Friday, 31 January 2014

A Walk on the wild side...

I've taken to having a quick constitutional each morning before I feed the animals and launch into the day proper. It's a constant battle with myself to leave the confines of the warm car. Every day, as I drive back from school drop-off to my starting point, I negotiate in my head:

'No need to go today, I went yesterday.....'
'Bit rainy today, best not, might be slippy...'
'Oh fog. Not today then....'

Fortunately the feeling I get after having completed the 30 mins, overrules the moaning-minny in my head and so I set of in wellies, hat, gloves and armed with latest podcast: (Gardeners' Question Time, Gardening with Tim and Joe or the True album by Avicii) to conquer my Mt. Everest.

I walk up a long incline towards a hill top that overlooks the world.... well, Shropshire. To be truthful, I've not yet reached the top of that hill, fearful of the sound of my blood pumping in my ears, (not quite fit yet then!) The sheep look petrified as I pass, 'specially if I'm singing along to something trendy without knowing all the words..

Each day is different..

I'm even beginning to feel a little trimmer....... Wonder if the alpaca might like to pop out with me on their halters in the summer... now that would be an adventure. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Travelling with children......(always an adventure)


In early December we Archers escaped to the sun, our first family holiday (with the Hubby) for almost 5 years. We could barely contain ourselves before the event but we didn't tell the sproglets where we were bound until the day before we set off..... very top secret of us...

We drove to London the day before our flight and stayed in a hotel at the airport. Apart from losing the 11yo's coat at the Premier Inn after a particularly yummy dinner....grrr..., all seemed well and good until we heard that Gatwick was malfunctioning and those in charge of techy stuff couldn't switch the airport out of 'night mode.' We were worried, was our first holiday in a million-zillion years about to have a tricky start? Turns out not; our plane was in a hanger, already on the ground and the next morning we merely loaded, locked and took off. Phew!

May I say that travelling with children who can carry their own hand luggage is a revelation and that introducing ones' children to travelling with Virgin Atlantic is exquisite. But first we had to circumnavigate the security checks.

I always feel guilty when I approach security or customs, though I can assure you I have nothing to hide and nor does The Hubby. We therefore didn't expect to be pulled to one side by Gatwick Security Officers.

With hindsight we probably should have checked the 9yo's bag, in fact I'm sure we said it to one another several times before we'd even left home.

'Did you check his bag?' I said to my husband, concerned.

'Thought you did it' he replied, checking the passports and tickets for the umpth time.

Who knew that our James Bond dinner party in October for Hubby's Birthday would have such repercussions.

Having stripped our coats, belts, jackets, bags; placing them into blue crates to be whizzed along metallic rollers towards the security monitors, I wasn't worried, if I made it through the body-search I felt I was home free. I could see the other side of the gate, people smiling, re-shoeing, re-belting. Foolish me.

I should have guessed that there was an issue when several security agents began to run to the custodian of the monitor. Our property was immediately segregated and a handlebar-moustached security guard motioned us to the side.

We laughed, imagining that the 11yo had secreted some perfume or face wash in excess of the 100ml limit. What we hadn't bargained for was being displayed for our delectation on one of those x-Ray machines: The beautiful, unmistakable imprint of a neat, die-cast, perfectly authentic-looking hand gun. #bum.

I began to smile, that is until I took a look at the officials who were less than amused. The handle-bar mustachioed fella had, by now, deferred to his boss but not before hissing,

'It's a good job you've got him,' he nodded his head to the boss, 'anyone else would've called the armed police. You could've shut the airport.'

I wiped that grin right off my face and started acting big-time grovelly? the 9yo began to hide himself behind Dad. When he finally peeked out to hear the fate of his favourite toy; confiscation and annihilation, it was clear he was gutted.

So, two disasters down; coat and gun-running..., I awaited the third.......

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tales of a thermometer......

You may have thought I was dead, so quiet my blogging has been, (non-existent actually.) In my head a stream of blog posts have made me laugh, made me cry, educated and cogitated... sad none of them made it to t'internet........

Still, it's January; time for resolution and revolution. I vowed to write every day in January, BT had other ideas. Humph! But I'm here now, with lots to tell of hot holidays and a growing herd of alpaca. First on my list is our plans for growing some chicks.

The 11yo requested funding from a poorly heeled venture capitalist (The Hubby) and after submitting a very interesting business plan for selling Salmon Faverolle chickens, (enormous profits though with no mention of deductions for feed, heat, bedding or medicinal supplies,) we began a joint venture and bought a second-hand egg incubator.

Realising our game plan, the chickens stopped laying. Grrrr. They have since revised this tactic and are now laying again but only in secret locations...

In any case we are ready: The Hubby has made a brooder where the chicks can live for their 1st month after which time they will be out in the protection of the hen pens in the garden. Sorted. The only thing we seemed to be missing was a thermometer to check the temperature inside the incubator. We ordered one of these from our erratically functioning Internet and the day before yesterday a box arrived for The Hubby. He poured over it's little booket that evening, as only a man can.

'Could you take a look at the thermometer today, see if you're happy with it?' Hubby asked yesterday morning at the crack of sparrows, before departing into the dark for his office an hour away.

Of course I can, thought I. I can do it after I feed and clean the hens, see to the lovely alpaca, try to contain the sheep in their mud patch, make sourdough and set to work on a web-based catalogue.... of course I can check a silly little thermometer. Easy peasy.

By 10am I had power-walked up a mountain, (my new butt-busting routine after drop-off,) all creatures were sorted, I'd put a wash on, the dishwasher was humming and the sourdough was being bashed up by the bread-maker - what a cheater! I checked the thermometer and it read 28°C, not bad for January really. The sun was shining and there was a hint of Spring in the air, lovely. A big NO! to lighting the log burner in the kitchen, I'm a country-girl now. I settled down to my web work.

An hour or so later I fancied a coffee and a stretch: Time to check the thermometer. Fabulously it was still 28°C and though I felt a little chilly, I put this down to my sitting still for so long. The coffee would warm me, so still no need for the log burner. #SaveThatWood.

A couple of hours later and I was proper cold. The sun was leaving the kitchen, off on its way to lend its weak rays to the west of the house and the light was fading at the table where I was working. I guesstimated the temperature was approximately 10°C and dragged my hypothermic body over to the thermometer to verify this.

It was still 28°C. It was only then that I realised my mistake. Peeling the printed film from the front of the gadget, I realised that the flaming thing didn't even have a battery in it... Sob!

Bring on the dogs with the brandy....

Oh, 18°C, not that bad actually, just indoor coat and hat weather......

The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon