stuck with is what to call my new abode. It’s an annexe, a single storey granny flat built from concrete blocks against a lovely old farmhouse. It’s very Modern. All right angles and symmetrical. The carpets are vile. The curtains are worse (pink in the living room, blue and flowery in the bedroom). I don’t want to refer to my new pad as “the annexe”. But being so small, it doesn’t count as a house and it’s certainly not a cottage. And bungalow doesn’t fit the bill since it’s semi-detached. I guess “the flat” describes it best, except I tend to think of flats as multi-storey buildings.

There’s one thing I do know … it’s Home. And that, my friends, is what really counts.

Sunrise on 31 January 2010, as seen from my garden

Sunrise on 31 January 2010, as seen from my garden

The view from the road - 31 January 2010

The view from the road - 31 January 2010