Tuesday, 31 January 2012

F-f-f-flippin' f-f-f-freezin'

It has been COLD here today - I don't think the temperature got above freezing, eeuwwww.

The ducks were re arranged this morning. Well for a short time anyway....

We took the 3 little ones out one at a time to integrate with the big ones.

It was fascinating to watch the interaction......I did take quite a few photo's....

Ebony was the first to be 'thrown to the lions'! She showed no fear at all - just walked straight up to the 'gang' as if she owned the place. The biggies didn't know what to make of her and there was that eerie silence I have only ever heard from these ducks......Then they all started talking at once....

They crowded around her (safety in numbers?) and she just stood there peep-peeping for her sisters.....these followed shortly.......


This is Ivory's more tentative approach. Notice how Ebony seems to have been accepted by the group? This was in the space of about 5 minutes.


Ahhh - everyone is having a drink together (ducks do seem to operate as one). Except for Ebony who was nudged in by Ace, and little Dot off to the left who really couldn't be bothered.

After this photo' was taken we witnessed a little argy-bargy as they tried to establish a pecking order. At this point we started taking the little ones away and putting them back in their own secure unit  shed.

We will repeat the process each day now until we feel they are ready to live in one unit full time - hopefully in the next week or so.

My feet are like blocks of ice - not been really warm at all today.

I long to get into our lovely warm bed and relax.

Nan night!


Monday, 30 January 2012

SNOW!?!?!?!

We woke this morning to snow.

This could be the day we bought our Volvo for - it has snow control and this would be its chance to prove itself.

We had work on in Whitchurch which is about 20 miles away. By the time we got there it was brilliant sunshine. Huh - so much for proving its worth.

Coming home the sun gradually faded and we drove into gloom. Most of the snow had melted, so still no proving could be done.

Not that I like snow, but the hedgerows did look very pretty covered in a smattering.

I have got to the point with my hypno band that I am noticing a difference. My meals are about 1/3 what they were pre-op. I have had one or two 'lack of sustenance' headaches, but very little hunger. I have a goal. I bought a pair of cargo jeans a couple of years ago which fitted me perfectly. They got really loose when I became poorly, but now have shrunk in the wash.....I can get them on but I can't fasten them. It is my goal to get into them again. Comfortably.

I have just spent 10 minutes trying to find photo's that I know we took 2 years ago of me wearing them. They are hiding. I will post them if when they turn up.....

Ducks have been given a good clean today. Well not the ducks, obviously, their living accomodation. We acquired a pressure washer and tested it out this aft. Wow - it's brilliant!

I am going to put a picture on here tonight even if I have to draw one!


My friend took this photo one morning last week at 7.40 a.m. 

Stunning or what?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Today

Is my eldest son's 35th birthday.

I cannot see him.

I cannot hold him.

All I can do is tell him

"Happy Birthday, I love You"

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Four Years Ago

They say time flies when you are having fun.

Well I must have been having a ball for the last four years.

Why?

It was 4 years ago today that Steve and I met for the first time.  

And we had both forgotten about it until this afternoon.

It was actually at about 6pm, so almost to the minute as I type.

This also meant that we had forgotten our first wedding anniversary. No not our first wedding anniversary, the anniversary of our first wedding 3 years ago. Confused? How do you think we feel?!



We thought we had married in Egypt. We had a gorgeous Marriage Certificate written in Arabic on green paper. But for all we know it could say 'bring her back when you get bored and get your camels back'.

But we didn't realise until we got back and tried to open a bank account, that we were not actually Mr and Mrs after all. The type of ceremony we went through is only recognised in Egypt. Oooer....

So we had to get married again so that I could get a driver's license, passport et al in my new name.

Oh dear - I had to have a new outfit too - isn't that shocking?

We are quite proud of the fact that we have married each other twice, not many couples can boast that can they?





I have also had a new hypno band fitted today.

The old one had become elasticated.....

When Steve fitted the original he gave me the power to adjust it myself. This, in hindsight, was a mistake - I am a naturally greedy person and I over adjusted it. So some of the weight I lost has been sneaking back on.

So I now have a super-industrial strength neoprene TIGHT band only adjustable through more 'surgery'.

And veggies in the steamer for dinner.....


Friday, 27 January 2012

All's Well....

Well yesterday ended very abruptly didn't it?

Apologies.

There was a phone call and Steve was having quite a heated conversation with someone. I stopped what I was doing to listen and support, and I never got back here.

The issues the phone call raised have now been sorted and all is well in our little world again.

So today (Friday)....

First thing we went to Enham Alamein. I suggest you either google the place or read about it here....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enham_Alamein

It is a wonderful place with a lovely atmosphere.It is somewhere that the disabled are the majority and everything is catered towards them.

We developed an affinity with the place when we were setting up our business, We were both depressed at the time and Enham (the charity) stepped in and helped us with a grant. So they have become our (joint) pet charity with Mencap.

The charity shop there is fabulous - one of those you could spend all day in and still feel you hadn't seen everything. Nothing is where you would expect it to be and there are so many nooks and crannies you could almost get lost. I love it!

We took a few bits in this morning (mainly books) and I had a nosey around while Steve arranged to clean their carpets. Remember just before Xmas - my Eureka moment? Well the carpet clean is partly to say Thank You for that and partly because without Enham we would never have had the business in the first place.

The lady was so thrilled that not only had Steve meant what he said, but he had actually gone in to arrange it. Without it costing them a penny, She called Steve a gentleman (hmmm - must put her right on that one!) and I'll swear his ears blushed.

I found a few things I couldn't live without - a dressing table set like my Gram used to have, a mirror in a star to add to the collection in the bedroom, a proper mirror on a swivel for the bathroom wall and a few other little odds and sods.

It was a good morning.

Got back and the sun was still shining so we went out with the ducks. Partly a continuation of yesterday's rearranging and partly emptying and refilling the pond.

Here is a photo' I promised of The Beast....



Performance-wise it was a bit of a disappointment, but it had previously been used for oil. Which would explain the gunginess inside it.

