Saturday, 28 April 2007


Things people say to you when you run in to the Mersey Tunnel Barrier:

  1. Don't worry love, it's meant to come off.
  2. Didn't you just keep on driving? That's what everyone else does.
  3. Now you're a Proper Scouser!
  4. Did you stop to pay?
  5. Ha! Now we're even! One all!
In other news: I have discovered that the thing that is making me really, really stressed is the whole Not Knowing What Will Happen And Not Having A Firm Plan about moving. So today, I am going to construct a flow-chart of possibilities and only worry about the ones at the top.

And I am going to wire up my tomatoes, because they are now nearly eighteen inches tall and need a little help.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

some things

Some things:

  • We have run out of jam.
  • I was woken at 1.30AM by Betty presenting me with a field-mouse suffering from rigour-mortis.
  • I didn't get to the strawbale building course because the DASHED ear-infection thingy came back and suffering from nausea and dizzyness whilst climbing ladders and wielding lump-hammers seemed like a Bad Plan.
  • We have posted our mortgage application to the Ecology Building Society with a rough outline of what we would like to do and some costings.
  • This does not seem extortionate and is quite exciting.
  • We were supposed to have some people come and view the house on Sunday and spent three hours cleaning it out. They didn't turn up, but the house is still immaculate and I am afraid to put anything down anywhere, including my feet.
  • I am becoming a Reed Bed Nerd.
For today, that is all.

Friday, 20 April 2007

asparagus and straw

Asparagus SeedlingsDespite feeling that in some ways antibiotics are a Tool Of Satan and not having taken any for ten years (and then only involuntarily because someone shoved a suppository up my bottom after an operation while I was unconscious) I think they are working pretty well; and I am very pleased.

I am still a bit giddy, particularly when I first sit up in the mornings, but as the day goes on I seem to get a lot better.

Chandira, I think you might be right - if I've been carrying some kind of low-grade ear infection around for a few weeks it won't have been helping with the morning sickness. However, the womiting seems to have stopped and I am even having whole hours at a time when I am enjoying being pregnant rather than hating ever single minute. Which is nice.

Re asparagus seedlings Boy, someone on very kindly send me some seeds a couple of months ago. I thought I'd managed to kill them, but they just took a long while to come up. I've got about three dozen little feathery plants that will be ready to plant out in to an asparagus bed next year and crop two years after that. Very exciting.

Also very exciting, this weekend we are going on a Strawbale Building Course with Amazonails.

This is part of our New Plan. It is only a proto-plan at the moment, whilst we find out about funding, planning and building regulations; but after a little digging around, we think it should be possible to buy a bit of land and build our own house on it out of straw bales. If we can do this it would be a) brilliant fun and b) incredibly eco-friendly.

Of course we will still need to sell this house first; but we are both really keen on the idea. So the weekend course seemed like a good step forward to find out more about it.

Today I am tidying the house so that when we come home on Monday we are ready for all the floods of viewings that I am expecting next week. And I need to find my lump hammer to take on the building course.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Are the people written about in this article serious? Or is this some bizarre late April Fool's joke?

I have an ear infection and have just come back from the GP with some antibiotics, which I am now trying not to throw up. B is trying to comfort me by saying that this is what Space Sickness feels like - I can categorically say that I won't be going in to space until some kind of Artificial Gravity Generator has been invented.

Back when I can read a screen without chucking up.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

just a little prick

Briefly, as I have just come in for a couple of pints of water before plunging back in to the 37 degree heat of the greenhouse ... my ebay auctions are ending tomorrow.

I mention this not only in the hope that a million people will fall in love with our miscellaneous bits and bobs and get sucked in to an irrational bidding war with each other ... but because I have received several fabulously worded emails from companies wishing to make a deal with us to buy our laptops:

my dear friend : Please allow us to disturb your precious time! We are the Chinese biggest foreign trade wholesaler. If you want to do business, we can offer you our most reasonable discount, making you get more profit.If you have time, please visit our website,Please relate with us, we will give you a satisfying answer.

