Wednesday, 31 January 2007

return of the blob

Hormones are shite, aren't they? There you are, perfectly (well, reasonably) together, trundling along with your life, and all of a sudden, BOOM, there they are, batting you over the head with a biological imperative.

B should be *here*, protecting me from sabre tooth tigers, not swanning off to earn a crust in a way that doesn't involve throwing a spear.


However. He has arranged to drive the truck to Budapest and then catch a plane back again, so he'll only be gone a few days, rather than just over two weeks. And I am inexpressably grateful to Stan's Cafe for being so fantastic about it all. Many companies, when faced with someone phoning up on the morning of a tour and saying "Is there any way I can not do this, because of my personal life", would reply "No. Fuck off". But they didn't.

I am going to have a whine now, so bear with me.

I am terrified.

I feel constantly sick, I feel tired, I feel crampy, I feel weepy. I am frightened of hospitals. I am frightened that I am going to have another miscarriage and B is not going to be here. I am frustrated that I cannot plant my own raspberry canes and clean out my own chickens. I am frightened because I wonder if that fact that I still can't quite believe what has happened will somehow make the baby miscarry. I am frightened because I know that I am not keeping up with the business paperwork that is my responsibility and therefore no invoices or cheques are being written. I am frightened that despite the doctor's reassurances, the escitalopram tablets I am on will affect the baby. I am frightened because at some point I am going to have to come off the escitalopram and there is strong possibilty that that will be quite a rough time. I am frightened because I am excited and I am happy and if I allow myself to be excited and happy then I know I am going to feel really, really terrible if anything goes wrong.

To sum up. I am not feeling quite myself.

However, I have found a baby blanket knitting pattern on and I am going to have a crack at it.

And B has left me enough sausage casserole in the fridge to feed me until the weekend. Which will probably eventually become boring - but for which I am very grateful.

Tomorrow. Cheerful things. Maybe chicken photos. And how to intimidate your cockerel.

B is packing to go away to Budapest and I can't stop crying.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

through a scanner darkly

Well that was exciting, in a slightly sticky and invasive, but emotional and basically pretty good kind of way.

The scan-lady showed us all around my uterus, including the baby's heart beat.

It was a teary moment.

I am apparently seven weeks and one day pregnant, which puts conception on Christmas Day, which is kind of sweet. Everything seems to be fine.

I then came out of the maternity unit and had a copious attack of vomiting on the steps of the hospital, which was less fun, but equally sticky.

Vomit always seems to go further in a public place, doesn't it?

Now we are home and I am going to do some work-type things and then have a little sleep.

I promise this is not going to turn in to a completely baby-centric blog, it's just been a bit of a uterus-focused week :).

Monday, 29 January 2007

wall mounted doofuses

So, we're not the only people who had a family Dungeons Dragons weekend; a good time was had by all and I did very little except order people to do things. My kind of party.

I've been to the GP this morning, who's referred me for a scan at the early pregnancy unit tomorrow morning because of last week's spotting. However, I think things are okay, based on the fact that I seem to be retching constantly and feel completely knackered.

We've just come back from the smallholding up the road, who have very graciously killed our cockerels for us; they've got one of those wall-mounted doofuses. I just didn't feel able to do my broom handle trick - partly because of the retching and partly because of the actual physical exertion. So they were killed for us; and then B plucked them with the help of their steamer, which makes them much easier to do.

And now he's going to spend the evening dressing them out and we'll put them in the freezer, whilst I curl up on the sofa and gestate.

Job done.

He's off to Budapest without me on Wednesday - we've decided that five days each way in lorry across Europe and five days in the middle hanging round on street corners invigilating the show would not be great for me. So someone else is going with him and I am staying at home. I am half envious and half relieved.

In the meantime, I have plenty of visitors planned, the chicken population has been split up in to manageable colonies and I have pretty much got the internet connection working in the bedroom. Yay! for bedroom internet connections!

Friday, 26 January 2007



Thursday, 25 January 2007

plan a again then

Okay, I'm blogging from bed today - not entirely good news; I've had some spotting and the doctor has said to retire to my boudoir for forty-eight hours and not lift a finger.

I was very scared last night, but have spent most of today snoozing and chilling out.

Thank you all for all the good wishes, it is good to know that so many people are rooting for us!