In the end we used the small one we bought, which although slow did do the job.

The ducks are funny - when they can see we have emptied the pond they seem to get an overwhelming desire to swim. They just can't figure out how to reach the water! So as soon as we start putting water back in - they cannot wait.......


            This is amazing - as you can see they are actually drinking straight from the hose pipe! Funny ducks.

So that was pretty much our day today. Doing (or planning the doing of) good deeds, shopping and the ever-present ducks. Of course there is other stuff going on - undercurrents that happen in every home.....Bills coming in, worries over various things. But basically life is good.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Why isn't it Friday yet?

All day I have been thinking it is Friday.

Thinking about it I know it's not, but it somehow just felt like a Friday.

Dunno why, it just did.

I wasn't wishing it was Friday - one day is much the same as the next and as the one before. Days are days and only differ in what we call them.

As a child I was always told not to wish my life away. It will all suddenly go too quickly, my Mum would admonish.

But you know what it's like as a kid - the days/week/months take forever, And anyway you know it all as a kid don't you? What do grown ups know - they were born middle aged.

Of course as I grew so did my wisdom - I did not know everything about everything. And yes, each year did seem to go faster than the last.

So I have always tried not to wish days away. They go too fast on their own!

So what did we do with this  Friday  Thursday?

Ducks. Basically. They do seem to take over our lives!

We are having a rethink about their housing.

I think I have mentioned before that Puddleducks Palace is lovely for the ducks, but a bitch to clean out. So Steve has been rearranging the woodshed to transfer all the tool shed things into so the ducks can live in the tool shed.

Sorry....to be continued.....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

In The Dog House

Self-imposed I hasten to add....

But let's start at the beginning....

I had the best night's sleep in weeks....the Man Flu seems to be clearing up and I didn't have to get up to wee.
Yes I know TMI but this is big for me.....

I can't remember if I mentioned the Pepsi Max farrago, but I don't think I did....

For the past couple of weeks I have been getting up in the night 2, sometimes 3 times. This was a lot even for me. So yesterday I sat down and tried to work out what had changed in that time, what was I doing differently?

All I could come up with was Pepsi Max. 

I allow myself one can of pop a day. Usually this is Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. But when we found 24 cans of Pepsi Max at a great price we couldn't refuse - PM is actually my favourite.

But I have been drinking a can a day for the past 2 weeks or so.

I compared the ingredients to those of Fat Boy Coke (that was all we had) and discovered something called Phenylalanine. So I had to google it.....

Nasty stuff.

It has contra-indications with anti-depressants and can also have an effect on blood pressure. I have higher than 'normal' blood pressure, but not high enough for concern.

So I decided not to have a PM last night.

We went to bed at 10 as usual and I read until 11.30 as I had a book I wanted to finish. Put the (finished) book down (the butler did it) and thought 'shall I wee now so I don't have to wake in the night?' But realised that I did not need to....

The next thing I knew it was 10.15 am and Steve was calling me a lazy old Moo.

From that we can conclude that Pepsi Max was indeed the culprit.

BUT

Just to be absolutely positive I am drinking one tonight.

So why am I in the dog house? Self imposed or not....

I wanted to cook dinner tonight. I don't always as Steve is an excellent cook and my confidence in the kitchen isn't what it was. But today I wanted to.

I planned to do a vegetable curry. Not a proper one with all the correct spices (I come from Leicester where I believe there is an unwritten law that you have to be able to create the perfect curry) but sauce from a jar.

Catastrophe one...I reached into the cupboard to get a tin of potatoes out and all its neighbouring tins and jars made a bid for freedom. Tins and jars leapt from the shelves to the worktop to the floor taking out 2 cups of coffee that I had just prepared and the kettle.

I should have taken this as a warning.

I should have given up then.

But I didn't.

I got all the ingredients together and cooked the frozen veg.Mixed everything in our Le Creuset Pan and left it until we were ready to eat. I have to add at this point that the LC was second hand - there is no way we would (even if we could) pay £125 for one pan.

The rice was no problem - an Asian friend once taught me how to cook perfect rice every time. (One measure of BASMATI (no other will do) rice to 2 measures of water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat off, leaving the pan on the ring. This works with an electric hob - cannot vouch for gas).

So at about 5.30 I put everything on to cook. Left it and came back to the PC where me and a friend were having fun with Freecycle posts. Neither of us get out much.

6.15 (rice takes about 40-45 minutes to absorb) I went back to the kitchen. There was an ominous smell. A burning sort of smell......

I hadn't taken into account just how much heat this damned Le Creuset holds.

I knew when I picked it up it was a mistake - it weighed a ton empty. But I was being pig-headed.

So my fab vegetable curry was ruined. As was the pan.

Steve came to the rescue (as he always does) and whipped up a chicken stir fry to go with the (perfect!) rice.

And I donned sackcloth and ashes.

I am feeling very cross with myself.

I have been cooking meals for more than 40 years and I let it burn.

Off to beat myself with the soggy end of something disgusting.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Better Day Today

Well let's face it, it couldn't have been much worse now could it?

A friend of mine told me today that January 23rd is considered the most miserable day of the year. Why? It is one month (or thereabouts) after Xmas with still a week to go 'till Payday. So tomorrow should be better still - woo hoo!!

So today....

The dentist appointment didn't happen. It seems that when we made enquiries at a different (closer) practise all our paperwork was sent there. So we are no longer considered patients at the original one. So I got a reprieve!

We did collect the pump we 'won' on Freecycle. Wow - it is some beast. We will clear the pond out in no time flat. No picture as yet as it was raining here today and the pump uses electricity.....Zap!

The indoor duckies are now outdoor duckies. It was actually a very simple transition.

I carried them outside in a tub.......



and put them into the baby pool........

They were totally unfazed!

Then when they were nice and clean they were put into the nursery shed......


.....where they will remain, under heat for a couple more weeks.

