Monday, 30 October 2006

explosive news

One of the chickens and I have both been ill this weekend.

I've had a fainting-migrainey-under-the-weather episode, which although unpleasant didn't compare to the poor chicken's explosive-nose-bleed-haemorrage-stroke thingy.

We discovered it was explosive because there is blood all up the side of the henhouse by the perch; and no other evidence of injury than blood around her beak and nose.

She now has a very weak right leg and wing. Other than that, she seems quite happy though. I haven't experienced anything like this before and neither has Pa, who is my Chicken Guru. So I have put her in a nice comfortable little house to recover in the greenhouse and we'll see what happens. She's moving around okay and eating and drinking - so perhaps she will recover.

As for me - well, hormones, I think. I am busy paying people and asking people to pay us today; and B is making us an omlette for lunch.

Thursday, 26 October 2006


Today, I will mostly be ranting about Madonna in someone else's comments section over at The Guardian.

Boy on Top - I think The Baby Crisis Game happened while you were away on holiday.

In other news:

  • The adoption meeting went very well
  • The chickens survived being left for a night by themselves in their new pens
  • Betty caught a wren while we were away and the entire upstairs looks like an explosion in a mattress factory
  • R is has been offered another job and is leaving the business. We are really happy that he has found something that suits him well, because he was finding the working away from his family really hard. Not to mention his back problem.
  • We are exporing the concept of a Virtual Office. Anyone else use them?
  • B brought some VERY nice wine back from Australia

That, for now, is all.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

house hunting, adoption and accountancy

We've been house-hunting today.

We've been to look at two places, one with seven acres of land, beside a river that would provide all ones electricity-from-a-water-turbine needs and a fantastic variety of sheds and outbuildings; but it has not been looked after for three years - so boggy fields and terrible fences - and in a valley that gets almost no sun.

Verdict: It felt like a really sad place. No sale.

The second one was very much nicer. Two acres of land that have been well looked after, with some very nice poultry and duck houses, a greenhouse and polytunnel and a very well tended vegetable garden. Nice house, a fabulous barn and good road links. But not very satisfactorily tucked away, whilst also being pretty close to the main road.

Verdict: Not quite the right place. No sale.

However - we got chatting to the vendor, and it turns out that they adopted their nine year old eighteen months ago. It was a really, really productive conversation for us, very encouraging. They had all the same complaints about the system that we do; but they have a very happy family and their child seems really nice and well adjusted.

Viewing houses seems a quite complex way of meeting successful adopters. But a very positive outcome for us, despite us not instantly falling in love with their property.

We have had no viewings at all via the estate agent, and the people from Houseladder have not come back to us.

We are thinking hard about what we want, whether we could be happy here for a few years and then try to find an 'ideal' place close by.

Now I need to do my adoption homework - we have a meeting tomorrow and I have to demonstrate all sorts of things - my understanding of Diversity, The Baby Crisis Game and my Parenting Capacity.

And before THAT meeting, we also have a meeting with Sarcastic Accountant.

B is home! Did I mention that? :)

Monday, 23 October 2006


Yay! B is back!

We are making chicken pens today, so that we can leave the chucks overnight in safety.

B is very excited that I have planned such a welcome home for him ...

Friday, 20 October 2006

jam is the opiate of the masses

I'm collecting B at 7am on Sunday from Manchester. This 'being independent parts of a whole' relationship lark is all very well, but not-quite-three-weeks is far too long for someone to go off and leave me to be an independent part all by myself. I much prefer it when we are independent parts in roughly the same hemisphere, thank you very much.

I am going to try to have a computer-less few days, as I have gone bog-eyed over the last week, so much have I been staring at the screen. Also, I have Important Chicken Chores to complete. As one does.

So not dead, or sat in the wardrobe eating my own hair. Just resting.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

retreat of the tinfoil hat

Unflattering Tinfoil HatI think I have pulled myself out of it - thank you everyone who sent me lovely emails and left nice comments and offers of chat. I really appreciate it, it did make a difference - I didn't spiral too far down in to the dip.