Isn't that sweet? I am almost tempted to relate with them, just to read more of their prose.

The houses we looked at on Friday were a no-no and a possible-but-lots-of-people-interested. We've had no viewings as yet. However, we do have An Idea, of which more later in the week if it turns out to be even vaguely feasible.

The Skip Experience is turning out to be as therapeutic as I thought it might be. And loads of freecyclers are interested in our stuff. So all going to plan.

Now I'm off back to the greenhouse to prick out my asparagus seedlings.

Friday, 13 April 2007

girl tomatoes

It's sunny. We are going to look at some more houses.

Also, I have put LOADS of things on Freecycle and planted out my tomatoes in the greenhouse.

Why do a significant proportion of tomato varieties have girls names? Ma gave me some Moneymaker (admittedly, NOT a girl's name, unless it's a girl-racehorse) and then a selection of Shirley, Vanessa and two or three others that I can't remember; but they were all girls. Are all tomato growers frustrated chappies huddling in their propagating houses with no women in their lives? Or are they happily married family men (very sexist assumption that they are all men there, but hang in here with me) who name their varieties after their wives and daughters and mothers and aunts?

It's a mystery.

Anyway, I am going to put some strings in later on this afternoon for them to grow up. I absolutely refuse to stop planting stuff just because the house is on the market - it could be six months before we sell it and we'd have missed a whole summer of growing stuff. My lettuce and rocket are both coming on very nicely and will be ready to start picking in a week or so I think. The beans and the squash and the courgettes and the sweetcorn are all sprouting. And B has fixed the outside tap, so I don't have to get him to lug gallons and gallons of water up the hill to the top of the garden for me every day.

Pants call. And houses.

Thursday, 12 April 2007


bantam house 3Yesterday we went out looking at houses.

There are lots of houses around to look at and some of them are very nice. And that is all I can bear to say about it for now.

Now, here are some pictures of our bantam house.

This is where the Pekins live (think six-cup-sized teapots wearing crinolines and very fluffy socks). There are four hens and a cockerel (Egg Head the cockerel, Black Beak, Teapot, Aunty Flo and Left Behind Chicken) and they live quite happily in this little space - they've got a pile of logs to perch on in the sun and a three-foot long rabbit hutch that we've put a perch in for them.

bantam house 2

The downside of keeping chickens in any kind of pen that isn't approximately the size of a football pitch is that they eat everything green within about two minutes. I am in the process of planting up some big trays of grass that we are going to rotate in and out of the pen so they have some greenstuff - and they like it when we hang up cabbage or cauliflower for them to peck at. Egg Head is very gentlemanly - he hops up and breaks off bits and then calls the ladies over to eat each piece.

The floor of the pen was originally about an inch of clay soil, on top of rubble - basically what was there when we moved in. We have put a mixture of sand and some pea-gravel in as well and will have to keep on top of cleaning it out so that it doesn't foul up. The hens up in the top garden now have a thick layer of straw in their pen and we may go that way with these, too, to keep it sweet for them.

bantam house 1

The end of the pen over the house is roofed with corrugated plastic sheeting - Pekins *hate* to get their socks wet - and the 'Houseladder' 'for sale' board has come in very nicely as a windbreak attached to the gate. They like to dustbath in the dry soil/sand mixture.

We were getting four eggs a day from them - teeny-tiny ones about half the size of a 'size one' egg from the supermarket - but three of them have now gone broody and stopped laying in order to start a family. I keep taking away the daily egg from the one who remains in lay, so they aren't actually sitting on anything, and we keep turfing them off the nest; however, one of the reasons we got them was because they make fantastic mothers and I am going to try to set some eggs underneath them I think, although we'll have to put them in a little pen on their own so that can concentrate properly.

The new full-sized cockerel is settling in well - he's very keen on the ladies and so far hasn't attempted to savage either of us. He has fabulous eyebrows, so we have christened him Dennis.