There is work coming up too - 2 jobs from a lady we cleaned for last year - she was so impressed she wants us back. And to clean for her friend too. This is quite a relief. January is always 'quiet' for cc's but this one has been too quiet. We are both anxious to ge back out to work again.

I did take photo's yesterday - some better than others. I have not photoshopped any yet (!) but I have uploaded one as my new profile pic.

Reactions please?

Monday, 23 January 2012

I Am Back

I didn't blog yesterday.

Did you notice? Miss me? Care?

Well nothing happened and I didn't feel justified in drivelling for pages just for the sake of it.

So I didn't.

I thought it was better to come back when lots of new and exciting stuff had happened.

So why am I back now?

Hmmmm....let me think about that for a minute......

I think I am back because the longer you leave doing something the harder it is to do. So had I not blogged today it would have been even harder tomorrow. See what I mean?

So although nothing has happened again I felt I should write something.


I have just seen the Yahoo headline - passengers on the Concordia cruise ship have been offered a 30% discount on any future cruise they book. Are they having a laugh? Are any of those people ever going to set foot on a ship again? I wouldn't that's for sure. So the company would be getting a bargain there, wouldn't they?

Anything else?

I thought we had sold 2 more ducks. A lady enquired but she wants older ones. So I said I would keep in touch with her and let her know if we still had any later one.

The 3 indoors ducks are about to become outdoors ducks.

Next door's phone is ringing.

See what I mean? Nothing is happening.

Oh it is - I have coloured my hair. Photo's to follow when I have ironed it.

Ella is sitting next to me. Sam the cat who thinks he is a dog is outside somewhere.

Tomorrow is exciting - we have a dentist's appointment. Just a check up but it's a big thing to me - I am dentist phobic. Bad experiences as a child have left their mark on me.

So for now I'll just have to say TTFN.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

We are a Success!

By 'we' I mean Puddleducks.

Why?

We sold a pair of ducks today!

A nice young man called Ben rang up a couple of days ago saying he wanted 2 x female ducks. Which is the main reason we were trying to sex them. He said he would be here on Saturday morning.

Sure enough he turned up this morning.

He said he wanted the ducks for his Mum's birthday present as she has always wanted an Aylesbury. Awww...

He took her shopping yesterday for a pond and food and told her she would be getting a duck tomorrow. He didn't say that he planned to get her 2. What a nice kid!

We showed him how to tell the sex and he heard all our girls being LOUD. Steve (ever the salesman) persuaded him that a male and a female would be nice so that his Mum could breed them if she wanted to. And 2 girls would be MEGA loud. He agreed and took what we think is one girl and one boy.

So I stood there watching 2 of our beautiful babies being driven away. The other ducks seemed to be shocked too.

How did I feel?

Partly jubilant - our adverts and website had worked.

But also sad - I have loved and nurtured those ducks and now I have no say in their future.

But I mustn't think like that - we always planned to sell them, so I have to get used to it.

The rest of them were taken back to their familiar territory where a crowd of 9 became a crowd of 7.

I bathed the 3 babies and got some fun photo's of them eating out of my hand......

Twins Ivory and Opal.

Not sure who this one is!

They are 3 weeks old this weekend, so they have to be prepared to move outside into the nursery. Actually it's more me who has to be prepared.....

I am trying to gradually cool their bath water down - honest. They were having it quite warm (body temperature0 when they were really tiny, and each day I say I will put them in a cold bath. But when I put my hand in a cold bath, I just can't do it to the little loves.....So it remains tepid. It has to be cold as their outdoor bath water will come straight from the outdoor tap. And that is freezing. I'll make their bath cooler tomorrow......

Sam cat was funny this afternoon. He must trust and feel so relaxed with us. Look at this.....


Because he is black you may have to adjust your screen!

He is becoming more affectionate, which is lovely. Ella is still slightly more aloof, but can be fussy when she feels like it. A pair of typical cats really.

It's beginning to get dark now so I will go and put the remaining ducks away. I hope they don't miss the others too much.








































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Friday, 20 January 2012

Out on the Town

Us?

Nah - don't make me laugh. The closest we get to town is shopping. And we avoid that if we possibly can.

So who is out on the town?

The ducks.

Well when I say out on the town I obviously don't mean 'out on the town'.

Just out.

As in out the front of the house.

2 reasons.

One is to give them lots of fresh (clean!) grass to chew.

Two is to give the depleted grass in the back garden chance to grow a little.

So this morning we had to transfer them from one garden to the other.

Should be easy enough - open gate, out waddle ducks, close gate, job done.

The ducks had their own agenda.

Open gate........nothing. They all just stood there watching us. Or ignoring us.


Bribery then - out comes the box of (irresistible) dried worms.

Not a thing.

It's as if they sensed strange things were afoot.

So in the end they had to suffer the indignity of being carried.





                                                                   Very unladylike!

Nine trips later they were all in the front garden as happy as the proverbial Larry (whoever he was).

We  keep looking at them to see that they are alright. They are having a grand old time grubbing in the grass.

Whilst we had them in hand, so to speak, we attempted to sex them. At the age they are (8 weeks) the only way is from their voices. Girls have the classic loud WAK WAK whilst boys make a softer, gentler sound. To our amateur ears we have 5 boys and 3 girls. Typical - people are keener to have females for the eggs. And one of the girls is little  Dot, who we don't think will be sold anyway.

An hour ago Steve was looking out of the window and suddenly ran to the front door. Uh-oh I thinks, something's wrong.........

I heard him talking to someone - 'The ducks don't bite".

Oooer.

Postman.

He claims he had knocked the door and rang the bell but no one answered. How strange - neither of us heard that. AND he had a recorded delivery envelope so he should have been putting a note through anyway.

Had they been a garden full of geese I would be able to understand his trepidation. But they are soppy looking, fat waddly ducks. And they were behind a specially constructed fence!

Steve did his good deed for the year today.

He gave our professional gardener next door neighbour our greenhouse.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Not blogging today

Well I was.

And I did.

I wrote loads about our day.

It was witty.

Even I had to laugh and I knew what was coming next.