We had no idea at all, really. We've had so many false alarms over the last four years that we've really stopped thinking about it. But I've been feeling a bit sick on and off since Christmas and all of a sudden it seemed like I'd put on weight and I needed to buy new bras. And then it got to the point where I thought I should probably do a test - on Tuesday - and so I did.

And there was the little pink dot.

Odd how something so small can be so life-changing.

Anyway, I'd done the test while B was letting the chickens out. I presented it to him as he was taking his wellies off. He looked at it and said "Well, I wasn't expecting THAT this morning. Do you want a cup of tea?".

And we spent the day kind of assimilating the information.

It's a very big mental jump to go back from Plan B, which is so far advanced, to Plan A, which we'd pretty much abandoned. We're both treading cautiously - it's very early days, as the last twenty four hours have reminded us.

Also, major crisis - tea seems to be making me feel nauseous. Gah!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

change of plans

Thank you for all the cake.

I haven't eaten too much of it because I've been feeling a bit queasy.

I've been feeling a bit queasy because I appear to be six or seven weeks pregnant.


NOT something that we were expecting.

We're both a bit shocked to be honest. But obviously very, very pleased.

More later.

Monday, 22 January 2007


Chicken slaughtering has been postponed due to a bad case of the sniffles and an equally serious case of self pity.

Please send cake.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

day of the poultry

Today has been The Day of the Chicken.

Kind of like the 'Day of the Jackal', but with fewer precision rifles.

I have been foolish, and weak.

Because of the dreadful weather, the eleven cockerels in Death Row Chicken Pen have been up to their little chicken ankles in a noxious mixture of water, wet food that they have scratched around, and of course, chicken excrement. I chucked a couple of pallets in when the wet weather started (ie, October) and there's been enough dry gaps for a) the ground to dry out a bit and b) for me to get in there and clean them out. However, the last couple of weeks have been so terrible that I haven't managed it.

Instead, yesterday morning I made a little hole at the edge of the pen and let them out in to the area that we have designated as the future, slightly larger, Death Row Chicken Pen. And I crossed my fingers and hoped that they would be sufficiently excited about being out of their little pen that they wouldn't go too far.

How wrong I was.

There was a general teenage "Whoo-hoo! Ladies!" kind of noise from them as they discovered that there were hens further up the garden. The Speckled Sussexes and the Pekins are a bit dozy and didn't really discover the full spread of Lady-Availability until today. But last night Exploding Chicken's Sister, from now on called Stevette McQueen Chicken, was missing. And the two Exchequer Leghorn boys were roosting in with the Pekins, and didn't seem all that bothered by which Pekins were boys and which were actually girls.


And then this morning, the Speckled Sussex boys discovered the Ladies. The butchest one took on George, who bloodied his comb for him and retired to the top of the garden with his women-folk - I arrived at this point and he was back up against the fence with the girls gathered behind him like a last stand from a Western. The defeated Sussex was sitting sadly on the fence. And his two brothers were in the field over the road.

By the time I'd gone to ask permission from our Farmer Neighbour to tramp across his land, they'd disappeared.


However, in the hedge a bit further up, I did find the missing hen who was so traumatised by the full on sex on offer yesterday, that she didn't come home. She was very pleased to see me and I caught her up very easily and repatriated her.

And then, I went to introduce myself to the neighbours and ask them if they'd seen my chickens.

They hadn't, but they seem very nice and I've invited them down for a coffee at some point. And also broached the subject of land purchase, hopefully in an in-passing, jovial, just-putting-this-out-there, non-threatening way.

And by the time I got home, the missing boys were all back again.

Which was nice, if frustrating.

Tomorrow we are killing, plucking, gutting and freezing eleven cockerels.

I may not post.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

bulletin on the palace gates

The electricity has been off for nearly twelve hours - I've been cooking and boiling water on the open fire and cursing that we have not yet got the rayburn fitted.

B is stranded in London, as all Virgin trains going out of Euston have been cancelled and the Welshpool train from Birmingham is probably not happening either, given that it's the line to Aberystwyth and some of it is single tracked; didn't even both to check that one.

I've done no work today because there's been no power for the PC and mobile coverage appears to have also died off - presumably the transmitters are effected by the electrical outages.

We DEFINITELY need some sort of battery system for generating/storing our own power.

No rabbits today, too traumatised by lack of internet. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

five things that you may not have noticed about me online

Ages and ages ago, Bes nominated for a 'five things that you may not have noticed about me online' meme. It's taken me weeks to get to it (sorry Bes!), but here it is.