And a big and public thank you to B and to R, who made the Tin Foil Hat Man go away and were lovely. They are fab.

There is someone coming an hour or so, from Houseladder. They've driven up from Kent. I feel like I'm going on a blind date. Should one shave ones legs before someone comes to view your house? And if so, just to the knees? Or all the way up?

I have switched all the lights on - it's a grim day - and I have put a loaf of bread on to bake. I have shoved the pile of clothes that need to be put away under the duvet in the spare room and I have arranged the chest/coffee table so that it hides the moth holes in the rug. And I have lit the fire.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

one step two step

The trouble with being too sad to talk to people is that you can't talk to people to tell them how sad you are and ask for some help.


I have had all the phones switched off, because I started to physically panic whenever they rang; but I have managed to arrange a phone-call with B this afternoon, which while pretty depressing for him helped me quite a bit.

I hate how little things can STILL suddenly knock me off my perch and how a still small voice at the centre of me can see how irrational I'm being, but not really have any say in how I'm behaving.

Contributing factors this time:

  • B not being accessible for sensible conversation for most of last week (ditdotdat, yes, I know what you mean and what you said did help a bit, thank you)
  • I have undertaken some website work for a chap on behalf of the company. He is a loonbat-eared, tinfoil-hat-wearing maniac who keeps changing what he wants, shortening his deadlines and ringing me out of office hours. Also he doesn't seem to be able to remember my name. Over the course of the last week my freak-out levels where he is concerned have gone through Lost in Space ("Danger! Danger Will Robinson!"); slingshotted round the bit in WarGames where Matthew Broderick realises that the computer is playing for real; and is now at the point in A Night To Remember where Kenneth Moore is swimming around in mid-Atlantic in his polo-knecked sweater. However, during our conversation this afternoon, B said that he and R would deal with him and make him go away.
  • Finalising the end of year accounts with Sarcastic Accountant. Since I am physically unable to even think about this without having actual palpitations, it's just going to have to wait until I'm back on form.
  • Getting the house ready for viewings. My, that's fun. And so relaxing.

I didn't even make banana products. However I did make flapjacks and although I haven't been able to stir myself to make a proper meal for a couple of days I am consoling myself with the thought that oats are Good For You.

So there you are.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

yes we have no chicken houses

It's grey weather outside, so no chicken house photos I'm afraid.

Instead I am going to potter around and possibly make some more banana wine ... or maybe banana cake ... or banana bread ... or banana pudding ... .

See the theme emerging here?

I feel really flat and wierdly isolated; but I also feel like I want to be left alone to get on with things by myself. India-Next-Door has decidedly taken me under her wing; which basically means that she phones me once or twice a day for a chat. And in the week, when I didn't answer the phone, she came up and knocked on the door. I really like her; but I feel a bit overwhelmed.

For the last five days B has only made time to contact me when he's arrived home at 4am after a few beers. So no real communication possible there then. It's easier for me if he doesn't bother. Particularly since when I start to mention anything I've done, he pipes up "Oh yes, I read that on the blog". So I really don't need to mention things in person.

Two friends have had babies this week. Another one has just told me she's fallen pregnant really quickly - after seeing our issues they decided to start trying just after they decided to get married. And she caught immediately. I am really happy for all of them; but sad for us. And also, I bet Madonna didn't get questioned in minute detail by her social worker about her alternative lifestyle and spiritual practices during her adoption preparation.

It's odd how you can appear quite cheerful on the outside but simultaneously feel very sad on the inside.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

foghorn leghorn

day old chicksCan we talk about chickens?

These are the ones that hatched five weeks ago, the day after they'd popped out of the eggs in the incubator. There are three Exchequer Leghorns and six Partridge Pekins.