Then something happened and it all disappeared.

Pouf in a puff of smoke.

Well not in a puff of smoke but it disappeared.

Drafts? Yes - I had the title which was

"I need a new TH adjective".

See? Even the title was amusing.

I told the tale of how we went to buy duck feed.

And new collars for the cats.

You would have wet yourself laughing at it.

I did.

You would have had aching sides at the antics in the Village Shop.

I did.

But, alas, it has all gone.

So you will never know how much we had to pay for a bag of sugar will you?

What a shame.

'Till tomorrow.....

PS - £1.40!


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

All is Forgiven

Things always look different after a good night's sleep. Not that it was that good a night, but it was better than the night before.

I told a very (wise and) good friend with cats about the Ella saga. She put me straight by saying that most of us only feed wild birds for the pleasure it gives us, not to feed the birds per se. This is very true.

So once the huge tub of fat balls has gone we will not be replacing them. We will be putting 2-3 out at a time instead of the 3-4 we are currently doing, then gradually 1-2 - weaning them off gradually.

By then it should be Spring and natural food should be plentiful.

So Ella has been accepted back into the fold.

And I have received another valuable life lesson.

Duckies are in the spotlight today. The indoor duckies.

The past couple of days when I have put them in the kitchen sink to swim Ebony has escaped. So today I put their bowl inside a spare brooder on the kitchen floor. This served 2 purposes - it meant that if anyone (Ebony) escaped she would find herself in a bigger box. It also meant I could get on with cleaning their cage without worrying they were going to commit hari kari off the sink.

They had no sooner been put in the bath than Ebony was out again. Oh well, she can get back in if she wants to....She did....



Then out again. 

Followed swiftly by Ivory......

and eventually (with a total lack of dignity) Opal.


They are still true to their birth days - Ebony first, Ivory next day and then darling little Opal so she is not left out! Their growth also reflects this - Opal is the one stretching her wings in the above photo. She is saying 'Look I am as big and capable as you 2!'.




Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nature is a Hard Taskmaster

I am feeling a bit sad right now.

I know it's daft and I have no reason to but.....

Ella caught a little bird.

Yes, I know we have celebrated when they have caught mice. We have told them what good cats they are. So why should it feel different when they catch birds?

They are following instinct. I know that. But seeing both the cats with the ducks it is even more of a shock that they can differentiate.

I took this photo of Ella this morning whilst I was cleaning the ducklings out. Ella came into the kitchen and rather than make a big 'no no' of the ducks I decided to let her watch them. Did I inadvertently encourage her to chase birds?

Three hours after this our adorable Ella was a convicted bird killer.

So do we stop feeding the birds in the garden? 

I have visions of Mr and Mrs Blue Tit coming home after a hard day and doing a head count...'Where's our Billy then?'

'Dunno Mum, he was hanging around all those big white ducks. Those 2 dumb cats were there......'

So why didn't I have similar visions of Mr and Mrs Mouse - where's our Mickey then?

Is it because we are brought up to admire the pretty little birdies, but despise the 'dirty vermin'?

Why should there be a difference?

I am having a hard time accepting that the gorgeous little girl who snuggles on my lap is a cold blooded killer. Of pretty little birds who I encourage into our garden, thereby luring them to their death.

I guess I am feeling guilty.

On a brighter note I finally got a photo of that woodpecker on our nuts!

How pretty is that?

I also caught a really cute moment with Ebony. Ivory and Opal this morning too. This was before I cleaned them out when they were standing in puddles of diluted poo and food. Eeuww....

Ebony appears to have an arm around her little sisters taking care of them - cute or what?!

And a third nice thing - 3 of the BIG ducks finally went into their day shelter today. We put this old rabbit hutch out there about a week ago so they have somewhere to sit inside if they didn't like the weather. Yes, I know - they are ducks and are supposed to like all weathers. But no one has told them that, so I insisted they have this option.

I think there are 3 in there.

Ace decided this looked like a good game so she somehow shoved the others aside to fit her wide end in too. Bit of a squash but they looked so cute - this is our den!

So overall a pretty good day. 

Just this bird business. 

I have to toughen up. 

And buy Ella a new collar with a very LOUD bell on it.




Monday, 16 January 2012

The Things People Try to Give Away.

I have mentioned Freecycle several times haven't I? I love it. It also exasperates me.

For those of you who are not familiar with Freecycle I will explain the principles of it...

It is an online 'community' of people trying to save the planet from unnecessary landfill. So anything we have that we no longer want we offer to others. Anyone who wants what we are offering writes to us and says why we should give it to them and not someone else.

At least that is the theory of it.

In practise there are the usual few who ruin it for the majority. Those who treat it as a shopping list, without paying. We have seen 'I am in desperate need of an iPod' 'Got a house and need everything for it' 'Urgently need a 3 piece suite - must be beige or brown'.

But generally it is a good place to be.

I have met 3 good friends through Freecycling. So far. I may also have just met a new one.....

A chap was advertising this morning that he had cauliflower leaves to get rid of. This amused me, so I forwarded it to a friend with a cryptic comment.

A lady had similar thoughts and posted it to the group.

I couldn't resist answering her.

We have been exchanging e mails on and off all day - mainly putting the world to rights!

She has teenage children so is right in the thick of all the textese language that seems to have infiltrated normal life. Yes, I occasionally use FFS or WTF but that's about all. It's the ones who write their 'wants' in this language who were put under the microscope today.

Plz I need chester draws (is a popular gripe of mine) asap. With a x. Whatever happened to the English language?

Busy day?

Well pretty much although in dribs and drabs (to quote a (Freecycled!) friend of mine - what is a drib, what is a drab?!) to be honest.

We rearranged our bedroom.

We do this quite a lot - rearranging rooms.

The bedroom is a favourite due to the size of it. We think it was actually intended to be the lounge, but then what we use as a lounge wouldn't be big enough to get the bed, bedside cabinets, dressing table, 3 x wardrobes and numerous 'chester draws' in. It is small and cosy so the bedroom is BIG.