1. I used to do synchronised swimming. Nose-clip, ear-plugs, make-up, frilly swimming hat, everything.

2. My first job was as a waitress at the Somerset County Cricket Club. We weren't allowed to talk to the cricketers and I once dropped four prawn cocktails in a person's lap. They were very nice about it though, really.

3. I was once, briefly and abortively, in a polyamorous relationship. I know that there are lots of people who manage it successfully, and I think it sounds wonderful if everyone involved is playing by the same rules - but for me at that time and with those particular people, it was a disaster. (And yes, we did tell the adoption social worker about it).

4. More on swimming - I'm quite good at it, actually. I can do the butterfly and used to race it, and medley, for school.

5. I would like to walk the Camino pilgrim route from Vezelay in central France to Santiago De Compostela in Spain. It takes six months. If we get knocked back for adoption, I'm going to take six months off and do it.

I nominate: Anyone who has sufficient brain-space to have a go ...

Tomorrow: The case for keeping rabbits to eat. Please have your thoughts ready, I need some validation.

Monday, 15 January 2007

accountants and designer vaginas


I am a bad, hysterical, paranoid person.

Sally Social Worker had made a typo in her letter and meant January, not February. B spoke to her this afternoon and we have an appointment in a fortnight. She was considerately giving us space because she didn't know how long the medicals might take to arrange and it was a form letter.

I stand by my ranting about International police checks, though.

We have spent two hours closeted with Sarcastic Accountant this afternoon, with him patiently taking us through the personal tax stuff that needs to be submitted by the end of the month. I've also handed over all the day to day accounts to him now, so that he can keep on top of them during the year and doesn't have to spend an annual six weeks unpicking my podging together of twelve months worth of incomings and outgoings.

Me: So, Sarcastic Accountant, did you have a nice Christmas?
SA: Yes, thank you. Although we had a bit of a crisis with our daughter [who's two].
Me: [radiates intelligent interest]
SA: She was a bit worried about Santa coming in to the house.
Me: Oh?
SA: We met a man in a Santa suit while we were out shopping and we had to spend some time convincing her that Father Christmas wasn't a very bad man who smelt of cheap vodka.
Me: [chokes]

In other news, I have been participating in a thread about designer vaginas (link NOT safe for work) on this afternoon. I have a question that I would like to put to you:

Why? Why would someone do that?

And for today, that is all.

empire building

The trouble with Caesar 4 is that it is almost impossible to stop playing it, even when Sarcastic Accountant desperately needs you to sort out your tax return stuff for him to stop the tax-man fining you.

Saturday, 13 January 2007


Oh bollockys bollocksy bollocks.

After all that positivity in the last post, I went and looked on the doormat for any letters that had come while we were away. And there was a letter from Social Services dated 8th Jan (ie, Monday, before we, and they, knew about the medicals happening). It is a very short letter from our adoption worker to arrange a home visit appointment on 27th February, 'to discuss our application'.

This is NOT good. We have been arranging appointments by phone, not letter and it's all been very informal. Appointments have been being arranged a couple of weeks apart - this is six weeks away.

We both felt as if we'd been punched in the stomach.

We were told just after New Year that our application was on hold until the medicals had been sorted out. I expect that this letter is because we weren't able to get them arranged immediately.

I am so angry. The chap at the doctor's surgery who arranges the appointments has basically been fucking us about for the last six or seven months. But from the vibe I've been getting off them for the last couple of months, I feel that Social Services have decided that we have some kind of agenda ourselves that has meant that we have not been pushing hard enough to get the appointments. They seem so paranoid about the fact that I'm on anti-depressant medication that I wouldn't put it past them to have decided that we have been delaying deliberately.

We can't find out what is behind the letter until Monday and are therefore set for a weekend of worrying and displacement activity.

This is a roller coaster. One minute everything is fine. The next minute everything is not fine.

Sally Social Worker told us a couple of months ago that because B's police checks were costing Social Services £200 a time and he was up to £1,400 so far, they might start asking us to pay for further ones. If they count the Budapest trip as work rather than a holiday (we are viewing it as a kind of paid holiday), then they are going to have to do checks for both of us, for the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary - those are the countries that we are staying in as we drive the van across Europe.

That is £1,600 that they might ask us to pay. And probably another six months fucking about waiting for Interpol or International Social Services or whoever it is to sort it out.