I had a chat with Ma yesterday and tried to tell her how upset I'd been. B said I did quite well - I'm not sure whether it went in or not though.

Today, we are gardening. And we have a skip coming, which is quite exciting - I am going to have to restrain myself not to throw away stuff that we could Freecycle.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

not much improvement

Weird weekend.

Nice to see the family - but absolutely the last thing I need when I feel so crummy is Ma banging on ad infinitum on the theme of how if you feel bad now Ally you'll feel SO MUCH WORSE when the baby's born and of course you'll be coping on your own because B will have to be away so much working because if you send substitute crew out it will mean that you won't have so much profits coming in to the business and if you move a bit further in to Wales it will mean that he has a MUCH longer journey and have you thought about how tired you will both be and he'll be needing his sleep if he's working and so you'll have to be coping with the baby on you own at night ... .

And then as we were leaving she whispered to him that he should stand up to me more.

I cried most of the way home and still feel like I want to huddle in a small dark corner and cut my arms.

I don't think it was a very successful visit. And I think that possibly I've been throwing up the anti-depressant tablets.

We got some nice tomato plants though.

Friday, 6 April 2007


Also, without wishing to appear a complete eBay Pimp (Rhys' charming expression, not mine), we've got some stuff listed; a couple of laptops and some wireless bits and bobs, a couple of mobile phones, books etc.. I'm going to be putting a few more things on over the next couple of weeks - selling stuff is quite addictive when you get in to it :).

summoned by shrews

It's Good Friday and we are off to visit Ma and Pa for a few days.

Spring is definitely here. Heralded by livestock. So far this week we have had:

  • Three shrews (dead) in the dining room
  • Three shrews and two voles (dead) in the bedroom (one in my slipper)
  • One live vole and one live shrew in the bedroom (in the bed, while I was too)
  • One small rabbit (dead)
  • One small rabbit (alive, behind piano)
Nature red in tooth and claw isn't in it, but at least the cats are happy.

We've put the house on the market and we've been to view a few places, some of which have possibilities. We both feel a bit better about everything now we actually have a plan and have implemented it.

Thank you for all the supportive comments - I'm feeling a bit better physically, too and had a good chat with the midwife yesterday, which helped a lot. I have been really, really crap at visiting other people and commenting, for which I apologise - I have been visiting a bit, but just haven't felt up to participating.

Have a good Easter break. Back Tuesday.

Monday, 2 April 2007

cushion the blow

So. I am still being sick.

Really sick.

Like 'stop the car, I need to vomit in the hedge' sick. 'Retching as I go to lie down in bed because I'm feeling sick' sick. 'Now we've finished shagging please pass the bowl because I'm going to throw up' sick. 'Please don't make me laugh, I'll chuck up' sick.

Isn't it weird that you can really, really want something and when you get it, it's not what you expected at all?

I don't seem to be able to stop crying and feeling bad; and people's positive "you'll start to feel SO much better soon, you'll be decorating the kitchen" - type chirpy remarks are not really helping. Or the "this is so wonderful for you and B, you must be delighted, it'll all be worth it in the end" -ones, either.

I resent the baby because it's making me feel so ill. It's all I can do to drag myself round and put clean pants on in the morning. Most of the time I'm not thinking about the baby, I'm thinking of what small tasks I need to complete in the next thirty minutes and whether I'll be able to accomplish them. And then I feel guilty because I am resenting the baby and perhaps if it knows I am resenting it, it'll pack up and leave and I'll have wished myself in to (another) miscarriage.

And I am constantly worrying about money - which is a whole other story that I am not going to go in to at the moment, except to say that it does make sense to move to a smaller house if we are not going to fill this one with an instant-ready-made adoptive family.

So, lots of positive trains of thought there, then.

Hormones suck.

Also, Simpkin has started bringing in dead rabbits.

Tomorrow: Something cheerful, that doesn't involve sick.