We had the bed under the front window, but with the sun coming up earlier it makes Steve wake up at silly o' clock. So we have moved it back into the middle of the room. It sounds daft, but there is actually more space in the room with it adjusted so. Neither of us can figure this out.

This was taken midway, which is why the bed is untidy.

                                                                                    See the sun Steve has to escape from?!

It is a lovely bright sunny room - the house faces South, so always sunny at the front. We love it. It also has a nice. serene atmosphere.

See the chair next to the bed? That is our electric chair. (Not the sort that does away with people!). One of those that lays you down and stands you up at the press of a button. We really love it and it will be superb when we are old(er) but it takes up so much space in the room.

Know anyone who wants to buy an electric chair?


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Counting Blessings.......

That's what I have just been doing.

I was standing in the garden waiting for the pond to fill. It's only a small pond but it feels like it takes forever, Especially when it is cold and getting dark.....

So I was standing there and got to thinking. As you do.

I looked at the trees that surround our garden. I watched the hawk soaring above the branches keaning in the wind.

I listened to the ducks who had just been shut in for the night. They were doing their usual 'squabbling' that they do. It's like 'this is my place'. 'No it's not it's mine' 'Actually you are both wrong it's mine'. And you can imagine them all pushing and shoving, the biggest and loudest (Ace!) winning.

And then I listened to everything else. Which was nothing. And I felt at peace.

So what that we don't have money? We have enough.

We have each other, and this wonderful place to live in.

We have our ducks. Have you ever had a duck eating from your hand? It is the most amazing feeling - a gentle, nibbly sensation.. Multiply that by 9 and you can't not laugh.

We have the cats who keep the mouse population at bay. And give me wonderful photo opportunities like this.........



Can you believe that half an hour before this was taken they were chasing each other all over the house, teeth and claws bared.

And now I have come indoors to a cup of coffee and a heated heat pad to get myself warm. 

The coal fire is glowing.

The sky is gradually darkening except for a vague orangey glow in the west. That's something else that is fab about living here - there is so little light pollution the heavens look just stunning.

We truly are blessed.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Still Alive!

Yes, I am still alive.

Not necessarily in the same place, but still alive.

Let me explain.....

I am in the midst of changing from one PC to another. Today I was moving stuff over in earnest (I do have lots of 'stuff').

I had bookmarked my blog on IE8 which is where I have always worked from.

I made the clock and tried to copy and paste but IE8 was having none of it.

I can read my blog there but I can't do anything with it.

Marvellous.

Luckily I had already installed Google Chrome as IE8 doesn't let me read other blogs in full so I was already doing that in chrome.

So now I am having to work in Chrome.

Not overjoyed at the prospect, but at least I can still tell my tales every day.

Not that there is much to tell today.....

Got up.

Cleaned duckies.

Ate.

Felt tired.

Went to bed.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting?!?!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Has Winter Arrived?

Hope not!

Awoke to minus temperatures this morning. Brrrr.....But at least the sun had come out so it was quite a lovely day.

We had to clean an end of tenency for a friend. She took us to lunch as a thank you. So no cooking to have to worry about.

We bought more hose for the pump and couldn't wait to get it home and try it out....

The pump worked a treat, but the hose still was not wide enough to clear all the gunge out of the ducks' pond.

Much head scratching later we fixed a length of solid plastic tubing onto the end of the pump. It worked!

Still not fool proof though as there were leaves in the bottom of the pond and they were clogging the filter.

We do know where we can buy wider hose though.

But it's all money.....

Hey - look at these photo's I took of the kitties last night.....

Ellarina Ballerina! (just add tutu)


Snuggly Sam.

They are just so big now. They have caught a total of 3 mice (that we know of) between them, but still like nothing better than to snuggle up next to/on us. Adorable.

In laws have just rung to say there is snow on the way. They are a bundle of fun aren't they?! But they are 150 miles further north than us, so they could well get snow and us not.

I don't like cold.

Oooh - it was Friday 13th today. Some people choose to stay in bed to avoid anything untoward happening to themselves. I was brought up to believe it was a lucky day, so I will stick with that. And 13 is my favourite number anyway. Yes, I know - weird.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Thursday

Why am I struggling so much to wake in the mornings?

Why do I want to doze off after lunch?

Is it just, as my friend says, the weather?

Dunno, but I don't like it. I want to feel alive and exhilarated. Instead I just feel knackered all the time.

Hey ho.

So I finally got up this morning (9 o'clock I think) and we got started on the day. We had to buy a pump as the old one had failed so miserably to empty the duck pond. So first we had to track one down.

We found one in Screwfix. We have a Screwfix in Salisbury so off we went.

Weird, but they did have one in stock (and the machine did accept Steve's debit card!).

We also popped into PC World for something or other to get my PC online. And came home with nothing except a new idea (Steve's clearly).

Went straight out into the garden when we got in as we were both keen to see the pond empty.

It worked in the paddling pool where the water was relatively clean.

But not in the big pond.

Steve says it is to do with the narrowness of the hose pipe and there being big bits in the pond water getting stuck. I thought it was a dirty water pump. Guess I got it wrong. So we have to buy wider hose.

The idea for the PC didn't work and as I write he is stomping around having a paddy 'cos 'nothing ever goes right'. Hate it when he is like this. He is usually so positive and I rely on him for my strength. But everything does seem to being going off kilter at the moment.....

On a bright note we got new eggs today. There were 6 in the box but one was damaged :-(. So 5 little Aylesbury eggs will go into the incubator tonight.

AND

The woodpecker was on our nuts this morning. I couldn't sneak off to get the camera as he would have flown, so I downloaded a picture of one instead.......

Isn't that gorgeous?

Also I 'won' a steamer from Freecycle today, so we  I will be having steamed veggies with dinner tonight. Yum. Steve detests the idea of this - sounds too healthy I think!

And I got my 'aw' moment when I went to put the ducks in.

Remember last night I said the door was shut? Tonight it wasn't.......