They are just about ready to come off their heat now - I've been letting them out in the garden during the day for the last week or so and then they go back under the heat lamp at night. They're mixing well with the three weeks older ones, which is great, because before too long we are going to reach a Chicken Redistribution Event Horizon and their accommodation will need reorganising.

Out of the twenty five we have, we will

  • keep one cockerel and six laying hens
  • keep the four lady Pekins and one cockerel
  • eat five full-sized cockerels
  • eat five Pekin cockerels (enough for a large curry - they are about the size of a pigeon)
  • have three laying hens going spare
They are all lovely birds; but of the six Pekins in that picture, FIVE (FIVE!!!) are boys.

That's a lot of boy Pekins.

So we are going to divide them up in to batches - the laying hens and their husband will live in the top garden. The Pekins we are keeping are going to come down and live in the front garden in a little pen which we can open up and thus allow them to roam around when we are in. They will pretty much be pets. Or curry, I suppose. The remaining boys we are going to eat are going to go in to a specially made hut that we have christened 'Death Row', behind the house; out of site of the layers, so that they won't get upset by not being part of a real chicken family.

They should be ready to eat at Christmas. I am therefore not bothering to order a turkey this year. There's always the risk that I will bottle out at the last minute and we will have a vegetarian Christmas, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Someone is coming to view the house on Thursday. I am mostly ready. And I have found one or two places with land to present to B when he gets home, with a view to viewing them ourselves.

Tomorrow: Pictures of chicken houses.

I am still filing. Please send brandy.

Friday, 13 October 2006

recycling, filing, winemaking and a brazilian

I have three bin-bags full of clothes and two enormous boxes of kibble to take to the charity shop.

And I have made a pile of all the clothes I like that are too small for me. If I can't get in to them by Christmas, they go.

This afternoon, I am finishing filing all the paperwork I found in a big box at the weekend. Odd how paperwork becomes irrelevant if you pile it up in an 'URGENT-DEAL WITH IMMEDIATELY' pile and then leave it for six months. And nice how the world doesn't end or anything.

Then I am attending to my wine. I've got a bucket of banana on the go and five gallons of red (from a kit, heresy I know, but country reds take so much longer to mature that we had to get something in to cover the gap) that needs racking.

In other news: I dreamt that my mother had had a Brazilian. Ugh.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

blast from the past

I've been tagged by SheWeevil ...

All these people have found us the theme music from the children's TV show they are most nostalgic about.

There's no need to guess which show mine is from though (it's a *.wav file). It was on on Saturday mornings, just before Zorro.

And I pass the baton to Jamie, if she has time between all of her fair going ...

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

wall lights of the damned

Right. Where was I?

Kate and Vic came to visit on Monday, armed with various cleaning materials, DIY gear and a carpet steamer that they had borrowed off a friend of Kate's that I don't like very much.

It's an interesting philosophical position - does one clench ones ethics and use the carpet cleaner of the person one places somewhere outside Xena's orbit in that venn-diagram thingy that the adoption worker made us draw of our friends and family? Or does one stand by one's moral high ground and continue to put up with one's carpets smelling vaguely of alsation?

I chose option a) and feel slightly ethically besmirched; but the bedroom no longer smells of large damp dog. So I think I can live with myself.

We have cleaned everything. Washed everything - curtains, carpets, windows, floors, ceilings. Vic has filled all the small holes where twenty years worth of people have taken down pictures, thought "Oh, I'll fill that hole in later" and then died (or divorced of course). He's put up shelves, curtain rails and pictures.

This house is actually quite nice you know.

Apart from the wall lights in the dining room. Does anyone reading this have wall-lights that they ACTIVELY LIKE? Rather than wall-lights that they chose because they were the only ones in the shop that didn't make them feel nauseous? Or wall-lights that were in the house when they bought it and they decided that they could live with until they could afford some nicer ones and then never actually got around to it?

