Wednesday, 29 September 2010

stitched up

Today I have stitched and I have bitched. And eaten lentil and garlic soup and blackberry and apple crumble and savoury scones and chocolate cake sans-chocolate.

And knitted, a bit.

And I have had a thoroughly nice time.

Yes, this is the proverbial 'Pollyanna' post where I wax lyrical about all the lovely things that have happened, in easily accessible list-format.

Excuse me, I have just realise that the cat has just eaten the last of the lentil and garlic soup out of the bowl and is about to vomit.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

not keptomania after all

Today, I started off on the hopefully simple process of converting two 1930's camp beds in to pens for my chicks to go in in the greenhouses and be moved around on to fresh ground every day with their heated brooder boxes. I shall probably now be hung, drawn and quartered by the Museum of the 1930's or something. Ma slept on one all through the war and said that she really felt that it was time for it to go. Then someone sat on it and the canvas ripped and that was that.

Yesterday, I took Leo back to the shop he took the smoothie from. He was very good about it, as was the shop-owner; and I think he now understands about taking things that don't belong to you. He was VERY thoughtful on the way there and then piped up "Mummy? Mr Toad stole that man's car and went to prison, didn't he?". It too me a while to work out his train of thought. But I replied that yes, he had. But that grown-ups went to prison for stealing and not little boys.

I think it went in. We went for a scone afterwards (cheese, not fruit of course!) and he checked with the lady behind the cash desk whether it was okay to take his unfinished half-scone home with him as we paid her.

Tomorrow, I have a group of friends coming for the day to Stitch and Bitch. We have organised once-a-month sessions at each others houses and I am very much looking forward to it.

Monday, 27 September 2010

sheer fury

Today was unspeakable.

I simply cannot believe that the level of provision for mental health services in Taunton Deane is so poor.

As some of you will know, a friend of ours has been suffering from very severe depression for some months now. The Crisis Team provision is laughable in itself. She has telephoned them when in crisis and they haven't called her back. She has telephoned them when in crisis to be told to ring the Samaritans. She has telephoned them when in crisis and no-one has answered.

Her 'Care Co-ordinator' went on holiday for three weeks in the summer and neglected to tell her, or provide back-up care provision. When she came back, she 'felt she had been unreliable and let my friend down', so she resigned as her care co-ordinator and my friend has had to wait for someone else. Who has also been on holiday for three weeks.

We are now eight weeks down the line. Over the weekend, my friend has been feeling very, very low. She went to her first meeting with the new care co-ordinator today, with an advocate from MIND. At the meeting, she was told that because she has already had CBT, they can do no more for her with one-to-one counselling, as they 'do not do long term care'. Discharge was mentioned. Despite her answering 'yes' to many of the questions about mood and self-care that should trigger warning lights about someone not being able to keep themselves safe.

Her next appointment with the care co-ordinator is in two weeks, as is an appointment with the unit psychiatrist to discuss medication. In the meantime, my friend is left feeling suicidal, genuinely as if she cannot go on, with no professional support at all.

I am so furious that I cannot, really, contain this any longer, although it is not really my story to write about.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

flying by

Today a small and very excited boy learned to fly a kite on top of the hill, whilst his parents gave thanks to the God Of Friend Who Come And Temporarily Remove Your Children.

Nenna's coming down with something and we are both knackered - early night and no brain power left!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Can I just take a moment to say "OH MY GOD!".

We have been to Minehead today for various reasons - to pick up some freecycling and to do a bit of shopping. And we have come home with some cow-print pyjamas as a birthday present for Sister Natalie, one or two other bits, and an Ella's Kitchen smoothie that Leo put in the bag with the pyjamas in the health food shop.

First, the cow pyjamas. Leo wanted to get her either dinosaurs or Thomas the Tank engine, neither of which we could find in an appropriate size. I steered him away from the leopard-skin print ones in favour of the cow print, as I thought they were marginally less awful. And then on the way home I had a whole moment of 'Oh good grief! What if Sister Natalie things I am sending her a subtle message?'. Luckily, when I mentioned this, she laughed, if rather edgily.

Secondly, the unsanctioned smoothie incident. What do I do now? I found it in the bag when we got home and have just had a 'little talk' with Leo about what stealing is. I asked him what he thought we should do now and he said he thought we should go back to the shop and talk to the lady and pay for it 'and then we'll say no more about it, Mummy!'. I reckon that's the right approach. I can cope with a little personal humiliation at this stage if it means that my son doesn't turn in to a kleptomaniac. But what do other people think?

In other news, today I have sold a trio of cream legbars and someone has put dibs on a silkie, a barnevelder and a cream legbar for three weeks time when their chicken coop arrives. I'm quite satisfied with that!

For today, that is all.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Superglue is just bizarre, isn't it?

I have more or less decided that there is NO point keeping a tube after you've used it once. Or had it open for a week, or something like that. The nozzle thingy gets clogged up and goes really hard and you end up ripping it off and sticking yourself to the wall trying to unblock it.