I SAID they would if the door was open didn't I?! Steve had propped it open with bricks!

It was just so damned cute - they are learning the routine.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Happy Ducks

Although I was reluctant to get up this morning I knew I had to. Things rarely seem as bad once you start dealing with them do they? Not that I have anything to deal with really, just feeling a bit low...

So we got the ducks out - they always make me smile. They are learning the routine - getting up means waddling over for a drink and something to eat. I enjoy watching Steve being followed by 9 cuddly ducks!

Also lots of wild birds in the garden today - it sounded like Spring out there. Of course most of them flew away as I got my camera out but I did catch some of them.....



We had to go shopping this morning so we left a note out for the postman (expecting parcels) and off we went.

Bookers.

I like Bookers.

It is a cash and carry warehouse only for tradespeople. We have a business so we are entitled to a trade card.

Oh the bargains to be had - you would need a blank cheque to take full advantage! But we did alright today - we got 48 packets of (Walkers) crisps for £5! We also got 20p a loaf bread and packets of bread rolls. We got 5kg Basmati Rice for £5 (it's £2 a kilo in Tesco) and 1kg mushrooms for £1.25. So we done good!

We also popped into In Excess as they have gardening stuff at reasonable prices and Steve needed some hose bits. I got packets of Xmas cards for 2p a pack of 5. Wow - that was amazing!

We got home and were just having lunch when Postie turned up. He had the usual brown envelopes and one or two other unwelcome items, but he also had 3 parcels!

One was my dongle :-)

Secondly the paddling pool for the ducks :-)

And third the electric drill pump that was to empty the built-in pond.

Steve was excited.

So we spent most of the afternoon in the garden.

But things didn't go quite to plan.

The paddling pool was a great success. We had to lift the ducks in one at a time as they are wary of new things. But once they got in there.......


Look - CLEAN water!

BUT

5 minutes and seven ducks later.....



Eeuww!

So far so good. Most of them managed to get out on their own, only one or two needing a helping hand. Then they all went off to preen. I have to say we do have happy ducks. Or is it my imagination that they smile?!

Meanwhile Steve was trying out his new pump on the big pond.

With no luck.

For some reason the bit that was supposed to connect the drill to the pump bit wasn't doing its job. Steve took it to pieces and found the problem, tried to put it right, but it was NOT going to pump anything anywhere.

He got cross  frustrated. This is the second tool he has bought recently that has not lived up to its job. And the experience he had trying to get the first one fixed put him off trying with this one.

So another white elephant.

And a pond full of dirty water.

I felt so sorry for Steve - he is not used to things going wrong and doesn't know how to cope if he can't fix them.

So I put a 'wanted' ad up on Freecycle. For a water pump. Not gonna hold my breath though.

So it's getting dark and we went outside to put the ducks in for the night.

Why is it you never have your camera at the best photo opportunities? As we went into the garden, 8 white cuddly (and one brown/green/multicoloured) ducks lined themselves up outside the door of the palace waiting for it to be opened. It was a real awww moment. Silly bit was the door should have been open ready, but the wind had blown it shut. Tomorrow....

Baby duckies had a nice swim in the sink again. Opal is getting the hang of water at last!

I cooked dinner today. It was the fourth meal we have had from one chicken. We had it roasted with veg and gravy, in sandwiches, in a stew with dumplings and curried. We could even squeeze some muligatawny soup out of it tomorrow but Steve will not entertain the idea! When we were really strapped for cash we would buy a chicken and make it last as long as we could. Four meals is pretty damned good. The chicken cost £4 - you do the sums!

So today is nearly over.

Steve keeps saying 'is it bedtime yet'?

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz..................



Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I am NOT depressed.......

Yet another 'nothing' day.

We have done the usual cleaning, bathing and feeding ducks. They are a source of great joy.

The cats had another mouse between them this morning and are now flaked out on the sofa - knackered!

Other than that very little........

Steve's parents phoned to warn us that it is going to be COLD this weekend. They offered us back the calor heater we gave them, and said they would pay half our fuel to get there (it's about £50 - £60). Now we know they are worried about us.

The last time they were worrying like this was when we lived in Micheldever. We rented the attic of an old farmhouse and it was so cold we had to have heating on in summer. We were unemployed, I had a frozen shoulder, and we were both on anti- depressants. I still am. We lost a lot of weight as we couldn't afford to heat and eat. And to top it all we had our car stolen.

That was our lowest point.

We have gradually been pulling ourselves back up since then. And succeeding.

BUT

January is notoriously quiet in our trade.

So the cash flow isn't too well right now.

It would help if our ex landlord paid us the money she owes.

But she is being stubborn.

And pretty stupid now - we have the right to send bailiffs in but I really don't want to do that.

I spent a couple hours last night downloading cool blinkies and other pictures, only to find none of them saved.

I tried to photograph the dozens of little birds feeding on our washing line (temporary feeding area) this morning. But each time I picked the camera up they scarpered.

So no pix today.

After lunch I had another lay down on the sofa and had about half an hour snooze. I cannot let myself get into that habit again. When I met Steve I was sleeping all afternoon. Every afternoon.

Not the brightest of days.

I am not depressed.......

Monday, 9 January 2012

That was Yesterday

I didn't blog yesterday. Had you noticed? Please say 'yes' then I know that someone reads this!

Actually I know I am read, and I know which areas of the world I am read in most. Very interesting!

Anyway, there was a very good reason for me not blogging - I had PC issues.

I have worked on a laptop for years. Always been happy with it, but it does have its limitations.

So when Steve asked me if I would be interested in the desktop PC he has been putting together I didn't hesitate in saying 'yes please'

So yesterday was spent trying to swap all my essential stuff from one to the other....

We got it pretty much sorted, then tried to go online.

Ha! It was such an old machine it only offered dial up!

So for now I am still using my laptop until the dongle Steve ordered arrives.

Not much happened yesterday anyway so you didn't miss much.

Today? Likewise really....

