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Here Be Dragons

Or at least, dragonflies and they’re laying eggs.  This one is an Emperor Dragonfly I think which usually lays eggs directly into the water.  The eggs are protected by jelly and once the eggs have hatched they become ugly little larvae.  Sadly, this beauty will probably only live for a couple of weeks, but they’re something to see when they’re swooping up and down the ditches.

From what I read, they’re tricky to photograph as they rarely stay still, even eating on the wing, so I was lucky to catch this one whilst she was otherwise preoccupied.

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All Done

We finally finished silage making on Saturday although I wasn’t there for the grand finale as I’d arranged to do something else in the vain hope that we’d be all completed by then.  We weren’t but nearly, so between them Gordon and Dan picked up four more trailer-loads then sheeted down the pit.

As usual it’s left us drained and flopping about in a kind of anti-climatic state.  This year has probably been as bad as it gets although eventually the old forager settled into a pattern, stopped breaking down daily and just got on with it.  She doesn’t pick up anywhere near as much as the newer one and goes an awful lot slower, but it’s done.  We found it next to impossible to get anyone to drive for us this year so did all the jobs between us.  In an ideal world there would have been at least five people in total, but it was just the three of us most of the time and we multitasked.

Tomorrow sees Daniel leaving for a week-long break at the Glastonbury Festival.  This has become an annual break for him now and we were discussing it over breakfast this morning.  I reached the conclusion that at my age I need a little bit of luxury so roughing it in a tent with long-drop toilets shared by thousands of people would be more than I could stand.  If I need to see the performers I’ll watch the highlights on the tv, but somehow I suspect I’ll be catching up on my sleep instead so a few early nights are planned.

That and the paperwork!  Two and a bit weeks of not catching up with invoices has left me with a four inch stack of paper to sort through so that’s my priority today.

If I can stay awake long enough!

Our new satellite system has finally been installed.  I was doubtful, but then I’m ever the cynic.  The installer came three times and the first time he spent nearly the whole day here trying to find a signal.  At one stage he even uttered those famous words “hmm, I’ve never known one be this difficult before”!  Story of our life really.  When he found a signal and installed stuff he had a ‘tah-dah’ moment and I raised an eyebrow and said “we’ll see”.  “No”, he said “it is actually installed”.  Again I said “we’ll see” and he laughed.  Poor fool.

The following day it stopped working.  It needed to be self-activated, it told me.  Strangely enough I’d watched the installer enter the self-activation code at least twice, possibly three times.  I rang the company and they gave me the code again.  It seems to be working for the moment.  Oddly enough, the old broadband has speeded up considerably and is outstripping the satellite equivalent since we have them both running until I get around to cancelling the contract.  It seemed premature to cancel it without having a little test run first, but I haven’t mentioned anything to BT so how do they know?  Do you suppose they’ve boosted our signal at the eleventh hour?

I may need to buy a new router.  I didn’t know I needed one to be honest since I know nothing about satellite broadband, but satellite guy tells me to think of the modem as ‘the phone line’ and this helps me to visualise it.  I still need a router attached to it to send out little wifi waves.  The only one I could lay my hands on at such short notice is ancient and although working, I feel this may be impeding the speed.  Does anyone know anything about this please?  Any advice will be gratefully received.

We’ve been silage making this week, but definitely limping along.  We had two major breakdowns on our first day, one with the mower and the other on the large forager.  The forager seems to have broken the gearbox so short of the engine blowing up it’s as bad as it could be.  The old girl came out of retirement, we brushed the cobwebs off (literally) and Gordon spent the day oiling everything back into life.  She rattles along and has ‘a knock in her coffin box’ whatever that means, but I know she feels out-of-sync so much that she sways from side to side.  It took me over an hour to get my land-legs back when I climbed down at the end of the first day.  It’s like being onboard a boat, but at least it is picking up the grass.  Today rain has stopped play, but the rest of the week is forecast to be better.  I hope so – Dan is off to Glastonbury at the beginning of next week and I have commitments on Saturday.

There is no title for this post because I tried to think of one and failed.  If I was pinned to the wall and forced to come up with something in a hurry it would be ‘really?’ but I’m pretty sure I may have used that before on several occasions and I hate to repeat myself on purpose.

Anyway, the point is this.  You may have seen the commercial for a bank I think where people are handing out hints and tips for using the Internet?  Someone suggests that when on selling sites it sometimes pays to spell what you’re looking for incorrectly just in case the seller has.  Years ago I saw (on freecycle) someone offering a ‘chester draw’ and although I was initially mystified I realised fairly quickly they meant ‘chest of drawers’.  I wondered then whether this would become a new term since unless you see it written down, that’s what it sounds like.  This would be a kind of evolution in the English language.  People would be asking themselves who Chester was and why a set of drawers was named after him. 

Go to ebay when you have a minute and put it in the search box.  There are loads! It has already become a term.

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From one satellite to another – be sure to click on the photo and look at the detail. I took this a few days ago whilst out on another hare-hunting expedition.