So. Now.

We went to Bookers the day before yesterday - for non-UK readers, it's a catering and small shop wholesaler - and along with the sugar and flour and what-not, we bought a SIX-PACK of superglue. I removed one pack, put the rest in the cupboard well out of the reach of experimenting children. And then I went on a Gluing Mission.

Things I have glued over the last two days include:

1. The bit that had cracked off the new incubator
2. The bit at the back of the hippo pop-up story book
3. A cup
4. My nipple
5. My fingers

Luckily, four and five weren't the crisis they would have been a decade ago, as superglue now has a fifteen second time-lag for you to unglue the various bits of you that inevitably get glued to other bits of you by accident.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Last night Jo Coffeeslut came over for tea and stayed over. We spent a lot of the evening bashing our way through updating our friend Rosie's website - go and look if you like cake, although the new site isn't live yet! - and eating things that B made us. Then this morning, whilst the rest of them were watching Hoodwinked, I started to update my own poultry website. Which again, doesn't have the new version live yet.

I feel a bit like a swan - there's been lots of activity paddling along like mad under the water - but none of it is actually SHOWING yet.

Then we went out and did some errands, which included popping in to Ma's to check chickens; and now I am back on the website again whilst B puts the kids to bed. I have some photos of children, chickens and apples; but I need to work out how to install the correct software on Ubuntu to get them off my phone. So maybe that will be tomorrow's post!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

two paragraphs

I've left it a bit late to post today ... my excuse/reason is that I have been Very Busy Doing Things. So this is a list, I'm afraid:

1. Cleaned kitchen
2. Bought gin for damson gin
3. Worked on a friend's website
4. Talked to Ma about Chicken Accommodation
5. Learned to pluck a pheasant by standing on it's wings

Does that count as two paragraphs? ;)

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


The Apples Family have been on An Adventure today. B had a meeting with a potential client in Bristol this morning; so we took some sandwiches and continued up to Worcester, where we took possession of five twelve week old Amrock pullets.

They are a dual purpose utility breed of heavy poultry - related to the Barred Plymouth Rock but better layers, apparently. I needed some more laying hens; and these fit the bill. They are also pretty rare - so I am going to wait and see how they turn out as adults and maybe see if I can get them a husband next summer. They will also be a part of Project Barnebar in place of the Barred Rock that are often used to put the barring gene in to the breed.

We had a *very* nice afternoon - we were early for Chicken Collection; so we stopped at The Anchor at Wyre Piddle and whiled away a very pleasant couple of hours with a cups of tea and preventing Leo launching himself in to the river after the ducks. Sister Natalie gave him a toy sword and shield for his birthday at the weekend; and he ran up and announced to me that he was going to go 'in to the caves to fight the goblins and corks' :).

Welcome to Sandra, who is going to try the 'post a day' challenge!

Monday, 20 September 2010


This is the easy bit. I have made a pact with Jo Coffeeslut to post every day between now and Christmas. Minimum of two paragraphs, unless we are away from home and physically unable to post.

I have been spending much less time blogging recently that I used to. I think that this is partly because I haven't had the head-space to write anything I have felt was worthwhile. And partly because I have been using facebook and downsizer for my recreational internet time. I feel as if I have more mental energy that I have had for a while now, though - and I have also been inspired by Earthenwitch's post about spending less time online in order to Do Things; and a conversation with her in person about using online time more productively - during a couple of happy afternoons watching children water each other in her garden.

So, I suggested the pact. And Jo went for it. Does anyone else want to join in?

Friday, 17 September 2010


A new autumn and a new me, hopefully. Organised. Committed to my goals. At peace with myself. Calm in the face of adversity. Joyful. No toast stuck to my head when I leave the house.

The summer has had very nice bits and very horrible bits. The nice bits have included doing a lot of sorting out and rationalisation of Chickenopolis, including automatic door openers and electric fencing; and spending a lot of time down at Ma's, wrangling pick your own raspberry pickers.

On the downside, the situation between Sister Natalie and B and I has been awful, very hostile and just terrible. Even to the extent of her blocking me on Facebook. And me yelling at her and throwing two small wooden frog-shaped ocarinas at her. I have put forward the idea of mediation and she has said she will 'think about it' - we are hoping that we can build a functional relationship of some kind that will allow us all to be around Ma's smallholding. If not, B and I are going to have to find somewhere else to keep our livestock and therefore see a lot less of Ma; as we cannot cope with this kind of stress every few months.

The children have simultaneous chicken pox and B is away all week, which is why I have more time to be online - I am confined to the house with them rather than rushing around doing things. It's very, very eye-opening how nice and easy it is to spend my time being a dedicated mother, rather than all things to all people. I've enjoyed it, in a bizarre way; although the lack of adult company is going to start to grate in another day or two.

And for today, that is all.