The outdoor ducks have had their area rearranged. again. Trouble is it is all so muddy out there. And that means they cannot get properly clean. We have a paddling pool on order that we should be able to pump out every other day so that they always have access to clean-ish water.


I am so embarrassed by the muddy state of them, but they are very happy ducks, which must account for something!

Indoor ducks are coming on in leaps and bounds. In their bath today Ebony and Ivory made it clear they understand what a bath is for. I had their bowl in the kitchen sink today so that I could sit and watch them. I go very splashed! But again, happy ducks is what it is all about.....Poor little Opal still doesn't get this water thing and watched them both warily.

After their swim and preen they dried out all fluffy and gorgeous.....

                                      They are almost always this close to each other - so cute!
I have put an ad up on Preloved for the outdoor babies.....

 http://www.preloved.co.uk/adverts/show/104962589/adorable-aylesbury-pet-ducks.html

I hated doing it, but the whole point of raising them is to sell them.

People are looking at them......

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Real Nothing Day

Oh I don't mean to sound ungrateful or whingy, but today has been just nothing.

We haven't been anywhere.

We haven't really done anything.

The kitties have been the kitties.

Duckies ditto.

Steve has pottered in the garden.

I have done likewise in the house.

Neither of us has felt like doing much.

I have to wonder if we picked up a touch of the Norovirus? Or is it just the cold?

Full moon is imminent, is it that?

Or the shoot?

Whatever it is it hasn't been the most productive/interesting/exciting of days.

I even had half an hour's snooze after lunch, and I haven't done that for a long, long time.

Oh, something nice did happen - Audrey the calendar turned up. I was sorting out books, and suddenly there she was. Large as life and twice as lovely.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Busy Day.

Yup, it's been a busy day. But not very interesting unfortunately.

First thing this morning - shopping.

We needed to stock the freezer up so that meant Andover - there is a good Iceland there.

We had to look at Wilko's sale while we were there didn't we? They had some Xmas decs at 75% off so a box that had been £10 was £2.50. We got 2. Also a shower radio for £2.50 which was half price. I have never had one, but think it will be nice to have Classic FM on whilst laying in a bubbly bath.

We popped into the Salvation Army charity shop as Steve gets on well with the guy in there. Didn't buy anything this time.

Iceland.

Then home via the GP surgery. I had a prescription to collect.

It is nice to go shopping, but we are always more than ready to come home. We love our home.

This afternoon was an 'in the garden' time.

Steve has been fence building, I was trying to help the ducks manage their new (temporary) pond.

I knew they were drinking from it but I hadn't seen anyone swimming in it. I figured it was too high for them to hoist their plump little bodies into.

So I laid some bricks around the edge.........

This helped some of them (the bigger ones) but they still struggled to get out.

So I angled the base.

Success!

Everyone managed to get in.....

Everybody except one managed to get out. That one did with encouragement.

I sat watching them for ages - they are funny little creatures.

One will do something, then the rest decide it looks like fun, so they all have a go.......One walks off in one direction, so they all follow. I am beginning to see what they mean when they say they are sociable beings and can suffer depression if they live alone. They do everything together.

After we had got them into the palace for the night I came in and bathed the babies. They are still unsure about water, attempting to climb out as soon as they are put into the WUP. So I was forced to sit and encourage them wasn't I?! 

I loved it! I sat on the floor next to the cot (which has room for 2 brooders and the bath in the middle) so that I was on eye level with them. And splashed them.

I think I may have to repeat this exercise again tomorrow!

This is Ivory after her swim.......










And this is Opal.......

There isn't one of Ebony as she was just too wriggly and the photo came out blurred.

Look at how much these 2 have grown in less than a week though. Amazing.




So a busy day.

My cold Man Flu keeps coming and going. The icky bit right now is cattargh cattar catar   my nose is bunged up.

I am knackered again and I have back ache - probably from lifting bricks into the wheelbarrow and arranging them around the pond.

Heat will help it.

I know - I can have a long bubbly bath/jacuzzi listening to Classic FM!!

Perfect.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The First One Wasn't a Fluke!

The first mouse that is.

How do I know? Because they captured a second one last night!

Neither of us knows how, who or where, as we walked into the living room and there was Sam with this mouse in his mouth.

                      I can't help feeling sorry for the mice at this stage as the cats 'play' with them.


Then Ella took over again and she took it outside. Sam followed and they both reappeared some time later and slept for quite a while.

We had a hot soak in the bath (bliss) and an early night last night. I kept waking with leg cramps, so I had been even more dehydrated than I had realised.

This morning the aches are still there. We also have Air Con sickness with the dry/sore throats.

Been busy though.

Fences have been rebuilt. Ducks reallocated. New pond installed (kiddies' plastic one).

Indoor ducklettes have been bathed and put into a new (well clean) brooder.

Xmas has been taken down and packed away.

We have bought 20 rolls of turf to start grassing the ducks' enclosure in earnest. I will post photo's as soon as it has been laid. And hopefully before the ducks trash it!

Sam and Ella seem to approve of the new fence set up.....



And the wild birds are happy with the relocated feeders. The woodpecker came to visit this morning too, but too fast to be photographed.


                                                                      Washing Line Nuts!

Talking with a friend this morning I was telling her how the cruise passengers yesterday all seemed miserable, but the cabin boys had a smile for everyone. 'Ahhhh' she said wisely 'that just proves that money can't buy you happiness'.

I think she hit the nail on the head.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Keeps Earned!

Sam and Ella have done what they were brought here for........

                                THEY HAVE CAUGHT THEIR FIRST MOUSE!

When I say 'caught' I actually mean it in the loosest possible terms.....

What we think happened was that Mickey popped his little head up out of a hole at the exact same moment Sam was passing by. Result - one 'caught' mouse.

Once they had got it they did what cats do to mice ie tormented the poor little thing to within an inch of its life, then despatched it anyway.

I didn't get any photo's of Sam with it, but I did snap Ella......

Part of me hates this part of cats, but it is nature and it is what we got them for. Didn't like hearing poor little mousey squeaking though - sounded so much like one of their mouse toys it took us a while to realise it was a real one!