Apologies for my absence – the internet has been terrible lately to the extent that we’ve decided to have satellite broadband instead and do away with both our BT internet and the landline.  We both have mobiles with generous allowances and although the satellite company tell us our internet won’t be much faster than about 22mbs, we’re currently receiving less than 1mb through the landline so I fail to see how it can possibly be any worse, unless it doesn’t work at all of course.

Since the computer doesn’t get turned on often any more I’ve been occupying myself with other things: gardening, wandering around with the camera and tracking down the family tree in an Ancestry.com app on my tablet.  My mother was extremely interested in the family tree and although we used to laugh at her enthusiasm, I now see what the attraction is!  It’s like being a detective, trailing through old birth certificates and census records.  So far my tree has hundreds of people since I keep going off in different directions, but of those hundreds I’ve only found one or two ‘interesting’ people.  One, in my mother’s family tree was deported for sheep rustling, made his fortune in Australia, came back for his family and promptly left again for Australia.  Another in Gordon’s mother’s family tree took his family to Canada in 1906.  Everyone else lived in this immediate vicinity and farmed, from what I can gather.  I found one soldier and one sailor in over three hundred people. It makes you wonder why we bother really, doesn’t it?  Generations of people all doing exactly the same and going nowhere.  At least three generations of Gordon’s family are buried in the local churchyard and after all that time we’re still in the same village.

On 10 March I went to visit my dentist in Lympsham.  Her practise is next door to a school and when you leave her driveway, you’re immediately in a 20mph zone.  Three days later Gordon received a speeding ticket, but for my car which he never drives.  It was mine :(.  Apparently I was doing 26mph and held my hands up to this.  Doing wrong, probably while in auto-pilot.  However, since then, things have definitely verged on maniacal.

Firstly, because the ticket was in his name I had to notify them that he wasn’t the driver.  I sent the form back and waited for its return.  When it came back in my name it told me I could either pay a fixed penalty with points on my licence or go on a Speed Awareness Course.  I opted for the latter, sent the form back to them with my choice and waited again.  The reply came on Easter Saturday.  There was a website address included and it said I should go there to book my NSAC20 course – I assume NSAC stands for National Speed Awareness Course.  The website told me the nearest course to me was in Swansea; a three-hour drive into Wales – unless I was a crow of course, because as the crow flies it isn’t that far.  Far enough by road though.

I couldn’t ring them to discuss this until the Tuesday so spent the day trying, but unfortunately ‘all their lines were busy’ for the entire day.  On Wednesday I spoke to someone to ask whether I could go on a standard speed awareness course being held in the next town.  Apparently not.  They’ve introduced this new crack-down on speeding near schools without any appropriate courses being offered countrywide.  We eventually narrowed down a course in Filton, but it was still further than I really wanted to go so I told her not to worry, I’d just pay the fixed penalty if she could send me a form.  She immediately attached one to an email and it told me I could pay my fine online, by phone or by sending a cheque alongside my driver’s licence.  I went to pay it online but it wouldn’t let me so I tried by phone – it wouldn’t let me do that either.  She pointed out in her email that when I sent my licence to them, registered post would be a good idea since a licence is a valuable thing.  I conceded defeat, wrote a cheque, paid for the registered post and off it went.

It came back today.  Not just my licence, but my cheque too.  The letter was clear – since I’d opted to go on a speed awareness course, no payment was necessary at this time.  It came back in a plain envelope by second-class post!  I didn’t even have to sign for it.  I rang the Speed Enforcement Unit again and they were apologetic.  Something had obviously gone amiss on their system and she would rectify it straight away.  Within thirty minutes I should be able to submit my payment online and then I’d have to send off my licence again (she still recommended registered post) and all would be peachy.

I tried.  I couldn’t.  I’m losing the will, to be honest.  I’m a bit of a mouse when it comes to ‘rules’ and have been fretting.  I wish they’d just sort things out.

Upcycling (Part 1)

I don’t know about you, but I’m avid browser of Pinterest.  I absolutely love to see what others have made such as cakes, crafts and things for the garden. If I acquire a new stamp I quite often look to see how other people are using it and although I don’t like copying it exactly I use it as inspiration.

A while back I spotted a planter made with the headboard and footboard of a single bed. lt was painted red and yellow which I thought was quite garish, but I liked the idea and looked on local selling sites for a cheap bed base – a very cheap or even free one.   About two weeks after I started looking, someone fly-tipped one into a gateway up the road. There was a headboard, two footboards and the slats.  I had to negotiate with a neighbouring farmer who had his eye on it for firewood, but we comprised: I got the ends and he took the rest.

On Sunday while Gordon was painting the table I decide to drag it all out of the workshop where it’s been stored and think about how to make a planter with it.  Love him, he came across when he’d finished and we discussed what I wanted to do with it.  Within about half an hour he’d chopped, sawed and joined it all together as if he had the instructions in front of him.  He has an uncanny knack of being able to see exactly what needs to be done and the finished article was what I’d hoped.  The extra footboard was sawn in half and made the sides.

I spent a couple of hours today sanding the old paint off and painting it in country cream paint.  I still have to line it with plastic, fill it with soil and plant something, but thought you might like a preview.

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It’s a great shape, isn’t it?  I’m most pleased.  I do like to give something a new lease of life.

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