We do not have £1,600.

And in another six months, I will have finally chewed my own leg off.

This RIDICULOUS. I can't actually articulate how angry and upset and afraid I am.

There are all these children needing homes, families, parents, needing to get out of care.

And I feel that again and again and again we are being looked upon as guilty parties who need to prove our innocence in order to adopt them. And you know what? All these checks and things DON'T WORK.

Sally Social Worker has given us at least two examples that she knows of personally, where the adopters were checked rigourously by Social Services and a year or two later it turned out that the husbands had started sexually abusing the children, who had to be removed.

IT DOESN'T WORK. It's all lip-service to political correctness, to covering their own arses so that if we do turn out to be abusers, they can hold their hands up and say 'we did everything we could'.

IT DOESN'T WORK. They are putting us through this, making us ride this rollercoaster, playing with our emotions, making us feel defensive and as if we are somehow deficient, NOT for the best interests of the children, but for the best interests of FUCKING Social Services, so they won't get sued, or, shock, horror, even worse, pilloried in the media.

I have all this anger inside me and I don't know what to do to let it out.

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Friday, 12 January 2007

all good

Well, that went quite well, I think. Many thanks for all the vibes - they definitely helped, as the medical was very lacking in trauma and the GP very supportive. My form now goes off to the Social Services doctor, who decides whether she wants any more information from me. I am hoping not, but we'll see. Suddenly I have stopped worrying about it.

B is having his on Monday - the GP organised it then and there when we told him how long we'd been waiting. I had a breast exam, so I suspect that he is going to have a testicular one. If you know him, then please be sure to ask him how this went when you meet him in person :).

The visit to Ma and Pa was lovely. They liked their belated Christmas presents and Pa liked the aeroplane-shaped chocolates we'd got him for his birthday. We also had a very lively discussion about Comedy Livestock Slaughtering Stories. Have you heard the one about the man who shot himself through his own hand when the calf moved? Neither had I - but that's what happened. Boom boom.

And then Pa and B got in to a discussion about whether science was taking the place of religion.

They are both brilliant and I love them.

However, on the downside, apparently I have upset Moss, The Sensitive Sheepdog.

As we were leaving this morning, Moss and Meg were growling at each other. So I growled at both of them, in an 'I'm the leader of the pack, so shut up' kind of way. And I am told that Moss has taken it personally and has been very depressed all afternoon. When I phoned an hour or so ago to say we'd got back safely, she was sitting on Sister Natalie's knee, having a cuddle.

We came home with three pounds of frozen sloes and half a lamb, both of which are now in the freezer. And currently B is doing some sketches for the set for a big tender we've been asked to submit, whilst drinking elderberry wine. The cats are traumatised that we have been away so long.

And we have had our first egg! Well, strictly speaking, we had our first egg on Wednesday. But when we got home this afternoon we had another one. They are very different shapes; so I think it is fair to assume that they are from different hens. Somewhat ironically, I think that it is Mary and Sandra, the Social Worker Hens who are laying.


In other news: A chap has just phoned up and asked me whether I would like four beehives full of bees with all the accompanying paraphanalia, for £500. This is a very, VERY reasonable amount of money, although it is also about ten times more spare cash than we have floating around at the moment. We are going to see them on Friday next week.

Tomorrow I am working - helping B with a get-in in the morning and then doing a website for someone in the afternoon.

Sunday, we are collecting all the personal tax information together for Sarcastic Accountant. Ugh.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

good vibrations

We've been having real trouble getting appointments with our GP for medicals for the adoption. The forms have been with our practice since July and we have been kicking up a fuss since the end of November to try to get to actually see a doctor.

Apparently the practice only have a certain number of slots available for these types of medical (also for insurance, that kind of thing) and they are very hit and miss. I can understand why people who are sick have to take priority over people who just want a check-up. However, if we'd opted for fertility treatment to have a family we'd have taken up far more time than the half hour or hour a medical will take; and Social Services pay the practice for these medicals, so it's not as if we are asking for a favour.

We got to the stage where our social worker (still haven't told her we've named a chicken after her, the opportunity has somehow never come up) phoned up and spoke to the Practice Manager in early December. The Practice Manager phoned me a couple of days afterwards and assured me that we would be given an appointment within a couple of days.