Update on the house-moving plan: We are going to look for the 'perfect place' to move to. But it will have to be perfect with a gratuitous modifier, as this place is very nearly perfect - the house IS perfect.

B says that when he comes home, he is prepared to gird his loins and approach our neighbours about the possibility of buying a bit of their land for goat-and-bee-keeping purposes.

Only ten days to go now before he comes home - half way through.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

master and commander

The guys are here today finishing the solar tank installation.

We have decided that the best course of action is for them to finish the job and then when we move we can take the actual panels with us and leave the tank and the pipework; then if someone else wants to reinstall them at a later date, they can do so.

I chatted with B for quite a long time via Skype yesterday. We finally got the video working properly.

It's an odd thing; in 1912 my Great Aunt Lucy went to New Zealand. My mother says that her father (Lucy's younger brother) went with the family to see her off on the boat. And he knew that they would never see her again. It must have been such a tremendous thing.

And now, nearly a hundred years later, B is still that half a world away. But I know what the place he is staying looks like. We can speak instantly. And a fortnight today, he will be back.

Friday, 6 October 2006

bag the sequel, bigger and better than ever

I can't cope with my mother.

Okay, today I can't cope with very much, due to the swirling cloud of hormones and tummy ache I seem to be functioning with.

But today I particularly can't cope with my mother.

So rather than sit and listen to her pour negative comments across my entire life and then hang up the phone and feel that I'd like to break a glass and cut my arms; I called her on it.

I didn't cry, I didn't shout, I didn't swear.

I just pointed out that every single thing she had said in the conversation was negative, and could she please stop.

And she apologised.

I still feel like I want to hack at my arms. But instead I'm going to have a small glass of not-quite-ready sloe gin and then go to bed.

Today was going quite well until that, all things considering.

*replaces bag on head*

Wednesday, 4 October 2006


I think I am just going to sit here with a bag on my head for a day or two, if that's alright with everyone.

I'm perfectly fine - it just suddenly feels as if there is rather a lot going on.

Hmmm. I wonder why that could be?

India-Next-Door turned up on the doorstep with a bucket of damsons (plan - wine with juice, chutney with fruit) for me this morning at the same time as the valuer. Which rather put the boot in to my plan to pop round later this afternoon and break the news about moving to her gently. She wasn't too shocked - she's a very redoubtable person - and when I went round this afternoon she gave me a flapjack and a mini-swiss roll with my coffee; so I think we're still friends. She was very worried when we moved in - what we would be like, etc. and now she has to go through that process again.

The building the new office is in is having an official opening shindig thingy tomorrow evening. Gosh, how I'm looking forward to it.

I had an email from B from Singapore during his layover. Haven't heard whether he's arrived yet - but I'm hoping he can find a broadband connection and skype me tomorrow.

Back in a day or two.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006


Rhys has the Sexual Karma Fairy.

I AM the British Gas Customer Retention Calling Team Karma Fairy.

A very uninterested youth has just phoned and asked me why I was leaving British Gas.

So I told him. At length.

It's a very boring four year old saga involving the botched removal of card meters, undebited debit cards, right hands concealing their doings from left hands, missed appointments (theirs) and finally, the ombudsman.

I would have felt sorry for him really, only he clearly didn't care one way or the other whether I Went Back To British Gas.


In other news:

  • We have put the house up on eBay. Yes, it does have a reserve :).
  • I dropped B at Manchester airport at 7.30 am this morning. He'll be back in just under three weeks. His parting shot was "I love you! Make us rich and buy a house while I'm away!". So no pressure there then.
  • With the help of Kate and Vic, we built yet another chicken house at the weekend to accomodate our flock, who are all starting to resemble Godzilla rather than The Little Red Hen. I do have loads of poultry-related photos to post, but I haven't got round to it yet. Will soon, honest.
That is all.

Except for the fact that I seem to have rather bad PMT :(.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

for sale

Right. Does anyone want to buy a house?