                                                             But Ella is a pretty girl isn't she?

Today has been a l-o-o-o-o-o-ng day which started at 5.30 a.m. I didn't even know there were 2 of those in a day!

We were part of a team of carpet cleaners working a cruise ship. We had to be in Southampton for 7.30. Bleurgh.

It was an interesting experience.

The haves and the have nots.

People pay from £1800 each for these holidays. And it is no longer just the rich and famous who cruise.  Ordinary, everyday folks were queuing in their hundreds to board.

Then there are the hard working little cabin boys. They are lucky if they earn £1800 in a year.

Am I being cynical again or is there something wrong here?

The sheer opulence of these ships seems unnecessary.

The money being spent by and on the privileged few.

We saw huge floral arrangements being delivered. Why? They won't live more than a couple of days in the heat. Stacks and stacks of crates of alcohol stood waiting to be loaded. Food piled high ditto.

The waste must be enormous.

No, this is not sour grapes on my part. We have done a cruise. That was in the days when we had money to spend. I won't say 'waste' as it was a fabulous holiday - A Nile cruise that made us fall in love with Egypt, and totally changed our lives.

But seeing it from the 'other side' of the operation really opened my eyes.

I don't think we would cruise again, even if we could afford to.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Windy City

Alright then, not city but certainly windy.

We knew it was going to be windy - the BBC had announced it so it wouldn't dare not be windy. But we weren't prepared for the effects of it.

At 4 am something woke us, something being blown and crashing. We knew whatever it was there was nothing we could do in the middle of the night so we went back to sleep.

The 4 am crash was an old television aerial being blown over onto the roof. But since we don't have a television this was not a problem.

What was and still is a problem is the fence in the back garden......

This was our back garden at 8 a.m. today.


The fence that surrounds the ducks' main area is flat. Which means that the ducks cannot use it as they would be unsecured.

Beyond the perimeter of our garden is woodland and all its wild creatures, some of whom would love a duck supper.

So they have been kept in their smaller pen in front of Puddleducks Palace - just to the right of the picture. They have enough room there, they have a pond and access to their warm, dry home. We just prefer them to have more space to roam.

So Steve (aka Mr Fixit) has been on the case (once the weather allowed) putting fence posts into concrete in an effort to keep them in the ground once and for all.

The ducks were watching him and seemed totally unperturbed by the whole experience. It's we 'parents' who suffer the angst.

Another victim of the storm was the wild birds feeding area which was part of the fence. We had left the feeders laying on a table in the middle of the garden, and the 'regulars' flew up to use it. Bless them. So we have tied them all (food containers not birds!) onto the washing line (that is largely unused in winter) so that they can eat in safety. Cannot guarantee the cats would not see them as sport.....

A little sadness today - we finally laid the remaining 5 eggs to rest in the pond down the lane. This is me being soppy again - a fitting end for ducks and all that.

We opened each one up first to see what stage of development we had lost them at. Three had almost made it being covered in down and in the pipping position. We think they were victims of the power cut. The other 2 had died before developing fully.

I find this all very sad.

But nature knows best and if something is not viable I believe she deals with it in the kindest way.

Our goregous indoor babies are growing rapidly.

We have Steve has speculated that Opal is female.

Why?

Because she is LOUD!

I have found so many typos today and I am NOT going back to edit yet again.....Sorry.

Must be this Man Flu.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Eeeek - I'm late

It is 6 p.m and I am only just blogging. That is dreadful isn't it?!

No, the thing is one of the 'charms' of living in the back end of beyond is the temperamental phone service. We live 7km from our exchange, and in certain weather conditions we can lose contact with the outside world. Or sometimes if we get a phone call we lose internet. This is what has happend today - one of Steve's mates rang and we have been webless for 2 1/2 hours. Not as bad as the five hours when my friend rang. So I am having pointed out to me!

Anyway I am back now.

News?

Yup, there is news.......

                                       Darling little Opal moved in with her 2 big sisters last night.

I love this photo - it looks as if Ivory is saying to Ebony 'well what are we supposed to do with this little thing then?' and Ebony is replying 'I dunno - she looks more like you - I thought you would know'.

But they seem to have accepted her and have been showing her how to eat and drink. And being on either side of her.

I was a little concerned about her last night as her eyes were not open. They had been, but they seemed to be gummed up. So we bathed them and put her to bed hoping they would sort.

They did.

This morning she had almost caught up to Ivory. Who appears the same size as Ebony.

They had a swim together this afternoon and again Ebony and Ivory were looking out for Opal. It's lovely to see it.

So all is well in the indoor nursery.

Puddleducks Palace ditto. Ace is looking more male each day - the feathers on her head are tinged with (a very beautiful shade of emerald) green which does make us wonder. In nature it is the male of most species who is the attractive one. Girls tend to be drab!

Oh, something wonderful happened this afternoon......

It had been a lovely, sunny day, but there was a sudden downpour. And the sun was still shining. Woo Hoo - Rainbow Alert!

Have I mentioned my love of rainbows? I have a belief that they only appear on 'special days' or that something will happen to make the day special. Daft, I know.

So I ran outside (remembered to put a coat and shoes on first as I currently have 'Man Flu'), camera in hand in the hopes of seeing one.

OMG.

I have never, ever seen anything like this before......

I always assumed that the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow myth was just that - a myth. I thought the rainbow was in the sky, followed the curve of the earth and just drifted off into space. I never knew they actually do end on earth.


Isn't that spectacular?


As I stood I could clearly see the rain falling through it in front of the trees. This rainbow ended in the field next to our home. And as we are the closest building to the field it felt like our 'personal' rainbow.

Had we not already lived in a place called Rainbow's End I would have wanted to name our home that.

When I came in and told Steve about it he asked had I dug up the crock of gold. I asked had he bought a lottery ticket!

But what difference would lots of money make to us? We would be richer, but it could not make us any happier than we already are.

It's strange, but earlier on today I had said I couldn't be happier than I am living here.