We waited and waited for them to call us. In mid-December, I phoned and emailed the guy who sorts the appointments out, who assured me that we were at the top of the list.

Still no joy.

As part of our escalation plan, I eventually emailed our lovely GP just after New Year asking if he could do anything to help us get appointments. This afternoon at 4pm, the guy who makes the medicals appointments phoned up and offered us an appointment for one of us tomorrow at 8.30AM.

So not short notice at all, really.

Luckily we are able to stay an extra night with Kate and Vic and then go home tomorrow, change pants and socks, feed chickens and then go to Somerset.

We have drawn straws, and I am having the appointment.

Actually, I lie. This isn't because we've drawn straws at all.

It's because the Social Services have said that they will not take our assessment procedure any further until our medicals are back. By which, they actually mean MY medical - because of the whole depression thingy. Initially Lovely GP wrote a letter in support of our adoption application - they wouldn't start the process unless he was behind us. So really I want to have an appointment with him.

However, tomorrow's appointment is with another doctor. Who was equally nice on the two occasions I have met him.

Occasion One was the Saturday nearly three years ago that he prescribed me anti-depressants when B had taken me in for an emergency appointment because I couldn't stop crying and wouldn't go downstairs because of the imaginary people in the living room. Occasion Two was the day last year that I went for my smear and they called him in to see whether the pelvic pains I was experiencing warrented further investigation.

It is very difficult to convince someone that you are no longer mad when he has a couple of fingers shoved inside your cervix.

So, although it will be great to get it out of the way - for me it is the Last Great Hurdle of the assessment procedure before our Panel - I am pretty nervous. Terrified would probably be a better word.

Send me good vibes. Please.

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As usual, I should be working.

B and I are sitting in Kate and Vic's dining room, wrestling with various quotes and a tender for seven different events during the course of the year, that has to be in in a couple of weeks. We spent all day yesterday throwing ideas around with Young Keith and drinking tea in the The Egg Cafe in Liverpool.

Today, Young Keith has gone on a skills update course and B and I are still here, juggling budgets whilst Kate brings us regular cups of tea. And at least one of us is twiddling with her new laptop when she should be doing stuff on the old one, which still has most of her data on it. It is SHINY.

However, I *have* managed to sell at least one of the old laptops and have someone interested in the second one. We just have to put B's old Sony Vaio on eBay and then we are back to the same number of computers as people. If anyone thinks they might be interested in it, drop me an email - is a PCG-K315B, with a 2.93G Celeron D, 40GB HDD, 15.4WXGA screen and 768MB RAM. We're looking for about £450 for it I think, although I haven't researched prices very much yet.

Tomorrow we are off to Ma and Pa's for a couple of nights - Pa is eighty-nine on Thursday.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

laptops and lacerations

Our new laptops have arrived!

Well, B and Young Keith's have arrived.

Mine is in Telford.

Telford is an hour's drive away.

I don't understand why the chap who delivered them all to India-Next-Door whilst we were away didn't leave mine as well. But I am slightly miffed.

We are going to collect it tomorrow, on the way to Merseyside. 'On the way' is perhaps a slight misnomer, but you know what I mean.

It has 2 GIBABYTES OF RAM. My first machine for work, back in the dark ages of 1997 only had 1.5 GB of hard drive. I am impressed, and very excited. And looking forward to playing both Caesar 4 and Second Life, neither of which work on the machine I have now. And of course there is a business need for me to have an upgraded machine, as I do a lot of graphics thrutching for the marketing we do.


In other news, we had a very, very lovely time away and I heartily recommend The Watermill Inn at Ings, near Windermere. Also, the lovely people who came for a couple of days to look after the house and have a bit of a break whilst we were away got a) chased around the garden by Cockerel George, who has suddenly entered a rather truculent adolescence. And b) got lacerations from Betty, who was a bit nervous of their dog. I am rather mortified, but they don't seem to hate me. (*waves*).

I go now, to drink elderberry wine, print out diaries and to-do lists for our planning meeting tomorrow and eat vegetables and hummous.

Thursday, 4 January 2007


I am posting from B's mobile phone. Technology rocks! We have just dined decadently, and I have guinea fowl sauce on my trousers. It has been a really lovely few days - food, beer, walking and whisky. What more could anyone want? Back properly tomorrow!

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

brief break

We're off to the Lake District for a few days - back Friday.

I hope that 2007 brings you all the good things you could wish for.